When life gives you lemons

It’s been so long since I have updated my blog, mainly because my life has been completely turned upside down and I’ve been milling over if I should post about it at all or just continue ignoring that I’ve all but taken a three year hiatus from my business. For what I do I’ve always felt there was a fine balance between sharing too much about my personal life in regards to my business and needing to share with people what is going on. A big portion of this struggle for me stems from the fact that a lot of what Snowflake Hoops is all about is my journey as a hooper, circus artist and creative. It’s not just about the items I make, but the process of getting there as well as the adventures I experience along the way. So the following post may be quite lengthy but I will try my best to explain what I’ve been up to since my last post without going OD with TMI stuff. So let’s start from where I left off. I returned back to Brooklyn after Burning Man 2015 and decided to completely uproot myself. I realized during my travels something which had been nagging me for the whole year. I was unhappy and dissatisfied with the path I saw my life taking.

Don’t get my wrong, I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities I was given and loved doing what I was doing, but something was missing. So I made the decision to move out of my previous living situation which had been the same for the previous six years of my life and start re-focusing on myself and my goal to move to California.

When I made this choice I thought it would be easy, there are a lot of things which I had not previously considered and in my mind this decision meant that within a year I would be on the west coast. It was about a week after moving out and taking up residence with my sister that I came to the realization that my situation was much more dire than I had previously though. For one I had almost no money, and credit card debts. It was then that I realized in order to make my plans a success I would have to get another job besides Snowflake Hoops.

I was devastated, for me this meant that I had to admit to myself that I had failed at my business. I left the retail job I disliked to persue my dreams and now I was in a place where I was returning to this job to help pick my ass up off the floor. I had just turned 30 and I was single, sleeping on my younger sisters couch, in debt, and about to return to a job I held when I was 19, which I knew I’d be underpaid for just to get my feet back on the ground.

Did I make the right decision to leave the life I knew behind in pursuit of something different? Did I just make a huge mistake? Will I ever make it to California? I had no idea! But I was certainly willing to give it a try!

In my desperation to get myself to the West coast ASAP I worked two part time retail jobs at the same time. It was exhausting! You know that song “Work” by Rihanna? That became my anthem! All I did was work. There were no days off in sight! I put my shop on an extended vacation mode, unsure of weather I should just give up on the whole thing. One thing I did not give up on or sacrifice was my Tribe.

In 2016 and 2017 I was the Shin of Empire Fire Collective, a 50 person strong fire performance troupe which had the privilege of performing at Burning Man that year.

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Me, Tim, and Stacey Spectacular for the opening duet on Burn night

 

During my time away from Snowflake Hoops, managing a fire performance troupe, camp and juggling two retail jobs my health began to decline. As it turns out I was having major issues with my lady bits which resulted in a laparoscopic myomectomy, in which a robot named the DaVinci (technology is amazing! Click the link to see the robot in action!) removed a tumor which had grown to be the size of a lime via my belly button. I was extraordinarily depressed. This health complication and surgery had really done a number on my self confidence. I was unable to dance or really move leading up to the surgery, was in excruciating pain, became anemic, and then was unable to dance, spin, or do any aerial arts for at least 3 months post surgery, not to mention my belly button was all jacked up!

Watching videos of people doing aerials/hooping usually gave me inspiration to continue dancing, giving me new ideas on what to practice next. Now I found myself feeling a bitter resentment. I had gained a ton of weight and felt angry and upset. I used to be able to do all those things and now I was back at square one. Instead of finding inspiration in things I felt despair that I would not be able to re-gain the skills I had lost and was getting older.

I felt angry that women’s healthcare is not taken more seriously in America and that it had taken so many years to diagnose my problem even though I had been complaining of pain and excessive symptoms from my monthly visitor since 13 years of age. So what did I do to combat these feelings? I drank… a lot. Not what I had intended, but it happened. I used being in a fog as an excuse to ignore my problems and shift the blame to things outside of myself.

It wasn’t until a close friend called me out on my actions that I realized I had to get my shit together. It could have been so much worse and I should be thankful that I am still alive. In addition to that I realized that I was using my hobbies to identify who I was. What I mean by this is how I identified myself as a hooper, yogi, aerialist, and fire artist. When I was in recovery and unable to do the things that I identified my personality with it felt like there was nothing left. Who was I? What was I even doing with myself anymore? During this time I remembered that all those things were just ego. I am not the sum of my hobbies. Those are all things that bring be joy and if I couldn’t learn to separate those things from my personality I may never be able to enjoy those activities again. So I started from the beginning (More or less) and started to re-teach myself all the things I had forgotten, or was not physically capable of any longer.

Was it frustrating? Hell yea! I am a year past surgery now and still working on re-building what I had lost, but you know what? I am happy. I might not be as strong as I was before but I learned so much about myself, and what is really important in life. Life is filled with ups, downs, triumphs and challenges, but it is up to us to identify the qualities and things which make us unhappy and work towards changing those things. It is okay that your life is not perfect, it is okay that you are not where you thought you would be, and it is okay that you are still working on things. Never let anyone or anything diminish your light for too long, just remember that all it takes is a small spark for things to re-ignite!

With that being said I’m back at it! I finally made my move and now live in Oakland CA, loving life and re-building things in the way I want. Is my life perfect? No, far from it, but that is all part of the excitement of life and creativity to me! Keep an eye on your inbox and my shop for new items and tutorials coming your way!

 

 

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Roadtrip baby!

I’m such a huge fan of road trips. My most recent trip marks my third road trip from NYC to the West coast and I have to say it never gets old! There is always something new to see or someplace I’ve never been. Even places I have seen before are exciting to revisit, being able to view them them in a new light or with new people is just plain amazing. This time around my trip was extraordinarily unique as I was traveling in a purple mini bus along with a group of fellow flow artists, who I have since formed a performance troupe with called The Sub Flow Show. It was also my first time driving a bus and although it wasn’t a huge vehicle I still felt like a bad ass.

After Chicago we booked it straight for Denver to check out the night market. If you ever have the opportunity to see one of the night markets in action I highly encourage it! It’s basically a pop up art installation shown out  of the backs of a number of box trucks which is then packed up and driven away right after the night market ends, very leave no trace!

After we headed out to Nevada where we made a quick pit stop at a ranch in Fernley to say hello to a friend who was helping build a few of the larger art cars which made it to Burning Man this year.

After many hours of driving we finally made it to Burning Man! Dusty, hot, inspiring, and crazy as always! It felt good to be home!

After Burning Man was over I made an impulsive decision to extend my trip and travel around California. I spent some time at the Vulcan Lofts, Lake Anza, Berkley, sadly I hardly took any photos of my time in Oakland, but I did get to see some cool things, chill with some awesome people and go to one of Vulcan’s spin jams. If you ever find yourself at the Vulcan Lofts be sure to take you time and appreciate all the awesome artwork and cool events going on there!

I took the BART from Oakland and spent a brief time in a part of San Francisco I’ve never been to before. Saw some cool artwork and got to hang out in Dolores park for a bit.

For the last leg of my California expedition I got on a Bolt Bus and headed to L.A. it was a long trip but very beautiful.

Shop the latest photo from SnowflakeHoops on Etsy

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First time making this bunny hat in white and I have to say I’m a fan! So cute!

It’s almost time for Burning Man!!! )'(

I can’t believe that Burning Man is a little over a month away! Every time I go back to Burning Man things seem so chaotic just before leaving. So much planning, working, and figuring out what needs to be done before you fall off the grid for a while. For me that’s part of why Burning Man is such a special experience. As with any art it takes time, hard work, and dedication to make things come alive. This makes the experience so much more valuable because you have to put your emotions and effort into creating it. Such a beautiful thing, I can’t wait to go back!

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(Burning Man 2012)

With thoughts of Playa floating around in my head it was perfect timing for a wonderful article I was just featured in on the Etsy Blog. The article is chock full of interesting information about costume designers and the different communities they serve. The blog covers a wide range of events such as Comic Conventions, Burning Man, and Renaissance Festivals to name just a few. Read the full post here.

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Keeping in line with the whole Burning Man craziness, I’m having a HUGE sale in my Etsy shop right now! 25% off all apparel and fire hoops, plus $4.00 off day hoops and accessories!

So many fun things happening!!!

This Summer has been so crazy! Lots of festivals, parties, and fun. But also a lot of hard work, which has completely paid off! This year I have the honor of being Assistant Shin to New York’s Empire Fire Collective, and we just found out we have been accepted to be a part of the Great Circle this year at Burning Man. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been a part of creating something really amazing!Empire Fire Collective

(This is the whole crew! We choreographed a multi prop fire piece based off the chakra system for Burning Man’s Fire Conclave! Photo by: Michael Racanelli Rough Night Studios)

Aside from that we have also teamed up with Vulcantown to create Vulcan Empire, a collective theme camp dedicated to flow arts and movement. Classes all day. Lots of learning. If you are on Playa this year come check us out, we’ll be at 2:15 and Rod’s Road.

If you’re not going to the Burn this year but are still itching to get some classes in, fear not! I’ll be teaching two very different workshops before I leave for my westward journey!

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This Friday! 7pm-8pm then FREE flow jam 8-8:30pm I’ll be teaching Lotus Hoop Flow, a yoga infused Hoopdance class at Laughing Lotus BK. Don’t have a hoop? Don’t know how to hoop? No problem! This is an open level class and I have plenty of hoops to share! Sign up at www.laughinglotus.com and check out the Facebook invite here.

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And last but certainly not least I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Meditation and Pranayama class at Return to Roots Gathering on Friday from 4:00-5:30 in the Sahasrara Sanctuary. You can check out the rest of the awesome workshop schedule here.

Hello my fun seeking adventurers!

I’m so excited to be writing my first blog post on my new website! All thanks to my friend Sin Dee, of Lady Misfit Glass since website building makes my head hurt.  😀 Anyway onto more news!

My hope is for this site to be a source of inspiration, and encourage you to have fun in all that you do! Whether that be learning a new hoop trick, watching an inspiring video, or learning  a quick and easy way to make your wardrobe more funky!

You can also find all the events and festivals we will be attending. Stop in for a workshop, or check out our boutique of handmade vegan costumes and clothing.

Most importantly I want to hear from you all! Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts on our site or any of our social media. I can’t wait to connect with you all!