Category Archives: Beauty

Today: The post before the post. #BostonStrong

Remember when DJ Pauly D had tee shirt time?  And sometimes he needed to wear a shirt before the shirt?  Consider this the post before the (rest of the other) posts.  A small, but heartfelt preface,  if you will, as we try to get back into our routines.

On Monday, my sister was at work (being a cute, little lawyer) in a building on Boylston.  Just after the bombs exploded near the finish line, she and her co-workers were told to evacuate, only to be rushed back inside.  When she was finally able to leave, she called to tell me she was heading our way, fairly certain that she wouldn’t be able to get to her Back Bay apartment.  Selfishly, I was was happy we’d be in one place.  But shortly after she hung up, there were television reports of police responding to area hospitals in force and that “something” was happening.

I furiously scrolled through my Twitter feed, searching for any reliable information.  And I felt anger rise as people tweeted things like “Want to know the best fitness moves for a perky bum?” (yes, I do… but not now).  I love social media when it gives me what I need, and I hate social media when it gets in the way.  I love the connectivity, but it sometimes hampers my own ability to process and breathe.  What I wanted was for someone to say, “It’s okay.  Your sister is okay.  She is just a few blocks away.  And she’s fine.  Any everyone you know and love is fine.  And people you don’t know are fine, too.  And you can stop crushing your husband’s hand with your piddly, little grip.”

But that’s not how the Universe operates (and I am fairly certain that was more than 140 characters).

We have to wait for some answers.  And the answers we get are not always the answers we want.  

Boston Strong

{taken from our roof last summer}

I hesitated to smile yesterday when I walked past a group of kids playing at a playground in the South End.  I couldn’t help but feel that being a little bit happy, even in a fleeting way, would somehow betray the real sadness we’re all experiencing.  But that’s the thing: nothing is guaranteed.  We’d be fools not to take happiness when it’s handed to us.

And being angry at strangers (especially when they hold the keys to the perfect backside) accomplishes very little, if anything.  It’s okay for people to continue on living.  In fact, it’s healthy and rather important.  I need to remember that people cope and grieve in different ways.  And I need to know what works (and what does not work) for me, so that I can take care of myself.  This can only make me more helpful to others.  Please figure out what works for you.  And ask for help if you need it.  Now, and in the future (because this is going to take time).  If you need assistance and are not sure where to turn, consider calling your primary care physician, your health insurance company, or the Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS).  We’re not Boston Strong because we go it alone.  We’re Boston Strong because we lean on one another.

I am still reeling.  I am still scared.  I am still worried.  I am still heartbroken.  And I am still sad.

But I’ve been up to other things too.  Things that are good and life-giving.  And things that are mundane and boring, but that need to be done.  Like, say… taking out the recycling and sweating in the meat section of the grocery store, trying to determine which steak goes in stir fry (I am going to make a reality show called “Vegetarians shop for carnivores.”  It will basically be 30 minutes of second guessing, followed by a mild panic attack.).  And so when I go on to talk about art museums and endive salads later this week, it’s not because I’ve forgotten.  It’s because we’re going to keep on living.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you doing?  Who are you leaning on?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram IX.

Hello, Monday Tuesday.  It’s going to be one of those weeks, isn’t it?

The weekend according to Instagram IX

  1. Nick and I kicked the weekend off in lovely fashion on Friday night, thanks to the Boston Ballet.  The Ballet generously offered me a pair of tickets to the opening night of Sleeping Beauty.  And beautiful it was.  I highly recommend making it to this show (and grabbing a glass of Champagne on the way in).  The dancers are incredible, the costumes are fabulous, and the music is divine.
  2. My sister and I headed to the Cape on Saturday morning with our parents.  Andrea’s wedding is just two months away (beyond excited), and I got to tag along for her hair trial and a meeting with her florist.  We also swung by a couple of our favorite beaches.  It’s incredible how this winter’s storms have entirely shifted the shoreline in some places.
  3. I love Sunday mornings at CrossFit Southie.  The classes are always small, and I get to spend the rest of the day limping around.  Just kidding… kind of.
  4. For the strength portion of our workout, we were working up to our max reps of bench presses at either 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of our body weight, or at our body weight for prescribed.  I got 2 reps just under 1/2 my body weight, and 20 reps at 1/4.  (Sometimes I think I should carry a calculator around the gym.)  I was working with two women who are stronger than me, which I always find intimidating, but they encouraged me to keep adding weight and pushing it just a bit more.
  5. New favorite app:  Percolator.  It’s much more entertaining in color.
  6. While I pretended to get stuff done around the condo (but mostly just followed Clark around and Percolated him), Nick got the grocery shopping done at Whole Foods River Street.  What a man.
  7. We didn’t have a hospital visit scheduled this week, so Clark took his magical therapy powers (and matching vest) to the college kids.  We spent two hours in a senior dorm at Bentley, just doin’ what we do (i.e. I hold the leash, Clark snuggles with strangers).
  8. It wouldn’t be a weekend without a Polar FT4 shot.
  9. And it wouldn’t be spring in Boston without… Christmas lights?  If I had my way, the Commonwealth Mall would look like this year round.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite photo app?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram IV.

Happy Presidents’ Day, my fellow commoners.  I am currently enjoying both a long weekend and a short glass of chocolate almond milk.  Wondering what else I’ve been up to?

The weekend according to Instagram IV

The weekend according to Instagram IV

  1. This is a picture of a picture (weird, I know) from 1982.  My older brother’s 2nd birthday happened to fall on Easter, and the world’s cutest grandpa made him a snow bunny in the backyard to celebrate.  [Meanwhile, I was five weeks old and likely crying.] Both sets of our grandparents always made the holidays so special for us.  I miss them and love seeing photos like this when I go home.
  2. While Nick was at CrossFit this weekend (no big deal, but I had to have teeny tiny surgery and am not allowed to hit up CrossFit Southie until the stitches come out… hence no WOD instagrams this weekend), I reorganized our baking/supplements cabinet.  And broke out the neon washi.  Naturally.  Normally I’d refrigerate nuts (keeps ’em fresh… and, um… fresh nuts are a good thing…), but these ones are being used early in the week.
  3. If you live in Southie, or read The New York Times from cover to cover on December 29, 2010, you know these are no ordinary jugs.  These are space savers.  When Nick, Tina, Mal and I headed out for dinner on Saturday night, I found a primo parking spot, previously cleared of snow and “saved” with two water jugs connected by blue ribbon (well done, I must say).  I know better than to move someone’s savers (let’s be serious), but someone before me tossed them to the sidewalk.  I parked at my own peril, but not before asking if I should a. try to be sneaky and move the jugs to another spot or b. write a note explaining that I did not move the jugs.  Nick’s advice?  “Don’t touch the jugs.”
  4. We hit up the Lincoln Tavern for an early dinner and lots of laughs (mostly about jugs).  The food is great, and the space itself is pretty incredible.  Especially when you consider that it used to be a Payless.  I love that they exposed the original tin ceiling and brick walls.  I ordered the chopped salad (no bacon, no eggs, no croutons… just the lettuce, bleu cheese and high maintenance) and a side of mashed potatoes.  Oh, and a glass of Prosecco.
  5. Saucony sent me a pair of their new Virrata running shoes.  They are beyond.  I can’t wait to give you the full scoop.
  6. You know that I am weather obsessed.  This time of year, I delight in finding the first sign of spring.  Just before the weekend’s snow storm, Clark and I happened upon a soon-to-be crocus, peeking out from the ground.   It’s the little things.
  7. You also know that I am Frenchie obsessed.  On a recent trip to Target, I cut through the children’s bedding aisle (at least I think that’s what that was) on my way to the Diet Coke aisle and happened upon this ceramic Frenchie bank.  We’ve been sticking our loose change in various jars and vases, but feeding a little bulldog quarters seems so much more satisfying.  And cute.
  8. I met Michelle for afternoon tea on Sunday at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  We shared a table by the water, a tower of treats, and two hours of non-stop chatter.  I chose a pot of peppermint tea and devoured a (non-gluten free… can’t win ’em all) lemon poppyseed scone and a few bites of flourless chocolate cake.  It was such a lovely way to spend a snowy afternoon.
  9. Thankful to have today off, Clark and spent the morning at the hospital, making therapy dog visits with our favorite kids.  I can think of few better ways to start the week.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: The weekend, according to Instagram III.

Another weekend, another two days spent (mostly) unplugged.  Did you do your Sunday things done on Saturday, allowing plenty of time to see Beyonce and a stadium without power?  I hope so.

The weekend, according to Instagram III

weekend according to instagram III

  1. I found this lovely Jessica Swift print on Etsy last week and was thrilled when it arrived.  We spent some time framing our wedding photos, and this little number fit in perfectly.  It conveys exactly what I want my husband and anyone else who enters our condo to feel.  Well… maybe everyone except that electrician who called our concierge the b word.  The only sentiment I conveyed to him was Yah fired!
  2. Despite wanting to sleep in and eat bon bons (whatever those are, though I imagine they are not gluten-free) all morning, I joined Nick for an early workout at CrossFit Southie.  I tell you this all the time, but I love wearing my heart rate monitor.  It feels sort of like a video game.  Today was not a high score.  Whatever.
  3. I thought that bumper plate was cute.  I love our neighborhood.
  4. Nick recently subscribed to Paleo Plan, which made mapping out this week’s dinners tremendously easy.  I looked through his menu for the week and came up with vegetarian-friendly meals that use many of the same ingredients.  I felt super organized and efficient.  Until we got to the market and I realized the plan’s list isn’t in alphabetical order (that’s how my brain works, most of the time).  And that I don’t know the difference between one mushroom and the next.  It took over two hours to find everything on the list, and my pinky toe got run over by a shopping cart.   Welp.  Can’t win ’em all.

  1. One of my goals for the year was to complete a full month of fatmumslim’s photo a day challenge.  I missed the second half of January… and February 1st.  Whoops.  There’s always March. February 3rd’s challenge was “something that starts with ‘e'”, so I snapped a shot of my Twitter (and Instagram, and now Vine… even though I mostly have no idea what I am doing on there) name necklace.  Nick gave this to me for Christmas; you can make your own at Survival of the Hippest.
  2. For someone who claims to be like, so busy, I certainly make plenty of time for unnecessary projects.  Like this one.  I organized my nail polish by most loved and used colors, and then displayed them in a covered pastry stand in our bathroom.  Three cheers for multipurpose wedding registry items.  And random pops of girliness color.
  3. I hit up CrossFit Southie again Sunday morning for Annie (a bench mark workout).  I got a (huge) PR on the push jerk, mostly because up until recently I’ve been afraid to lift heavy things over my precious brain.  Not anymore, people.  Bring on the heavy things.
  4. Super Bowls… of food.  We watched the game with my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law (that’s a lot of hyphens), but I chatted more than I actually paid attention.  And when the lights went out in the Superdome, I took that as a cue to go to bed early.

  1. Homemade salad dressing  > store bought dressing.  Fact, not opinion.
  2. It wouldn’t be my weekend (or life) without a picture of this snuggly little muffin.  That’s Clark’s casual Sunday morning pose.  He is in full on hibernation mode lately.  I don’t blame him.
  3. Here’s a bit more HRM love, this time from Sunday’s WOD.
  4. I cooked up a week’s worth of lentils, ready to be mixed with various vegetables, spices, and herbs and packed up for lunches at the office.  They’re not much to look at, but they’re might tasty.  And filling.  And they play well with others.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: The weekend, according to Instagram.

With work being crazy (in a good way), I’ve been making a conscious effort to unplug a bit more during the weekend.  I can’t seem to put my Instagram machine iPhone down, though.  Technically it’s only plugged in when it’s charging, so… I guess that still sort of counts as being unplugged.  Maybe.

The weekend, according to Instagram.

The weekend according to Instagram 1

  1. The Os Gemeos mural in Dewey Square, taken from a stoplight (safety first).
  2. View of Logan from the Seaport – I love living so close to the water.
  3. Spotted this so jelly mug (the reverse side features a pair of jelly fish) at Target while running errands.  And then I had Destiny’s Child stuck in my head for the rest of the day.  I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
  4. I whipped up a quick and (extremely) easy lemon artichoke pesto on Friday night.  I love throwing together ingredients with neither measuring, counting, nor caring.  Pestos are perfect for that.  I used two small jars of artichoke hearts (drained), added a generous helping of walnuts (~2 cups), a bunch of fresh parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, juice from one lemon, a pinch of nutritional yeast, and little salt and pepper.  You could probably chop up the ingredients and mash together in a bowl, but I went straight for the food processor.  Nice and smooth.
  5. Clark and I enjoyed the spring-like weather this weekend with a few extra-long walks.  I thought this tree was cute.
  6. I slept in on Saturday and missed the early class at CrossFit Southie, so I threw together a little at home WOD, after checking out a few of the workouts on The Traveling WOD.  That site is a great resource for workouts on the go, or at home – with very little, if any equipment required.  After six rounds of my made up workout, I got to work on pull-ups.  Practice makes progress.
  7. After taking some time a few weeks ago to organize my random collection of ribbons, mint and coral colored pens, and washi tape, I’ve been obsessed with little projects like this one: sprucing up my iPhone and iPad chargers with different tapes.  Here are a few more clever uses for washi.
  8. There was a time when I never, ever napped.  That time can be defined as my entire childhood.  Nowadays, if football is on and Clark’s feeling snuggly… the two of us are out like a light.
  9. I am finding my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor from h.h. gregg to be not only informative, but super motivating.  I’ve been wearing it to CrossFit and am amazed at how much harder I push myself at the box, than I do when I workout on my own.

But wait… there’s more.

The weekend according to Instagram 2

  1. Speaking of CrossFit, I left the box on Sunday feeling like a Mighty Endorphin Power Ranger after our rowing/DU WOD.  It didn’t hurt that “Beat it” (rock in peace, MJ) was playing on the radio on the way home.  While I’ve been able to do one or two double-unders here and there over the past few months, I’ve never been able to string them together before.  Usually I would feel or hear the rope pass under my feet for the second time, freak out, and then immediately whip myself in the shins.  I’ve been practicing, checking out YouTube videos, and watching other athletes and somehow… it just clicked during the warm-up.  One double-under turned into two… and then three… and during the workout, twenty!  I must have looked like a total goofball, but I could not stop smiling and Irish-whispering “I am doing it!”  When I went up to the board after class to give our coach my time, I started to say level one (which was scaled to 10 DU attempts), our coach replied… “What you did was not level one.”  Perma-smile.
  2. After class (and various leaps and spin moves about the condo while I described my jump rope glory and push jerk PR to Nick), we headed to Whole Foods River Street to stock up for the week.  Pomegranates: check.
  3. As soon as we got home, I traded my skinny jeans (no one should wear real pants on the weekend) for short shorts and ProCompression socks.  Much better.
  4. Yet another water view from the Seaport.  You will not be shocked to learn I am a Pisces.
  5. This was the mess I made while multi-tasking.  I perused Runners World for a spring half marathon to run, while painting my nails, while watching the Pats (I stayed mostly awake for that game).  I like to pick nail colors based on their names (seen above: essie eternal optimist, beyond cozy and miss fancy pants).  I’ve been reading Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure and was reminded about the good having fresh flowers around can do.  Tulips are a favorite of mine.
  6. As of Sunday evening, I have successfully completed 13 out of 13 #fmsphotoaday challenges.  Yesterday’s theme was circle.  This was kind of a stretch, but the BC seal is a circle.  I recently joined a mentoring program at my alma mater and will be paired with an undergraduate student next month.  I think it will be a good way to reconnect with the Heights, especially with my 10 year reunion not so far off.  Yikes.
  7. An impulse purchase from the Whole Body department while grocery shopping: Biggs and Featherbelle Beauty Soak.  I love bath time.
  8. A nerd’s dream: French grammar review books.
  9. Clark and I headed out for another long walk (clearly, I put my pants back on).  It’s January in Boston, yet it was too warm for a jacket and real shoes, so I dug out my Toms.  Al Gore was right, people.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you unplug on the weekends?

Today: Time for a reboot.

Every now and then, it’s time for a reboot.  Having spent so much time away (when I got back to my office earlier this week, my desk calendar still said October…), and even more time focused on wedding planning, I am overdue for such a reboot in essentially all areas of my life.  Including my eyebrows.  Please remind me to schedule a wax.

Holiday hulk juice


I’ve been feeling really good since working out a plan with my RD.  The plan mostly went out the window while we were on our honeymoon, however.  Eating out three meals a day will do that to a girl.  I kept up with all of my vitamins and supplements, except for the probiotics (which need to be kept refrigerated, something I couldn’t count on during two full days of travel) and l-glutamine (I am okay with not carrying a tub of fine white powder on an aircraft).  With limited vegetarian options, and very few vegetarian and gluten free options, I did my best to get creative.  When it comes to digestive issues, simplicity is often a far better route than creativity.  Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), I felt like crap (…) after nearly every meal.  Very romantic, I assure you.

Homemade vegetarian lentil soup

Now that we’re home and settling back into our routines, I am so happy to be back in control of my meals.  I found preparing my food at home made a significant difference while undergoing all sorts of body experiments with my RD and doctors this summer.  Inevitably there will be holiday parties and dinner dates on the calendar, but that’s what pockets on dresses were made for, right?  Gluten free snacks?  Baby carrots?  A handful of beans?

In addition to spending a bit more time in the kitchen on meal prep and planning, I’m also making time for tracking.  I am a big fan of the Lose It! app and website for two reasons:

  1. You can set iPhone reminders when you’ve forgotten to log a meal.  This is especially helpful for people like me, who can’t remember where their car is parked.  Six minutes after they’ve parked it.
  2. You can generate weekly reports, which can be emailed to you or someone else at a set time.  This makes sharing a weekly food log with my RD and doctor effortless.
I am getting back to basics for a few weeks and revisiting all of my doctor and RD’s recommendations, including their guidelines for consuming enough protein and scheduling weekly B12 injections.  Oh, and… saying goodbye (again), to Diet Coke.  It is so hard to quit you.  Thank goodness for tea.


I hit the resort fitness center twice while on our honeymoon, swam a lot, ran a little, lifted even less, and relished in the time I had to rest and relax.  Two weeks away from Crossfit Southie was plenty, though.  I’ve been there three times in the last five days and lady, I am feeling it. (You can find my WODs and various goofball photos on Instagram.)  Surprisingly, I am continuing to improve, even after being away.  I added a whole 5 lbs to my bench press PR this morning, and strung together more double-unders than ever.  With a bit more free space on my schedule (no more bridal hair trials!), I’m excited to add another day of Crossfit to my weekly schedule and look forward to seeing how that goes.

Amanda‘s Holiday Booty Buster Challenge has been a great motivator for staying on track amidst the busy-ness of the season.  This week I am focusing on morning workouts and making sure I get in at least 10,000 steps (which reminds me, I need to sync my fitbit) each day.  I like having a community to keep me accountable.


Likely a result of daylight savings time, I seem to be going to bed earlier and earlier.  This means I am able to wake up earlier and earlier.  I like that.  I am making the most of this quiet time by squeezing in some reading, whipping up our daily green juice, praying, and playing games like “No, yoooou’re the cutest Christmas elf!” with my dog.

Winter is my absolute favorite season (besides those summer days when I am outside and swimming).  I find it so easy to count my blessings and find shiny things to look at this time of year.  I am balancing time socializing (both intentionally and with strangers, who always seem to want to chat with me, in line at Target) with quiet, solo time.

Being away was just perfect.  Nick and I had little to worry and stress about, and so much to celebrate and enjoy.  While there will always be worries and stressors at home, there is also so much to be celebrating and enjoying.  Sometimes it takes a little reboot to find the balance between the two.  A reboot and a highly detailed planner with color coding and Post-its.

Also On Tap for Today:

What do you love most about this time of year?

Today: Reflexology (for the ticklish) at Mohegan Sun’s Elemis Spa.

In the spirit of trying new things (or, re-visiting old things, as it were) at our lovely girls’ weekend at Mohegan Sun, I perused the Elemis Spa menu for something beyond the usual Swedish.  Intrigued, I landed on on a 50 minute reflexology treatment.

From the spa menu:
An ancient healing therapy that is as blissful as it is beneficial, reflexology works on the principle that all body organs are connected to reflex points in the feet via constantly flowing energy channels. Massaging these reflex points restores natural energy flow and improves overall health by sending waves of deep relaxation throughout your body.

Who wouldn’t like having waves of deep relaxation sent throughout the body?  Someone I don’t want to know, that’s who.  When I mentioned to Nick that this was the complimentary service I had chosen to review, he was skeptical.  “Isn’t that the one where they touch your feet?,” he asked.  I am ticklish to a fault (I don’t think I could ever become a spy; threaten to tickle me and I’d give up all of the Free World’s secrets.  Including who designed Sasha and Melia’s play clothes.), and don’t especially like having my feet touched.  Massages I can handle – the more pressure the better – plus, I find masseuses get so wrapped up in my knotty shoulders that my feet rarely get more than the compulsory pat.

My curiosity trumps most things, though, including personal space issues.  When Geneva met me in the waiting area, I was eager to receive those wave of deep relaxation.  Even if they had to enter my body through my big toe.

I think my feet look similar to these ones, but with a higher arch… and less writing.

[Image source]

Geneva led me down a hall to a warm, candle lit room where relaxing music was already playing.  I swear that’s all it takes for my brain to turn off and for nap time to set in.  I was determined to stay awake though, and figure out what the heck reflexology is all about.  She asked if I had received reflexology before (no), and why I had chosen this (the waves!).  I warned her of my ticklishness and she assured me it wasn’t a problem.  I decided not to tell her I don’t like people touching my feet, as it seemed we’d already crossed that bridge.  No turning back now.

After giving me a few minutes to disrobe and get comfortable on the massage table, Geneva returned and immediately got to work.  She applied firm but gentle pressure to my calves and ankles before getting down to business twisting, rubbing, poking and massaging my feet.  Thanks to a few minutes spent on wikipedia (I was afraid to check WebMD because I am sure it says something like, “WHAT?! You just got reflexology?! You are going to develop a horrid rash in three minutes!), I realize the research on reflexology’s effectiveness is iffy.  However, when I was able to let go of the fact that a veritable stranger spent what seemed like twenty minutes twisting each toe, I certainly felt my body relax, part by part.  I didn’t have a handy foot chart to observe at the time, but I was especially aware of my neck and shoulder muscles contracting and releasing.  Maybe it was the big toe, maybe it was the music.  Heck, it could have been the candles.  Regardless, the more I let go and trusted Geneva to not yell “Tickle monster!” and send me into a fit of giggles and tears, the more I was able to cool out.

Did I surf those much desired waves of deep relaxation?  Not fully.  I may have boogie boarded though.

When I returned to the waiting room, Anne, Julie, Theodora and Tina were still chatting away.  We stayed a bit longer, laughing and talking about dolphins, high school boyfriends, and everything in between.  While it was tempting to either stay wrapped up in our Elemis robes and pass the day away or crawl into bed and enjoy the afternoon sun flooding our rooms on the 23rd floor, even more tempting was the tasting dinner that Michelle at Mohegan Sun lined up for us at Todd English’s Tuscany.  I wonder… if I had bigger feat, could I eat more before feeling so full?

Also On Tap for Today:

Have you had reflexology before?  What’s your dream spa service?

Today: The honeymooners.

Nick and I are back from a blissful two weeks on Saint John.  We snorkeled in the caves that (allegedly) inspired Treasure Island, took day trips that required passports, watched deer graze from our back deck, explored sugar mill ruins, and swam alongside sea turtles.  The best part?  My husband isn’t sick of me yet.  Husband.  Muhahaha.

This is someone else’s husband (pardon my creepiness), but if I had to sum up the trip in one photo it would be this:

More to come on both the wedding and honeymoon as soon as I finish getting the sand out of my shoes.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you ease back into reality after time away?


Today: An interview with Emily Mistretta of the Boston Ballet.

I’ve always enjoyed the idea of ballet.  I live for essie ballet slippers polish, ballet trends in fashion, and the movie Center Stage.  I have an extensive collection of legwarmers (perfect for going to and from yoga).  The last time I actually wore ballet slippers, though, I looked something like this.

That’s somewhat of a lie, but I refuse to post my middle school aged ballet photo.  Needless to say, my appreciation has been from a far, and my behind the scenes knowledge of what it takes to be a ballerina is limited, at best– so when I had the chance to interview Emily Mistretta, a member of the Boston Ballet’s Corps de Ballet, I leaped (somewhat gracefully) at the opportunity.  I am so grateful to Emily for taking the time to share her experience and insight.

[Photo courtesy of Emily and The Boston Ballet]

What does a typical day in the life of a Boston Ballet ballerina look like?  Does this change as you approach performances? 
EM: A typical day during rehearsal schedule starts with a class at 9:45 followed by a six hour rehearsal day until 6:30. The schedule varies depending on how many rehearsals you have, but it usually tends to be a pretty full day of dancing.   Our rehearsals demand all different kinds of ballet movement.  It is not atypical to transition back and forth from classical to modern or jazzy ballet rehearsals through the course of the day. For example, my day could start off with something classical, like Nutcracker, followed right by the the jazzy Rolling Stones piece “Rooster”. Then right back to another traditional ballet such as Sleeping Beauty. All before lunch.  As we get closer to performances, we start to focus more on the particular upcoming piece.  We change to a theater schedule about a week or two before showtime, which starts later in the day and goes later into the night. This way we get our minds and bodies ready for the performance schedule.
Is your fitness routine focused primarily in the studio, or do you cross train?  If so, what are some of you favorite ways to work out?
EM: Because what we do is so physically demanding, the majority of my fitness gained while working in the studio.  However, you don’t always get the cardio you need from working in rehearsals, so I like to cross train as well.  It’s always good to do your own abdominal work and keep a strong core by doing Pilates or Gyrotonics, but I also like getting in the pool.  Swimming is great and I also like to hold on to the edge of the pool and do a series of my barre exercises in the water.  It is incredibly difficult with the resistance of the water, but you also feel so great and supported.  I love a good yoga class as well, though I like to use it more as release then as an intense workout.  
What are some of your favorite foods for fueling your routine? 
EM: I recently discovered the joy of juicing,  it’s fantastic!  In the morning I like to make juices with fresh fruit and vegetables, like apples, beets, kale, carrots and ginger.  It’s a great way to get  my body all the great vitamins and nutrients that it so often craves.  I usually compliment the juice with something more substantial, such as an egg and a piece of toast. This usually keeps me from wilting by the time our 2:30pm lunch break rolls around.  Smoothies are a great snack to have during the day, when I need a quick boost during our short breaks that won’t bog me down. I like all different kinds and I always add some protein powder to keep up my energy.  
Do you consider dancers to be athletes (for the record– I certainly do!)?  Why or why not?
EM: I absolutely consider ballet dancers to be athletes!  I think it should be considered an Olympic sport!  But one of the most beautiful things about ballet is that while it is physically demanding as a sport, it is even more challenging as an art.  On top of the athleticism you have to be creative, beautiful, and painlessly graceful. It is wonderfully hard!
What do you love most about what you do?  What brought you to the Ballet?  Have you always wanted to dance?
EM: What I love most about ballet is that as a dancer and an audience member you have the rare opportunity to witness life through artistic expression.  There are moments you have on stage where your body is filled with adrenaline, energy is shooting through every part of you.  You are not dwelling on the past and you haven’t taken the next step into the future, you and your body are only consumed in the present.  Time slows and you are nothing but living in the bliss of the moment, experiencing each second as it comes to you..  I think you can give that to the audience so that they are along with you experiencing the present themselves and both sides are communally witnessing and enjoying life together.  I’m not quite sure I knew what that feeling was when I was a kid, I just knew that I felt it.  I liked the feeling of dancing and moving around as fast as I possibly could, which is probably why I usually tend to enjoy things that are a quick tempo!  As a child I knew I wanted to do whatever that was that made me feel so alive and if that meant dancing then I was going to dance!
Do you have any thoughts about the recent fitness trends involving “ballet-inspired” workouts? 
EM: Ballet technique creates phenomenal muscle structure.  When I look around at all my coworkers, guys and girls alike, it is so obvious!  Everyone is so beautifully toned and shaped!  Ballet technique, if done correctly (a never ending quest), has this way of creating incredibly strong muscles in a very linear and non bulky way.  I’ve personally never tried ballet tone classes, but I certainly would recommend any class that incorporates ballet technique.
What is your best tip for staying healthy and balanced during performance season?
EM: My best tip for staying healthy during performance season would be to listen to your body.  Give it the nutrients and proteins it craves, and stay routinely active. This will prevent fatigue and decrease risk of injury.  A dancer is generally most fatigued after a performance, so rest is extremely important. Stay on track with your health maintenance, including massages and physical therapy. Listening to and understanding your body will allow you to safely push it’s limits and increase it’s dancing potential! 
I am so looking forward to seeing Emily and her fellow dancers perform at the Boston Ballet’s Fall Programnext week.  In the meantime, I may need to dust off those ballet shoes…Also On Tap for Today:

Did you dance as a child?  Best/worst costume?

Today: Old kids on the dock.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Some people know my friend Elizabeth (we Elizabeths like to stick together) as my drinking buddy.  She’s been present 2 out of the 3 times I’ve been over-served in the past decade.  As she wisely put it yesterday, her gremlin speaks to my gremlin.  We have a way of getting into trouble together.  Which is why I enjoy her company so.  She’s not just my drinking buddy, she’s my thinking buddy, too.   We met at a conference in January, as I sat awkwardly at a lunch table, waiting for the keynote speech to start.  She recommended the vegetarian soup, and then asked if I wanted to grab tea.  We went to a music therapy workshop and giggled while the instructor sang about joy being all around us.  I think that song helped us to skip over being strangers.  The introvert in me is ever grateful for her friendliness.  Elizabeth is kind, generous, and compassionate.  We can talk hippie talk and hockey talk.  What more could a girl ask for?

We’re both running from one thing to the next lately, so I am so glad we were able to sneak in a little chat on the dock at the Esplanade last night.  Just two grown-up kids, talking about retirement accounts and bridesmaids dresses, and soaking up the view.  Life is good.

Also On Tap for Today:


What’s your favorite hometown view?