Small Business Saturday: Amy and Ayurveda

DSC_0172One of my favorite things about Amy is her calming presence. I’ve known Amy for about four years now, and she makes you feel so at ease in her presence. Like you could tell her anything, free of judgement or embarrassment. This sort of intimacy she builds with those in her life make her great at her work, which is Ayurveda. In Cincinnati, Amy runs her own Ayurvedic practice called Dosha Know.

Ayurveda is an ancient form of holistic healing, originating from Tibet/India region in the Himalayan Mountains. It is said to be the most ancient form of medicine. It’s at least 5-10,000 years old. A group of rishis (meditators) in the Himalayas sort of founded Ayurveda together through their visions. They realized in their attempts to reach Nirvana in their meditations that their success was only as strong as their body. They thus began to then ask themselves how to reach optimal health. Through their meditations, they began to get amazing insight on how the human body worked. All of these insights have actually checked out with modern-day science.

“If you think about it, it’s quite amazing,” said Amy. “They could see the insides of the human body through their meditations without any labs, without any equipment and without anything, because it didn’t exist yet.”

Many of the texts of Ayurveda were burnt and lost during the time that the French and British controlled India. To them, Ayurveda was threatening. However Ayurveda was still kept alive orally. Once India re-gained it’s freedom, Ayurveda came back to life.

Amy discovered Ayurveda during her time spent in California. Amy left her hometown of Cincinnati when she was 18 to attend college at the University of Southern California and ended up spending about 5-6 years out there. During her time out West, she became interested in all sorts of holistic things such as yoga and meditation. While she got a degree in film, she knew she probably would not pursue that as a career and thus was looking elsewhere. Instead of obsessing about figuring out exactly what she was to do, she found the American University of Complementary Medicine through a google search, and set up an appointment with an advisor there. He suggested she look into Ayurveda. This was back in 2007, so Ayurveda was very much un-heard of in the Western world. It intrigued her because it touches on everything from yoga to psychology to nutrition and more.

“It seemed like a practice that would draw on all of my strengths and it wouldn’t confine me to just doing one thing,” she said. “So I decided to go for it and I studied for several years.”

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Amy studied at AUCM for three years and earned two certificates, one in Ayurvedic Medicine and one is Advanced Ayurvedic Medicine. She’s also Reiki level one and two certified. A majority of her training was spent working with clients, which is where you best learn, she says.

“I’ve always been really grateful for my mentor for pushing me to actually work with actual human bodies,” she said. “That made me feel more equipped to go out and actually do this.”

Now spends her time seeing clients in the Cincinnati area in her College Hill space and teaching others interested in Ayurveda. Many in the Midwest have an interest in Ayurveda but no program for them to learn like Amy had in California. So she’s looking to starting one here. She hopes to create a certificate program like the one she studied with in California.

A lot of her job is taking Ayurveda, which is an ancient form of medicine coming from an Eastern culture far different than the United States, and making it relevant for Americans in 2015. Starting off, this is what she first goes over with her clients during their first meeting. Often times, that means translating Ayurvedic texts to make them relatable and workable in our culture.

“The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is that it speaks in essences,” she said. “It doesn’t speak in absolutes. It gives you essences, which is cool because you can take the essence of what the text book is trying to tell you and it’s very translatable. You just have to put everything in context all the time.”

Defining it in literal terms has been hard at times. Over the years, she’s developed a handbook that she goes over with her first time clients, because her first appointment with a client is the most important. The more trust she can gain, the more the client will open up about what they are dealing with and the easier it will be for the two of them to work towards a long-term solution.

After this initial meeting, the next meeting is the Ayurvedic evaluation, which has several facets including a psychological evaluation, a pulse examination and other similar things. Often times, the body will resist because the body naturally protects itself, she said. Often, conditions exist because they are protecting the body. This can be challenging and at first, this often means they simply treat the symptoms. However they treat the symptoms as they dig deeper to find the root of what is going on. Once they get to the bottom of it, they can start being aggressive in treatment.

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“We really do have to work with the body’s pace and we have to work with the psyche’s pace as well, because those two forces are working together,” she said. “They do what they do because they’re protecting the body. So it’s my job to read and understand the pace at which this body and this psyche is willing to be pushed.”

Bodywork and nutrition are places where she often starts. Nutrition, she says, is something that is always a good starting point because everyone benefits from good nutrition. Also, it can take a month or two to really see the positive affects of nutrition, so it’s best to start on it in the beginning. Ayurvedic nutrition focuses on proper digestion, first and foremost. So it’s more about how you eat than what you eat.

Amy finds her work to be incredibly rewarding. She loves helping people to heal and better their health. For example, she had a woman who was having trouble conceiving a child. Through their work together, she was able to successfully get pregnant. She wouldn’t trade these feelings of helping people for the world, she says. It makes her really want to spread the word.

“It’s the only health approach that I’ve seen that creates real long term results,” she said. “In Ayurvedic medicine, we don’t treat symptoms. We treat the disease and it’s a long process doing the detective work figuring out where the disease stems from. But for a client who is dedicated to their health and is willing to put in the time, it’s perfect.”

If you would like to learn more about Dosha Know, visit their website. Amy is currently accepting new clients.

 

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Tabatha’s Tiny Closet

It was a Monday like none other. Mondays are my day off, so I find myself scheduling meetings and interviews for A World of Dresses. However taking photos of a tiny house was a little different. And I was excited.

Tiny houses have gotten some buzz recently. Perhaps it was the various articles on the Internet or that documentary on Netflix. I’m guilty as I have watched both. While I’m not sure if I’d ever live in a tiny house, they are so very intriguing. So when my friend Daveen told me she had a friend who lived in one with her husband and two dogs, I was fascinated. Furthermore, I was told that she too often wears dresses. I was sold. I had to write about her.

The tiny house that they inhabit is a tad different than the ones you may have read about. The two of them bought an old truck trailer and are in the process of turning it into a comfortable home. Their last home was a 1200 square foot loft in Over-the-Rhine, which they moved out of just about two months ago. They have been working on this house for the past year. Going from the city to a tiny house in Northern Kentucky is quite a change. And for Tabatha, a welcomed change as she commented on how much she enjoys the peace and quiet. Her two dogs seem to love it too.

As I park my car, I’m greeted by a woman in a blue and black polka-dotted dress. “Oh gosh, I sure hope you’re Nina,” she says to me. I knew she was Tabatha because why else would a woman in a fabulous dress ascend from a trailer of a truck?

She led me around to the back of the trailer. A set of stairs lead up to the actual truck.

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In short, Tabatha is always down for adventure. She said she’s the friend her friends often call when they want to do something crazy or need some weird favor. So while her husband Noah often comes up with the crazy ideas such as moving into a tiny house, she’s the one who will actually help him carry out the big ideas. People often ask “how did you convince your wife to do this?” However she just laughs as there was hardly any convincing. Both have a desire to travel and careers they can take on the road, so a tiny house is absolutely perfect.

Featuring a woman of a tiny house is kind of neat. With a tiny house, you really have to pair down what you own. The dresses she chose for the shoot were the ones that made the cut.

“Especially in a tiny house, I can’t just splurge on things,” she said.

She looks for unique, one of a kind dresses. As a result, many have been found on Modcloth.

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This here is her newest dress, which she says is sort of a wildcard for her. Big floral prints can be challenging as she doesn’t want to look matronly. Yet this one doesn’t look matronly at all.

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This is her other dress that has that 1950’s silhouette look. I was amazed by the amount of poof both dresses had. Her secret is a brown crinoline slip that she recently found at a local vintage store.

“I love something that has a full body,” she said. Also, the twirl factor is important. She showed me … she can definitely twirl in both of these.

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This pink hour glass, pinup-style dress is one of her favorites. Several years ago, she had a work party with the theme black, white and pink. She ordered this for it and it was a week late! So while she never had the chance to wear it to that party, she has worn it many times since.

“If I had an excuse to wear this everyday, I’d be all about it,” she said.

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Next, we decided to shoot a few photos inside the home. The bedroom part was one she was excited to show off. That was one of the first rooms they had worked on. The dress here also has a fantastic story. She found it at a store in Portland, Oregon that takes old pieces of clothing and sometimes even furniture, and turns them into clothing. Often times, there’s only one or two of one dress because of this. So with this dress, she never has to worry about someone else wearing it too.

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The one she ended with was pretty amazing. I love the bold prints.

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“I feel like life is too short to be wearing boring things,” she concluded.

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8 steps to ensure an amazing girl’s night

Last Friday was the culmination of something I’d been looking forward to all week. It was Girls Night! It all started when Rita (My Closet: The Lovely Rita) decided we needed a girls night. She decided our friend Alex, who is a mother of two small children, she needed a night out. And boy, was she right. So the three of us plus Lauren (Lauren the Activist) decided about two weeks ago to have a girls night. I could tell from our group texts the week leading up to the shindig that it would be crazy. And it was.

We had an amazing time that started with drinks/snacks in Rita’s Covington apartment and ended at the Anchor in Covington, with several stops in OTR in between. I’m convinced we entertained all of our uber drivers and shared a few too many crazy stories. Looking back, it really was the perfect girls night. People stereotype groups of women to be caddy and dramatic. I cannot tell you how many women I’ve met that say “Oh I don’t get along with other women.” I think that is such a shame. I have been so blessed by all the women in my life. That’s one of the many reasons I started this blog. So in reflection of last Friday, I’ve decided to list my steps for an amazing girls night.

  1. 3-5 women who know each other well. Girls nights are like therapy. Sometimes you just need to vent, so feeling comfortable around everyone is key.
  2. A plan that is editable. You need to choose something fun for the whole group but yet be willing to spontaneously change it. Because you just never know when one of your friends gets into a dance battle, you decide to jump into a swimming pool or dye your friend’s hair. Girls nights were made for spontaneity.
  3. A gathering spot to build excitement. You have to get psyched somewhere. Also getting ready together can be part of the fun.
  4. Shared consumable goods. For us, that was alcohol. I brought a wine called “Little Black Dress” and Alex brought a mango vodka mix called “Kinky.” We also ate hummus, chips and veggies. Whether you drink alcohol or not, people gather around food and drink.
  5. Ladies who are real. We had some really amazing conversations because we all just came as we were that day. There was no need to be anyone else.
  6. Lots of dancing and sometimes singing.
  7. Late night food. Enough said.
  8. Spontaneous sleepovers, if necessary.

It was a night to remember for sure. We will have many more. Also I convinced two of the three ladies to wear a dress with me. Even though Lauren opted for a blazer, she still looked amazing! Here are some favorites from the night:

 

 

 

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Kayleigh is joining me in Dressember!

Hey friends! Remember my post about Dressember last week? If not, you can read it here: Why Dressember is important to me. One thing that I mentioned is that I want to participate with a team this year. Last year, I was the only person I knew participating. I definitely had a great time, though. I also raised money for a good cause and exceeded my goal, thanks to family and friends who contributed. However this year I know with more ladies by my side, we can together make a bigger splash (or should I say ruffle? This is Dressember, after all). I’m so very exciting because the first lady to agree to join me is my best friend Kayleigh! So in honor of Kayleigh, I’m going to list the top 10 reasons why she rocks.

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  1. She works very hard. She’s currently working on a Master’s in Speech Pathology while working full time as a middle school Spanish teacher.
  2. We share the same second language. It is Spanish, though, so it’s not exactly our secret language. But it will help as we have plans to travel together in the Spanish-speaking world this Spring.
  3. She’s an amazing dog momma to Dunie, a Carolina Dingo that she rescued.
  4. She’s up for any adventure (like Dressember).
  5. While she’s always been the preppier one and I’ve always been more eccentric, at the core we share almost identical world views. This is more important, anyway.
  6. Even though we live about 9 hours apart, we regularly text each other our outfits to make sure all looks good. A second opinion is always good, even if she is in South Carolina.
  7. We can both quote Mean Girls frontwards and backwards. We often find ourselves quoting it when together.
  8. Her curly hair. I sometimes wish I had curly hair.
  9. We’re both pretty extroverted. Like neither of us really have to ponder the whole extrovert/introvert thing. We simply both get our energy from time spent with people.
  10. We both often strike up conversations with strangers (again, the whole extrovert thing).

 

Thanks Kayleigh!

Throughout the month of December, Kayleigh will be featured on the blog as well as the blog’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

If you’d like to join us in Dressember, we’d love to have you! Men can participate too. Last year, men wore bow ties if they wanted to participate. If you have questions or would like to participate, please e-mail me at aworldofdresses@gmail.com

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Life with Lupus

catherine2Tuesdays we’ve decided to start a new weekly column. Remember me, Catherine? If not, read Catherine’s triumphs over lupus and homelessness. I have been living with lupus since 2004. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where your white blood cells are fighting off your red blood cells. You basically have no protection. Some days you’re really tired, some you’re in a lot of pain and others you feel just fine. With modern medicine, however, people live with lupus for many years. I am one of them. My hope is through this weekly column, I can help the rest of the world better understand the struggle that comes along with lupus.

 

 

“You never know how strong you are… until being strong is the only choice you have.”
― Cayla Mills

Living with lupus is …..

I never knew the capacity I had until my life depended on it, as my world was systematically being pulled apart.  It was like nothing I have ever been through. Lupus came charging into my life like bull out of his pen.
My family was equally afflicted by my condition. Living with lupus is a lot like those group treatment programs for whatever abuse that person has. I mean to say that lupus has steps and stages.

Step 1: Bewilderment

Step 2: Confusion

Step 3: Depression

Step 4: Anguish

Step 5: Realization

Step 6: Contemplation

For me, I tend to bounce through the steps, not really staying on one and coming back to others. I would imagine, however, that it looks different for each individual. If you struggle with lupus or know someone who does, I want to leave you with these helpful tidbits: don’t blame yourself, have control over your lupus and don’t let it control you.

Stay tuned next week for humor with lupus style.

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Not your mom’s PTA

It’s not every day that you walk into a theatrical performance and find empty bags of chips, water bottles and a pizza box strewn on the floor. If it wasn’t a part of the show, I’d be a little confused. Instead, I was amazed. It was all a part of the pre-show for the Contemporary Dance Theater’s fall Performance and Time Arts show, or PTA for short. But this is not your mom’s PTA. That is definitely for sure.

If you’re amazed by the pre-show, you know you’re in for a treat. I definitely was. The evening included a series of poetry, spoken word, dancing, singing, multi-media and visual arts. The show is based on Director Diana Ford’s Facebook blog entitled Welcome to America: There’s Gotta be Something Better Than This Crap. Diana created the page as her final project when she got her Master’s in Liberal Arts with a concentration in humanities and social justice. Themes of social justice, the state of our world and community were very evident throughout the entire performance. She hopes to turn it into a full theatrical production this next year.

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Brinkston Kelly representing the party girl

As I walked in, there were several still models in various poses on the stage. These models would later be a part of a fashion show during the production. That part was the work of Pamela Carter Pitts and her business L’BAE (which stands for Living Blessed and Empowered). Each model represented a way in which the world can negatively influence us: rich, poor, technology, party life and body image. Her whole business is around the idea of letting go of negative worldly influences and living out who you are. Here are a few more from the pre-show:

 

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Allana Tolbert representing wealth

 

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Daaiyah Pates portraying homelessness

The show included several contemporary dance acts and a lot of amazing poetry. One of my favorites was the group Sister Circle, a group that began as a women’s support group in Winton Terrace. The PTA was their first performance as a group and they were all very excited about it.

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The Sister Circle ladies

The eight ladies came out on stage looking fabulous. Each woman wore the same Sister Circle purple shirt, black pants and yellow flower in her hair. The performed a variety of spoken word and song about growing up, hardships, resiliency and their neighborhood. You could tell that their strength has been in their time spent together and sharing life.

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Several of the dancers

The evening continued with many other neat performances. There were several African drummers and dancers. There was poetry recited about slavery and racism. The evening concluded with Diana and her dancers performing pieces inspired by her blog page. As they performed, media was projected in the background. Themes of social justice and apathy were projected onto the screen. It’s so neat when art can be used to make us think deeper about the world. In a time when millions are tweeting and Facebooking about everything from important issues to pictures of food, things can get a little lost in the shuffle. Yet when performed, you see them in a different way.

 

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Dancers Rufan Li, Glenda Figuerido and Lisa Schechtman

My favorite part was when they danced to the song Sixteen Tons. The song is all about owing your sole to the company store. In this context, it refers to how much debt everyone is in. While we may make money, we owe much of it to say student loans, a credit card company, our mortgage, our car payment, etc. Furthermore, our country and many others in the world are also in debt from spending. The ladies wore unique costumes and got to act a bit, something they enjoy. Here we can see them in a dramatic moment during the song and dance.

I was left amazed at the end of the night. So many different forms of artistic expression beautifully woven into a performance with a consistent theme of social justice and community. Currently Diana is looking to turn her work into a full theatrical production. You can learn more by clicking here.

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Kaitlin and the world of scenic design

DSC_0001I met Kaitlin through my friend Lauren (remember her Q & A? Lauren the Activist). Women doing what we do best … introducing each other to our friends. Lauren attends Northern Kentucky University with Kaitlin and they are both involved with Common Ground, an organization for people who identify as LBGTQ and their allies. Lauren said she’s always wearing such unique vintage dresses, so I naturally had to meet her! Kaitlin is in her junior year majoring in scenic design. She spends her days in the theatre department taking classes and designing sets. 

Name: Kaitlin Findley
Age: 21
Location: Northern Kentucky

What got you interested in scenic design and theatre?

To be honest, I don’t really know. My brother did theatre, so I guess that kind of got me interested because I would see him in shows. But I mean I had also watched like stuff at the Aranoff Center with my mother. We would watch musicals when I was younger. I guess when I decided to join my drama club my junior year, I fell in love with it and just immediately jumped in, and starting building and painting anything I could.

Which do you prefer, the performance side, or the scenic and set design side?

It really depends on the day. I mean, I wish I could perform more than I do because I haven’t performed since high school. But I think for the most part, I enjoy the designing more because I get to see what I’ve done whereas you don’t get that when performing, obviously. You can see people’s reactions but you don’t actually get to see your stuff.

Cool. So do you design the sets for NKU productions?

I have not yet. I’m going to be assistant designing in the Spring for Into the Woods.

DSC_0009Cool. So I guess just kind of describe where you are right now in life? And there are like no right/wrong answers here.

I’m not really sure. Just living on campus, taking classes and spending most of my time in the theatre building, helping out with everything. Doing homework. It’s not too exciting. Just trying to build up my portfolio that way I have stuff because I want to go to grad school after this to study more.

What’s the process of building a scene like?

It’s a lot of research. You have to obviously read the play or musical first, do tons of research of the time period if that’s what the director wants, or the director could take it somewhere else. So it’s really working with the director, figuring out what they want, going from there, doing a lot of research and developing like a concept. A lot of people build a model so that way the director can see what it’s like. If they want or not. Then going from there and drafting what you have so that it can be budgeted by the scene shop or whoever is building it.

So there’s a lot of collaboration?

Yeah it’s a collaboration with pretty much everyone involved.

DSC_0016Is that kind of stressful sometimes because some people might have one idea and then you’re like no this looks better and then they’re like we can’t afford that?

Yeah … since you are the designer and the director’s the one who decides everything, you basically have to listen to them. Like you can say your input and be like I really like this, but if they don’t, you kind of have to go with them, obviously. Money … you gotta follow that part a lot more.

I’m sure that can be kind of frustrating at times too.

Yeah.

How much of it is you actually getting on there and painting things? Or are they getting away from that now?

I mean everything is … pretty much we create it all. Unfortunately there’s not always a lot of detail work. So it’ll just be like a flat color. With Les Miserables, there was a ton of detail work because everything has to look distressed. So when we do shows that like, we can. They’re a lot more fun to work on because you get to do more than just paint a flat color.

Where are you hoping this takes you? I know you want to go to grad school, but where do you see this taking you?

I’m not entirely sure. I think I would prefer to work with a community theatre because then it would be a more stable job. Hopefully designing sets for them. I could do different things, whether it would be scenic painting or building it, that would be nice.

So you know Lauren through Common Ground. What sort of prompted your involvement?

Let’s see freshman year before we come here we have an orientation. They had a table at it. I was with my friend who also goes here. We’ve known each other since high school. We saw the table and were like oh, I guess we’ll go to the first meeting. And we did and kind of fell in love with it. So I’m part of the E-board this year and I was last year. I don’t know … it’s a fun way to de-stress.

DSC_0008Yeah so do you find that that’s like a group of your friends as well or how does it de-stress you?

It gives me a break from my classes and homework. I get to be with other people from a wide variety of majors and it’s nice to be with people from different fields. I like having that because in the theatre department, a bunch of people just stick with theatre people. So it’s nice to be with everyone rather than a small, select group of people.

So what are you most passionate about, in general?

Anything where I can get creative, in any sense, whether that be an artistic thing or just … I don’t, the way I dress is obviously more creative. Any outlet of life where I can try to be as creative as I can. Because I want to a unique person. I kind of like that.

So how do you feel like you express yourself through what you wear?

I wear a lot of vintage dresses, or tend to. I go to thrift stores or vintage stores just because I like having stuff that no one else has. And I mean tend to prefer that style more so than a lot of the stuff that’s seen today. I mean, I do have some of that stuff obviously.

What about vintage clothing interests you?

Really just the style of it. Just the cuts, the clothing, the way it flows is just very different from a lot of what is out there today. A lot of things are the shorter cut and I like the … a lot of it is over the knee and I like that look. It just looks like … more professional in a sense. And I like that.

Okay so you grew up in Cincinnati. How many siblings do you have?

I have a brother and a sister.

What was your childhood like?

It was good. My parents didn’t really like set any … I don’t know how to describe it. They weren’t crazy sticklers on the whole gender roles thing. We could do what we wanted. Like I would tend to play with a lot of legos. Whatever we wanted to do. So we could really be ourselves. Like my sister just died her hair. She’s a freshman in high school. My parents just want us to be ourselves and they don’t stop us from that, which is nice.

DSC_0003What does being a woman mean to you?

Hmm. That’s a tough question. I don’t really know. It’s hard to explain. I guess it’s recognizing that there are challenges and especially in the theatre world until recently, there wasn’t a lot of females making it far in the design aspect just because especially with building stuff, women are typically seen as not as strong. So I guess finding ways to express that that’s not the case and luckily that’s finally changing.

Yeah how is that changing in the theatre world? I mean there would always be roles in theatre acting-wise for women. But I don’t know, how is it changing?

I mean I tend to watch the Tony Awards and they’ve always had females nominated for stuff, but recently a few have actually won which is helpful to see work from other females. They can do just as good of work.

Yeah so they weren’t always directing, producing or designing the set. But by the nature of the way our world works we’ve always had a role for a woman acting but now it’s like well, let’s not just value her for her good looks but maybe her brain too?

Yeah I mean that probably is it. Also just that I mean a lot of middle schools and high schools don’t have any thing close to theatre, so that’s also part of it. If you don’t have stuff, you don’t an opportunity to be exposed to it. I think that is also part of the problem. People aren’t exposed to it at a young age and don’t know you can do those kinds of things necessarily until you get to college.

What has been one of the most proud moments of your life?

One of them was being accepted into the BFA program here. That made me feel like I had the potential to pursue this. I guess that.

What was that process like? Was it selective?

You have to go in for the tech side and you interview with a group of staff members and professors. You show them your portfolio, talk about the work that you’ve done and what you hope to accomplish at this university and beyond that. So that was pretty nerve-wracking but fun at the same time just getting that experience. On the tech side, you don’t get to do as much with the auditioning stuff as the performers do. While I’ve done that, I don’t do it regularly or as often. So you’re not as prepared. So being accepted made me feel good. Like okay, I can do an interview.

Who are the most important relationships in your life?

Definitely my parents because they let me explore what I wanted. I danced all my life from a young age and they let me do that. I took many different classes in high school because I was toying with many different things I wanted to do. I wanted to be an environmental engineer and graphic design. Eventually I settled on theatre. I originally came here wanting performance but then I realized that the tech side is probably more feasible for me. And they’ve been supportive of all those decisions. In high school, I had several teachers who were also like do what you want. They were mainly my art teachers. They saw my work and helped me to see that I have potential because I can be very hard on myself, so it’s nice to hear that from other people.

We are our own worst critic.

Yes.

So I also saw you go to conventions. What kinds do you attend?

The past two years, I’ve gone to the Cincinnati comic expo. In the summer I also went to the Indiepop Con.

What got you interested in that?

It was mainly my dad and my sister. My freshman year I didn’t go because I had a bunch of homework and they sent me pictures while they were there. I was like dangit! I wish I had gone and like put off my homework ’til the last minute. So they drug me there last year and I absolutely loved it. I mean I guess being able to create stuff and having people come up to you and be like I love what you did! Can I take a picture? It’s just fun. And then seeing a bunch of artist’s work and seeing a bunch of people, loving the same stuff … it’s a nice environment.

So tell me about your dress (the one in the first photo)?

I found this at a thrift shop and just decided to buy it. I like things that are unique, different and fun!

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Some of the PTA ladies

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Dancers Rufan Li (left) and Glenda Figueiredo (right)

This weekend, many badass women will take the stage to convey some very important issues. The mediums of dance, poetry, song, theatre, multimedia and visual arts will be the ways these messages will get told. In other words, this Friday and Saturday nights will be Contemporary Dance Theatre’s Performance and Time Art’s (PTA) show. This performance kicks off the 2015-2016 series for PTA shows. These PTA shows are one of Cincinnati’s longest-running performance art series.

Diana L. Ford is the Choreographer, Director, Producer and one of the dancers in this upcoming show that is based on her community Facebook blog page entitled Welcome to America: There’s Gotta be Something Better than this Crap. It started when she was getting her master’s in Liberal Arts with a concentration in humanities and social justice. She created it as her final project. On the page, she writes and shares things about a variety of different social justice issues. The PTA performance allows many of these ideas to come to life in an artistic form. The show will consist of dance, song, poetry, visual arts, theatre and multimedia.

On Tuesday, I sat in on one of the rehearsals with the dancers. One of my favorites had the dancers in coal-mining-like outfits with rags they whipped as they danced. They also wore money glasses. Diana said this one is a commentary on how much debt we are all in. She thinks it’s the modern-day slavery.

“Right now so many people are caught up in debt,” she said. “Everything they own belongs to a corporation.”

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Dancers Lisa Schechtman (right) with Glenda Figueirdo and Rufan Li

The dancers dance to “Sixteen Tons,” an old song about owing your sole to the company store. Back in the day, coal mining towns often had a store owned by the mining company. They had people pay in credit. So when your paycheck came, much of it just went right back to the coal company via the company store. Very powerful. All the dancers agreed that this was their favorite song to dance to.

“Modern dance can be anything,” said dancer Lisa Schechtman. “There’s no limits and no rules. You can’t go wrong.”

The dancers seemed to be enjoying themselves as they changed into different costumes. One involved rings that lit-up. Another included some wings. Dancer Glenda Figueiredo said she feels complete when she dances.

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Dancer Glenda Figuerido

Diana hopes that people come away wanting to take action about the issues discussed. After all, there will a lot of opinions and ideas about the state of our world today. She also hopes it stirs up a stronger urge for community, something she feels very passionate about.

“Your community is important,” she said. “Ultimately you cannot rely on your government to help you. You have to rely on your community. There was a point where we were very community-oriented. We took care of each other and made sure our neighbor was okay, and now we don’t do that anymore. It’s important to get back to those roots because when something happens, your neighbor will know if you’re dead or your house is on fire.”

There are two Contemporary Dance Theatre PTA shows. Both shows begin at 8 p.m., with the doors opening at 7 at the Contemporary Dance Theatre (1805 Larch Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45224). Tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for students. You can call the Contemporary Dance Theatre at (513) 591-1222 for more information. You can also check out the Facebook page for more information.

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My Closet: Lindsey’s Dresses, todo el año

Lindsey is who we’re hanging out with this week. Actually, Lindsey and I work together. She always wears the cutest dresses, so I thought “why not just bring my camera in for the next five days and document her office style?” The offices of Su Casa/Catholic Charities … provided some accent walls. We had fun, for sure!

The one everyone seems to borrow

Lindsey
The same day I came up with this brilliant idea, Lindsey just happened to be wearing a cute dress. I only had my cell phone camera but thought ¿Por qué no? (why not in Spanish. We speak a lot of Spanish at Su Casa). This one has been lent out to friends more often than any other dress she owns, she said. Because she wears dresses so often, when going out her friends have felt dressed down. So like any good friend, she is there to offer a dress! This one for sure seems like it would work for many occasions. Also, most people look amazing in dark blue.

The one Lindsey traded

Lindsey

Some days you need just need to get out of the office with a couple of your co-workers and eat at the Indian buffet down the street. This was taken on one of those days. Also looks are deceiving with this one. At first, I thought she was wearing an A-line skirt with a tucked-in top. Maybe it was the best that threw me. It is, in fact, a dress. It definitely gives off that stylish young professional vibe. I think we got a few weird looks as we were taking these … always fun! Also, where did this amazing weather go?

Lindsey said this one used to belong to her friend. One day, they decided to trade one dress with each other, and this is the dress she ended up with!

The thrift store find

LindseyWe all know the feeling. We decided to take a look around Goodwill. Maybe we’ll find something. Maybe we’ll walk out with nothing except a few laughs at ridiculous t-shirts. Then we find it. We find IT! We find the cute, fun and one-of-a-kind dress (or hat, shirt, pair of pants, blazer, etc. but for me it’s always a dress). We feel so accomplished because we paid very little for such a unique find we can be sure no one else will have. Because the only time women are ever truly okay with wearing the same dress as someone else in the room is when they’re in a wedding party.

This dress is “that” dress for Lindsey. She remembers buying it at a thrift store. Also, love the purple wall? Thank you, Catholic Charities, for painting our office walls royal purple!

She also joked “I remember walking into Anthropology and getting a compliment on it. It was like ‘Hell Yeah!”

 LindseyThe one she wore to a rooftop party that one time

There’s nothing better than some pink and purple. One of Lindsey’s trick is making her dresses work for many occasions. Here, she’s wearing it with a professional black blazer and a pair of black heels. Very office chic. However one of her fondest memories in this dress was wearing it to a rooftop party in Chicago where she lived for several years. Good memories, I’m sure.

The one she took to Puerto Rico

This time, we opted to be different. We needed a change of scenery, so we thought a red wall would really shake things up. We might be getting to crazy over here. Sorry. I Lindseymust say, I really like the gray in here. I feel inspired to incorporate some more gray into my life … just not 50 shades of it (come on. I just had to. Lo siento).

In March, Lindsey traveled to Puerto Rico and wore it just about every day while she was there. For her, she’s all about dressing her dresses up and down, depending on the situation. In fact, unlike a lot of people, she doesn’t pack up her summer clothes when the cold hits. Instead, she gets creative and has fun with what she has. She said her biggest style tip is just that.

“Don’t buy a new wardrobe,” she said in regards to wearing dresses in the winter. “Just wear tights, scarves, sweaters and blazers. Just play with what you already have.”

I suppose we’ll have to try that! Thanks Lindsey!

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Why Dressember is important to me

I don’t exactly remember how it all happened, but around sophomore year of college I realized that I wore a lot of dresses. Maybe it was that time that I visited home and my mom handed me a wad of cash with her usual “don’t tell dad. Shhh!” Except this time she also added “and don’t go buy dresses with it!” They just became part of my self-expression. About a year and a half ago, I decided to do a dress challenge in April. I had no idea that Dressember existed, even though International Justice Mission has always been a group I admired. I was well aware of their work and mission, just not Dressember.

The following November, I stumbled upon Dressember through a Facebook post. My first thought was “I could do this again but for a good cause?” Because quite honestly, at times I felt a little vain during my first dress challenge. In fact, sometimes I wonder if people in general think I’m vain because I wear so many dresses. But Dressember allowed me to focus on an overwhelmingly large global problem. The fact that millions are currently enslaved is heart-breaking. Yet here I am with my comfortable life in the United States. Furthermore, I really didn’t need anything for Christmas. Any gifts I would have been given, I could just redirect to my Dressemeber fundraising goals. Dressember seemed like such a simple thing I could do to do my part.

At the end of December, I had raised $510 for IJM through Dressember. I had simply asked my friends and family to give what they could if they could. Each bit added up. I also had a blast doing it! I took pictures throughout the month. I’ll have to dig them up and share them on here.

This Dressember I’m planning to participate again. However this year, I want a team of women to join with me. All you have to do is commit to wearing a dress each day of the month. You can of course repeat dresses too. I plan to blog every day the entire month about Dressember. I plan to use my blog as a platform to highlight stories of people who have been trafficked.

The video above is a TED talk from the founder of Dressember. It’s so neat to hear the story of how it all started. So, will you join me in Dressember this year?

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