Countdown to Embassy: 18 Days – The Little Things

Excuse my language, but shit, is it really less than 3 weeks until I compete at Embassy Ball? It wasn’t even that long ago that I danced at Desert Classic.

It’s still weird to be doing a third competition this year and even weirder that each one has been only 2 or 3 months apart. Weird in a good way though.

It’s got me thinking about what’s changed or what I’ve done differently this year for these three competitions to be possible. I’m one of those people who get stuck on the idea that I just need that one big key thing to happen and then everything will work out. But really, it ends up being a bunch of smaller things that add up.

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A Review of Desert Classic 2017 – A Matter of Perspective

Another week, another competition. Ha, I wish! Nonetheless, I’ve officially completed my second competition of 2017. Thank goodness my passion is an indoor sport. It’s 118°F here today! I prefer hot to cold, but this heat is a little much. I’m still at the hotel and I did go to the outdoor lap pool this morning around 9am to swim a few laps. It was only 96 at that point.

If you follow me on social media, you already have an idea of how my dancing went yesterday. If not, feel free to pop over to one of my accounts and check it out (links in the side bar). I’ll wait.

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Countdown to Beach Bash: 12 Days – Girly Beast Mode

The countdown to Beach Bash continues! I joked with Teacher at my lesson on Friday that I must not be pushing myself hard enough because I haven’t had an anxiety attack yet. I did have a panic attack in a dream, but I don’t think that counts.

The lesson itself was challenging but in a good way. Teacher wanted to work on arm styling for the shadow portion of our foxtrot routine. Ugh! Nothing like focusing on one of my least favorite aspects in my least favorite, i.e., most challenging, smooth dance. Luckily, I was in beast mode.

I had a few (ok, more than a few) moments during my lesson when I wavered and felt the urge to throw my hands up and shout “I can’t do it!” I kept going though. Teacher and I would dance, and I would say “Again!” and march back to where we started before he had a chance to speak. At one point, after I had some difficulty going through the routine to music, Teacher suggested we do it again without music, so we could take it slower. I refused; less than two weeks before the comp was no time to slow down or take it easy!

So how did I go from a Nervous Nelly to a Ballroom Beast?

The main thing I did was eliminate distracting stressors. Over the past week, I slowly realized I was putting time and effort into things that were only causing me stress. Or I was letting myself stress over things I couldn’t control. So I set some things aside, let other things go, and focused on what was important to me: preparing for my comeback!

I read an article about why successful people seem to be able to accomplish so much more than not-so-successful people. We all have the same 24 hours each day, and yet some people seem to be able to “do it all” while others…don’t.

For me, it boils down to priorities and time management. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. Juggling work, a home, and kids with after-school activities that are more likely than not scheduled at the most inconvenient times isn’t easy. Yet, you make it work.

I want to point out too that you don’t have to be financially successful in order to be able to do more. The article referenced Beyoncé and someone commented “yeah, I could do more if I had a personal cook and a maid too.”

I work two jobs, blog, dance, take care of two fur babies, and at some point soon, I will finally decide which idea will become the next Dance Diaries book and write it. I’m definitely not wealthy like Ms. Bey, and being single, I also do all of this on my own while keeping my home more or less clean, my bills paid and my car running. So am I a successful person?

There is still too much struggle for me to feel wholly successful yet, but focusing my energy on what’s important to me and managing my time accordingly will help me get there. Recognizing those time sucks and brick walls I keep banging my head against help me too. That’s what I did this past week, and it worked. The dances are coming together. I still think I have a lot of work to do, but I’m feeling focused. Beast mode, grrr!

On the non-dance side of preparing for my comp, I’m feeling like Pinocchio’s long-lost sister who’s starting to become a “real girl!” In my efforts to come up with a hairstyle I could do myself for Beach Bash, I bought my very first curling iron. Yes, I’m in my 30s and have never owned, or used, this styling tool. I have also purchased eyelash glue, bronzer and something called a kabuki brush. I have more beauty products and styling tools in my bathroom right now than I’ve ever had in my entire life. It’s weird. I had an appointment with my hairdresser today to get a trim, but mainly to get educated on how to properly use a hair dryer so my hair doesn’t frizz out before I try to curl it into a wavy wonder. The good news is I have a doable idea for my hair! I need to practice it a couple more times, but I think I can pull it off. No wait, beast mode…I know I can pull it off!

Star Dance Tour – Ohio Star Ball!

Update: Teacher and partner made it into the semifinal round of the Open Pro Smooth event. They WON the audience wildcard vote, so they were still able to perform their show dance! Unfortunately, they just missed winning the final audience vote. Let’s rally and kick it up a notch for the grand finale of the Star Dance Tour at City Lights Open in January 2017!

Hello my lovely readers!

Before I start seriously packing for my cross-country road trip, I wanted to let you know that Teacher and his pro partner will be competing at Ohio Star Ball this Saturday, November 19, and we can watch it livestreamed!

For those who aren’t aware, Ohio Star Ball is a HUGE ballroom competition. For pro-am students, it hosts the final event for the Best of the Best Dancesport Challenge. For Teacher, it is the latest stop on the Star Dance Tour.

I’ll be on the road on Saturday, but should make it to my first hotel in time to watch Teacher dance. If not, you can bet I’ll be sitting at a rest stop livestreaming on my phone! As usual, you can watch the livestream here. Teacher has told me their first round is around 8:30pm EST, but if you want to catch other events happening on the same night, the session starts at 7pm EST according to Ohio Star Ball’s website. If I learn of any schedule changes, I will update this post.

Don’t forget to stick around to vote!  You’ll be able to vote on the livestream website (just refresh the page if the poll doesn’t appear when the MC at the competition announces that it’s time). As usual, there will be a “wildcard” vote and then a final vote. The wildcard vote is for dancing couples in the semifinal round who do not make it to the final round. Whoever gets the most wildcard votes will still get to perform their show dance.

Once the show dances are over, there will be another chance to vote. Just like on Dancing with the Stars, winning the audience vote helps the couples advance in the tour. Teacher and his partner have won the popular vote at EVERY competition they’ve danced at for the Star Dance Tour. That should tell you something about their show dancing abilities (and how awesome their fans are). I happen to know, and I’ll share with you, that they are planning on performing a new show dance at Ohio. So if you’re thinking you’ve already seen their dance and don’t need to watch it again, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Please join me to watch the livestream on Saturday night. Watch for Kris Suakjian and Briana Haft on the polls when they open, and vote, vote, vote! Also, as usual, I’ll be hanging out on Facebook, so please stop by and say hi!

Ok, time to pack! Happy dancing everyone!

Star Dance Tour – Autumn Dance Classic: Time to Vote Again!

Update: Due to unfortunate circumstances, Teacher and his pro partner won’t be dancing at the Autumn Dance Classic. 😦  

You can still watch the livestream of course and see some great dancing. We’ll get ’em next time!  

Hi everyone!

It’s that time again! Teacher and his pro partner are competing in another leg of the Star Dance Tour tomorrow, Friday, October 14. We once again get the privilege of getting to watch some amazing ballroom dancing FOR FREE while helping out a great couple at the same time.

They are competing at the Autumn Dance Classic in San Francisco. As usual, the Star Dance Tour’s website will be live streaming the competition.


Here is the web page:

The final round of the Pro Open Smooth event starts about 10:20 pm PST. The show dances will happen right after the final round. After all of the show dances are done, the polls open for only 5 minutes (around 10:50 pm)!

I know it’s a little late (way past my bedtime!), but the show dances have been really incredible. They are worth staying up for! Watching on your computer or tablet or phone, all you have to do is refresh the page when the MC announces that it’s time to vote. A list of the couples’ names will appear below the streaming video and all you have to do is click their names: Kris Suakjian and Briana Haft.

You can also look for their number: 114. If you have multiple devices, vote on all of them!

Note that there may also be a “wildcard” vote after the semifinal round of Pro Open Smooth. This is to give a couple who didn’t make the final still have the chance to perform their show dance. You can vote for someone here too, but be sure you hang around until after the show dances to vote for Kris and Briana!

Another way you can vote is via text! Text “dancebeat” to 22333. You’ll get a response back acknowledging that you’ve joined the session. Then when it’s time to vote, just text “114” to the same number. You will get a response back, something like “You chose 114 Kris and Briana.” And that’s it!

As people vote, you’ll be able to refresh the live streaming page for updates on who’s winning the audience poll.  So far, Kris and Briana have either tied or won the audience vote at every competition on this tour!

Let’s keep this streak going!

I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter posting updates and when it’s time to vote, so please say hi if you’re online!

Please watch tomorrow, Friday, October 14, and VOTE for Kris Suakjian and Briana Haft!

Many thanks, and happy dancing!