Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A special shout out...

Okay so I lied... Adventures in D.C. Part II is not what you will be reading now. In fact you really won't be reading much this post because honestly there's not much to say. Except...

Happy 26th Wedding Anniversary Daddy and Momma!

Thank you for not just teaching me but living out the definition of commitment. Thank you for exemplifying the Lord's redemption, grace and relentless perseverance in your marriage. Thank you for giving me a realistic but hopeful perspective - that it's not always "Happily Ever After," but it is "For Better or Worse." And when the "worse" is worked through it is so much better! 

Congratulations on 26 years! Here's to 26 more!

Aren't they cute?! I love you guys and am blessed to have you as my parents!
Your Honey Bunny

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer begins. Vacation over.

So my one full week of vacation is now officially over.

Back to work? Not just yet.
Back to school? Yep. (can you feel my enthusiasm?)

But this isn't all bad news. This speedy summer quarter (it's 6.5 weeks long vs. the typical 11 week quarter) I'll be taking English 254 a.k.a. Creative Non-Fiction Writing II at Bellevue College. So you know what that means... More blog posts, and posted more regularly too! YAY! Yay? Yay.

Well it's a good thing that I have a lot to catch you up on... good blogging material all stored up, waiting to be unleashed to you, whoever you are.

So next up in the blog topic queue: Adventures in D.C. Part II. Yes, a little out of order with this and Grace Kelly thrown in between, but I needed to build up some anticipation. It's called strategy. Okay, it's called procrastination, but I think strategy sounds better...
Anyway, something to look forward to. Hopefully I'll get to it before the 4th of July/wedding weekend extravaganza begins.

Well that's all for now. Just thought I'd share with you this exciting news. It is exciting, right?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Style, Elegance and Grace

Some people like Marilyn Monroe. Others are more partial to Jackie O. And then there are those Hepburns- Katherine and Audrey! I definitely am an Audrey fan. I mean who could not love those big eyes, sweet pixie haircut and gladiator sandals in Roman Holiday? Or the unbelievable Givenchy masterpieces she wore in Funny Face and Sabrina? And she definitely brought a chicness (dare I say sexiness?) to pencil pants, ballerina flats, and tuxedo shirts - as sleepwear of course!

But over the past couple years I have come to find a new fashion muse. She her style was sophisticated and elegant, yet completely effortless. Always put together but never "dolled up," her beauty was natural and refined. And in all things she not only embodied, but exuded grace. Appropriate then that her name was Grace - Grace Kelly.

A Hitchcockian goddess, a patroness of the arts and a did I forget to mention a Princess, she made white the new "black," gloves and shades the go-to accessories, and is one of the only women I know who truly knew how to work a strand of pearls.
So below are some classic Grace Kelly looks and possible current day counterparts. I hope this inspires you as much as it inspires me, or at least brings you a deeper appreciation of a woman who was beautiful inside and out.

Work those shades Grace...

So I saw this picture and it almost inspired me to buy this bikini, but then I realized I would never look like that. Bummer.

Maybe Grace would wear this amazing floppy hat by Kokin. Maybe...

 Definitely summer wedding attire inspiration. All this dress needs is a classic double-strand of pearls.

Maybe if I wear this dress by Xeniya or that dress by sarahseven I could catch me a thief, or a Cary Grant. That would be nice...

I have this impulse to take one of these photos, go to the salon and say "Here. I want this." But me and platinum blonde could be fatal... At any rate, even if I can't look like Grace I certainly can most certainly imitate her style, presence and grace. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adventures in D.C. Part I

Breath in. Pause. Deep, slow, exhale.
In other words, a sigh of relief.
Yes. The 12 days of Insanity are now over, and to be honest I'm sitting here, utterly dumbfounded at what transpired over the past two weeks. Did they really happen? How? They must have... But as I try and process through these recent events I, well, I can't really explain...
Have you ever driven to say your home or to work - a trip that is almost too familiar and routine - but upon arriving at your destination you can't really remember how you got there. I mean you got there, and you drove your car, but you don't really remember anything of the actual trip... like did you run a red light? Probably not... but you can't actually remember.
This is what the past 12 days felt like. They happened. That I'm certain of. But how? That I'm not entirely sure of...

Coppélia and The Season Encore performance went off without a hitch.
The end of the year company party was emotional as was to be expected - good-byes always are.
My Interpersonal Communications course was (not surprisingly) a struggle up until the very end, but Praise the Lord He gave me the strength and perseverance to push all the way to the finish line, and to finish victoriously.
And my performances of Benjamin Millipied's 3 Movements in The Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America II were, well, fine.

As a recovering perfectionist, it's hard for me to not ruminate on all minor mistakes and flubs I made, most of which the audience probably didn't notice - at least I hope they didn't notice. But these faux pas' seem to drown out all of the wonderful things that happened.
However, what I've come to learn is that life, this life as a ballerina is too short for these minor issues to steal the joy, and the sense of pride and victory of this great accomplishment.
Of course I want to do well. I want to dance my part perfectly, with poise, grace and presence. But I can't expect perfection - no one can. I can, on the other hand, be satisfied, knowing that I did give it my all; I gave it my best. And more than that, I had fun! I trusted in my Lord, and I danced for Him, thanking Him for this amazing privilege, honor and opportunity it was to dance in the Opera House of the Kennedy Center.

Saturday was the last day of our shows. I was putting quite a bit of pressure on myself to "do well" a.k.a. "do perfectly." But what my devotional said to me that day made me approach the day differently, bringing tears of joy to my eyes. Here's what it said:
"I AM THE FIRM FOUNDATION on which you can dance and sing and celebrate My Presence. This is My high and holy calling for you; receive it as a precious gift. Glorifying and enjoying Me is a higher priority than maintaining a tidy, structured life. Give up your striving to keep everything under control- an impossible task and a waste of precious energy.
My guidance for each of My children is unique. That's why listening to Me is so vital for your well-being. Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction. I am with you continually, so don't be intimidated by fear. Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand. Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence."
Only the Lord could know how appropriate those words would be for me that day.
This wasn't my first time dancing at the Kennedy Center (although it was the first time dancing in the K.C. Opera House), and hopefully it won't be my last.

Well there's definitely more to say about this trip... I realize this is kind of a vague overview - enough to satisfy my dad's curiosity, but my mom would definitely be prodding for more details. So I promise at least one more installment complete with photos. But for now that's all... Time to enjoy the Seattle sunshine!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The 12 days of...

Of Christmas? Not quite...

But even though we're at the complete opposite end of the calendar, the feelings that generally accompany that festive season are resoundingly present, in the present.

Think excitement. Think anticipation. Think anxiety.

No this is not "The 12 days of Christmas" that's at my front door, but what I fondly refer to as "The 12 days of Insanity," that begins tomorrow (well I guess today now).

Let me give you an idea of what in the next 12 days must transpire:

  • Remember and rehearse 3 ballets from this/past seasons - one of which I've never actually performed before.
  • Dress rehearsal for our Season Encore performance.
  • An exam for my Interpersonal Communications course.
  • 5 more performances of Coppélia.
  • Our Season Encore performance on Sunday, and our annual end of the year company party.
  • 2 full days of rehearsals to learn and practice Benjamin Millipied's ballet 3 Movements, which we're taking to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
  • An 8-12 page final paper for my Interpersonal Communications course.
  • A dress rehearsal and 3 shows of 3 Movements at the Kennedy Center.
Yeah, I think that pretty much covers it...
But do you want to know the miracle in all of this?
Stressika (an occasionally appropriate nickname kindly created by my P.T. Boyd Bender) is not stressed. She's not even Stressika, she's just Jessika.
You see generally even typing out such a list would instantly make my chest tighten, my pulse quicken, and I'd feel utterly overwhelmed. But right now I just feel, well, whelmed I guess... Not "under," and not "over." I just am.
Sure there's a lot to do. I'm not ignorant of that fact. But instead of freaking out, I'm deciding to take each day as it comes, trusting the Lord to provide me with the energy, focus, mental and physical capacity to do all that not only everyone else requires of me, but what He requires of me too.
But you know what?! I'm not going to stop there. This isn't just about surviving these next 12 days... No! I'm going to enjoy these next 12 days. I'm going to let the joy of the Lord be my strength. I'm going to let excitement overwhelm me, not anxiety or exhaustion, or even just mere existing. And I'm not only going to ask for this joy, strength and excitement - I'm going to claim it! Because that's how He wants me to live each and every day of my life. Full of joy. Radiating His Light, and Life and Presence, not hiding it under a bushel.

So bring it on 12 days of Insanity! Jesus and I, we're looking forward to the challenge, because with Him, nothing is impossible!
What are you doing the next 12 days? Or better yet, how will you live them?

Here's a great photo taken of one of the ballet's we'll be performing in the Season Encore performance. Come and see it - it's gonna be an unforgettable show! You can get more info and buy your ticket here.

Jeff Stanton with Jessika Anspach, Laura Gilbreath and Kylee Kitchens

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Balanchine Rep

©Angela Sterling 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wedding Dresses

No... this is not what you think it is.
While one of my guilty pleasures is buying and pouring through Martha Stewart Wedding magazines (you should see my collection!), this post will not be about those beautiful immaculate dresses that every little girl (and old girl...) fantasizes about.

It will be about dresses, weddings and the non-color white.
That doesn't really sound much different. Let me explain...

So one of my best friends is getting married in a month and 2 days and I am so excited. This means 3 things:
  1. One amazing PARTY!!!
  2. One less friend I can hide behind during the bouquet toss.
  3. One new dress!
You see, being a total dress freak (you should see my closet), it is customary that I purchase a new dress to celebrate the "sending off," if you will, of each of my good friends from land of "singlehood" to that of "wedded bliss."
Weddings are full of traditions and this is mine to add to the mix. Feel free to subscribe to it if you like - I won't mind.
There's only one drawback to this tradition of mine: My choice of dresses is slightly constrained.
You see this new tradition comes head-to-head with a very strict rule of wedding guest etiquette:

"Do NOT wear white to a wedding."
I have a problem with this because in summer, there are so many adorable white sun dresses that scream, "JESSIKA! Buy me!" It's almost as if some inexplicable magnetic force draws me to them. And yet, however cute or flattering they are, they must be axed from the list of potentials.
So here are this years rejects by default, courtesy of Anthropologie a.k.a. my wardrobe supplier.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Food, food, glorious food!

Today, as I was crossing the 520 bridge on my way to work, I found myself contemplating my many paradoxical characteristics... I'll give you one:

I love to cook, and yet I hate to cook for myself.

I think most of you can relate to this. Needless to say I don't really cook much these days. But this doesn't negate the fact that I thoroughly enjoy good food, especially a well crafted meal.

So what's a single girl to do in such a predicament? Dozens of dates? Ha ha... I'm so funny... (this is me we're talking about...)
But praise the Lord I live in Seattle, home of foodies galore, amazing chefs and their restaurants! With this palate paradise awaiting me, I will occasionally treat myself to an evening out - a date of sorts with me, myself and my journal for company.
So where to go?
The criteria list is a short one, but oh so important:
  1. Good food.
  2. Good ambiance.
  3. Good people-watching.
And I have been craving one place that not only checks off these three essential elements, but takes all my senses to a "happy place" if you will.
It's Spur Gastropub, self-described as "An Intimate Urban Pub in Belltown. Plates to Share. Cocktails to Entice."
This "urban pub" is small, but dressed in casual, industrial elegance. With it's slate blue tones, wooden slab tables, and warm candlelight it creates an inviting and relaxed environment to retreat to after a long day's work, wether it be for just a drink or a stomach-satisfying meal.
And with award-winning chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough at the helm, your tastebuds are in for quite the ride! Using farm-fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to inspire their unpretentious culinary creations, it's hard to know just what to order...

Cattail Creek Lamb Saddle with potato, yogurt and spring vegetables?
Pan seared trout with quinoa, carrots and almond milk?
Or how about the favorite Pork Belly Sliders with corn, ramps and bourbon...
My suggestion? Either go with friends or go often. On second thought, forget the "Either" and "or" part of that statement. Just go!!!! Your senses will thank you.

To find out more information about this amazing restaurant and their current menu check out their blog here. Reserve your table now!

Images by Matthew and Julien can be found here and here courtesy of