The Hoopla-Chiatto

I recently got a job in a hotel here in Alaska. I work in the gift shop/espresso bar. I now have an understanding of the frustrations of baristas.

Among other things is dealing with people ordering “regular coffee” without telling us what size or if you want room for cream.

I don’t understand what you want.

Need more info.

Anyways, I posted about it on Facebook. One of my friends said something along the lines of “just convince them that the triple shot espresso hoopla-chiatto that you’re handing them is the norm.”

And I loved the name Hoopla-chiatto so much that I invented it today.

It’s basically a latte, except with a little bit of vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, Irish Cream, and almonds syrups, adding up to about two shots of flavor.

So, go to your favorite local coffee shop and order and a Hoopla-chiatto. Tell me what you think.

Golden Boy and Wild Thing go on an Adventure

So, to explain the title a bit, my mother has dubbed my boyfriend Golden Boy. I am, naturally, Wild Thing. We sound like superheroes and it’s cool.

Now, about our adventure. Hiking. 15 miles. Steep hills and bogs. Sunrise. Climbing rocks. Much, much more.

We set out bright and early because Golden Boy wanted to watch the sunrise with me out there (all my girl readers go ‘awww’).

sunrise

We hiked the trail backwards, meaning we got the steepest incline over with first. And it was steep. The cold, somewhat thinner air didn’t help with the breathing. People, I just came home from Mississippi, about as sea-level and flat as you get. And suddenly I was hiking up hills in Alaska. I sounded like I had asthma.

To help though, the last time Golden Boy had hiked the trail, he left little notes for me along the way. Super cute, I know.

After getting the hardest part over with, we watched the sunrise from a pretty nice view. Then we continued on, our next goal being to get to ‘his rock’.

We made a couple stops along the way to his rock, one of them at a different rock, which we climbed halfway way up to this spot he called the crows nest. That’s what it looked like. Just big enough for the two of us. We sat there and talked and watched the sky for a while before heading on our way.

When we finally got to his rock, about 9 miles in, we felt rather accomplished. His rock is the highest spot on the trail. From there, you can see the hills going on forever in all directions. In the distance the mountains broke the monotony of green hills with their cool white angles. There was a bit of a breeze, but besides the slight rustling of my hair against clothes, it was completely quiet.

We felt like the only two people in the world.

For a few minutes everything was absolutely perfect. It was just us, taking in the glorious sight of the abundant hills, completely silent. I didn’t want to leave, but if we didn’t get moving, my mother was going to think we had gotten eaten by bears.

Not even joking.

The rest of the hike was somewhat uneventful besides me rolling my ankle a bit and Golden Boy carrying my backpack for me (which, by the way, was rather heavy)

Every once in a while he would carry me through the boggy parts. He didn’t want me to get my feet wet.

The last three miles were quite miserable, we were both slowly dying from hunger, even though we had food. We didn’t want to stop long enough to eat it. My knees, ankles, feet, and left shoulder were all hurting and I’m sure he wasn’t the feeling the greatest either.

But let me tell you, after ten hours of hiking, Subway tastes like manna from heaven. It was the best sandwich I had ever eaten in my entire life.

And afterwards Golden Boy massaged my feet. So I was happy.

Any of you guys enjoy hiking? I want to hear some of your stories!

Confessions of a Ninja Ballerina: Placement Classes

I recently went to Mississippi for a summer dance intensive at Ballet Magnificat. In order to get put in a level you have to take a placement class. I went last year, so I kind of knew what to expect from placement class that first day. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

For any of you who have done a placement class or audition of any sort, you know what it’s like. You know what to expect, yet nerves course through your body every second, your mind buzzes with the combination, trying desperately to perfect it before the judges glance at you. The fear of messing up can be almost crippling sometimes.

33

Yet, we push through. Here’s a couple things to keep in mind in placement classes/auditions:

  • Do your best. I know, it’s cliché and overused, but if you honestly give your all into everything, you’re going to feel pretty good about yourself. Holding back, whether consciously or subconsciously will cause regret and a lot of ‘what if…?’.
  • Breathe. Sure, this seems pretty easy, but dancers tend to hold their breath a lot during fast combinations, or even just hard ones. When you don’t breathe, you get tense. Tense muscles don’t move in a nice, flowing way. So just remember; in. Out. In. Out.
  • Smile. A lot of times, the judges are not only looking for technique, but also a nice performance quality. So smiling a little doesn’t hurt. Or just any emotion at all. No robots.
  • Enjoy yourself. You’ll never be happy with a placement class if you see it as just another things you could possibly fail at. Look at it like a normal class, with all sorts of new things to learn. Remember how much you love dance and just be happy that you get to do what you love.

 

So what kind of placement class experiences have you had? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Confessions of a Ninja Ballerina: Strength

I’m a ballerina. My legs are super strong, so are my feet.
But, my arms? Nooooot so much.
I’m woman enough to admit that when I first started taekwan-do I could barely do ten push-ups, and that’s only going half way down.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the most impressive person there.
Over about four years of TKD, I didn’t improve much, mostly because I avoided push-ups like plague.
But there was hope.
One of my coworkers, Aaron, started making the kids in the class we teach together do push-ups. Of course, I was expected to set a good example and do the push-ups too.
So, every week, twice a week, I would grudgingly sink to my knees, straighten my legs until I was on my feet, and stretch out into a less-than-fantastic push-up position. We would then proceed to do 10, disgusting, horrific push-ups.
I still didn’t improve much. Maybe I got through the ten grueling push-ups a little easier, but I still couldn’t go down too far.
Then I realized that I didn’t actually want to improve that much. I hated push-ups, so why be good at them?
Lately I’ve been pushing myself a little bit more. Going down just a touch farther and forcing myself all the way back up, no matte how hard. I won’t pretend it’s purely self motivation that propels me through my least favorite exercise at TKD. The teasing from the guys helps a lot. Besides Aaron, we have an army dad taking classes. He likes giving me a hard time about my push-ups, all in fun, but still. Drives me to show them that I can do push-ups too.
I have most definitely been improving though. I can get almost all the way down for the first five.
I suppose the only point to this blog post is that striving to do better at something is half the battle. If you don’t want to improve, you won’t.
So go do your push-ups like a man.

The Truth About the Last Frontier

I live in Alaska, you know that Russian territory down by Hawaii. My home is an igloo. I have a dog team that pulls my sled to school in the winter, and to friends’ igloos in the “summer”. My sister was once mauled by a penguin. My last igloo was destroyed by a polar bear. It’s always dark.

 

polar bear
Haha KIDDING!!!!!!

Okay, I’m here to dispel some myths about Alaska that the Lower 48 has. And Hawaii…. why isn’t it the Lower 49? Don’t ask me.

First off: We don’t live in igloos. We live in real houses, with walls, beds, and tv. We even have heat. Most houses up here have a fireplace.

We are not a part of Russia! Or Canada! Or a separate country! We are, in fact, a state. Neither are we down by Hawaii. They just show it that way on some maps to save room. Because, Alaska is as big as the continental US, if you include the islands. Yeah, it’s that big.

Not everyone owns sled dogs. Lots of people do, but not everyone. No, the main form of transportation up here is cars. We have roads. Paved roads. Well… some of them are paved. Most of them are paved.

We actually have a summer. It even  gets into the 80’s every summer. Sometimes it reaches the 90’s.

There. Are. No. Penguins. In. Alaska.

None.

That’s Antarctica. The other pole.

Yes, there are polar bears, but only way, way, way up north. Arctic Circle. No, the bears you have to worry about are the grizzly bears. Black bears aren’t very threatening.

Alaskans see the sun too, just like every other part of the world. Granted, days get pretty short in the winter, it gets dark around 4 in December, the sun doesn’t rise again until around 11 the next day. At least in my neck of the woods. However, in the summer, the sun hardly ever sets. Seriously, it’s called the Land of the Midnight Sun for a reason…

So what other questions do you have about Alaska? I’ll be happy to answer them :)