Monday, January 31, 2011

manic monday

7am came and I was so unprepared to get out of bed and start my day.   Now that I'm up and at 'em, I feel much better.  The weekend was lovely, all of the Saturday morning parents loved the renovations to the lobby we worked so hard on.  It's a slow climb to the top, but inch by inch we get there.  It's reassuring to know that the parents are ok with our upgrades that seem to happen at a snails pace.  You can only do what you can do!
Here are some of the shots Mary took with her fancy camera for the lobby and studio space.  As you can see by photo #1, Caitlyn and I were having a good time all cuddled up on the wall together - the casual touch is for you Mel!   
I am excited to start our new platform for classes this week, it will be awesome to see how the kids respond to 1.5 hours of drills only, and then 1.5 hours of learning and perfecting steps only.  Who can rise to the challenge of knowing their steps before the next class?   We shall see...
I just found and followed another blog about the TCRG exam.  It is curious to read how other people prepare for such a bear of an exam!  Of course, I wouldn't wish failing on my worst enemy, it was funny to sit back and watch the unprepared squirm under pressure.  That sounds horribly mean, but I'm human, I was prepared, and I can't help it.   Still, waiting 6-8 weeks for results is utter torture!   I do it less and less, but I can't help but to replay every small detail, all the tiny mistakes, just wondering - did that fail me?   To think that I sacrificed so much, put friendships on hold, my relationship on hold basically!  I can't fathom doing it again.  However, I am on a positive wave.  Things in my life are coming back together, so more and more I tell myself, just wait and see. 

Just like our studio, getting my apartment back to normal is a slow paced project.  Christmas decorations are finally down and away, but now I have a ton of laundry to put away - the fun never stops.  

We're supposed to get a blizzard, perfect timing for Groundhog day.
stay warm.  be cool.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

what weekends are for...

Last night we had so much fun down at McGraw's Pub in E.R.  The Dady Brothers played and we danced a bit, there were some other dancers there as well! 

We met really early Saturday to work on the Lobby area for all of the parents.  It looks like a whole new place.   We transformed the ugly blue into a nice, refreshing and positive pale yellow.  bought a mahogony colored Bar, for a desk! :0) and we have window stickers on the door, to make it look etched.  It looks great now!  Just a few more photographs that Mary took of Cait and my feet for the lobby and studio area... as soon as I get them I'll put at least one up - they are going to look great!

Friday, January 28, 2011

what a free woman feels like...

Wow.  It is a whole new and exciting feeling, to get home from work and to be able to sit on the couch and watch TV without a care in the world!   I mean, of course my apartment is still a mess, that will be done this weekend.  But, to not have to spend every waking hour studying... it's just freedom. 

Tonight the girls and I are going to clean up the lobby - the landlord finally finished painting. (Stay tuned for pictures) Then off to McGraw's Pub in East Rochester to see, and possibly dance with, the Dady Brothers.  I'm hoping I can get Chris to videotape so I can share! :)

Almost bought Herim pants online today, will probably head to Le mall this weekend...more on that in future posts.  Unfortunately, I couldn't wear them now if I wanted to - so to purchase them now, would just be absolute torture as they sit in my closet until mid March... but we'll see.  I may just treat myself.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

thursday thoughts....

I sit at work today, and I probably should be working but I can't help thinking about a few things. 
My nail polish is chipping - that is just the absolute worst! I think I've almost finally conquered the biting my cuticals horribly disgusting habit, however I'm definitely less inclined to take a bite when my nails look presentable.    Last week in California the girls at the exam and I went for Mani-Pedi's and I picked a very adorable color for my nails.  It's like an iridescent blue purple, OPI but I don't remember the color name...  
I am listening to The Black Keys album Brothers today - it's so awesome!  I, once again, can indulge in pop culture music and books and life!  They're music is layered with intricate & blues inspired melodies with tough drum beats in the back ground.  Excellent! After I will move on to the new Kings of Leon album I purchased after Christmas, yet, haven't listened to yet.  :)

It's cold outside, and supposed to snow yet I'm dressed in...
Target black tank
blue no name long racer back tank from a boutique in Los Angeles
no name jeggings from Marshalls
grey shorty cardi from Old Navy
black BCBG open toe booties

happy thursday...xoxo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Last night the gals and I went out for some pub food and a couple pints at the Elmwood Inn.  I, of course, had to tell them some interesting connections I had made along my T.C.R.G. exam journey, and well... we always have something to discuss regarding our own classes and how we can improve and make them benefit the students more.   Melanie came too!  It was so great to see her, it's been since her Wedding in October, and it was great to catch up.  

Though, I feel like my life is in complete disarray today!  My apartment is an utter mess - and I knew it was.  However, now that I'm no longer distracted with making sure that the ring in the first figure of the Duke reel goes left instead of the normal right... I'm definitely noticing the hair built up on the floor of the bathroom.... my Christmas decorations are still up!  There is dust everywhere... ugh!!!  It's going to be a long weekend.  On top of that, I arrived back at work yesterday and one of my files was a complete mess - I felt completely out of the loop and felt as if I was expected to fix it.   I'm just thankful that happened on my first day BACK, as opposed to the day before I left, which would have been tragic.  

My plan is to stay positive and keep on, keepin on.   The weekend will come, my apartment will be cleaned and I will get back into my new/old routine.

Happy Hump Day.  xoxo

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home.

Yesterday I relaxed and lounged in the sun, bought a NEW BOOK to read.  Something, anything that didn't have silly names like The Waves of Tory, and Trip to the Cottage in it would suffice.  However, I chose the new Dan Brown novel, recently out in paperback, "The Lost Symbol".  By the way, I absolutely loathe paper back books.  There is something about a hard cover... it just feels better in your hands.  Also, as far as kindle or nook's go... I think they are incredible, but I do get some sense of accomplishment and happiness as I turn the page to move onto the next...   

Anyways, this morning I woke up in sunny California and it was approximately 50 outside and it was 4am!  I get off the plane in Rochester NY and it was 15!  Ahh, that's the end of January though... it doesn't last long, but it's getting to the point where I'm a little tired of the cold.   After Chris picked me up at the airport, we went for some grub at Beale St Grille in the Wedge.  I had a delicious Cajun Blackened Catfish sandwich!  It was so good!!  Chris had the Gumbo, which is always delightful.   The rest of the evening is just for R&R before I head back to the day job tomorrow.  

Here are some photos from my relaxing day yesterday.

another note - THE STEELERS ARE IN THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Santa Ana...

The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry offshore winds that characteristically sweep through Southern California and northern Baja California in late fall and winter. 

 Last night I finished the T.C.R.G Exam. ((SIGH))

So, today I started my two day vacation and relaxation back to my LIFE!

Kelly, Hailey, and I went for a walk down to the mall and shopping area.  It wasn't really a mall, in the traditional sense, it was a plaza.  We found this CUTE little boutique and found a 50% off sale rack (photo's of items to come).  We also went to this nail salon, where we saw Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain getting mani/pedi's.  We also got our hands and feet pampered, and it was truly delightful.   

It's so gorgeous here this week, the Santa Ana Winds have really brought in that warm, and summer feeling air.  The sky is blue every day, I have not seen one cloud!  It's such a nice change from the drab and sub-freezing Rochester NY.  

Just a little tid-bit into my day.  Enjoy yours.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


 After traveling for 12 hours, eastern time... I have arrived in Los Angeles, California.  I am now enjoying the sun that is pouring into my room from the double doors that open up to the not so great view of the top of a tree and the pool.  

I met a new friend, her name is Hailey and we got some awesome taco's at a place not far from the Hacienda Hotel where the exam is, and where I'm staying.   I'm waiting for Kelly to get there and then more preparation begins!  

But first, let me tell ya about my experience getting here. 
So, I'm a little stuffy today, no more sore throat so that's good... However, I was woken by 3:00am EST phone calls from Delta Airlines.  I, of course, ignored them and tried to go back to bed.  When my alarm went off and I actually decided to get out of my warm, cozy bed, I found an email from Delta Airlines stating that they had cancelled my flight and put me on XXX Flight to Atlanta departing at 6:24am.  Well that was still fine, because my original flight was supposed to leave at 6:15...
  My first flight was delayed an hour to de-ice the plane :(
 When I arrived in Atlanta (AKA The largest and busiest airport in the nation) it was 9:15... HA! My "new" connection flight to LA was leaving at 9:40.  
Needless to say, I was SPRINTING through the airport trying to find this phantom gate E11!!    Every time I passed a Tran, it didn't have a train in it, and wasn't going to have one for at least 1 minute 30 seconds - my stubborn mind thought I could run faster then that, so I tried.
By the time I found my plane, got my boarding ticket, made my way to my seat... The Flight Attendant told me that there was zero space in the over head compartments for my luggage!  Perfect!  I had to treck all the way back up the Delta A330 and put my luggage in the TALLEST over head compartment on the face of the planet. 
I get back to my seat and I literally feel like Kate Winslet in The Holiday - I'm smooshed in the center aisle between the two largest men I've ever seen.   Great, so not only am I disgustingly sweaty from running the Atlanta Airport 
Marathon, but now I have to try to act composed between these two very large men. 
So the plane is landing in Los Angeles, I get my things, I call the Hotel and make sure the shuttle will be there to get me and then I realize I'm on the wrong floor of LAX.  I take the escalator down
and I see a Hacienda bus standing there loading right where I should be!  I start screaming  "WAIT, HACIENDA, WAIT!!!!" (No, joke)  I was screaming, people where starring, it's quite funny now looking back. 
Ok, after all of that, I managed to make it here safely.  I did a bunch of reviewing on the plane, I
am maybe going to nap now, or try to relax and visualize....  Kelly will be here in a little bit and then we can quiz, practice and get some dinner :) 
Ta ta for now 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Positive Thinking...

I woke up this morning with a sore throat!!!  NO! 3 Days, my body only had to last 3 more days! 

So, I'm fiercely drinking tea, orange juice and water trying to reconcile the situation!  I still feel like I have work left to do in the Ceili information department, my teaching needs practice and so do my steps!  I cannot be SICK 1 day before the most important two days of my life thus far!   Think positive thoughts Nina, you are NOT sick, you WILL do this and you WILL rock it.

Ok, with that said - packing... ugh!  Packing what a daunting thought.   So I have 2 days of pure vacation after my exam is finished, so that means I have to pack vacation clothes/shoes as well as my dance outfits.  Will it all fit in my carry-on size luggage?   I am not really willing to check a bag and chance my dance shoes getting lost in airport land, or where ever it is your luggage goes when it gets lost.   We shall see...  On a more positive note - I do know that my luggage will include these awesome buys from Target yesterday.

I found these beauties in the clearance shoe aisle at Target.  Of course, I was super lucky and they were the last pair, in my size, and marked $7.49
They are Dolce Vita for Target  The line is gorgeous and completely affordable. 

What also went home with me is this adorable Pink Lace Tank.  I bought a large vs. a medium or small, because I wanted it to be a bit over-sized. 
I put the cream shirt back when I found the shoes!  But this Pink Lace Lovely cost me a mere $7.50 off the clearance rack! 

So here's the piles before they get crammed in my suitcase. 
1 Pair of Heels, 1 Pair of Flats, Hardshoes and Soft shoes
2 Running Skirts
2 Running Tops
2 Pair opaque black tights
1 Pair of Jeans
2 Pair of Jeggings
1 Pair of Black leggings
1 Jacket
3 Tanks
1 3/4 sleeve Top
and on the very end, my poncho, yoga pants and long sleeve T I will be traveling in.   

Now I'm off to complete the rest of my To Do list.
1. Pack - check
2. Clean up apartment so I don't come back to a disheveled mess - Check
3. Practice Sets and Steps
4. Practice Teaching
5. Rest, rest, rest.

Stay warm, be cool


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Preparation...

I leave for gloriously sunny and 70 degree Los Angeles in 1.5 days.  Wednesday to be exact.  After a trip to Target I finally feel like I have all of the clothes necessary to look professional, hip and well, like a dancer!  Being in the Irish dance world is like being at London Fashion week.  All of the teachers and adjudicators dress to the nines.  Needless to say, it's a lot of pressure. 

For Test Day I, Written and Music - 

Borrowed Satin top and red skinny belt, black leggings and Target heels.

I wanted to look fab, yet sophisticated and professional. 

For Test Day II, Own Dancing & Teaching - 
Champion pink running top, C9-Champion running skirt. 

I will be done testing Friday night.  I'm hoping my roomie and I can go out for some food!  It's been a long road.  
On Saturday we are yearning to find some fairly inexpensive pedicures and lunch, her boyfriend is coming out Saturday night and they are continuing on a vacation down to San Diego.  I'm hoping to meet up with an old friend who I haven't seen in a long time, he now resides in Los Angeles.  
I have no plans for Sunday yet, but I'm sure I'll find something to do! :) 

My practice exam awaits...

PS: My apologies for the smallest pictures in the world.  I took these with my blackberry.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hi, and Welcome!

First I'd like to explain the title of this blog... If you're not an Irish dancer and know what a 40 bar finish is, then you'll probably care to know;

The 40 bar finish is what a lot of the group dances (or Ceili's) finish with, it takes 40 bars of music in and of itself to complete.

I leave in 3 days for Los Angeles, California to take the most nerve wrecking and strenuous exam I've ever had to take in my entire life. The T.C.R.G. Examination, which consists of 4 sections, 2-3 days and about 12 months of studying. It's an emotional roller coaster if anything. The first night is the written and music section where you're tested on the basic knowledge of the Ceili Book, Ar Rinci Foirne, and all of the music that is played in Irish Dancing. The second day you have your own dancing evaluated. The third day, or in my case the evening of the second day, you are assigned at time to have your teaching evaluated. See the photo above of my personal Exam Schedule. Passing this examination means that we have one more certified instructor with the Commission in Dublin, Ireland. So much work for 4 little letters after your name. My two best friends and I run an Irish Dance school called, Mclaughlin-Goodwin-O'Shanecy Academy of Irish Dance (a.k.a MGOS Academy).

I may not be back until I'm actually "back" from taking the test, in which I'll be blogging all about California, the exam and my adventure trying to become a TCRG.