Have you tried Kombucha?

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Have you tried Kombucha? It is an amazing health elixir – the ancient Chinese actually doted it as an “immortal” drink. Essentially, Kombucha is fermented tea. The health benefits are outstanding and include:

~ Detoxification
~ High in Anti-Oxidants
~ Healthy Digestive System
~ Increased Energy Levels
~ Healthy Liver Functioning
~ Natural Stress Reliever
~ Excellent source of glucosamine
~ May contribute to Cancer Prevention

Now who wouldn’t want a bottle of all that?

I do have to warn you that Kombucha is a bit of an acquired taste. It won’t be love at first sip, but I promise you will love it after a few times.

You can buy Kombucha at most health food stores – I usually purchase mine at Whole Foods Market. My favorite is this GT’s Kombucha. Pictured is the Gingerberry flavor, which I find to be scrumptious. You’ve got to try my favorite – the Multi-green flavor – for an extra boost of spirulina, chorella, and deliciousness 🙂

You can also try making your own Kombucha. Although this is a somewhat lengthy process, it’s sure to be bursting with healthy goodness.

Whatever way you try it, you will definitely have a new love for Kombucha after you begin drinking it!

Stay cheeky!

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Healthy Snacking

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I took a morning walk to the local health food store and picked up these two healthy snacks, so I though I would share them with you all.

I absolutely love Peeled Snacks and have for a long time. These are a great alternative to some of the sugar-filled fruit snacks out there. They’re all natural and no sugar added. This is my favorite flavor – dried banana, mango, & pineapple. The flavor combination is so yummy and really does take you to a tropical paradise of your own!

This was my first time trying the Raaw drink. I choose the Passion Fruit Wheatgrass flavor because I wanted the nutritional benefits of the Wheatgrass with the deliciousness of passion fruit – and boy, did I get it! The taste is amazing and it really made me feel energized. They have loads of other fruit & vegetable juice flavors. Again, thus drink has no added sugar and is just composed of the good stuff – pure fruits and veggies!

As you probably know by now, I’m a little obsessed with health. {Just take a look at some of my YouTube recipe videos and you’ll know what I mean.} I always look for snacks that are all-natural or organic and minimally processed – that way I can get the nutrition I need from a tasty source 🙂

Wishing you all health and happiness xx

2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships Free Dance Review

This image is from when I competed at the 2012 US Championships. Courtesy of Daphne Backman.

The Ice Dancing Free Dance at the 2014 ISU World Championships marks the end of the season and the best in the World! {If you missed my Short Dance Review, click the link to read all about it.}

In the Ice Dancing Free Dance, there are 8 required elements:

  • 3 Lifts
  • 2 Step Sequences
  • 1 Spin
  • 1 Twizzle Sequence
  • Choreographic Lift

Skaters will accumulate points based on two marks: Technical and Components. The technical mark is based on Levels {ranging 1-4}, and the Grade of Execution of each element {ranging -3 to +3}. The components are a compilation of the judges scores on Choreography, Skating Skills, Linking Footwork/Movement, Interpretation/Timing, and Performance.

 

Results:

1. Anna Capellini and Luca Lanotte

2. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje

3. Nathalie Péchalat & Fabian Bourzat

4.  Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov

I am so proud of Anna & Luca as well as Nathalie Péchalat & Fabian Bourzat, who train with the same coaches as I do 🙂 Congrats guys!

These are the overall results, which are quite exciting! In the Free Dance, Elena and Nikita, of Russia were 1st place, but overall, their uneasy performance in the Short Dance held them back too much to earn a medal at the World Championships. Congrats to all the skaters, it’s amazing to say I have the opportunity to train with some of the best in the World!

2014 ISU World Championships Short Dance Review

 

 

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The 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships are underway! Today we’ll be looking at the Ice Dancing Short Dance. I’m a competitive ice dancer, so this event is really what interests me most. {That’s me in the picture above at the 2011 US Figure Skating National Championships!} I train with Igor Shpilband, World and Olympic level coach, who is currently at the World Championships with 11 out of the 32 teams competing. It’s fun to see my coaches standing there next to the best skaters in the World!

For readers who aren’t up to date with the world of Figure Skating, here are the basics on Ice Dancing. There is a Short Dance and a Free Dance. There are five required elements in the Short Dance:

  • Twizzles
  • Finnstep (Pattern-Dance) Segment 1
  • Finnstep (Pattern-Dance) Segment 2
  • Step Sequence
  • Lift

Teams are required to complete these elements. We’re long gone from the old judging system of “5.9’s and 6.0’s”.  We now use a judging system called IJS. A technical panel will give each of the 5 required elements listed above a “Level”, which can range from 1-4. The judging panel then gives those same 5 elements a Grade of Execution (or GOE), which can range from -3 to +3. There is also a Component Mark, which is made of the judges scores on Choreography, Skating Skills, Linking Footwork/Movement, Interpretation/Timing, and Performance but we won’t go into too much detail about Components right now. All you need to know is that IJS has made the sport much more technical as every skater and coach is trying their best to get the most levels, points, and GOEs. Comment down below if you’d like me to write an in-depth explanation of IJS!

The results of the Short Dance are in, and leading the way in first place is Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy. Anna and Luca skated wonderfully. {Yay! A team I train with is best in the World after the Short Dance!} I love how Anna and Luca skate with such grace and maturity, while bringing a spunky fire to the ice in their “42nd Street” program. They received 69.70 points for their performance, earning a multitude of +2’s and +3’s. “Bravo!” as the Italians, themselves, would say.

Currently in second place is Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada. This team trains with the very reputable coaching team Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo. They skated smoothly through their “42nd Street” number (yes, it was the same theme as the Italians), earning 69.20 points in the Short Dance. They received a solid level 3 on both of the graded Finnstep portions. As you can see, in IJS it’s easy to get “so close but still so far away” – only half a point separates first from second at this World Championships.

And in third place, we have {my personal favorite,} Nathalie PĂ©chalat & Fabian Bourzat of France. Another one of our training mates from #TeamShpilband ! I love Nathalie and Fabian’s skating. They’re vivid chemistry and impeccable edge quality have made them my favorite team of the moment. It’s so inspiring to have the opportunity to train with such an amazing team. They skated beautifully and captured the audience by their hearts {both live and through the screen}. Unfortunately, the only thing holding them in third is the levels they received on their Finnstep portion of the skate. They received a level 4 on the first half of the pattern, but only a level 2 on the second. In IJS, the technical levels are extremely important to be at cream of the crop. Overall, they currently have 68.20 points – exactly 1 point behind second place. Nonetheless, fingers crossed for Nathalie and Fabian, I hope they can pull up and receive the medal that they deserve!

In fourth place, we have another team that I train with {Yay #TeamShpilband}, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, representing USA. Madison and Evan have come a long way in the three short years that they’ve been skating together. It’s so motivational to see them working hard every single day to achieve their dreams. I love their Show Business/ Old Hollywood-themed Short Dance. Can you say, “Glamour”?! Their skate was as close to flawless as can be hoped for and they received all level 4’s with +1’s and +2’s, with exception of the footwork, on which they received a level 3. They’ve come out of the Short Dance with 67.71 points. Amazing skate for Madi and Evan!

Surprisingly in fifth place is the Russian Team of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who earned 65.67 points in the Short Dance. Just a few weeks ago, they won the Bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and they were favored to easily swoop into first place at this World Championships. So why the sudden drop off of the podium? Everything was running smoothly until a little bobble in the Twizzle sequence caused Nikita to be unable to complete the second and third twizzle in their sequence. Although Elena was still able to complete hers, they received 0 points for this element – a HUGE disappointment. Just because of this one element, the Russian team lost 6 to 7 points, which is exactly what they would’ve needed to bring home the gold.

Now you know the top five teams after the Short Dance at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships. With less than 5 points separating the ranks between 1st and 5th, it can really be anyone’s game. We’ll see where the standings fall after the Free Dance, which will take place tonight, March 28, 2014 at 11:30 PM EST. For more results click here.

 

P.S. It feels a little lonely in the Ice Dancing world without the reigning Olympic Champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, but they’re too busy DOMINATING this season on Dancing with the Stars. Who’s tuning in to DWTS to see this duo battling it out on the dance floor? I am!

 

 

 

Daily Inspiration

I love looking at inspirational quotes on Pinterest. It just brightens my day and puts me in a positive frame of mind! I even have a specific board dedicated to my lovely inspirational quotes. You can follow me on Pinterest to stay up to date with all of my boards 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite quotes that I’ve found on Pinterest:

 

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Have a lovely day everyone! xx

 

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free Yummies!

You’ve probably noticed by now that in the title, I vaguely named these healthy treats “yummies”. That’s because I don’t quite know what to call them. I threw these together with whatever I had in my fridge/pantry. They’re super yummy and healthy ~ I guess you could say they’re a mix between energy bars and cookies. They’re not too sweet and filled with nutritional powerhouses like goji berries, sunflower seeds, and almond meal! & they’re shaped like hearts!!! What could be better?

 

If you guys would like the recipe {which was basically a mix-mash of whatever I had in my kitchen}, comment below!

xx

Stay cheeky!