I have always wanted to learn and perform the Thriller Routine from Michael Jackson’s original Thriller music video, but never found the people willing enough to embrace my crazy ideas… until last year.

How it Began

It was coming up on the beginning of September of 2018. We were planning to put together a West Coast Swing routine to perform at Swing City Chicago, but no one was excited about it. I voiced my idea that we could just nix the West Coast Swing routine and dance Thriller instead. I got a bunch of laughter and “wouldn’t that be fun?” responses until everyone realized I was serious.

Some concerns were voiced. The routine is a beast! Everyone was worried about remembering it. We were all worried about how we would look. But, who cares about being perfect when you’re embodying the walking dead?

To my pleasant surprise, an amazing group of dancers showed up to learn and perform Thriller with me.

The Performance

Now we don’t go half way here at Heart & Sole Dance, so I told everyone early on that we would be dressing as zombies and be in character from walking on the dance floor to leaving.

There were many concerns with being on time, remembering the routine, and “looking good.” Our response to those concerns was to reassure ourselves that we were zombies and in no way should we be perfect.

The result was my favorite routine we have ever danced as a group. We had A BLAST and it was a total success. The hardest part of the experience was holding back my laughter while being a zombie as the whole experience was so hilarious.

Check out one of the videos taken HERE.

What’s Next?

If you have ever wanted to experience what a performance team is like, check out our upcoming Ghostbusters Team! We are taking 8 weeks to learn a Ghostbusters West Coast Swing routine. Come every Wednesday starting September 4th, 2019 for new patterns, familiar footwork, a bit of a workout (because Kat’s a drill sergeant and her favorite word is “again”), laughter, and a whole lot of fun!

– Kat Warner

Dance   ,

You start something new (like learning to dance) and it’s exciting and easy to do the first few times. You’re motivated with the flush of newness! Soon thereafter, comes the realization that this new thing takes effort. You realize that if you are going to do it remotely well, you’ll need to put in some work.

This is when motivation becomes a challenge. So what to do?  How/where do you find your motivation?

According to best selling author and habits researcher, James Clear, science has proven that we stay most motivated when we work on tasks of “just manageable difficulty.”

not too easy, not too hard, but just right

He calls it the ‘Goldilocks Rule’, not too easy, not too hard, but just right – something right at the edge of one’s current abilities. Sure, we love a challenge, but only if it is within that optimal zone of difficulty.

If, after a few dance lessons, you decided to compete and your first dance competition was agains people that had never taken a lesson you would quickly lose interest. It’s would be too easy.  You’d win each round.  On the other hand, if you stepped into the professional division competing agains people like Derek Hough or Maks Chmerkovskiy, you would likely lose your motivation quickly since you would not stand a chance at winning.

However, if you were competing against others with approximately the same amount of training, you’d stay motivated.  Competitions would be close and you’d see your progress.

measure what matters

The second piece of the puzzle, according to Clear, is to measure your progress.  This pertains not only to seeing immediate, external results, like winning a competitions.  It’s also essential to measure your on-going, practice results.

As with anything, as you get better so do those around you, so it can be disheartening if you lose to someone when you feel you’ve made a lot of progress.  Keeping a practice journal helps mitigate those feelings and keep motivation high.

If you were a hockey player working on shooting the puck, you might get discouraged from continuing your diligent practice if you were not able to score any point on a particular goalie.  However, if you were tracking your progress in practice, you would see that your shots were getting more accurate and you’d know that if you continued your practice, it would only be a matter of time before you’d be able to score on that goalie.

motivational secret sauce

So, what’s the secret sauce to staying motivated? After all, wanting to improve your life is easy. Sticking with it is a different story.

James Clear put it this way, “If you want to stay motivated for good, then start with a challenge that is just manageable, measure your progress, and repeat the process.

Competitors, Dance, Life Well Lived   , , ,

By Shawna Schofield

Space… the final frontier. For centuries humanity has looked to the stars in awe at their seemingly immortal beauty. We imagine our ancestors, or our lost loved ones, living amongst those glistening embers, looking down at us with tranquil majesty. We even compare the love we have for our partners to the endless expanse of twinkling vastness. Space exists all around us; our planet twirls and spins within it, circling the closest star that gives us life. There is so much inspiration to draw from the heavens…

Sounds almost romantically poetic… does it not?

Celestial themed weddings are in right now, and it’s not hard to imagine way. Space, in all of its primordial splendor, has always possessed a mysterious romantic attraction for us as a species. We dream of what secrets lie in the heavens, and create our own special meanings in the place of those yet solved. Space can also serve as metaphor for the love we experience in our lives. “My love for you is as vast as the magnificence of the universe.” or “I love you to the moon and back.” The celestial expanse provides us with unlimited inspiration when it comes to expressing out innermost feelings of love.

Celestial Dresses

When it comes to picking out the perfect color scheme to capture the galactic aesthetic you can draw inspiration from the breathtaking imagines that have been captured in space. Black interwoven with rich navy blues, or purples; contrasted by bright silver beading ,or sequencing, can give the illusion of stars twinkling against the darkened sky. However, dark colors are not the only option provided by the heavens; swirling pinks, reds, greens, and blues are plentifully found between the stars. You could go all out and have a full galaxy dress tailor made, or you could add modifications that capture these combinations to a dress you’ve already chosen.

If you want to keep the tradition of the white wedding dress, you could opt for a white gown inlaid with gold stars; either throughout, or specifically clustered around the waist or bodice.

Star motifs are some of the most popular; however, constellation prints are also gaining traction when it comes to wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. The sky really is the limit when it comes to designing the perfect dresses for your celestial themed wedding.

For a bouquet you could incorporate blue orchids with smaller white florals. That contrast will cause the extraordinary color of the orchids to really pop. Blue orchids can also be used as a center piece decoration during the reception.

Blue Orchid Bouquet via Pinterest

My Moon and My Stars

Some couples opt for a  purely moon and stars theme, and focusing on this duo can definitely help you narrow down your focus when looking for decorations, colors, and inspiration. “You are my moon and all my stars.”, a popular line from the poet E. E. Cummings, is one of numerous romantic sayings that you could take advantage of. Sayings like that can be used in decorations or printed on the invitions.

The use of fairy lights, glow in the dark paints and stars, in addition to projection screens, or hanging decorations, can create a beautiful out of this world atmosphere. While low lights don’t have to be consistently used throughout the entirety of the ceremony or reception, the dimness can make for a particularly romantic and sensual setting.

Truly, when it comes to decorating, the options are as far reaching as the universe itself. You can opt to keep things simple, or you can go all out. There isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it; your wedding, your rules!

What To Serve?

Adding themed food into the mix is yet another facet to this dazzling theme choice. Galaxy colored treats, especially sweet treats, really shine when put out on display.

What you serve as a main course isn’t dependent on this theme. Though you can use it as inspiration, if you wish for a specific plating of dishes, but truly you can serve anything you want. If you are looking for more food guidance, consider the season your wedding is taking place during and go from there. We currently have winter, spring, and summer wedding guides released, which offer some advice on menu assortments as they fit with the seasons, along with many other seasonal trends!

Keeping with the theme, colorful macaroons, candies, and even dipped strawberries are fantastic ideas to capture the mood. That’s not to mention the wedding cake design, with which you can really get creative.

Not only do these desserts look amazing and unique, but they are relatively easy to create or set up. That means you shouldn’t have a difficult time tracking down a bakery or chef that can cater to this theme.

The Universe of Love

Deciding to go with a celestial theme for your wedding opens you up to a lot of possibilities. From full blown galactic inspired colors, lights, decor, and food, to simple moon and star motifs; you are able to do as little or as much as you like. The options are truly as limitless as the stars in the sky.

As this style catches on more and more for modern weddings, it is certainly something worth considering if you want a one of a kind, unforgettable day.

The universe represents a limitless expanse. It is all around us. It encompasses all life that we know, and within it we we find purpose. A similar thing can be said of love. The love for the one we’ve chosen to spend our lives with. It is all encompassing, deep, and endless. Within this love we find a new purpose in our lives, and a reason to begin a brand new adventure.

Let us know what you think, and if you would consider this theme for your wedding!

Inspiration, Uncategorized, Wedding, Wedding Themes   , , , , , ,

They say we know more about outer space than we do our own oceans. There is an air of mysticism surrounding the cerulean depths; even though they span seventy percent of our planet. It is for this reason the ocean has become a symbol of mystery, majesty, and romance.

Previously I wrote about the growing trend of celestial themed weddings; however, this time around I will be focusing on yet another trend; underwater weddings. Now, the wedding is not actually underwater mind you, but the decor ties into the sea and uses an aquatic colour scheme.

Wedding Dress and Decor Colours

When it comes to coordinating colour for a wedding based around the sea, there is an immeasurable amount of hues and shades that you can incorporate. Blues, greens, and crisp white to beige palettes can help bring the feel of the ocean to you.  

Darker colours contrasted by sharp whites channel the striking nature of a crashing waves, while lighter teals and rich blues give a sense of calm lagoons, or tranquil waters.

While a traditional white gown would work for an undersea wedding, those emboldened with a desire for uniqueness may find sequined mermaid style dresses are a sure fire way to turn heads.   

Not only is the fit of the dress flattering, but as the name suggests, it is the perfect style of this type of wedding. Additionally, the sequins dazzle and reflect in a way that is reminiscent of the sea itself.

The groom can take advantage of suits in darker navy shades. However, classic black, or even blue, is applicable as well. If he is feeling particularly bold, teal suits are a fantastic option that will enable him to stand out even more!

The Bouquet

When it comes to what type of bouquet you’ll carry down the aisle, I have found that calla lilies work well with an ocean theme. Silk turquoise lilies mixed with the natural white play off a sea foam palette, and can be both sophisticated and unique. Additionally, adding seashells to the bouquet can create a one of a kind distinct look.

The flowers can also be used to create unmistakable center pieces at your reception hall. They can also be woven into an arbor, if you’re planning on having one at your wedding ceremony.

The silk turquoise calla lilies have the added bonus of being resistant to damage and wilting, while also looking remarkably realistic. This makes them perfect for beach weddings, where things like wind, direct sunlight, or salt spray can cause degradation.

Venue and Decor

While flowers can play a large part in wedding decor, there are many design options available for an under sea theme. Consider a time setting, punctuated by blue lights. This can give guests a feeling of being comfortably below the waves. For a truly aquatic adventure look into local aquariums, or aquariums in the area you’re planning on tying the knot. Many of these locations will ofter wedding packages that allow you to take your wedding to the next level.

Aquariums not only offer a unique place to say “I do”, but the opportunity for breathtaking and unforgettable memories. They are a great alternative if a beach wedding isn’t for you, or if you’re wedding is taking place during colder months. For example, the Shedd aquarium in Chicago offers couples a way to capture that undersea feeling, even when temps in the city are well below zero.

Locations across the U.S. and abroad exist to cater to this theme. Though the trend is catching on, booking an aquarium venue shouldn’t be too much of a headache as many couples over look it as a possibility. This means you won’t have to worry too much about beating other couples to the punch.

What To Serve?

Sticking to the theme of the wedding, seafood is an obvious choice when it comes to cuisine. Shrimp, scallops, crab, fish, and lobster, can be used in countless dishes, with thousands of flavor combinations. Of course you can always serve beef, chicken, or pork if you prefer. A surf and turf buffet style is always an option as well, especially since not all guests may enjoy seafood.

There are so many combinations and styles of seafood, you are sure to find something you’ll love.

What To Remember

Whether you love the sea, or you’re just looking for a unique wedding theme, you have a lot of creative freedom. Playing around with the colors, and decor options allows you to create an unforgettable atmosphere.

This wedding theme is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd, and take your breath away. With all the options and combinations of an underwater theme, the possibilities are truly as vast as the seven seas.

Let us know what you think, and if you would consider this theme for your wedding!

Inspiration, Wedding, Wedding Themes   , , , , ,

Planning your wedding can be not so organized chaos if you don’t have a system in place to keep track of everything. To help you out here is a check list of everything you need to be able to keep everything in order right up until your big day. 

16 to 12 months 

  • Create a wedding binder where you can compile all of your inspiration and wedding information. This helps you stay organized, and keeps all your ideas in one place so you can find all you inspiration easily. 
  • Figure out what your budget is; how much you want to spend, and how much you feasibly can spend. You can also keep this information in your binder, along with tracking of who is spending how much and on what. This way no one goes over their limits and everything is easy to find.
  • Choose your wedding party. As soon as you say “Yes” everyone is going to be wondering who is on the list. It’s best not to keep your entourage in suspense for too long. 
  • Hire a wedding planner to help you manage everything. (Optional, but they can give you valuable insight, and help manage everything.)
  • Start brainstorming a guest list. Do you want a small intimate gathering, or are you planning on inviting all your family and friends? Coming up with even a rough estimate in the early stages can help you put everything else together easier. 
  • Book your officiant. 
  • Research local venders near you too see who you think will be best suited to serve at your wedding. Get price ideas, options that they offer, and keep all the information in your binder so that you have it for easy reference. 
  • Throw an engagement party! (If you want.) 

11-10 months

  • Begin shopping for your dress. Starting early means you have time to look at loads of different options without feeling pressured to make an instant decision. 
  • Start booking venders that are known to book up quickly. This includes the photographer, videographer, band or DJ. Photographers in particular are in high demand when it comes to weddings, securing one early is always a smart idea. 
  • Book hotel blocks if you need the space for guests. This will ensure that all out of town guests are accommodated, and you wont have to worry the closer you get to the ceremony. Hotels may also offer special deals on booking so don’t be afraid to shop around if you can and see your options.
  • Take care of your engagement photos.
  • Start looking at having custom made invitations created. Talk with a designer or calligrapher if you have something specific in mind. This will give the artist time to operate without a tight time frame.
  • Purchase your dress and begin making any needed alterations.  
  • Send your “Save the Date” cards to all invited guests. 
  • Register for gifts so that your guests can start shopping ahead of time. 
  • Begin bridesmaid dress shopping and fittings. Finding appropriate bridesmaid dresses can be almost as hard as the wedding dress itself. Adding in fittings to accommodate different body types, it’s best to start early. 
  • Meet with florists to see what each can do. This can help you narrow down which one you’d like to go with later on.
  • Launch your wedding website so guests can stay up to date! 

7-6 months 

  • Begin planning your honeymoon. This can be especially helpful if you’re planning on traveling to an in demand location. 
  • Meet with the officiant and make sure everything is covered. 
  • Reserve anything additional that you will need, such as additional seating, lighting, or outdoor accommodations. Depending on the venue you have in mind, make sure you know what they can provide, and what you’ll need to have on hand yourselves. 
  • Book the chosen florist.
  • Arrange transport for both you and any guests that require it. 
  • Brainstorm the general timeline that you will follow on the day of the wedding. At this stage it will be a rough estimate, but it can help you plot out what needs to happen and when. 
  • Hire musicians or DJ, depending on what type of music you wish to provide. 
  • Hire a lighting technician if you have lighting needs that are going to need a specialist. 

5-4 months

  • Book your honeymoon! 
  • Hire a caterer and take care of the final tasting of your chosen menu options.  
  • Buy or rent a tuxedo for the Groom. 
  • Choose your cake and make sure to specify any particulars to the bakery. 
  • Buy wedding bands. 
  • Begin buying groomsman attire, and taking care of their fittings. 
  • Get a trial run of your hair and makeup so that you know what looks best and what you’d like to go with. 
  • Go to pre-marriage counseling if needed for religious reasons, or if you just want to undertake it in preparation. While it may seem silly, a lot of couples say it’s help them become even closer. 
  • Consider taking first dance lessons! Wow your guest with a memorable dance between you and your partner!

3-2 months

  • Order your custom invites if you haven’t already. 
  • Finalize all the party favors for your guests.
  • Print your menus and programs for the day. 
  • Check in with venders and make sure everyone is still on the same page. 
  • Meet with photographer and go over what particular shots you are looking for, and when they should arrive. 
  • Review the set list or playlist with band or DJ. 
  • Send all the invites to your guests. (And, remember: If they got a ‘Save the Date” card it’s only polite they get a formal invite as well!) 
  • Throw bachelor or bachelorette party! 

1 month

  • Enter RVSPs into your official guest list, and contact those who haven’t responded yet to see if they’re planning on attending. 
  • Get your marriage license.
  • Finalize any payments to your venders.
  • Confirm times and places with venders. 
  • Mail rehearsal dinner invites, if you’re planning on hosting one. 
  • Complete your last dress fitting.
  • Email directions to drivers and guests who will be traveling from out of town. 
  • Assign seating if your planning on having an arranged seating arrangement.
  • Write your vows. (Check out our tips for writing the perfect vows here!)  
  • Get hair cut or dyed if you need too.

Week Of

Photo credit: The Bleu Studio
  • Reconfirm times with venders so that everyone is on the same page! 
  • Delegate wedding day tasks to those charged with specific responsibilities. 
  • Come up with timeline for your bridal party on when they should arrive and what they need to do. 
  • Check in with photographer and reconfirm the shots you want. 
  • Break in your shoes by wearing them around the house. This ensures you won’t be terribly uncomfortable walking on your wedding day.  
  • Pick up your finalized dress, if you haven’t already. 
  • Set aside checks and tips for venders to be given to them at the ceremony and reception. 
  • Pack for your honeymoon so that you don’t have to worry about it on your big day!
  • Assemble party favors and welcome basket gifts for guests, and make sure the venue is set and ready to go! 

Things to Remember

This list isn’t set in stone, and depending on your ideas timeline, and particulars, things can definitely be cut and moved around. Let it serve as a rough outline to help guide you though the chaos that can ensue when planning a wedding. Don’t sweat the small things and remember to have fun! This day is all about you and your partner. It’s a celebration of your love and your union, if a few small things are out of place don’t stress about it! Hopefully this list will help keep you on track and a bit more organized, but don’t be afraid to tailor it to your needs!  

Inspiration, Vows, Wedding, Wedding Dance   , ,