Pretty in Pink

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Well, since my last post reflecting on the past year, a lot has certainly changed and 2017 has started off with a big bang. Little did I know that in just a few short days the love of my life would propose to me and I would be an engaged women! What I thought was just a casual Saturday afternoon lunch, turned into the best day of my life. When leaving the restaurant he started to drive towards Ault park, with me of course asking where we were going. We arrived to a spot under a tree, the spot where we had one of our first dates many years ago. The sun was beaming down on the sparkling snow, he gets down on one knee and proposes.

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Since the engagement the past two months have been a whirl wind of excitement. Venue has been booked, Pinterest boards been filled, meetings been met, and we couldn’t be more excited for our April 1st wedding!

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A couple Sundays ago my friends and family showered me with so much love at my Bridal shower. The afternoon was hosted by my Cincinnati Ballet sponsors, who have grown to be family to me over the past years. It was such a beautiful afternoon and everyone truly made me feel so special and loved. It is so wonderful how your girl friends can build you up and make you feel so supported. Thank you ladies, I love you all!

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Check out this incredible cake!

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2016

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Beginnings are so refreshing. As a child I always looked forward to the beginning of the school year and, as with any beginning, had a mental list of my goals and plans for the year. The beginning of the day is my favorite and most productive time of the day. I even secretly love Mondays since they are the beginning of a new week.

People love fresh starts. It is an opportunity to improve on what’s been done and a chance to put the past behind. It is a funny thing that we do, that comfort and security in “starting over”. The New Year is the ultimate beginning. A new year, a new you? Your best year yet? New goals and of course those new year’s resolutions.

I have a few notebooks that I use to write to-do lists, ideas, and blog entries. I was looking for the notebook that I’ve been using lately to write this very blog post, when I came across an older book. I opened it where it was bookmarked to read, New Year’s Resolutions 2016, I laughed out loud. There were three… I didn’t accomplish any of them. To save myself the disappointment, I’ll skip on the resolutions this year and instead think about this, every tomorrow is an outcome of today, and the beauty of it all is that today is happening all the time. We hear it time and time again, live in the now, make the best of today, be present in your life. It is a beautiful thing, but much easier said than done. So for 2017 let us strive to learn from the past, live in the present to ensure a future. If your day didn’t go as hoped, no worries, there is a new beginning tomorrow.

Happy New Year.

“The priceless lesson in the New Year is that endings birth beginnings and beginnings birth endings. And in this elegantly choreographed dance of life, neither find an end in the other.”            – Craig D. Lounsbrough

Here are some of my favorite pictures and moments of 2016.

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Performance photos by Jeff Corcoran

French Canadian Dressing

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This year my Thanksgiving will be spent on the road with Cincinnati Ballet in Washington DC where we will be performing the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. This is super exciting for us and I will be sure to share more from our tour! Even though I will be surrounded by close friends and will see family in DC, I’ll miss my family’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes come dinner time. Every family has their traditional recipes, some that have been passed down through generations. My family has switched it up and tried new dishes but one that has remained constant is our French Canadian dressing. It comes from my great grandmother’s family (on my mom’s side) from Quebec. It is their version of stuffing, a combination of mashed potatoes and sausage. Since I would be missing this classic dish that I only enjoy once a year, we made it before I left town. I got the recipe card from my grandma and made a small batch of it. On Thanksgiving we would typically make two big dishes to feed a crowd and you have to have leftovers, it is even better served for breakfast with eggs!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent with those you love most and filled with kindness and laughter. Happy Thanksgiving!

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French Canadian Dressing

  • 3 lbs pork sausage
  • 10 small or 8 medium potatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped celery (use some leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

Boil potatoes, peel and mash lightly- should be in small chunks. Cook pork sausage slowly with onions and celery. Drain off grease. Mix sausage with potatoes. Add seasoning and broth. Mix well then put in casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until top is slightly browned (about 25 minutes).

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Season Sightings

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Ahh yes, that holiday season is yet again upon us. We may still be snacking on those Halloween treats but come November 1st we swiftly switch to the land of sweets. ‘Tis the season of fluttering snow flakes, waltzing flowers, and revisiting those familiar holiday characters. As a child, the anticipation for this time of year always overjoyed me, I was even Santa for Halloween one year!

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Yet, one Saturday morning, in a slightly crabby mood for having to wake up early on a day off, I heard myself grunt to the barista making my coffee, “can you believe this, Christmas music?!”. She responded with, “I actually enjoy Christmas music it’s so cheery, I even hum the tunes year round”, shaking the scrooge out of me. I took my latte and left with a smile.

Yes my friends, that time of year is here. The decor is making its way up, shelves are being stocked with all our baking desires, and Tchaikovsky rings in countless studios and beyond. For me, the season has already brought a Nutcracker inspired photo shoot with Frisch’s Big Boy to promote their upcoming holiday special.

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A friend invited me to attend the Robin Wood Flowers annual holiday open house with her, and it surely put me into the warm, holiday spirit.

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when can I put one of these living walls by Urban Blooms into my home?!

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Though it may only be November 6th, with two months of indulging, spending, bustling, and feasting ahead of us and before we get in too deep, it’s nice to be reminded just how cheerful and magical this time of year can be.

Farro and Kale Salad

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As a dancer, we spend literally all day on our feet, so it is crucial to stay fueled and energized for a long day of rehearsals. It’s important that our mid-day meal keeps us fulfilled without being weighed down to ensure a productive second half of the day. I found just that with this Farro and Kale Salad. I picked this one up from the family I lived with in Asheville, and have since made it a few times. Originally, I made it to accompany my salmon for dinner, but was sure to make a big batch to have my lunches covered at work. The farro is a good source of protein, the high fiber and green goodness of kale is always welcomed, and the feta adds that saltiness that I constantly crave. There you have it, the perfect lunch!

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Farro and Kale Salad

  • 1-2 bunches of kale
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 2 cups of crumbled feta, or to taste
  • handful of chopped, toasted walnuts
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simmer 1 cup of farro in 2 cups of salted water or chicken stock, for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile wash and chop kale, place in a large mixing bowl. Chop walnuts and toast in a skillet over medium/low heat for about 5 minutes, shaking pan a few times to not burn. Combine cooked farro and feta with kale, the warm farro will perfectly wilt the kale, add walnuts. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper to taste.

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