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Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Collage Video–Ballet Beautiful {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Have any of you ever taken one of those Barre classes? I took ballet growing up and am currently teaching ballet and tap to 3-7 year olds, so I have always wanted to take one! I hear they’re pretty killer. I also hear they’re pretty pricey, which is probably why I’ve never been to one. So, in my search for ballet-inspired workouts, I came across Mary Helen Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful Series. I first tried a video out online and LOVED it, so when I found a bunch of her videos on Collage Video, I had to have one!

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You remember Collage Video, right? The super awesome, chock-full-of-every-type-of-workout-video-you-could-ever-want website? Yeah, it’s still awesome. It’s super easy to search for a specific video or to browse a type of workout (dance inspired, walking, circuit work, etc.) and find just the right DVD. If you are into workout DVDs then this is your one-stop shop, my friends.

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So the video I reviewed was “Ballet Beautiful Cardio Fat Burn.” I’ll be honest: during the warm-up I couldn’t help but hate Mary Helen with her AMAZINGLY toned body. I mean, seriously, she has like every muscle perfectly defined but she’s still lean and graceful like a ballerina should be. I kept thinking, “This girl’s just lucky. She was born with a ballerina-perfect body and she probably doesn’t have to work at it. I could never look like her.” Once the workout began, I was singing an entirely different tune!

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This workout was HARD, but in a good way! I quickly appreciated Mary Helen for her strength and dedication to her art. I could tell that she earned every defined muscle through her exercises. The video is broken up into four 15-minute segments that start with an “Allegra” fat-burning interval (i.e. constant jumping and leg kicks) followed up by a mat workout that focuses on your arms, abs, butt and legs. Mary Helen likes to do four sets of eight counts of most exercises, and by set two I’d be dying but she was hardly breaking a sweat. She was cool as a cucumber the whole time, though I know she was working twice as hard as I was; her legs were straighter, her kicks were higher, and she held positions much longer than I could dream of. But she was good motivation to keep going and try harder–if she could do it, so could I!

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Bottom line: I LOVED this DVD! I know I will never look exactly like her, but I think if I did this 60-minute DVD 3-4 times a week I could have beautifully sculpted arms, legs and abs in only a few months.  And after doing the same workout for a while, I would truly appreciate the option to workout to the music only (beautiful Beethoven melodies) without Mary Helen’s instruction. If you want to look like a long, lean ballerina, this is the DVD to try! Ballet Beautiful Cardio Fat Burn can be purchased on CollageVideo.com, along with several other Ballet Beautiful/Ballet-inspired DVDs. But you can try to win this video (or another of your choice) for FREE today!

Win Ballet Beautiful OR a Workout DVD of Your Choice!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of February 3, 2014, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Collage Video, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Nutcracker {Book Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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Nutcracker by By E.T.A. Hoffmann; Illustrations by Maurice Sendak

As a little girl completely mesmerized by the Nutcracker ballet, I could not pass up the opportunity to read the actual story by E.T.A. Hoffman.  Translated by Ralph Manheim into this beautifully illustrated edition, I didn’t realize what a treat I was in store for.  Delightful, delightful!  I felt like a little girl again!  All the magic of Christmas just pours out of the pages!  The illustrator (who also illustrated Where the Wild Things Are) creates the most quaint and intricate scenes.  What a legacy he has left behind.

I would chunk the book into three sections–the first being the familiar Act I of the Nutcracker ballet, with all the characters and general storyline similar to the well-known tale, but with charming details that cannot be expressed without words.

The second section is a new story that Drosselmeier tells, “The Story of the Hard Nut”, which I thought was just delightful.  I found myself chuckling through the whole thing!  It tells the tale of how the Nutcracker began to be, and the background story behind the battle between him and the mice.

The third portion picks up with the familiar storyline of Act II, just as mystical in word as the dances and costumes of the Nutcracker ballet.

Because this book is somewhat lengthy for young children (it is, after all, more than 100 pages long), I would probably recommend it to be read over several nights to children with short attention spans under the age of seven.  Children above eight years old will love this quick and humorous read, and adults will be so entertained reading this to their children or grandchildren.  I think it appeals to little boys and girls alike, with Marie as the heroine, and her brother Fritze a leading man.

The cheeky pictures are so coordinated with the quirky text, that this book is such a perfect package of wonder!   A most perfect Christmas gift!  I will absolutely be pulling this book out every Christmas!

You can find more info on the book HERE.

You can read more about the author, E.T.A. Hoffmann, HERE.

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Prima Princessa presents the Nutcracker DVD {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

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Ballet used to be a huge part of my life!  I took classes for a number of years and even studied on pointe shoes for a while.  I had dreams of studying ballet in college and would dream and draw and think of nothing else!

As every ballerina knows, the Nutcracker is a big deal.  How pleased I was to get this opportunity to review an adorable movie all about the Nutcracker!  And It was darling!  The little dancing girls kept my toddler enthralled!  The sweet “Prima Princessa” character has a perfectly enthusiastic narrator voice and asks interactive questions throughout.

“Become a ballerina! Prima Princessa brings you England’s world famous Birmingham Royal Ballet performing excerpts from The Nutcracker that will inspire the ballerina in you! Come join in the holiday fun with Prima Princessa as she takes you to a magical show filled with snow fairies, toy soldiers, tutus, pirouettes and plies.”

The ballet clips themselves from the Birmingham Royal Ballet were beautiful!  Truly a premiere ballet company with exquisite costumes and choreography.  It took me back to all my childhood Nutcracker dreams.  I couldn’t take my eyes away!  I loved being able to see the dancing from up close, since everytime I’ve seen the Nutcracker (which is many!), I’ve been in the nosebleeds, or atleast far enough back in the audience to miss the terrific facial expressions on these dancers.

Between clips of the Nutcracker are interactive sections that encourage the kids to try out ballet steps.  I can only imagine how this would entertain a room full of little girls at a sleepover!  Mid-movie, I had to go to the computer and see what other movies Prima Princessa has.  Turns out they also have a Sleeping Beauty and a Swan Lake movie, as well as other fun things to look up, like where to buy little ballet tutus!  How perfect!

Such a darling and educational video for little ones!  I think it would make a wonderful Christmas present or stocking stuffer for girls ages 3-7.

Oh how it put me in the Christmas mood!  What a treat for ME to watch, as a mom!  You can buy it HERE on amazon for $6.99!  Honestly, if you have a little girl who loves ballet, just get all three for $19.87!  Give one to her for her birthday, Easter, and Christmas!  Also, the Prima Princess Blog has some fun activities and ideas for moms and their daughters.

 I am thrilled to have Prima Princessa the Nutcracker in our DVD collection, and also thrilled to announce that one lucky winner will receive this same darling movie!

One lucky winner will receive the Prima Princessa presents the Nutcracker DVD!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is open to US entries only
*The winner of this giveaway will be posted no later than the evening of Friday, September 28st and emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within a week, a new winner will be drawn.
*This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Prima Princessa, but all opinions are strictly my own

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