Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


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Where Have I Been?!?!

Well hello! Where the heck have I been?!?! This is why…..

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That’s right folks! We got a puppy!!!! This is my little teacup chihuahua buddy! We named her Peanut and she is currently 10 weeks old. She was born on Valentine’s Day. So freakin sweet. I love her so much. She’s been such a good puppy so far! Other than the expected occasional accidents, she is really picking up things quick! She’s going potty outside when we let her out and she’s sleeping soundly in her crate at night. She sleeps right next to the bed on my side. Everyone here loves her too. Our one cat, Oreo, is best friends with Peanut. They wrestle and play together constantly. Even Kya, our other dog has really warmed up to her. Peanut loves to chase everyone around the house. She’s so perfect. I love her!!

I will get around to posting more, but here’s a little update on all things! Ballet is going good! We are still working hard at our recital pieces. I really am loving them all. We ended up taking our second pointe dance and turning it into a ballet dance. Between our teacher being out with her injury and everyone having foot or shoe problems, we decided it was for the best. Next year it will be on pointe though. We are still wearing our tutus, which is really cool. The dance has really come together. It’s so different from our other dances. We are still using the fans too! It’s really awesome.

I have a running event coming up soon too! I haven’t been running as much as I was last year, but that’s ok for me. I had a 5k scheduled in March that I ended up not running because I ended up being really sick. I then participated in a Run or Dye race with a couple co-workers. We ended up just walking the whole 3.1 miles and talking. It wasn’t a timed race, so we took our time! Here’s a pic from after the race!

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I’m the crazy girl on the left! It was so much fun. I recommend doing one!

Well, that’s all for now people! Catch ya on the flip side! 🙂

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A Tale of Two Ashleys

I had the opportunity to attend another Master Class put on by the great Ballet in Cleveland organization. This time they brought NYC Ballet’s Ashley Bouder and Phil Chan of Armitage Gone! Dance, also out of NYC. First off, I was really nervous. I tossed the idea of going back and forth in my head for over a week. I just got the feeling that this particular class might be too much for me. Legal Ballerina also was unsure at first of going. We ended up deciding to just go and try it. Jessica, who runs Ballet in Cleveland, said she had emailed Ashley Bouder about us and that she was looking forward to having us take her class. She was to teach 1.5 hours of ballet technique followed by a 1 hour variation class. She was going to be teaching Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Variation!! En pointe!! I figured I had to give this a shot. It’s not every day I get the chance to learn a variation. If you want to learn more about who Ashley Bouder is you can look her up here.

Let me start with warm ups. LB and I found a place at a barre and started to stretch. There were a LOT of girls in this class. The class started on time and Ashley and Phil came out. Jessica briefly introduced them and then Ashley started class. We were at the last barre on the end. Ashley stood in the center of the room- a good 20 feet from us. She quickly started demonstrating a combination. I could not see anything she was doing at all. I also could barely hear her. So before I knew it- the pianist started playing and all these girls started the combination. I had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. This remained the same throughout the entire barre session. I could not see her demonstrate a single combination. And I could barely hear what she was saying the entire time. This was very disappointing and upsetting. I understand I am not an “advanced ballet student” but I have never been so frustrated. Ashley flew so fast through each and every combination. I noticed most of the “advanced girls” around me struggled through every combo. For them, I think it was mostly lack of being able to see/hear Ashley. I understand that Ballet in Cleveland is a non-profit organization, and I appreciate Jessica letting me attend these classes, but there were just too many girls in this class. I think in all the combos we did at the barre, Ashley only came around twice. I got no critique-nothing- from her each time. She didn’t appear to critique too many girls. The one thing I loved about the previous classes there, were that the dancers teaching would walk around and critique you. And the combos they did were challenging, but not like this time. Her combos were so fast and difficult, I literally ended up just standing at the barre, barely moving anything. We finally moved to center where I thought things would get better. We were able to split up into smaller groups for the combos which was nice. Unfortunately, Ashley gave us fast, faster, and fastest combos. Once again, I just ended up standing in the back, not able to dance. The combos were way too fast for me. I couldn’t pick any of them up. I felt very inferior. Ashley kept yelling out that girls were doing something wrong, but no one seemed to be able to correct it. Once again, most of the girls were struggling to get through these combos. The only thing I ended up being able to do were the jumps we did from first, second, and then changements. I was so disappointed. I felt like I paid to just stand around.

Up next was the pointe variation. I was extremely nervous, especially after how the first part of class went. But, I put on my shoes and started to warm up. I wasn’t really familiar with this particular variation, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was fast- imagine that! It was so fast, I thought I was going to fall. Ashley broke it up into different pieces and we ran through it a few times. By the time my group was up- I was in the first group- I still did not have it. I kept working on it though as the other groups went. By the end of the fifth group, I had finally gotten that little piece of choreography down. It wasn’t pretty like some of the other girls. My arms were all over the place, but I had gotten the footwork down for the most part. I was so happy! Finally, I had done something. LB was struggling with choreography- heck everyone was- and she ended up just wanting to be done with class. She was just as frustrated as I was with this class experience. I knew from watching the other girls continuing on in the variation, that I would not have been able to keep up. Out of all the variations out there, I just have to wonder why did she pick such a fast paced one?

We briefly got to talk with Jessica before we left, and expressed some of our concerns with her. She could tell that we were frustrated. She felt bad that we did not have a good experience. Even she thought Ashley was moving a little quickly with the teaching. I’m really sad that this class didn’t go better for me. To be honest, I left with not a good image of Ashley in my mind. Don’t get me wrong- she is a phenomenal dancer. I love watching videos of her dancing. Her teaching though? I have to say that she wasn’t a very good teacher, in my opinion. I loved the way Allison DeBona and Daniel Ulbricht taught when they were here. I took something away from each of those classes. I took nothing away from this one. I felt like all she did was call out combos and then would yell out that girls were doing it incorrectly. I could be wrong, but I got the vibe that she was just getting irritated with them. She didn’t seem very nice. And I don’t like saying that about people. I really wanted to like her and this class, but I just didn’t. 

I’m not so sure about taking any more master classes in the future. I know Allison DeBona is coming back in February or March I think? I would take from her again, because I liked her style. But for any new ones, probably not. I know as an adult beginner I will never dance or look like these younger girls. That’s ok with me. I just don’t think I’m at the ability level for these classes. And that’s just ok. I know I have come a long way, and I may not be dancing with “perfect” technique, but I’m still dancing- and that’s what makes me happy. I feel so bad that this review wasn’t a good one. I’m sure there were girls there that would say the complete opposite of me. Every one has their own opinions. Some of the really good dancers got a lot of advice from Ashley when they were dancing. So, good for them. I wish there had been less girls in the class. I understand there will be a lot, but this just seemed like way too many. Hopefully when Allison comes back next year her class won’t be overfilled too.

Here’s to another week of dancing! 🙂


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Back in the Saddle Again!

I love me some Aerosmith….anyways…..

Well hello there! I feel like I haven’t written a post in a long time. Yikes! I have been crazy busy lately and I’m sorry for the silence over here! My husband and I were out of town the past 2 weekends and this upcoming weekend is filled to the brim as well!

The first session of the new dance year has begun. Last Thursday was our first class back since summer session. After having 3 weeks off I thought I would be super shaky and a little sluggish, but it was the opposite! I got right back into the groove of things. Most importantly? My pirouettes. I don’t know what happened since our recital in June, but ever since then my pirouettes are off the hook! Hah! I struggled landing my double pirouette in our recital dance for months leading up to it. And now? I’m easily landing my doubles (on my right) and am actually getting my triples. I’m not landing the triples as smooth as I should, but hey. I’m getting around. I am so proud of myself! And my dreaded pirouettes on my left side are actually becoming a little easier too. I used to have to struggle for a single, and now I’m almost consistently landing doubles. I can’t help but think what a long way I have come in the last year. One of the girls in my class said the same thing last week to me. She told me “remember how a year ago you were afraid to come off the barre? Now look at you!” And she is right. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily struggles, but don’t forget how much you have accomplished. Hearing her say that to me totally made my night. Even my chaîne turns on the right have significantly improved. I’m turning faster and I’m keeping better control over my feet and body. I love being able to actually feel how much I’ve improved. Makes me so happy.

As for my pointe shoe situation… I’ve gone back to wearing my Gaynors. The ones I bought before our recital. They are the hard shank. I emailed Gaynor Minden and asked about being able to special order shoes and she gave me the go ahead. But, I’ve decided to hold off. Being $130, I just have a hard time spending that money when I have shoes that I can use, just are a little annoying. So that’s what I’ve done. I’m just going to keep wearing these shoes and stuffing a bunch of lambs wool in them. It gets the job done! I do have to say that my left foot is already really breaking in the shoe. My teacher thought the shoe was broken already. Yikes. Silly left foot. I’m not having any pain though, so I’m going to keep wearing them. They actually feel very comfortable. I’m sorry Gaynor for every cheating on you with Grishko. It was a silly thing to do. Just a moment of weakness. I’m glad we’re back together 🙂

Tomorrow is my first day of teaching! My teacher will be there with me, so I’m nervous, but not super nervous. I’m so excited!! I also have a 5k race this Sunday. Even husband is doing it with me! Who wouldn’t want to run and then get a beer and cupcake at the finish line?! I also have to find time to get my long run in this weekend. The scary 8 miles. It will be my first time going this far. Eeeeeekkkk. I’ve also talked to my teacher about possible cutting back just a little with ballet. At least until my half marathon is over. My little calves just can’t take it! We’ll see though. I love ballet too much to miss it. But I’ve got to listen to my body. So we shall see!

I’ve loved keeping up with everyones blogs. So fun to see everyone getting back into the swing of ballet season! Keep up the good work everyone 🙂


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Broken….

Well. My love affair with my Grishkos is officially over. They are already broken. After my second class wearing them, I was massaging the box area of my one shoe in my hands after class. I put slight pressure on my box and I heard a craaaaaaaack. And then I felt a softened area all the way down the middle of my sole leading into the box. My shank had cracked vertically. Like, I can’t even make this up. How the heck does this happen?!? My teacher said the shoe was still usable, but to switch it to my weaker foot. And that went ok. Then I said that I wasn’t liking how stiff the demi pointe area was and even after 3 weeks of working them, they were just too stiff for my liking. It’s such a change going from Gaynor’s to traditional shoes again. I’m just not liking it. Maybe it’s the shoes. Maybe it’s my feet. But I just don’t know what to do. Anyways….my teacher said back when she danced they would wet their shoes to help mold them to their feet better and soften any tight areas around their feet. So I thought this is exactly what I need! So we wet them and I walked around in them, stood in demi pointe and did plié relevés. I took them home and let them dry out. Except, I hung them from the elastics and I guess some water pooled in the platform area on my already broken shoe. This caused the platform to have a bulge area that did not allow me to stand up on my platform. Sigh. Like, seriously?? I think the pointe shoe gods are against me. Last night in class we tried to fix them. The broken shoe felt comfortable at first, but I noticed after we wet it again that the entire bottom sole of my shoe was super sticky. Like the glue from the shank sticky. My teacher was blown away. In all her years of dancing she has never seen a shoe do this. She had me do my barre exercises on a rug, only to find that this shoe was basically completely disintegrating. I couldn’t stand up on pointe anymore it was hurting my toe so bad. So, feeling defeated,I just decided to take them off for the rest of class. I couldn’t do any of the turns or center work anyways because of the glue on my shoes, so it was ok. Maybe my shoes were older and dried out? And that’s why the one cracked so easily? Who knows. It’s no big deal though. I will just get a new pair. I think I’m going to try to call Gaynor Minden and see if they can do a custom order for what I need. I need my size in a Box 3. I’m not sure if it can be done, but I will try!

Other than my constant pointe shoe problems, things have been good. My husband and I just celebrated our 3 year anniversary! We went out for dinner after work to our favorite Thai place. It was so good. So good. I like getting presents, so of course we got gifts for each other. I got 2 Sparkly Soul headbands (they are awesome, you should check them out. No really, check them out!), a book I wanted, a Disney necklace, and some I love running bumper stickers. But I don’t put bumper stickers on my car, they will be used for my running scrapbook thing I have. I got him a Star Trek shirt, Star Trek cups for his man cave, a Breaking Bad mug, Breaking Bad tshirt, and his own iPod shuffle. Now he doesn’t have to steal my pink one 🙂

I can’t believe summer is almost over. I feel like it just started. We had our last summer session dance class last night and we don’t start back up until September 5. While I’m going to miss class, I plan on using my free time to run, run, run. I have this half marathon race I signed up for in October to run. I’ve also been doing pretty good with the stretching at home. It’s almost a necessity for me since I’m running now.

I also have some exciting dance news! I will be teaching this fall! My teacher needed some one to teach her little kids (3-6 year olds) on Saturdays. I love kids and dance so I was like why not?! I will be teaching two separate classes, a one hour class for the 3-4 year olds and another one hour class for the 5-6 years olds. I’m so excited. I also will have a helper each time too. One of the older girls I already dance with and am familiar with, so that makes me not as nervous. My teacher said she would also stay in there with me until I was comfortable and got the hang of things. I can’t wait to let you all know how it goes! And if anyone out there has experience doing this, please, I welcome advice, ideas, or suggestions!

Hope everyone has been well. Sorry I’ve been so quiet. I’ve had a lot going on the last few weeks. We are currently in the process of remodeling our bathroom and my hours at my job have been adjusting to the new schedule. We’ve also been watching our friends dogs. So we have four furry doggies in our house! Yikes!! But it’s fun. Talk to you guys later 🙂


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I Think I’m in Love…Again.

Well guys. It’s happened….again. I think I’m in love with my new Grishko’s. One hour and I’m sold. Lol. I think this relationship is destined to be a rocky one though. As much as I’m loving how the shoes fit my feet, how they feel, how they support me, and how nice my feet look in them…rolling through demi pointe is nearly impossible. I learned this the hard way when trying to execute pirouettes in center on Monday. Even my teacher realized how difficult of a time I was having. I just kept trying though. That’s all I really can do. We work our feet pretty hard at the barre, so I know I’m going to break these in soon. After some research though, I’m learning that having a strong, more stiff demi pointe area on this shoe is what makes it such a good, reliable shoe. What this means for me?? A lot of foot strengthening is going to be happening! It feels so good to be working the shoe again. I love how my Gaynor’s felt too, just couldn’t get the fit right. Even with a hard shank I was wearing through them too quickly. And specially ordering them every time I need them is just too much.

So, needless to say, my first class with my new Grishkos was mostly a success. I’ve ordered some new toe pads that will hopefully help. I got the Pillows for Pointe Extra Long gellows. They have a longer padding area that covers the bunion and pinky toe area better. Yay!! I also ordered a new shirt. I couldn’t help it. Anddddd I also ordered this little stretching system thing to maybe help me stretch more?! We shall see.

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The I-Flex Jr.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! 🙂


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Cat got new shoes!!

Well I’m happy to say that curiosity didn’t kill the cat!! This cat ended up buying a new pair of pointe shoes!!! So maybe that does mean the curiosity killed me?!? Hah!! The awesome owner of the store was my fitter, and man does she do a great job!! We tried on several pairs of Blochs, none of which I was completely happy with. We then tried on Grishko 2007’s. I was a little uneasy at first, but I ended up liking them. She agreed with me that my Gaynors just weren’t cutting it. I needed more of a tapered box and because my feet are so big Gaynor doesn’t make a box 3 in my size. So I was very sad to hear this. She also cringed at the fact that I was wearing a supple shank. She said those did not offer me any where near the correct support that my feet require. She told me I have very strong feet and need something that is going to support my arch. I completely agreed and gave the Grishko shoes a chance. The Grishko ProFlex was not even an option for me because of how the shank is already broken in. It’s not strong enough for me. The 2007 was a good fit. The shank is a Medium. I’m a little concerned at how stiff the shoe feels, but was assured I will easily be able to break it in. It was so weird having a traditional pointe shoe back on. My feet were definitely sore from not having a “normal” shoe. While I will sadly miss how comfortable the Gaynors are, I’m excited to really work my feet again. I hope I don’t tear them up too much. I actually like my feet lol! I thought about trying to special order a pair of Gaynors, but the lady who fitted me said they typically cannot accommodate my type of order. They just don’t have the molds for it. So who knows. All I know is I’m excited, yet nervous to try my new shoes. I have class tomorrow, so I’m very anxious!! My teacher really liked the way they looked on my feet, and so did the girls from my studio who were with me. I’m also going to try using a toe spacer, as recommended by my fitter and another fellow ballet blogger. It’s so nice to have this community of support when you have questions and problems like this! It’s nice knowing you’re not alone in this battle! So thank you!!

In other quick news….

I’m back and running!! Yay!! I successfully ran 7.3 miles this week with no calf pain or problems! I had just a little residual tightness that my neighbor massaged out for me. I’m so excited. It feels so good to be running again. I’m loving my Brooks running shoes. They are a perfect fit for me. I’ve started my training for my first half marathon too. Taking it slow and easy!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I know I did 🙂
Here’s a picture of my new pointe shoes!

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Grishko 2007
Size 7 XXXXX
Medium Shank


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Curiosity Killed the Cat

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You know the saying….curiosity killed the cat. Well, tomorrow I will be said cat. Even though my Gaynor’s have been treating me pretty darn well, I can’t help but be curious. I have the desire to try on pointe shoes again. I know I’m probably crazy for doing this, but I just have to. Since I was fitted for my first pointe shoes, I’ve learned a lot about my feet. Who would have known there were so many details in your feet?!? My current pointe shoes, my Gaynor Mindens, aren’t really giving me too many issues. The only problem I’ve been having is pain on both my big toes again. This has caused me to start stuffing lambs wool in both shoes. It wasn’t bad at first, but now it’s driving me crazy. I’m having a harder time feeling the floor now. And it just starts to bunch up once my feet start sweating. Sigh. I don’t get blisters or any bruised toe nails, so I know I shouldn’t be complaining. But since getting to know how my little (or quite large) feet respond to being on pointe in different shoes, shanks, widths, etc. I’m curious to try on some traditional shoes. Luckily my teacher and a few girls from class are going tomorrow, so I will go with them! This will be the second time I’ve tried on pointe shoes with my teacher there with me. I’m excited! I’m excited to see the other girls try on shoes too. It will be fun. Who knows if I will find anything I like. Probably not, but who knows! 🙂