Friday, November 30, 2012

Irish dance diet - Four ways to celebrate without food

Enjoy Christmas foods while on the Irish dance diet
Photo: flickr user wiccked

The holidays can be a challenging time to lose weight. You and I can do it with a little bit of planning.
After all, there are other ways to celebrate!

I really didn't want to post an update on my Irish dance diet this month. Yes, I did lose weight, but I gained it back last week over the long holiday weekend. I didn't want to post about my failure to lose this month, but I decided that many of you may struggle with holiday weight as well. I'm going to re-commit myself and find healthy ways to enjoy the holidays. Are you with me?

This month I've been faithfully attending my Irish dance classes, one for adults and the other for Intermediate level for all ages. I feel good about my dancing, better than I have for a long time. My teacher is focusing on basics and muscle training, and I can feel my muscles growing stronger. Now I need to tackle my food habits.

If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments.

Here are a few tips for curbing the urge to celebrate with food:

1-When eating out, ask yourself, is this a special occasion?  If it is, splurge a little and make up for it earlier in the day or the next day.  If not, eat similar to how you would at home.

2-Find non-food ways to celebrate. Reward yourself with a bubble bath, a new book, some great smelling lotion, or a night out at the movies.

3-Bring a healthy contribution to an event. If you are attending a Christmas party and you don't have control over the meal, bring a healthy salad or entree for your part of the meal. At least you know one thing that you will be able to eat. And bring some healthy portable snacks with you. If the food selection is too high in calories, you don't actually have to eat it.  You can survive a few hours without food and the snacks you bring will tide you over.

4-Have a water in hand. Drink plenty of water all day to fill you up and keep you satisfied.  If you have a glass of water in your hand at a party, you will be less likely to snack on high calorie hors d'oeuvres.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Irish dancing school thrives like a rose in the Mexico desert

In May of 2000, Irish Dancing de Mexico was founded by Alicia Mosti, a trained ballerina, and self-trained and later certified, Irish dance teacher. Now there are seven academies under Mosti's dance school, the newest of which is located in Tijuana, taught by Yovanna Torres Blanco, who also runs an academy in Guadalajara. 

Irish dancers in Mexico
On November 8, 2012, dancers from Irish Dancing de Mexico participated in "Fiesta de los San Patricios", a celebration honoring the Irish fighters of Mexico. Along with the Rose Ritchie Academy of Irish Dance, Blanco's students were able to perform for an enthusiastic crowd. "For the first time, dancers from Mexico and USA shared a stage to dance at a bicultural event without involving any competition," Blanco says. 

Yovanna Torres, adult Irish dancer in Mexico
 in "Take the Floor 2012"
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Torres
Many of the Irish dancers in Mexico began learning the sport on their own from videos of the famous dance shows, Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. From those humble beginnings, a rose has sprouted in the desert. Students of all ages, including adults participate in dance performances and travel to competitions in the United States and Mexico, including the school's own Feis Acapulco. Today Irish Dancing de Mexico claims over 500 students and more than 7600 medals and trophies. 

Irish Dancing de Mexico
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Blanco
Among the dancers in Blanco's school in Guadalajara, there are several adult Irish dancers. Blanco encourages adults to join in and dance, regardless of their age. "I like to tell my adult students: in Irish dance, nothing is impossible," says Blanco. "If you are a late starter it will take you longer to get a step right, but it is always possible."

Ciara Sexton and Yovanna Blanco at Take the Floor 2012
Photo: courtesy Yovanna Blanco
Blanco herself began Irish dancing as an adult at 22 years of age. She  had the opportunity to compete as a senior lady, and recently performed in the show Take the Floor 2012.
She trains by herself and travels once a month to Mexico City, where Alicia Mosti teaches her the steps and helps her polish her technique. "It has not been an easy road," says Blanco,  "but the best feeling in the world is to teach people (Irish dance), and see them grow, and reach their goals."

There is plenty of room for the growth of Irish dance in Mexico, and Blanco intends to put in the effort to help others dance for many more years to come. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Forgiven by Janet Fox

Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself. 

~Published June 2nd 2011 by Speak

Food to Eat While Reading: (coming soon)

Reading Forgiven by Janet Fox was a breath of fresh air.  Although I love fantasy, I've been saturated in it lately and this wild west story was wonderful. I love a great historical fiction, especially one like this that doesn't feel like history, more like fiction.

Forgiven is set during the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  I had no idea what San Francisco was like at that time and Fox gives a great feel for the city and the people.

Kula is a fascinating and complex character.  I love her determination and her ability to make a way for herself in a world where different in frowned upon.  I love that she has weaknesses and that when confronted with them, she is able to recognize and change.

The romance between her and David Wong is sweet and poignant.  Kula's relationship with Will is unpredictable.  I love how all three of them are woven together with more than just a love triangle.

The many characters are real and distinct, from Miss Everts, to Jameson, to the nefarious Wilkie (ugh, I love to hate a great bad guy).

Forgiven is part mystery, part romance, and great historical fiction, all rolled into one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gall-Tír dance group promotes Irish dancing in the Czech Republic

Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer, with her husband, Jan.
Photo: courtesy Gabriela Klášterková
"I think I can say that at least every second or third Czech knows Irish dance, which is a great progress 
in my eyes."
~Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer.

Gabriela Klášterková is an adult Irish dancer, and co-founder of the Gall-Tír dance group in the Czech Republic. She and her husband, Jan, founded the school in Prague. 

Christy Dorrity:  How did your love of Irish dance begin?
Gabriela: More than 10 years ago, I had a friend who danced in one of very few dance groups, because Irish dance had just come to our country at that time. It took some time before I decided to try it, and result? My friend Katy stopped after 2 or 3 years, and I have been going on through many injuries, and other problems until today. I think it changed my life maybe more than I realize.

Christy Dorrity:  Is Irish dance popular in the Czech Republic?  How are you received when you perform?
Gabriela: It is very young form of dance in my country. Czech people started learning very first steps approximately 15 years ago. "The teacher" had been a very kind Irish lady working at the British Council who danced a few basic steps, and some ceilí dances, and was willing to share it with people excited to learn.

Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer with 
Gall-Tír dance group in The Czech Republic
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Since then, Irish dance is becoming more, and more famous every  year. Really huge work has been done by the shows like The Lord of The DanceRiverdance, and later Gaelforce Dance, as well that started having their performances here regularly after 2000.

I think I can say that at least every second or third Czech knows Irish dance, which is a great progress in my eyes.

Our performances are received extremely possitively. Even people who look bored at the very beginning are coming to us after our show, impressed and amazed, to praise us.
Christy Dorrity:  Do you teach adults? Do they fit in well with your dance school and community?
Gabriela Klášterková, and husband Jan, 
qualifying for World's.
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: Yes, I do! The Irish dance group Gall-Tír that I and my husband founded, have still been leading mostly of adults. Adults in my country usually have no problem with community. They all fit in well before the steps start to be harder. We have to demand harder work from them in case that they wanted to achieve higher. 

Christy Dorrity:  Where do you perform and/or compete?
Gabriela: I and my Irish dance group, Gall-Tír, perform usually in The Czech Republic. We have not tried to arrange any performance abroad yet because we are absolutely focused on competitions. We, of course, would not refuse a nice offer, but we do not look for it now.

A few years ago my husband, I,  and a friend had a performance in an Irish pub (my husband qualified for The World Championship that year), and I think this experience was probably more exciting for us then for the audience. However, they were  surprised that someone from the middle of Europe, living far away from them can dance their "national treasure" so well.

We are used to participating in all the Europian feiseanna,  especially those closer to Prague,  like our own Prague Feis. We have been at London Feis,  The World´s in Dublin, and Belfast, and my husband also at The All Ireland´s and The Great Britain´s.

Christy Dorrity:  Why do you think Irish dance is popular all over the world?
Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer with 
Gall-Tír dance group in The Czech Republic
Photo: courtesy 
Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: It is just magnificent! Definitely! I think it is really noble, and elegant dance but also unbelievably difficult, and everyone can see this paradox. You work like an athlete for the Olympic Games but you have to look like an elegant dancer flying somewhere above the dance floor, obviously using no effort. Even people knowing nothing about any form of dance can appreciate Irish dance and we very often hear the people who had never been interested it dance in general say, "Wow, this has really got me!"

Christy Dorrity:  What do you envision for the future of Irish dance?
Gabriela Klášterková, adult Irish dancer, with her husband, Jan.
Photo: courtesy Gabriela Klášterková
Gabriela: That it will spread more and more, it will be more popular, everyone will know it, and many people will do it. This is my belief, and my wish to all irish dancers as well! Irish dance undoubtedly has a future, and we do our best to be a part of this al,l and to be the ones who help Irish dance to penetrate the public awareness.

Christy Dorrity:  Are you currently working toward any shows or competitions?
Gabriela: Yes I am, and so are all the dancers I teach. The qualification for The World´s 2013 in Salzburg is coming (in November 2012) . This is my husband and my closest goal!

Christy Dorrity:  What is the best part of Irish dancing, for you?
Gabriela: Everything! I cannot choose any part because only all of them together can make the final impression I love!!!

Thank you Gabriela.  Good luck to you as you prepare for upcoming events.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Indie-giving Blogfest win The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook

I'm happy to be participating in the Indie-giving blogfest. I'm an indie writer, and it's a fun journey.  
Part of the fun of Indie writing is the control that you have of your book. It's not just enough to write it and send it out into the void. You need to promote!

So how do you know if you should host your own virtual book tour or if you should hire a professional to do it for you?

Ask yourself:

1-Do I have a significant number of contacts who will helps promote my book? Ideally, you will have collected contacts naturally as you connect with other authors, bloggers, and book reviewers. If you don't have a few hundred contacts (not counting your mother, your dentist or your book club members) who have an audience that will be interested in your book, your launch tour might not reach those who would read your book.

2-Do I have time to set up, maintain and follow up on the tour?  It takes a few weeks to set up a tour and do it right. At least an hour per day of the tour will be spent promoting the tour itself, and there will be more time spent on thank you's and following up with participants and helpers.

3-Am I organized and professional in my communication with others? The way you handle yourself reflects on your book tour and will ultimately jade the perception of your book.  If you can't be nice to others, or you are terrible at returning emails, you may not give the impression your book needs to succeed.

If you find that you would rather hire someone to handle the book tour for you, there are many online services available.  Here are a few:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome Irish dance lovers, and those of you who aren't, yet

Ali Cross, author of the Desolation series (review on her first book coming soon) is writing a fabulous series on media and branding. She recommended that I combine all of my blogs (author, book reviews, cooking, Irish dancing) all in one. 

I love all of her hints, like how to create an online presence that is consistent across all social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog, etc. I'll be revamping my image in the near future, but for now my big switch is to coming all of my blogs into one. This one. 

So welcome to all lovers of Irish dance.  I am hoping that those of you who don't have a love of Irish dance soon will, and those of you don't read will get something out of my book reviews, and those of you don't eat food--wait. Never mind. I hope all of you, my friends, will feel welcome here. 

Also, you will notice that my posts are more personal than previously.  I think everyone loves a story and I will be sharing more of my life and personality in what I say.  I am hoping this will encourage some lively conversation.

If you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blog Tour - Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig R. Everett

"Money is the most dangerous magic."

I'm pleased to be included in Mr. Everett's blog tour for Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune. This book is aimed at the middle grade audience, and teaches kids and teens the importance of learning about and managing their own money.

"Unique children’s lit that cleverly tackles interest rates, endowments, fluctuating commodities, bullying and identity." 

- Kirkus Reviews

 An infant is discovered one night on a commuter train from New York City during a stop in the sleepy town of Wallingford, Connecticut.  The local police are summoned, but are unable to locate the boy’s parents, despite painstakingly questioning each person on the train.  For some strange reason, none of the passengers can remember seeing his mother falling from the train – after falling victim to an assassin’s bullet.

Assigned the name “Toby Gold” by social services, the mysterious child grows up in Wallingford, moving from foster home to foster home, not knowing who his real parents are - or why he was born with such freakish skills with math and money.

Now a teenager, Toby’s money skills are noticed by the wrong people, and thus he is unwittingly sucked into a high-stakes financial conspiracy that puts his life, and the lives of his two closest friends, in great peril.  Ultimately, Toby solves the crime, saves his friends, and even saves his school—all in one harrowing afternoon.

"This fast-paced adventure weaves fundamental concepts in economics and finance seamlessly into the story. Toby Gold makes learning finance exciting."

- Francis A. Longstaff, PhD, Professor of Finance, UCLA - Anderson School of Management

About the Author: Craig Everett

Craig R. Everett was born and raised in Maine, spending his childhood summers digging along the shores of Bar Harbor for buried pirate treasure.  Fortunately, he was able to remain blissfully unaware that pirates seldom, if ever, ventured that far north.  He received his B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, an MBA from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in Finance from Purdue University.

Dr. Everett is currently a finance professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where he teaches corporate and entrepreneurial finance. Dr. Everett also volunteers in public schools teaching financial literacy principles.  

You can learn more about Craig here:

Toby Gold and the Secret FortuneReading Level: 9 and up
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Fiscal Press (October 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-936-21495-2
Dimensions: 8.75 x 5.75 x 1.0 inches 

Blog Tour Schedule for Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune by Craig Everett, 2012
04-Oct-2012  Free Money Finance 
11-Oct-2012 Queen of Random  
12-Oct-2012 Why Not? Because I Said So
12-Oct-2012 LDS Women's Book Review
13-Oct-2012 A Storybook World
15-Oct-2012 A Thousand Wrongs
16-Oct-2012 Say This Write
16-Oct-2012 Money and Me for Canadians
16-Oct-2012 Word Spelunking
17-Oct-2012 Couponing with Boys
18-Oct-2012 Book Launch of Toby Gold and the Secret Fortune at the Access to Capital Conference at the LA Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
18-Oct-2012 The Book Bug
18-Oct-2012  I Am a Reader not a Writer
19-Oct-2012 Of Writerly Things
19-Oct-2012  Troop Petrie
22-Oct-2012 Renae's Writespot
22-Oct-2012  The Write Path
23-Oct-2012  Monique's Musings
23-Oct-2012  My Mommy's World
24-Oct-2012  The Things I Love
24-Oct-2012  Adventures of the Mommy Homemaker
25-Oct-2012  Live to Read
26-Oct-2012 Ordinary Happily Ever After
29-Oct-2012  Fire and Ice
01-Nov-2012  Jeffrey Olsen
01-Nov-2012  Bookworm Lisa
05-Nov-2012 Debbie's Inkspectations
07-Nov-2012  With a Side of Thriftiness
10-Nov-2012 A Storybook World

12-Nov-2012 Christy Dorrity's Dearest Dreams
15-Nov-2012  The Non-Reluctant Reader
19-Nov-2012  Taffy's Writings 
Nov 2012-