Life Update

Hi all! It has been quite a while since I last posted…but I had good reason, honest!

I am going to blame my absence of that on the pregnancy, birth and first year with my son.  Babies are good to use as an excuse, right?  Plus they’re adorable (at least I think so):

 

My husband and I welcomed our son to the world in February 2016 and since then, it has been a crash course as I adjusted to my new role as Mom in addition to Wife, Studio Owner, Teacher, Choreographer, etc.  I was a bit overwhelmed, to say the least.

2 weeks old.. already at play practice

Luckily, I have a wonderful support team at my studio and an amazing husband, and of course a darn cute little boy, and we are figuring it out day by day.  But it is only now, as my son reaches the 18 month mark, I am *just* starting to feel like I have some breathing room and can begin to take up my “hobbies” again.  I am still treading water, but lately I actually feel like I am above the surface, instead of coming up for a breath every now and then.

My ‘baby’, helping out at Dance Camp this year… time flies!

I don’t anticipate being able to post nearly as often as B.B. (Before Baby), but I am certainly going to try to step it up from the ZERO posts in 2016 🙂  #goals

So hello again and I am looking forward to re-connecting in the upcoming dance season.  What have you all been up to?

Renovation… Unsteady Progress

A few weeks into June, with nothing other than a new wall accomplished, I admitted to myself that having the room ready for July summer classes was a bit ambitious.  Could we have held classes with a boombox on the carpet?  Sure.  Was that the first impression of the new and exciting space I wanted to give my clients. Uh, absolutely not.

So, onto painting.  But wait!  First the other studio location has to have a pipe burst!  And flood the entire space!  And ruin lots of things!  And require insurance inspectors and summer camp last-minute changes and new rugs and potentially ruined marley!  Because chaos!

::deep breath::

So that was a fun weekend of clean-up and tears and then realizing that a pipe bursting during summer and destroying a bunch of old costumes is not the worst thing in the world, even if it is inconvenient and a pain to clean up (imagine if it happened a week before recital and ruined THOSE costumes?!).  It is also just a bit disconcerting to find your entire space covered in water.

 

 


But, back to the matter at hand – oh yeah, I was supposed to be painting, not mopping up water.

And look, a new window!

It turned out, when picking out window sizes that this size was the best one to go with because any bigger was a big jump in expense.

 

Making progress…

To Do List

X Connect spaces

X Build waiting room wall

X Waiting room window

X Paint waiting room

X Paint dance room

– Install dance floor

– Furnish waiting room

– Buy sound system

– Ballet barres in dance room

– Order and install mirrors

Next up… flooring!

The Renovation Begins

So the first task in the New Space, was to connect the new space to the old space.

A refresher on what we are trying to accomplish:

So I began renting the space in June with the very, very VERY optimistic goal (did I mention VERY optimistic) of having it ready in time for July summer classes.
My contractor and I went over what I wanted and he gave suggestions and little tweaks that made more sense with things like electrical outlets and windows and building code.
And then on June 2 (five days before our end of year recital) the work began!
It was amazing how quickly the wall went up – they framed it out and had the sheetrock up in no time.  The hole is for the observation window eventually.
Looking through the “window” into the dance room.

And connecting the two space (new space is purple, existing studio is beige).

Ahhh!  I don’t know why, but when I saw this, I started getting super excited!  It’s real, it’s real!
Looking back through at the narrow waiting room.

So that was pretty much it with the professional help other than the mirrors and window installation, the rest is on me and my husband!

To Do List

X Connect spaces

X Build waiting room wall

– Waiting room window

– Paint waiting room

– Paint dance room

– Install dance floor

– Furnish waiting room

– Buy sound system

– Ballet barres in dance room

– Order and install mirrors

Next up… painting!

Summer Moving, Happened So Fast

Summer moving, havin’ a bla-a-ast!

Summer?  In October?  Ok, its been a crazy last few months – but I finally have had some time to write about my summer adventures!  Hope you are all having a wonderful start to your school years – I’ve missed blogging and am happy to get back to it.

A little background – I have two studio locations, with the smaller location having one dance room. We are in a strip of businesses and we are currently the second-to-last unit from the end. The last unit on our end used to be rented by a Curves (workout for women), but the owner decided to move on and the space went up for lease last January.  It sat vacant for a few months and I looked at the space, did some calculations, negotiated the price and by June, we were in contract!

It may sound like I jumped in quickly, but in reality, I tried to make sure it was a smart decision, talked it over with just about everyone I could think of who could give me some perspective and triple-checked my break-even calculations.

So here is a super short tour of what we started with, and I apologize for the poor quality cellphone pictures:

That is standing in the front of the building, looking towards the back. The doorways back there lead to a utility closet (furnace / AC units) and bathroom.

And here is standing in the back by the bathroom and looking at the front.  Our existing space is to the right (“through” the purple wall). Windows look out onto the sidewalk and parking lot and there is an exterior door to the left.  Also strangely located air conditioner to the left and yellow ladder, which did not come with the space, much to my husband’s disappointment.

Here is a floorplan to help visualize. The new space is in purple:

So as you can see, the purple Curves space is a loooong room, but with a lot of potential!  And a lot of PURPLE.  Purple walls, purple trim, purple rug. What’s hard to see in the photos is that the ceilings are actually 10′ tall – which is awesome!
After brainstorming, our potential game-plan into turning this into a functional dance studio was this:
1) Divide the space and create a waiting area – one of the biggest struggles of our existing space was the waiting room was very narrow and small.  It was impossible for anyone with a stroller to enter and would be crazy when one class was leaving and another arriving.  I wanted to make the new waiting room a little bit deeper to help fix this problem.
 
2) Adding connecting doorways – we needed to connect the two spaces together, by joining the waiting rooms and in another spot.  In the waiting room, I wanted an open doorway to make the rooms feel very open and encourage overflow from the narrow waiting room into the larger one.
I also wanted to a door connecting the two studios, but <SPOILER ALERT> apparently the wall between the two studios was filled with bricks?!  My contractor found this to be annoying and confusing (as did I).   The only other place that had just sheetrock separating the two spaces was all the way in the back through the furnace closet.  Not ideal, but as Tim Gunn says, we made it work.

I know you are anxious for beautiful before and after photos, which I PROMISE will happen, but in another post!

Why, Discount Dance, Why?

It’s the first day of dance and your newest little toddler students enter the room in their new dancewear – hair pulled back, cute little leotards, pink tights and then you look down at their feet and you see:

Flimsy slipper
THE HORROR!
The super soft fake satin ballet “slippers” they unfortunately sell next to dancewear at Target and Walmart.  Every preschool teacher’s nightmare.  They fall off feet, cause dancers to trip and fall and are simply not suited for a dance class.
Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.36.27 PM
But they truly are annoying and I cringe every time I see a parent proudly whip them out of a dance bag… usually just a case of being mis-informed.
Then today I was shopping for some new ballet slippers for myself from Discount Dance and I see this:
 Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.43.52 PM
Let’s take a closer look…
s200

AHHHHH!  Eh tu, Discount Dance?

I mean, I understand that Target and Walmart might not care if the bedroom slippers they are passing off as ballet shoes aren’t ACTUAL ballet slippers, but Discount Dance should have SOME shred of integrity when it comes to shoes that are listed under the “Ballet” category!  Whyyyyyy??

At least one of the reviewers (mind you, a 13-year old who has better sense then a dance catalog) wrote:

“I’m just going to quickly say if you are planning on buying these to wear them, don’t…Anyway, I actually made them in to a keychain!”

The only use for this shoe is as a decoration!

Ok… rant over.  I feel better now.

At least until the first day of class…

Happy New Year, 2013!

Happy 2013!   I hope everyone had a great break!

Over Christmas break, my husband and I moved into our new house.. and have been living without internet (or cable or phone) for the past two weeks… #darkages

While it was nice to have some time to focus on other things without the distraction of screens, our internet-less world was starting to drive us nuts!  I felt like I was back in school, going to the library to use the wifi…

Anyway – the start of the New Year is always a great time to look back at last year, look forward to the new year and set some goals.  Last year, I shared my favorite way to set goals for my business and blog.  The biggest problem is that we don’t always keep those resolutions or even think about them after we make them in January.

Did you set goals for 2013?

It turns out writing them down might be the first step to achieving them!  Check out this infographic from onlineeducation.net about setting goals (click to make bigger) and keeping them:

Setting Goals Infographic

Did you have a nice break?  Did you get the plague like all of my students (and I) did?

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  How do you keep them?  Tell me in the comments!

Currently Loving: New Capris!

I was recently doing some shopping for fall clothes (online, of course, because who has time to go to the store anymore?!) and I grabbed two pairs of these babies from Forever21.
I use Forever21 for cheap tank tops and basic T-shirts to teach in and to layer under other shirts / over leotards, basically anything under $5 because I know its not great quality, but I’ll get some good wear out of it and I like options.  I had a gift card to use and they had a sale so I added something over my usual $5 limit:  the Contrast Ruched Athletic Capris (colors too!).
Just got them in the mail today and I LOVE them!
I was expecting the usual cheap cotton fabric, but they’re actually quite nice being spandex, nylon and polyester.  They fit like leggings rather than capris, but I like that there is color on the bottom.  They ran me $15.60 each – I think they’re now $17.80, but that’s not too bad considering I will probably wear them every week or so.
They will be a cute update to my usual BLACK on BLACK teaching uniform.
What do you wear to teach in (or take class)?  Score any new stuff for the new teaching season?