Today I am so excited to share some thoughts from the bright ball of sunshine that is Miss Shelby Elsbree.  In perfect sync with Tchaikovsky’s return to the studios and the migration of cloves towards the front of my spice rack, the ever charming Boston Ballet dancer muses on spreading joy- both to yourself and to others- throughout the holiday season.

There are so many opportunities to seek it throughout our long days…shorter now with a shy winter sun. In the dance world, most of us are preparing to dive head first into our annual Nutcracker marathons, a sugar-coated race to New Years Eve during which Tchaikovsky melodies float endlessly in and out of our minds and bodies. The thing that I hold onto each December, the thing that re-energizes my soul and ignites my daily motivation is that solitary concept of spreading joy. The holiday season is so much about generosity.. giving of your time, your resources, your gifts, your love…all in the name of sharing happiness. This is what each performance of the yuletide classic gives us the opportunity to do. 
The luxury of happiness lies in the reality that it can manifest itself in so many different ways, unique to your own pleasures and pursuits. Perhaps your morning playlist puts the pep in your step, an afternoon coffee with a good friend, or phone call to your family…The light of a new day, the nourishment of a lovely meal, the pairing of a great wine/cheese…the most excited greeting home from your new puppy (…his name is Oliver :)
The thing about happiness is that it remains a choice we have to make – the old adage we’ve heard many a time could not ring truer this time of year, when summer sun is long gone and chilly days stake their claim. We can decide to harness positive energy, to share/spread light wherever our days might take us, to fixate on the good things (which inevitably sheds a healthier light on the not so good things). We can find moments in our day, or cadences in our conversation that not only strengthen our own perspective, but that inspire the motives of those we speak to as well…this forms a generous cycle of perpetuated happiness! 
This past season I’ve been contemplating the idea of meditation. The thought of finding silent moments to receive stillness, to allow thoughts to flow freely in and out of my conscious, to sink into the present, to find happiness…To be honest, I’ve never been one to indulge this discipline successfully — until that is, I realized my meditation comes in a different form than a cross-legged posture. Nearly every morning, dancers all over the world start their day with a class. A gentle barre to warm up the bones, to encourage the body, followed by a more liberating center. This, I realized, is how and when I set the pace of my day. 
Be it a more successful start (physically/mentally), or a day I feel faced with challenges, I strive to see the light in my steps, my words, my thoughts…Not every day is going to be perfect needless to say, but it will offer the choice to seek and share the one thing we all hope to find at the start, middle and end of each day, each week, month, year, season…a daily decision, a hopeful, contagious, incandescent choice to be happy. 


For more from Shelby, check out peeks of her life as a ballet dancer/experimental chef/budding photographer on her inspiring blog, Tutus & Tea.  Thank you Shelby!



Sometimes life can get you down.  When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you burn your toast, you’re stuck at work all day, and (in my case) your technique shoes are jamming your toenails so far into the tips of your toes that a simple tendu to the back brings tears to your eyes.  But, being a firm believer in the theory that you make your own happiness, I find on these days it’s best to remember the simple joys in life.  Inspired by Jill’s post and my OCD love of list-making, I’ve compiled some of life’s little moments that make me all warm and fuzzy inside…

1. Vacations.

2. Waking up slowly.

3. Free food.

4. People that look like their dogs.

5. Falling asleep in the sun.

6. That moment during take off where the plane finally lifts up off the ground.

7. Velvety triple pirouettes.

8. Crisp grapes.

9. Testing out new restaurants.

10. Freshly-shaven legs.

11. Pretty sunsets.

12. Giving gifts.

13. The smell of onions browning on the stove.

14. Vanilla chai teas.

15. Red lipstick.

16. Halloween decorations.

17. The smell of my hair after being in the salon for 3 hours.

18. Noticing something I like about someone, and actually telling them.

19. Holidays spent with family.

20. Being in love.

I’d love to know, what makes you happy?

love will take you there

You know when you’re on layoff for a week and the holiday being celebrated revolves around food (and shopping?) and your sprained back is killing you and the air outside is too chilly to even fathom leaving your heating pad and warm blanket on the couch for toomanytomention consecutive hours…and it’s exactly what you needed?  Well, welcome to my life as of recently.  The only thing keeping me from feeling like a useless blobazoid of a human is happiness.  That’s right I said it.  I am a big puddle of happy, despite my inexorable food baby, my dwindling bank account and my sore spine.  I know some people say you chose to be happy, or you make your own happiness, but for me, sometimes it just comes out of no where and totally catches me off guard.  Maybe it’s just because the most wonderful time of the year is swiftly approaching…maybe it’s being surrounded by so many people I love…maybe it’s just the fact that I managed to paint my own nails without totally smudging them yesterday.  But whatever the reason his heart or his shoes I am facing the day with a big goofy grin and an optimistic spirit.

What’s making you smile today?


little A.

Yesterday I held my first niece for the first time during her first hour of life.  How would I describe that experience?  Wonderful, enlightening, calming, terrifying, freeing, fantastic, strange, exciting, breath taking, astonishing, beautiful, crazy, unbelievable and above all things- indescribable.  So I guess I’ll just leave it at that.