It’s that crazy time of year, y’all. #recitalseason All dance teachers, rejoice – WE ARE SO CLOSE!
As many of you already know, I’m all about a deal and I’m always here for products that make my life simpler, more convenient and ultimately more joyful. Here is a rundown of my most recent Amazon finds that may help you during #recitalseason too! 😉
All of the items below are less than $30!
This is the SECOND time I’ve shared a water bottle on our blog. Recently, I’ve purchased a gallon-sized bottle that is saving my life (quite literally)! For 2 months, I’ve been able to keep this up. Some days I miss the mark, but I can’t tell you how much BETTER I feel now. (Also, some days I need even more. Craziness.) I’m just now realizing how dehydrated I lived for YEARS.
Recently on a Weekly Wine Down, Leah and I discussed inserting elements into your busy recital prep days that bring you focus and joy. I mentioned that listening to audio books does just that for me! Do yourself a favor and snag an Amazon Audible membership. You’ll receive one book credit per month with your subscription. It’s a fabulous deal as all new releases are credit-eligible! I listen to books in traffic, while I’m folding laundry, while I’m resting and when I’m doing busy work! Love a good story!
So, I offer this book to you as a slice of sanity. This will change your perception of your students, for sure. Ever find yourself trying pointless, useless tactics to get your students to behave or understand you? As educators, we need to be informed on what our students’ brains are experiencing as they develop. I’m still in the middle of this one so I can’t speak to it’s entirety, but so far I think it’s a great read that will make me a better teacher ultimately.
Shocker. 3 of my 9 suggestions are book related. I promise we’ll move on after this one! “The Road Back to You” is all about the Enneagram. This is a wildly fascinating personality system that helps one understand their motivations. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed diving into this topic over the past several months, and you better believe that most of my family trip this summer will be spent analyzing each other through the lens of the Enneagram. My sisters are obsessed already. Mom, you’re next.
This stuff is concrete in a can, I swear. I’ve been using this exact brand since my pageant days. (Don’t be tempted to fall down a google rabbit hole… Just trust me. I lived, ate and breathed Miss Georgia and Miss America for a decade straight, back in the day. Good times were had by all.)
I don’t know about you, but I sweat big time during recital shows. We’re running around, lifting props, setting up, tearing down, dancing in the wings, shaking hands, kissing babies, taking countless photos, smiling, chatting up the room, basically running a marathon. I.don’t.have.time. for my hair to be falling and looking a hot mess. Because we perform with our smallest dancers on-stage in our class-demonstration model, I wear my hair in buns on show day. This stuff keeps me looking the same way after shows from when I left the house at 8am. You need it, just buy it.
I just went on a trip to Maine with my husband this past weekend for a little getaway before my weekend schedule gets crazy. I’ve been hearing about this travel pillow on Instagram for quite some time now. I decided, “what the heck?” and gave it a go! Guess what! I slept on a plane for the first time IN MY LIFE. I’m into it, y’all. I could see this being so helpful during show season. Have a break between rehearsals? Run out to your car and grab a little cat nap. Have an hour between shows, find a cozy spot in a quiet dressing room. I’m convinced that sleep and water are our only hope in surviving until June. And wine. Lots of wine.
Keep those allergies at bay! Ain’t nobody got time to get sick.
Reference back to my statement in #6. SLEEP, PEOPLE. You need it. This over-the-counter sleep aid is just the trick to help my stressed brain relax. According to the label, it’s non-habit forming, so I say go for it!
As I mentioned, our shows are run as a demo of an actual class. Our students stay on-stage the entire 20-25 minute show, and our instructors put on a show for each of their classes. (We’re an on-site dance company! If you haven’t checked out our sister company Studio Go yet, visit our website HERE!) All of that to say, our teachers need dependable sound systems that are portable and get the job DONE. After I had one “die” on me during the school year, I found this one on Amazon and have LOVED it. The sound quality is amazing! The best part is that this thing is waterproof, so that means listening to that audiobook or my favorite playlist in the shower at the end of long, exhausting show days. Do yourself a favor and treat yoself!!!
I hope something in here brings you a bit more peace, health, knowledge, rest, or practical help otherwise! Comment below with Amazon finds that you can’t live without!
— Cheers! Lauren
(P.S. Studio To Go is an Amazon Affiliate, which means we may be financially compensated for sales.)
Let’s get real. Let’s get personal here. By now you know that Lauren and I are pretty straightforward people and like to tell it like it is. So, in that spirit, I want to talk about my why. It’s these people .👇🏼 I love them. Can we talk about how cute they are? I’m so lucky to call them mine.
There are lots of sacrifices we make as business owners, right? There are lots of sacrifices all dance teachers make as well. I see you, too. The truth is I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family for my business. I am all about building a thriving business, but my family comes first every single time. I often get asked why I didn’t open a traditional studio, or if I have plans to in the future. The truth is I don’t have plans to, and I never have. I deeply, deeply respect all you hard-working women (and men) who are out there doing the dang thing. But, for me, it just isn’t what I want for MY life and family.
Why? Well, the sacrifices are clear. Late nights, long weekends, and lots of time away from my family. That’s the nature of the beast. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I think, “Gosh, it would be nice to have a space to walk into and call my own.” Or, “Man, I do miss working with older/more-talented dancers”. However, none of these fleeting whims could ever compete with how much I would miss out on if I did own a physical studio.
I am present. I am at the Valentine’s Party for my son, I am cooking dinner and drinking wine with my husband in the evenings, I am there to put my kids to bed each night (complete with bubble baths and story time), and I am there when a girlfriend asks about dinner on on a random Tuesday night. As a matter of fact, my husband and I are going to a concert 2 weeks from today, on a random Wednesday night. Woot! Woot!
None of these things would be possible if I had gone the traditional studio route. Owning an on-site dance studio has afforded me so much freedom. You know what else I really love to do? Travel. In the last 8 months of 2018 I was able to travel to 4 countries with my family. In 2018 I had 10 weeks of paid vacation time. That time off would have been hard with a traditional studio, and it is something that I cherish so much. My 2.5 year old talks about taking a train to Brussels on a daily basis. I wouldn’t trade the memories we’re making for anything, nor would I want him to not be able to experience different cultures and places. Fun side note: thanks to points from my business credit card, all of these international plane tickets were free. That’s right, my business also helps my family travel. If you want pointers on how to make this happen, email me. I’m glad to give you my tips and tricks!
The second reason I chose this route is I have an entrepreneurial spirit. This business model makes more money. Period. And who doesn’t want more money in their pocket? Sure, I love what I do, but this is a business…I am doing it to make a living. I have bills to pay, mouths to feed , and a whole world to see. Which brings me back to my why. I have more money to be able to do more things with my family.
I’m on maternity leave, which many studio owners aren’t able to take. Yes, I am still working some, but it’s a choice, and not something I do everyday. As I type this, I have a sleeping baby on my chest. I just got back from eating lunch with my 2.5 year-old because he ran into my office (with no pants on…I mean, would any of us wear pants if it were acceptable not to? 😂) and crawled all over me. So I took a break. The fact that I have a home office and can work from the comfort of my home and have help with my child so I can work when needed, but take him to the park when I want to is a beautiful thing. I can’t imagine living life any other way.
This is my journey and these people are my why. For some of you not owning a studio might be a non-negotiable, and that is awesome. For others, you might feel just like I do. Whatever your journey, let it be authentic, be present, and do it big! If you feel like this spoke to you and you would like to learn more about this on-site dance business model, I encourage you to look into our Beyond the Studio course where we will share all of our tips and tricks. It’s like a course and a coaching program had a baby! I’d love to share my tips and tricks with you and help you have more time with your family…and more money in your pocket.
I love sharing our content and tips with you guys. Thank you for being a part of our little corner of the internet!
Are you looking to show the dance teacher in your life (hey, that could be you!) a little love this holiday season? We’ve whipped up a few of our favorite things (watch out, Oprah!) to share with you. Drumroll, please!
1. Vine Oh!
Okay, you guys! Seriously. This is a wine subscription that also includes pampering items, such as snacks, accessories, makeup, etc. What more could a gal ask for?
2. Footnanny Travel Set
We ALL know it. Dancers don’t have the prettiest feet. It doesn’t matter because our feet can do wonderful, beautiful things. But, that does mean that our feet could use a little extra TLC. The Footnanny Travel Set is the perfect way to treat yo’ self… I mean, your favorite dance teacher, this holiday season!
3. USB Tassle Keychain
I LOVE Mark & Graham! It’s my go-to place for gifts for others and myself. This particular gift is great for the busy dance teacher. It is a cute and stylish key-chain that can go on your keys, purse, dance bag, etc. It can actually charge your iPhone too. How clever is that? Never get stuck with a dying phone again. AND, it comes with free monogramming! Yes, please.
4. Our Signature Prosecco + Pliés™ Top
We’ve yet to meet someone who owns one of these bad boys who doesn’t love it. Offered in both a dolman long-sleeved option ($34.99) and a tank ($24.99). Be the envy of all the adult dance professionals that you meet this holiday season.
5. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!
Okay, this is our pricey item. You probably should really like this dance teacher. Like, maybe a spouse, partner, or yourself. We’ve selected the Breville Barista Express. As far as espresso machines go, it’s still on the lower end of the price range, but it does get great reviews. What dance teacher doesn’t need more coffee?
6. 2019 Planner
If you’re busy, a planner can keep your “ish” together. I’ve searched long and far for a planner that does it all… And, I *think* that I may have finally found it. Sorry, all you Erin Condren lovers. Her planner falls short for my lifestyle. I have selected the Day Designer for 2019. What do I love about it? You’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of prioritizing our days (Join us in our Beyond the Studio Course and we’ll teach you a lot more about it), and this calendar does just that. It has specific time sections which allow you to time block your day. Hallelujah! It also gives you a section to put your top 3 tasks of the day, to-do’s, notes, an inspirational quote, and a gratitude section. You’ve probably also heard me ramble on about gratitude journaling. I usually have 3 journals: one for a planner, one for gratitude, and one for notes. I am thinking that 2019 might be the year I can only lug around one! What?!? Is this real life? Being reasonably priced (compared to competitors) is an added bonus.
7. Personalized Wine Glass
We couldn’t NOT put this on the list. “I wine because the parents whine.” Enough said.
8. Handmade Leather Earrings
We love these! In fact, we love them so much that we chose to stock these and sell them on our website. They are handmade and gorgeous. I get tons of compliments whenever I wear them. They compliment any outfit. The dance teacher in your life is sure to love them!
9. Bathtub Tray
At the end of the day, dancers can soak those sore muscles and let the worries of the day fade away. How often do we tell each other, “take more time to pamper yourself”? Well, instead of saying that, give the dance teacher in your life the tools to do so. I chose this particular tray because it comes complete with all you need: slots for an iPad or book, wine glass, candle, snacks, phone (please unplug and don’t use that function), soap, etc. There’s nothing this tray can’t do. There are some more beautiful ones on Etsy, but this one wins in the functionality and price department!
10. Non-Spill Wine Glass
Is that a thing? Why yes it is. Rejoice! We all know dancers can be clumsy. You’ll never have to worry about crying over spilled red wine again!
11. Korean Facial Sheet Masks
Here’s the best kept secret of Korean skincare! Facial sheet masks moisturize your skin and leave it firmer. There are tons to choose from, but this particular one has vitamin E and Collagen that go to work on numerous skin problems. See instant results!
12. Girl, Wash Your Face!
This is for the lady in your life who loves to read and could use a little reminder that she is perfect just the way she is. We recently read this for our sister company’s Book Club. It is such an uplifting book and she’ll have you laughing out loud at her totally relatable life.
There it is! Our favorite gifts of 2018. I’m sure there’s something on the list for your favorite dance educator. Treat someone else, or treat yourself. Happiest of Holidays from us to you!
*** Please note that some of the links are affiliate links. There is nothing extra on your end, but we may receive a commission if you choose to buy a product. We only support products that we believe in and love! ***
Recently, an online follower wrote in to express the need for tips on picking yourself up when feeling down about your business. Girl, we’ve got your back! We have been there before, and we see you. All of you dance studio owners, on-site dance owners/directors, contracted instructors, and anyone in between, you are not alone.
Both of us have had to “pick the other one up” from time to time, so we happen to have a few tricks up our sleeves!
Let’s get to it!
1. Some words of wisdom.
You know, they say that Israel’s King Solomon was a wise guy. We’d definitely say he got it right with this phrase.
Impermanence is the nature of life. NOTHING (good or bad) is here forever. Work, wealth, people, happiness, sadness, abundance, scarcity, and even health are never permanently guaranteed. As Tracy Lawrence says in a 90’s country song, “The only thing that stays the same is everything changes, everything changes!”
This should bring us comfort in the rough times and gratitude in the easy ones. We suggest looking at whatever it is that’s dragging you down now as the construction site for the bountiful reward of tomorrow. In our opinion, it if weren’t for the rough patches in our careers or work-flows that have happened in the past, we would not fully appreciate the moments of success in the present or future!
2. Write it down.
Take time to write down both your frustrations and your thoughts of gratefulness. If you don’t have a simple journal, we suggest snagging this one by clicking HERE.
There is something magical that goes on in the brain when we physically write out our emotions. We’re not psychologists around here, so we’re gonna just leave it right there, we promise you… It’s true!
If you find yourself in a rut when it comes to your business in particular, we suggest writing out the top 3 things that are bugging you in a small, fine print. Immediately under that, include the top 5 things (in your business or life in general) that you’re most grateful for today. Try writing those in a larger, bolder print. Take time to meditate, consider, or pray over these lists. You’ll be surprised at the clarity and peace that comes with simply putting those struggles AND rewards side by side. Who knows? Maybe a step of action to alleviate the issue will come to you during this quiet time!
After several days or weeks of this practice, you’ll start to notice feeling a little more “in control” of the stressors in your life, and you’ll be practicing regular thankfulness. Even if the circumstances don’t change, you’ll have changed and that’s all we can control in life right?
3. Ask for back-up.
This one is super simple. Absolutely no one can do life alone. Whether you have an office assistant, best friend, business partner, life partner or lead instructor who just “gets” you, everyone needs back-up. Reinforcements are part of each and every complex military system, successful business structure, strong medical facility, or any other elaborate organization. They’re essential.
Call in someone whether you need a quick vent session, a shoulder to cry, or a person to carry a piece of the burden (even if it’s small). People need people. We were designed to be herd animals. It sounds silly, but it’s true. Look it up, y’all!
Note: We do suggest limiting how much stress you topple on your life partner, though. More on that below. 😉
4. Monitor the $#*+ you bring home.
Excuse our bluntness. But, this is real life. Your partner chose you not based off your work, but based off… well, YOU.
For both of us, this probably falls into one of our greatest struggles. Separating home and work may always be tough! However, it is possible to strike a balance. That balance may shift as times change, and you may have to re-direct your course a bit, but it is possible! We share a ton of our professional details, frustrations, and stress with our husbands, but we’ve both been in situations where we know we’ve brought too much work home!
Your home should be a safe haven. Yes, you need to be heard and understood by your partner. Just take stock of the mood in the room the next time you divulge work grievances at home. Do you need to limit that amount of times you bring it up each week? Do you need to simply limit of the length of time y’all spend on the topic? Are you continually spending your entire nightly meal talking about this one arena of your life? Do you need to monitor how worked up you get when the subject arises? These are all questions to ask yourself, especially if you KNOW you’re in a specifically stressful professional circumstance right now!
5. Re-charge your battery.
We’re all just like our cell phones. Not only do they require a charger every single night (and some during the day), but every now and then they need a full system re-boot. Every time my phone (Lauren) needs to simply be switched off for a bit or when it requires a software update, I get frustrated for dayyyyys. It never fails. I spend upwards of a week staring at my screen, silently cursing at it, and getting worked up over an extremely simple fix. Just turn the poor thing off for a while and walk away!
Our bodies and minds are the same way. Take a minute to think of one or two things that always bring you immeasurable joy, right this minute. If it’s singing at the top of your lungs to music from your high school days, open up Spotify and let her rip. Do you LOVE getting your nails done? Make the appointment for some time this week. Is there a book or movie that resets your brain? Schedule 20 minutes each night this week to soak it in. Does exercise re-calibrate your mindset? Make it happen!
6. Blocking your day.
Here’s a bit of practical advice to actually tackle whatever issue is happening at work. Block out your day!
Write down every bit of “free” time that you have during business hours today. Walk away from that and start a separate list of each task that is before you this week. Prioritize which tasks are most time-sensitive. Go back to that hourly break-down of your day and realistically plug in the most critical actions of the day. Don’t short-change yourself on time! If you know that a task takes at least 25 minutes, give yourself 30. Be wise and kind to yourself!
Reward yourself along the way with your micro-wins! Indulge in that second cup of coffee, take a few minutes to scroll Instragram, or any other small treats that will keep you motivated throughout your day.
Friends, you are not alone! We are rooting for you, and we know you’ll conquer your frustrations if you keep your head up.
Comment below or email us (email@example.com) with your victories!
We love doling out advice. 😉 Let us know how we can be your back-up!
Lauren + Leah
I love sharing little tricks that help me do my job better, keep me sane and make my life easier. I’m so excited to let you in on several Amazon finds that are my favorites right now!
Fun Fact: I’m known as the “deal finder” in my circle of family and friends. Is a coupon available online? Can I buy that in bulk and get a better price? You heard of a “diamond-in-the-rough” store that has crazy steals? Sign.a.sister.up.
All of the items below are less than $22!
I’ve really been trying to get better about drinking more water lately. Typically you can tell what time of day it is based off which cup I’m holding – a coffee mug or a wine glass. 😉
Here’s a water bottle that helps you keep track with where you should be throughout the day in regard to your water intake. Let me add this one to my own cart real quick! 😉 #takeyourownadvicefool
You may already be on the face mask train. If so, good for you! One of my closest friends Sallie recently told me that she’s making it a priority to do a face mask and have “me time” every Sunday night. While neither of us can make it happen 100% of the time, I think she’s wise in her goal.
Why not take care of yourself for 15-20 minutes each week? There are a ton of affordable masks out there, but here’s one that I’ve tried and love.
#3: Hair Emergency Kit
Guys, I don’t wash my hair every day. Not even every other day. Ok. (Mom, close your eyes.) Not even every 3-4 days.
If you’re still washing your hair every day either A- you have incredible magical hair or B- you’re not up-to-speed on the latest findings about the chemistry of human hair.
I’ll let you do your own research and decide what’s best for you, but I can tell you with full certainty that my hair is much healthier without constantly striping it of nutrients and natural oils. I have several tricks, but the 2 biggest ones are dry shampoo and cute hats.
Here’s the dry shampoo I’m loving right now. I prefer the “Beach Babe Texturizing” version in the blue can, but I promise you’ll love either one!
I own felt hats similar to this one in about 3 different colors. I wear them out! This one is available in several different colors. My personal favs are the vintage red, beige and black. Hint: They go with evvvverything!
(I’m proud to say that I get my hat skills from the ultimate hat guru, my sister Whitney. Lu ya!)
I am not lying to you when I tell you that I’ve had this book on pre-order since like March. Kate Morton is my absolute favorite author (other than J.K. Rowling of course #truefangirl). If you’re into historical fiction and sweeping novels that take you back in time, buy this book. Thank me later.
She plays with the concepts of time, place and home so beautifully. There are several story-lines going on at once, all in different eras. It’s breathtaking work, truly.
I can’t give you my full opinion on the story just yet. I’m seriously having to pace myself so that I don’t gobble it up in one sitting. Oh how long will I have to wait again for one of her books?! Welcome to my nightly (and weekend) getaway!
I know some of you out there are probably picky about the cleaning products you use in your household. Please for one second, let me tempt you to give this unicorn sorcery a try. Fabuloso is probably what heaven smells like. I’ve caught myself adding it to our shopping list a good bit recently, so last week I bought the motherload from Amazon. I’m flippin’ pumped.
How nice would it be to hop in your shower after a long day and enjoy an audio book, your favorite podcast or a lovely playlist of songs perfectly matching your current mood? Let me tell you… It’s amazing!
After working with little ones, sometimes I just need to hear adult conversation. My audio books are my saving grace some days.
(My sister Courtney has one of these for each of her kiddos. Sounds a little nightmarish, slash super convenient. No matter where they go, they’re a partay!)
#7: Christmastime is riggggght around the corner…
I know it’s early, y’all. But, the temp in the mornings dropped to the 60’s this week and all my fellow Georgians are rejoicing. While it might be up to 81F right this second, in my head it’s December 24th.
With that said, why not get a head-start on your holiday shopping? I LOVE this personalized necklace from Amazon. I ordered one for my sister for Christmas last year with her step-sons’ names and her husband’s name engraved on it. She thought it was precious!
I hope you’ve found something that you just can’t live without. I’d love to hear your comments below. What’s saving you right now?
— Cheers! Lauren
(P.S. Studio To Go is an Amazon Affiliate, which means we may be financially compensated for sales.)
Have you ever felt down-in-the-dumps, depleted of energy, and lacking inspiration in your baby dance classes?
I can certainly say that I have been there from time to time! After-all, we teachers are human and it’s impossible to keep the pace of your classes at maximum level 24-7. (I would venture to say that your average civilian would be amazed that we do this day-in and day-out after spending just one hour with 13 three-year-olds. Let the record show: WE ARE FREAKIN’ ROCKSTARS.)
If you happen to be in one of the “lower“ moments of your personal professional roller-coaster ride, allow me to introduce you to a dance educator who is rocking my world on social media.
Little Lights Dance,
a studio in Australia, is owned and operated by Sonja Ebsary. Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, I feel like we would be BFFs were we not operating on opposite sides of the planet. Experiencing her Instagram feed gives me a glance into the way that she views preschool dance and let me tell you – it lifts my dance-teacher-spirits on the days when I am in a slump. She reminds me why I told my parents that I would be a ballet teacher when I was four-years-old after my very first
I think we could all use a small spark like Sonja that reignites our passion every now and then!
My favorite recent post from Sonja revolves around the class theme “Le Petit Cirque” in their classes. The props and costuming that they utilize in are amazing. These kids are never without reason to engage in their class. So much of what we do as dance instructors requires us to capture the imagination of our students and then maintain it for the entirety
of our lesson. I often wonder what Little Lights’ props inventory must look like!
But, I bet if we had the chance to “pick her brain” she would probably say that she reuses and recycles her materials from theme to theme. These people seriously speak to my crafting inner goddess, y’all! Hobby Lobby people, unite!
(SIDE-NOTE: My Family and friends know how obsessed I am with John Crist. 👆🏼 He’s hysterical!!!!!)
While we’re on the Sonja train, she just posted the following quote:
“Create what you want to see in the world.”
If that doesn’t prove my point, I don’t know what will. >>>>>> So, what do I want to see in the world?
I want to see people being more kind to each other.
That was easy. Now, you may be thinking, “what in the world does this have to do with preschool dance?” It has everything to do with it, my friend! Asking myself this question realigns me with my bigger purpose, especially as it pertains to my job. It refuels me to continue creating preschool dance content that revolves around character development. Our Concierge members (monthly subscribers) received their October content on Monday. Put simply, we’re focusing on perseverance this coming month.
🎃 “Fall Into Dance: Learning Perseverance and Determination!” 🎃
Our clients will be instilling these traits in baby ballerinas all over the world for the next several weeks. THAT reignites my fire to keep going! So thank you, Little Lights Dance. I’m refueled and ready to go!
What are you putting into your mind based on what you’re consuming in social media? Are you following dance educators who constantly complain? Or, are you following other masters of this craft that ignite flames of excitement and energy for you? I urge you to consider using your fancy “unfollow” button if need be!
Be sure to follow Little Lights Dance by clicking HERE.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired by a whimsical idea that invigorates your approach to preschool dance!