Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our West Coast Swing Weekend

Last weekend we took an hour and a half drive down to Corvallis for a West Coast Swing (WCS) workshop at OSU taught by pros Courtney Adair and Sean McKeever.

We also got to hang out with Monkey's long time friend "Galex" (Girl-Alex) as she lives down there and also dances WCS!

It was technically a three day event, but there was no way we could have made it on Friday since Monkey drives down from Bangor on Fridays. There were also private lessons available on Sunday but we already had our own scheduled in Portland. Friday, though, was quite enough dancing for us. It was an all day ordeal. It went something like this.

11a: Square One, Updating your basics
12:30p: The Rubber Band Effect, Finding stretch in more places
2:30p: Grooves & Moves, fun ways to add more dancing to your patterns
4p: New Moves for 2012, Current trends, tips, and tricks
7p: OPEN FORUM WORKSHOP (We skipped this for a sit-down dinner)
8p-1am: Open WCS Social Dance

There was a mix of all skill levels. We are somewhere in the middle. We're super new to WCS, but since we've been dancing for a while we pick it up pretty fast. We just don't know very many moves and haven't quite gotten a handle one the proper technique. I have a mix of salsa and ballet that creeps into mine. Ok, it actually jumps out and screams at you. ha.



We learned a couple new moves and some new fun things to throw in here and there. My only complaint is that they didn't go over the footwork for some of the patterns. I guess they assumed that everyone knew all the patterns they were using a base for their variations. We figured it out, mostly.

Then on Sunday we drove back up to Portland, immediately went for a run (as if we hadn't gotten enough exercise for the weekend!), showered, and headed out for our pre-scheduled private lesson and another social dance. We were able to tighten up the things we worked on in the workshop with our instructor. I also learned how to "highjack" a whip. Now if I can just get those guys to ask me to dance, I can try it one someone. :/

Here is a little bit of video from the social dance Saturday night. We've only had maybe 8-10 lessons. We're not amazing yet, but we have fun. We'll be awesome soon enough. ;) You can see another short video here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Submarine Birthday Ball!!!

If you follow me on Twitter then you are well away of how excited I have been for the Sub ball! Also, how much of an ordeal my dress was. I did have a dress all lined up but it didn't end up working out. (See two posts back) Anyway, I got it all figured out. Though, i was literally sewing bits of it into place just hours before the ball.


This ball was way cooler than the last one. It was at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle. Pretty swanky place. There was a small dealio with our reservation which they fixed and we ended up getting upgraded to "the tower" in a deluxe room with two gigantic windows. :D 


We arrived a day early so we could have a relaxing morning and not have to rush with all our stuff that morning to have time for hair and makeup and all that. We headed down for the omlette bar around 9:30 and chilled for a while before I had my hair appointment at 11:30. The salon was only 3 blocks away so we walked it. It was a pretty nice day. I found this salon by a recommendation of a friend. Let me tell you, I have never seen a salon this fancy before! I felt like I should have dressed up to be there! I was in updo mode, so I had no make up on and was wearing a button up flannel. All the hairdressers were immaculate. They looked like they were from some fashion TV show. The salon even had a bar in it! I will not tell you how much I spent on my hair. But it was worth every penny, because it stayed up the whole night through all of our dancing!!! That has never happened.

When I made the appointment I asked for the best person they had. I needed to be able to collaborate with them because no one has ever understood how much forced is put on a hairdo during a salsa spin. :) I was scheduled with Niko. After I gave him my rehearsed explanation of what I needed, he had the best possible response. "I used to be a ballroom dancer. I know exactly what you mean." Yea! He knew exactly what to do. I just showed him a few pictures of what I was more or less going for and he went to work. It was perfect, and it stayed all night. I did have one pin that was stabbing me in the back of the head the whole night, but it was a fair price to pay for not having to take the whole thing down mid Ball and put it in a ponytail like last time.
(There is a whole story about Monkey and his shopping trip which happened while I was getting my hair done that is fodder for another post)
I left the salon as he was coming back from clothes shopping and he ended up walking up right behind me. He said he noticed my hair and thought "That girl has pretty hair" before he realized it was me! I guess that means he liked my hair. 


I bought all new makeup for this shindig. Monkey is not a fan of super glam makeup but, being a girl and being a ballroom dancer, I love it. So, I had to find a happy medium. So I went with shimmer over glam. A lighter look but very pretty. Also fake lashes, of course, but not super extreme. I have never put on makeup so meticulously before. It took an hour and a half for me to do my makeup! When I started I thought it was going to take 20 minutes, though I had budgeted over an hour for it. Guess the eyeliner and lashes took longer than I thought, even as I was doing it. 


First things first, we got in line to take pictures. I'm pretty disappointed by the photography at this one. The pictures are over exposed, blown out, and poorly framed. We ordered 5x7's for the parents but we're wishing they turned out better.

Next was the line for alcohol.  They didn't have a great selection of spirits, but I guess you're really supposed to drink beer and wine at these things anyway. I just don't like alcohol so I had them mix up whatever they had that was fruity with what ever vodka they had. :)

We had the MCPON as our keynote. That guy's a hoot! He is a very good speaker. It was really pretty entertaining. There is quite a bit of tradition, and speaking to sit through before the dancing. But I knew what to expect from the last Ball. One thing that was different though, was the "Tolling of the boats". The listed off all the Submarines that have ever been lost and what happened to them. It was a little bit emotional. Hard to watch as a spouse, all the boats that have sank and how they all went down. Completely unrelated to that, at nearly the end I started to feel faint and sick and had to walk out of the room. I felt like I was being disrespectful and was a little embarrassed, but it was that or faint/puke in front of everyone. When we returned, though, everyone was talking about the guy at the next table two had locked his knees and fainted face first into some chairs. So, I guess no one really cared about me walking out at that point. 


Well the boys (Monkey and his friend) had a GOOD ol' time dancing. Hilarious. All good fun. Monkey and I got to dance a little. Mostly west coast swing. The dance floor was pretty small for how many people there were so there wasn't a big enough hole for us to take up. They also didn't play very many slow songs. I wasn't really impressed with the music selection from the DJ, but I guess if you're just bumpin and grindin like everyone else it was fine. But, like I said. The boys had fun with it. We stayed until the very end hoping the dance floor would open up and a good song would play. The dance floor did open but no more good songs played. We tried to get the guy to play a waltz for us after the last song, but he had already shut down his computer. Oh well. We tired. 


I think that just about covers it all. I didn't end up getting to meet up with any of my Bloggy or Twitter ladies. :/ Did any of you see me? :)

More posts coming. I'm getting caught up as I find the motivation to put semi-intelligent thought behind what we've been up to lately.

Preview of coming attractions

I am waiting for my videos to process on YouTube. I think my computer timed out when I left it uploading as I went to work. Anyway, I can't make the whole post until I get home, but here's a teaser. What did you do this weekend?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blogging Backlog - Bang Bang

It was pointed out to me yesterday that my last post was a while ago, and not very exciting. So, I'll take this lull at work to make some progress on the backlog of stuff I have to tell you all about.

Lets back up to.. oh... a month or so ago. Monkey and his friends decided that they wanted to go shooting. I really wanted no part of it at all. I don't like guns. Nope, I just don't. Especially the ones that have no other purpose but to kill other people. Never really got the appeal of it. And honestly just a little afraid of them.

 A slew of various shooting apparati were brought. As were posters of the least liked over-rated teen sensations of the day, to be used as targets. After the field was set up the boys began shooting and having a good time. Inevitably the smaller, less intimidating, weapons were offered up to the girls. At first they were refused, but as it seemed it would be a long day, eventually we were persuaded by our various escorts.

(I should have written this when the names of all this stuff was fresh in my mind)
I started off with a wee little revolver that was straight out of some old timey western. It sounded like a cap gun. Quite amusing. From there I was gradually stepped up to things that kicked harder and made bigger bangs. Eventually, the head gun connoisseur busted out this bad-boy. (See pic below)
A Smith & Wesson 450. That's a BIG @$$ gun! Looks like something out of a futuristic western movie.
I was like WTH! I might as well be bad-ass and be the first of the girls to do this. It was pretty hilarious invigorating. See video below of me shooting this big ol' gun like a little teeny girl (who has no idea what she's doing) My favorite part is how they all scatter when they realize what I'm holding. Let me point out that I am fully aware of how pathetically I am holding it until I actually go to shoot it. Let's keep in mind that it's weighs almost 5 lbs and it's all in front of your hand. I couldn't hold it up and pull the thingy back (yeah, thingy. You know what I'm talking about) at the same time.

 Let me know if it doesn't play. I have it set to private, so I'm not sure if it will embed or not. 

So, after shooting that thing, everything else was way less intimidating. I ended up shooting a variety of handguns, rifles, a shot gun. I actually had fun. I can see why people like to shoot now. However, I still don't like guns. But I'm glad I had that experience. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm cranky, and unmotivated.

I have soo many posts to catch up on. (It seems like all my posts have started like this lately)

No excuses. I just haven't felt like engaging my brain lately. No real reason. Maybe it's the rain, maybe it's pms... I dunno, anyway...

Shopping and what-not:
This weekend I turned 29. I was planning to do a big 30 before 30 for my 300th blog post (which is this one) but I could only come up with 5 things that I should do before 30. Sure, there are a million things that I can put on a bucket list like sky diving, bungee jumping, etc. But, I don't need to do them before I'm 30. So, I'm either really unambitious or my life is more buttoned up than I think... maybe a combination of both? 

Ok, but lets talk about funner (yes, "funner") things. I treated myself to a little birthday shopping spree. I picked up a few cute casual dresses for when the sun finally comes out around these parts. (We seem to be the only place that isn't getting that freak heat wave.) And a couple of new tops. Also, I picked up a new gown for the Sub ball in a couple of weeks. There is a long story that goes with that, but long story short... I should have checked my dress when I picked it up from the seamstress the second time... because she ruined it. *angry face* But, hey at least it fit. It is fixable, I just don't feel like putting any more energy into it.  So, I'll put the energy into having this new dress taken in and hemmed.

I a teensy bit concerned about the appropriateness of the see-though illusion part on the top. But, hubby assures me it's fine. Anyway, it was made for 7ft tall person so I have to find someone to take it up and take it in on the top because they only had two left and the smallest one is a couple inches too big.  

Monkey's Man-spa experience:
A while back I bought a groupon package for Monkey. It was a haircut, straight razor shave, with a scalp massage, drink of choice (coffee, beer, or a shot!), cigar, and take home hair product. I figured he could use a decent haircut after a long string of terrible on-base-barbershop trips. At first he didn't want to get the shave, but I told him he should do it just for the experience. Afterwards  he seemed impress with how smooth his face was. He has thick black facial hair so he doesn't ever get a really smooth shave and it never lasts for more than a couple hours. I'm not sure if he enjoyed it or not, but I enjoyed watching it. He was impressed that they guy cutting his hair took so much time and paid so much attention to detail. And I have to say, it's a pretty darned good haircut! He said he would go back when he was out of the navy. When his haircut matters more. 

Dance Dance Dance
We actually got to dance three days this weekend! Friday night we went to our old dance studio for their monthly social dance. It was a challenge getting there on time, but it was really great to see old friends.

Saturday night, we went Salsa dancing for my birthday. I was soo cranky that night but wanted to have a fun time. I was also just really low energy so I was kind of particular about who I danced with, which I'm usually not. I'm not a dance snob like that. Except there was one person I almost walked away from because he was actually painful to dance with. In the end I got to dance with all my favorite leads so it was a success. 

He asked me "Why are you smiling?" "Because there's a guy right there with a camera and he's taking our picture for facebook."

Ok, my face looks dumb, but you can't see Monkey's face in the other picture. We're in the middle of a some fancy move here. BTW, doesn't he look so great in his new vest. I think he looks very dapper. :)

Then, Sunday night we had our West Coast Swing lesson. We were working on musicality. I was supposed to be "accenting the one"... I suck at "accenting" stuff. Which roughly translates to "do something cool here". That's why I like choreography. I don't have to make stuff up. It's something I've always had to work on. I'll get there. I managed to sneak in some cute stuff during the WCS social dance afterwards. We even spent a little bit of time in the ballroom dance room so I could wear the shoes I got for the upcoming sub ball to break them in a little bit and find where they're going to rub so I can (essentially) break in my feet for those shoes.

Well I think that's about it for this weekend.  I think I should talk about my fitbit next time. It's a seriously great and addicting fitness tool.

See ya!