Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rattan Hoop Architect

Wow. I am always impressed by the folks who can build intricate shapes with their hoops while they perform. Hoop Architects.

KS: Get A New View

Howdy folks -

flipcard view
Guess what? Now you can read/see all KS posts in a totally new format! Alright, admittedly it's probably more exciting to me than anyone else - but! I still think these are pretty cool.

Get the new flipcard view by clicking here: Flipcard for an easy to explore layout of all current and past posts. There are other options too! Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot and Timeslide - all accessible by using the drop down menu at the top right of the screen in the flipcard view.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out!
 And if you have a blogspot blog - you can do it too! Just add /view/flipcard to the end of your URL.

Thirty/Thirty Hoop Challenge: Reflections

Wow thirty freakin' days. I am impressed. Though I have always had stellar follow-through with anything assigned to me, I usually let most projects that are self-driven fall by the way-side. There is something about commitment that is scary to me. Probably the 'having to do the same thing all the time" part.

Weeeeeeee! Day Five: keepin' it interesting.
But, see, that's what was so wonderful about this Hoop Challenge. I was doing something different everyday. I never got bored.  It made me sign up for workshops that I would have let pass me by, explore new areas of my city to get the perfect hoop shot, and connect with other hoopers all over. Each hoop session was about seeing what I could try to make it new and interesting - not just going through the motions of getting this 'task' done.

Every day, I devoted time to something about which I am passionate - a feat I have never before done. Usually I try to commit to things that are 'good on paper.' I can't even tell you how many times I have tried to make myself into a runner - signing up for 5K's and attempting to train. Oh God. It's so terrible (and misguided.) Usually I quit in about 3 minutes, when my knees already hurt, I am drenched in sweat and wheezing heavily. (Seriously, I am just not built for it...or at least that's what I tell myself.)

Each day, I knew I had to hoop and instead of weighing me down - it inspired me. It actually (and unexpectedly) changed my behavior for the better even beyond the hoop. I ate better, I dressed better, I exercised more. There was purpose in everyday - so I lived with intention everyday. I really didn't notice pre-Hoop Challenge how easy it was for me to mindlessly go through so many things, whether that be wasting my evenings on the internet, or finishing a bag of chips I didn't really want.

Day 30: This is what accomplishment looks like. (please don't let
that stop you from accomplishing things.)
When I started, I thought -"this will be easy" and for better or for worse...that's probably why I felt okay committing to it. I hooped so much already, I didn't think it would be that big of a change. But, of course, it was. In these 30 days I have progressed more in my hooping ability than I had in probably the 2 years prior. I signed up for 3 workshops and a hoop fest. I connected with people. I remembered how to be myself and rediscovered passions that I had lost. Just taking the time to do something that you really want to do everyday can make such a huge difference. 

Now, there were a few drawbacks. 

The Morning Eloquence: Expectations Suck Balls.

"I guess what I’m most trying to say is: expectations suck balls. And not meeting them has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s inherent worth, or skill, or artistry. To all hoopers and flowsters out there: other people’s expectations are not your responsibility. If they watch what you do and think “it should be more this, it should be less that,” well that’s their issue not yours. Be true to who you are. This is not to say that certain technical elements — how you face the camera, how clean your planes are – aren’t important. Just that they contribute to the overall effect you create, but they are not the defining factors.

On the other hand: be true to who you are. Your Flow most shines when you spin from the center of your authentic self. Flow will not come when you are attempting to hoop up to what someone else thinks you should be. Flow will not come when you try to incorporate every new, currently popular technique out there into a routine or video clip.
Flow only comes when you let that go.
What do others think are “advanced” moves?
 Let it go.
What do others think is sexy and does “sexy” even matter? 
Let it go.
What do others think is graceful? 
Let it go.
What do others think is beautiful? 
Let it go.
What do others think is Flow? 
Let it go.
Khan Wong flows in Bali
You know who you are. You know what music moves you and what doesn’t. Maybe you’d rather hoop to nothing but your breath (my favorite way even though most of my friends think that’s weird). Whatever you think someone else thinks you should hoop to: Let it go.The key to Flow: Let Go. Hoop from your center, hoop according to your own rhythm and your own heart. Flow comes from there, not anyplace else. Just there."
This was taken from the amazing Khan Wong in discussing flow for 
To see the full comment go here.

Jaw-droppingly Beautiful

How insanely beautiful are all of these designs? The pictures are phenomenal as well - all from here

As soon as I saw them I tried to find out where, where, where I could get one of these amazing pieces. It is a label called TightTigers and after finding their blog I am even more obsessed. Unfortunately I can't find any type of retail shop. My budget is thrilled that this is going to stay a window shopping experience, but if I ever lay my hands on one of these - it's coming with me.

Check out the blog (linked above) and the tumblr here to become similarly obsessed with the coats, tights, and hoop clothing dream pieces.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day Thirty

Day 30: Reflections tomorrow. Experiences today.
Using the mini's I made for my sis in the Lazy Hooper's Pattern. 
Showing off my new favorite tights. 
Wearing a ring that I bought as a tribute to my favorite pet.

Inspiration: Viewpoint from the Clouds

it may seem scary to some, but I happen to be a HUGE fan of heights - I would love to hoop somewhere with this view. But, probably backed a little bit further away from the edge...

Anyone know where this is? 

My, What a Big Hoop You Have

Now, this is the kind of hoop that starts 3 person tandem hooping.

Isolation Sequence Tutorial

Perfect week for a sequence video! I am still working on figuring out how on earth people choreograph routines (whenever the music comes on, I just want to move however I am feeling...) and this isolation tutorial is a great template. 

She presents the moves well and then ties everything together at the end. Using music to make the timing more dramatic makes everything seem complete and polished. I love good hoop tutorials. There is a ton more from HoopLovers here:

Feeling Like Myself Again on Day 30

Thanks to everyone who let me know that I was not alone in forgetting myself sometimes. I think that it is so important for me to remind myself that other folks have probably been in the same place whenever I am feeling particularly stressed or down. Sometimes you just have to ask.

It's easy for me to think, 'well, don't let any weaknesses show - you are not allowed" - but then when I act against those thoughts, I see that being 'real' is not a bad thing at all. And that things I perceive as weaknesses, are anything but. 

I am feeling better today as I roll in to the LAST DAY of the 30/30 Hoop Challenge. HOW thirty days have passed I really cannot comprehend...

It has been a wonderous experience - and considerably more of an 'experience' than I expected. One more day to go - and then I will reflect on the whole thing. There are a few things I would change, and I am trying to decide if I am going to keep more day to decide.

We shall see.

Super Hooper: Colored Poly Pro Hoops

Check out these awesome new additions to the poly pro family! Since I just purchased my regular poly pro, I will probably wait to add to the collection - but I am really digging these. The red calls to me...

All images and hoops from

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Totally Forgot How to Be A Real Person

This is something that I struggle with a surprising amount. It's surprising to me anyway - I mean, how do you forget how to be yourself - shouldn't that be the one thing that comes super naturally?

Nope, nope, nope. 

Let me get this nasty thing
out of your way!
I don't know when it started creeping in again. My last job required me to plaster a smile on my face and be practically perfect in every way at all times - something which I do very well - to a fault. 

You have a problem? HERE LET ME HELP YOU!!! EXCLAMATION POINT! SMILEY FACE! :) :) You have a minor problem and someone just cut my arm off - NO WORRIES! I can still help you, lemme just grab a band aid - tee hee!

After I first left, it was a great feeling like myself again. Wearing the clothes I like, filling my time with things I enjoy - the basics. But, there always seems to come a time when I end up in "fake person" mode again. At every. hour. of. the. day. It's incredibly frustrating and exhausting. 

"How would you like your eggs?"
By saying I am 'being fake' it's not so much that I am consciously acting against the desires I have, it's more as though I become much more in tune to the desires of others and just go along with those without thinking. Sure, everyone has to do that sometimes - but doing it nonstop is like hell. You know that scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts is talking about her favorite type of eggs? Not really? Well, I know at some point someone is asking her how she likes her eggs - and she realizes that she likes them however her current boyfriend likes them. She just...goes along, without having a real feeling about it.Now, I realize that it's just eggs (and a not-so-great movie) but it's a big deal. If you stop listening to yourself, you stop being a self.

That's what happens when I get in 'persona', rather than person, mode.  The other day I went to hoop - and found that I didn't want to unless the camera was on. WHAT? Have I really forgotten what it's like to do something for myself? If no one is watching what is the point? If no one else will have an opinion about this, how can I? That's no way to live.

The past few weeks I have been living outside of myself. Always judging, always looking, making sure I am saying the right thing at the right time. But, what is the right thing? When is the right time? Who is keeping score? 

How is she holding her finger mustache?
I know that much of this comes from being a twin. Sigh. As does so much of what I do. Growing up it was all about "us" - two. BOTH. TOGETHER. What she did was always counted as what I did - so we BOTH had to be perfect all the time. At least we thought so. I carry that mentality with me, that my behavior always matters to someone all the time. 
I think what I always seem to forget is that - this is true. My behavior matters to me all the time. Why is it so easy to forget that my own is the most important opinion to count? When I stop listening to it, I tend to lose it altogether. Then I just spiral - constantly seeking validation. A scary and infinitely fruitless act.

Whew. Well, it's time to relax. Refocus. Turn the camera off and practice for me. Get lost in my thoughts. Attempt to be genuine

Hooping is what focuses me. It's what turns my mind to white noise and I begin to feel instead of think. No rationalizations, and no one else in my mind. I know that is why I fell in love with it. It's time to get back to that. And one day, I am hoping that I can carry that mentality with me beyond the hoop. Faith in my own opinion, faith in my self, and trust that I know what I want, and the rest will come.


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Dune is actually a book of inspirational quotes.

Inspiration: Peter Gabriel, Apr├ęs Moi

Peter Gabriel is a lot cooler than I ever really gave him credit for. I was so used to seeing his videos on "Pop Up Video" and hearing his songs at the grocery store that he sort of became - easy to ignore? But really, much of his work is pretty different.

"Sledgehammer" was (of course) on the radio the other day and I was thinking about how weird it really is:

I mean, what the crap was that? But he did his own thing. Lately, I have really been appreciating that.
Go Peter Gabriel.

Special shout out to Jess for the awesome first video.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Theory to Reality

Recently, I have been playing dress up a lot when I hoop. After all the beautiful inspiration pics here I wanted to get in on the action. First time with fake eyelashes = success.
she got this so right.


Music Monday: Mindless Self Indulgence

I too like my coffee black, just like my metal.
No, that's a lie. I like my coffee full of French vanilla cream. But you'll get me after listening to the song.

NSFW - some naughty words in this one.

I had completely forgotten about Mindless Self Indulgence until about 2 weeks ago, when I was reminded of them thanks to a radio station. They were big in the high school days, but then I went to college, and my music got college-fied. As in, slower and more moody. Heavier on the artistic integrity than the rocking beats. Or something.
Anyway,  When I heard this, I couldn't help but think of the time in hoop class where I  had specific requests that I change up my music for something faster.
Prepare to get more than you bargained for!

(But seriously, you how can you not move to this - turn it up and flail about!)

Help Me Hooping Idol

If you have been on the past few weeks you know that the Hooping Idol contest is taking place, wherein hoopers submit videos on a theme each week and are judged by a panel. I sat this one out, but there are some great hoopers in the mix!

While I was watching this week's "Flow" entries I was thinking what perfect timing it is to have such great material to review when thinking about my own foray into choreography. 

Check out the thread here

When watching ask yourself:
  1. What about this video do I like?
  2. Does it hold my interest? Why? Why Not?
  3. What would I change? 
  4. How can I incorporate things I like into my style?
It's so easy to watch a million videos and still not enact new things into your practice. Really take a sec to think about how you feel about the video and why. Flesh things out and then get up and try your own! I already have a few ideas after watching this morning...

Adding the "Dance" into Hoop Dance?

I have been thinking a lot about choreography lately. There comes a point in your practice when you think, "okay, I have the moves - now how do I put them together?"  I want to floooooow, dangit!

I thought that I would solve this problem by asking the computer for some choreography tips. What I found were possibly the worst instructions for "How to Choreograph a Hoop Dance Routine" ever:


things you'll need:

  • Hoops
    • 1
      Use colorful hoops so that they can be easily seen by the audience. You can even get glow-in-the-dark hoops or light up hoops for a special effect.(okay, cool. Use pretty hoops. Will do. Thanks.)
    • 2
      Have dancers use the hoops to create various shapes. Pair the dancers with one dancer standing behind another dancer with her hoop held high. The dancer in front can hold her hoop low. Play with different shapes such as a vertical and horizontal figure 8.(Dancers? As in more than just me in my house? Uhhh...)
    • 3
      Create a large circle. Have dancers hold each other's hoops instead of holding hands. They can also do a ripple bringing the hoops in and out of the circle.  (This isn't a group routine. What's a "ripple" sounds...funny. Come on #4 and #5 - bring me the knowledge!)
    • 4
      Do tricks in the hoop dance routine such as hula hooping around the neck, waist, arms and feet. Have dancers jump over the hoops or dive roll through the hoops. Spin or twirl the hoops on the floor for a different level in your dance routine. (Yeah, a dive roll seems like something I would naturally progress into. And, I am definitely going to set my hoop on the ground and hop over it. Yes. This will be impressive.)
    • 5
      End the hoop dance routine in a large but tightly packed group.Have each dancer hit a pose utilizing the hoop.(Have a lot of people stand next to each other and pose. So, recreate a "on our way to prom" photo.) This creates an interesting shape and also makes for a great picture.

Add hoops for an awesome show
stopping finish!

So, it wasn't quite the eye opener for which I was hoping. Today I am going to try and break down a routine for a song approximately 3 minutes long. Will I have any idea what I am doing? Not really! But I plan to keep going until I figure it out! There are a few things that I know I'll need to do before getting started:

Unplugged: Reflections on the Internet Break.

A week ago I decided to go on a mini internet fast.  

Natural Habitat.
At this point I thought that I would have life changing thoughts about how liberating it was to finally break free from the zombie box, but I found that it wasn't as earth shattering as I anticipated.

I found that I could actually do it quite well. I thought I'd get bored this week - but I didn't, ever. The only times I missed the internet was when I had one of those "oh, what movie was that guy in" moments and couldn't get the answer 2 minutes later.

It was sort of great to remember all the stuff that I used to love to do before it became my go-to plan to see what's up online. Walks, games, music, movies, drawing, conversations - all that stuff that makes us feel connected in the day-to-day that we don't do when silently staring at a screen for hours.

The magic that springs from closing the
computer and breaking out the markers

And all the stuff I suspected would happen did too; I slept better, I felt happier, I did more. I thought it was going to be scary to give myself a strict 'no internet' rule, but the whole thing was just really damn pleasant. I think committing to it was the toughest part-making the decision to actively choose something to do instead of just filling the time. I guess I thought I had forgotten how to do it, but really, it was just all waiting for me get offline.  I can't believe I didn't just do this sooner.

Shut down, walk away and there is a whole world of things waiting for you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hey there glitter pants

I could try to understand it - but my mind is too blown.

One Voice Above the Rest

"i appreciate criticism. and i can understand how viewers can get bored. which is fine.
i cant please everyone. and it would be a shame if that was my sole purpose.
i have my reasons. my search. my process.
and i admit. it is stubbornly single-minded. but that is my drive and aim to all this.
all the girls i paint, is one girl. she is on my mind always. and nothing will make me stray from that."

This is a quote from the artist Audrey Kawasaki who, I assume, was responding to criticism over the similarity across her work. This poster is a composite of the faces across many of her paintings.
All I could think when I saw this was: haters = what. everrrrrr. Be confident in your style and yourself. Everyone will have their own opinions and they'll ALL let you know 'em - which is totally cool - just remember: It's not personal. 
I love that she appreciates what others have to say, and still does her (beautiful) work as she sees fit. Listen to your own opinion first. 

I just want to learn the worm

Hooping, for better or for worse, has given me the confidence to learn other styles of movement and dance. While it is my dream to be an amazing break dancer who can do a my own version of the epic dance scene from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (who's with me?) I would really settle for mastering any of these moves:

(teacher = half funny, half "please stop acting and just teach me the worm please")

I did learn to moonwalk from YouTube so I have faith. Am I the only one nursing somewhat delusional dreams of break (or other types of) dancing greatness? And if so, who will join me in my amazing Romy and Michele dance number? 

Have you wanted to try to move in different ways inspired by groovin' with your hoop? 

I'll be in make up

Black tights, loud hair, strange face.
I think some combination of these things could turn out beautifully.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I want one: Roue Cyr

I think I may have to cheat on my poly pro with this. Seriously, is everything cool just filed under "circus arts" - and why was it always thought of as a bad thing if your kid "ran off and joined the circus." (Okay, maybe that was from a time when it was more bearded ladies and abused animals than talented performers...)

If I ever had a kid who joined the circus it would be a proud day indeed.

Weekend Review


Let a fluffy, fat cat instruct you on how to weigh the pro's and cons of working for free.


Do you have mental barriers keeping your practice space small even when physical ones are removed? 

The best cartoon slideshow of life advice ever.


Usually eat dinner with the internet - even if there is another person in the house? It's time to unplug.


Dog + Hoop + Shirt = AMAZING

If you only read one thing, let it be this: the most important, life changing words I ever learned.


What's my hoop size? Find out here

Does your "hoop face" not match your "hoop feeling" - try this!


Poly pro hoop review! If you are thinking about getting one, take a look.

Where to go next in your hoop practice? These tutorials will break down the new moves for you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It is days like today that I am glad I have my hoop. After running around and being in 10 places at once it is so nice to have something that you can pick up and 10 minutes later feel calm again.


It's Friday after all.