FEEL GOOD 2016-10-14T05:48:33+00:00

Drive Your Life #DriveVolvo

Yes- looking forward, thinking bigger, and creating the fruitful and fulfilling life I want to live is at the center of my mission.  I don’t believe in dwelling on the past, but even more so I don’t believe in forgetting it.  I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I moved to California and went to Loyola Marymount University and have lived in LA ever since.  I attended a fancy private school with a fancy tuition to match, but none of my core college friends had their lives handed to them. We worked the mailroom, ran event centers, taught dance classes and drove the school shuttle a.k.a. Lion Express. We shared rooms with twin beds (even after we graduated) and of course took on the dreaded student loan debt that continues to haunt most of us today.

Over Memorial Day weekend the gang got back together.  We united in NYC and took a trip up the east coast to celebrate one of our bests get married in Maine.  It didn’t take long to realize how far we had come in 8 years.  My friend Taylor is his own fashion empire- creative directing, styling even photographing campaigns we see everyday.  Kelly runs a designer eyewear label, Jessica represents the most working choreographers, Jacqui just opened Maine’s favorite artisanal ice cream shop and Ashley runs a high school department and is our first mom of the bunch!  My two majors (dance and business) have actually become my career- I’ve danced for my favorite pop stars, in my favorite TV shows, have a fitness lifestyle blog and create content for the brands I grew up loving.  As we live our lives day in and day out, we get lost in what we haven’t accomplished and neglect to take a moment and realized what we have.  We all agreed we want more, but recognized that we have all come so far on our own, never hesitating to ask each other for help along the way. If you can’t come up with your friends, what’s the point?  Your success is measured by the success of those who surround you.

As we drove from Manhattan to Maine in the gorgeous 2017 Volvo S90 sedan, we realized it’s a symbol of how far we’ve come.  Outdoor noise muted, music crystal clear and wifi flowing to pull up all of our favorite memories along the way.  The smooth ride allowed us to stay the course and focus on us.  Thank you Volvo for perfectly accessorizing our coming of age reunion.

Popcorn Party

The days of keggers, clubs and beer pong are officially gone and now a Friday night turn up is a popcorn party y’all!  Not only is popcorn low carb and filled with fiber, you can season it to your liking or your glass of wine.  My friend Ashley Cinq-Mars came over and we swapped our favorite flavors- two herbalicious healthy options and one treat because hey, it’s Friday! Don’t tell me you still pop popcorn in the microwave…I’ll ignore those who said yes and you can read below to see how easy it is to make a fresh, radiation free batch of popcorn.

YOU KONG POP IT

How to pop popcorn on the stove

  • Coat the bottom of a large pot with high heat oil like CANOLA or VEGETABLE OIL (3-4 tablespoons) or COCONUT OIL (2-3 tablespoons)

  • Pour a layer of popcorn kernels so it covers the bottom of the pot like the photo on the left

  • Cover the pot and place on high heat

  • Listen as the popping kernels slow and remove from heat

Vegan Turmeric Parmesan

  • Turmeric

  • Flax Oil

  • Nutritional Yeast (What’s nutritional yeast?)

  • Sea Salt and Pepper

  • Add as much of each ingredient as you’d like… the oil is key so the yeast and turmeric have something to stick to.

  • If you’ve recently had a light colored manicure, beware that turmeric will stain!  The popcorn is delicious without the turmeric as well.

Rosemary Truffle

  • Minced fresh rosemary 1-2 T and/or regular dried rosemary

  • Truffle Oil- 100% authentic truffle oil is insanely expensive and very strong tasting.  We found a truffle/olive oil blend for $15.

  • Sea Salt

  • Toss popcorn with these ingredients and enjoy.  Always start with less truffle oil and add to your liking.

White Chocolate Funfetti

  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips, spring for the good stuff!

  • Sprinkles, your favorite shape

  • To melt- Stovetop: Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. Put the chips in a smaller pot inside the larger pot with water and place them on a medium flame.  Watch and stir the chips until melted, no longer.  This will keep the chocolate from burning, which we did the first time 😉 Microwave: Place chips in microwave safe container and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until melted.

You Kong Do It x MISSBISH

A few months ago I was lucky to sit down with one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, MISSBISH.  

MISSBISH:

Meagan Kong is no stranger to the world of dance but can still acknowledge that it’s never an easy job. She’s danced professionally in the worlds of entertainment and sports for years and yet still experiences pre-audition nerves and the struggle of jumping back onto the fitness grind after a hiatus. Meagan is just like the rest of us, and is living proof that hard work and determination will get you far. From dancing throughout high school as a hobby to gracing stages and TV channels worldwide, to even working with major brands like adidas, Meagan is living her own personal dream. Check out our interview with her to get peek into what it’s like to dance professionally.

 

When was the point that you decided to make dance your career and how did you prep for that?
I decided dance would be a career in Minnesota while in high school. One day I realized how much time and money my parents were putting into allowing me to dance whenever and wherever I wanted. All night after school, away on weekends, in LA during the summer. We’d save and hustle side jobs so I could train with the best. The idea that someday someone could pay ME to do what I loved was mind blowing.

I prepared by training in as many disciplines of dance as possible, even Irish soft shoe. I also went to college and graduated Cum Laude–from Loyola Marymount University–with a double major in Business Marketing and Dance. On one hand, some dancers would say it put me 4 years behind in the industry, but within those four years I matured and gained a larger perspective of the business of entertainment and the context of dance within it.

 

Putting yourself out there through dance requires a lot of confidence, what helps you to become more confident? How do you handle the stress of not always booking the jobs that you want?
It’s definitely rough. Auditions are like interviewing for a new job every week, on a megaphone, while in front of all the other applicants. This never becomes easy, but you develop defense mechanisms to help cope with the fact that despite perhaps being the best dancer in the room, maybe they aren’t looking for a tall, multiethnic, long haired woman that day. I learned to focus on the task at hand rather than fantasize about how amazing the tour, the tv show, or the award show would be. Your drive trumps the fear and speaks louder than any other voice in your head. If you lead with determination, your confidence will follow.

 

What’s a typical day in the life of a professional dancer?
A day as a dancer is completely dependent on whether or not you’re working. While on a job, you wake up, go to work, come home, eat sleep, and do it again. While not on a job you hustle. Take class and go to castings or auditions. You take care of your body and keep your tools sharp so that you’re ready when jobs pick up.

What’s your favorite style of dance and why?
I don’t have a favorite style, but I have a favorite type of job. I dance for, and assist, Emmy-winning choreographer Kathryn Burns. She’s known to work on a lot of comedic television where dancers are used to make a joke kick. For example–in the CW show Crazy Ex Girlfriend, I was in a yoga class scene doing sun salutations as a pregnant woman. The lead actress fantasized about a song and dance production and the entire class broke into a Bollywood-esque routine. It was ridiculous that I was jumping, kicking, and turning while appearing 8 months pregnant, but my job was to dance like it was perfectly normal. Dancing within the context of a script adds another layer to my performance which I love.

What has been a highlight of your career as a dancer?
Dancing on the scripted VH1 series Hit The Floor. As a dancer, it’s your job to make a singer look cooler, a product look sexier, and a joke punch harder. Hit The Floor is about a fictional LA basketball team and their cheerleaders, so us dancers were woven into the storyline. On the show I had a character name, lines, occasionally hosted, and of course danced every episode. Being principal talent and showing up to Paramount Studios to work with the same cast and crew for multiple years in a row was an absolute dream. The fact that my parents at home in Minnesota and my friends in Paris could watch gave me all the motivation I needed to kill it.

 

Any tips for young girls out there trying to get into the professional dance industry?
1. Outlast them all.

2. People don’t care about what you’re doing as much as they care about what they’re doing.

3. Remember to be adaptable – the stage, choreography, singers, and actors are always changing, our job is to make them look flawless no matter what.

 

Being an ambassador for adidas, what’s it like to work with a major sportswear company?
Insane really. It’s rare that the more involved you get with a company, the more you respect it. adidas lives what they sell and genuinely care about the strength of the female athlete. It’s a giant corporation but they project so much trust onto us ambassadors while letting me be me, say me, and do me but with their support.

Favorite sneaker by adidas?
Non-work out: White leather gazelles with gum sole
Workout: Ultraboost X

 

You’re also a worldwide recognized fitness influencer, have you always been so health conscious?
As a dancer, I grew up super active of course. It wasn’t until after college that I understood that I needed to eat right and train outside of the studio to reach my maximum potential in the studio . I was kind of a mess–Dominos accepted our University meal plan and I thought healthy was a Salandwich (a Caesar salad Sandwich). I would go to diet extremes when dance jobs or auditions popped up to whip my body into shape ASAP. I eventually got tired of constantly getting my body “ready” for something and learned to train and eat cleanly everyday so my mind and body were always prepared.

 

What are three hidden gems in LA?
1. Hollywood Reservoir
2. Palette Juice and Food
3. Raggedy Threads

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH represents women who own her craft and live their lives unapologetically.

Who’s your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she’s an inspiration to you.
My MISSBISHes are all the ladies I meet who are finding fitness for the first time. Movement is programmed into me and even still, kicking my fitness game up after a month of LAX is rough. The MISSBISHes that find it in themselves to get up, lace up, and show up for the first time fuel me to keep on pushing.

Photos by Christina Choi

Don’t Sweat the Stress

While unplugging and disconnecting are many people’s go to answer to de-stressing, these days this isn’t always possible.    Online, offline, at home, at work, in the gym, on the road… Stress is inevitable.  As a professional dancer, I’m hyper aware of the fact that a stressed mind a stressed body go hand and hand.

Here are my methods to control the madness and cut the stress.

Tools of Torture.

Mental stress creeps down to my neck and shoulders first, then makes its way down to my mid and lower back.  I keep a bucket of stress relieving fun next to my couch to pick up whenever I have a spare moment.  Trigger points (knots) develop in your muscle tissues from physical, metal or emotional stress.  I use a TheraCane or lie on tennis balls to massage these spots and increase blood flow.  I like to use Rescue Cream on problem areas to moisturize my skin and relax my muscles as I iron out the tension.

Floatation Therapy.

Sitting still and taking 5 deep breathes helps me relax, but when I have time I like to float.  Floatation therapy (sensory deprivation) is gaining popularity among professional athletes and those looking for complete and utter relaxation.  In your hour long session, you float in a pool of water filled with 10K lbs of epson salt.  This pool is enclosed in a pod or room that blocks all light and sound.  Without distraction, you increase relaxation, creativity and clarity while decreasing stress and mind clutter.  Note that the first time I floated, I was a mess.  I was anxious I was doing it wrong and stressing about not de-stressing.  It takes several times to achieve a peaceful Theta state of relaxation.

Aerial Yoga.

While any form of yoga or stretching helps me relax, aerial yoga really changes the game for me.  In an aerial yoga class, you use a silk hammock to maneuver yourself into positions that suspend your body in the air and allow you to hang freely.   There is a tourniquet effect created by wrapping the hammock around your limbs.  Though uncomfortable in the moment, when you dismount the pose, fresh blood travels around your body and through your joints.   This gives you an adrenaline rush and releases “happy” hormones like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.  All this boosts your mood and makes you feel more energetic, happy and stress free.

Herbal Supplements.

Sometimes it’s hard to pop into a deprivation chamber between meetings and unfortunately, the TheraCane doesn’t fit in my purse.   My portable means of relaxation are herbal supplements like products from Rescue.  Rescue Remedy is made of 5 of Bach’s flower remedies: Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Start of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum.  I reach for an Elderberry Pastille (hard little gummies) to chill out during Los Angeles traffic from hell, to help focus at an audition or while learning choreography.  I pack the dropper in my yoga bag and add a few drops of Rescue to my water bottle to enhance my relaxation and deepen my practice throughout class.  The Rescue Plus Sleep gummies with melatonin have been key while I travel and adjust to sleeping in new places in new times zones.

This post was sponsored by Rescue, who was kind enough to send me some of their products earlier this year.  I’ve since been able to find them at Whole Foods here in Los Angeles.

Click here to find Rescue near you.

#FINDFOCUS

Adidas recently launched Adidas Athletics and its Z.N.E. line to help you #findfocus off the court or at the start line.  This structured hoodie is thick.  It keeps me warm and muffles the noise with the hood on.   The pants are super stretchy and are loose enough to wear tights or shorts underneath.  I’m a fan of this concept and this line, can’t wait to see more.  I’m wear a small top, bra and pant. Links below.

Hoodie: Adidas Athletics Z.N.E. Hoodie – White

Pants: Adidas Athletics Z.N.E. Pants – White 

Bra: Adidas Women Techfit Bra – White

Shoes: Adidas Running UltraBoost – All White

PHOTOS BY JA TECSON 

Skin Care with Emmy nominated Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is my girl on so many levels.  I met her while working on VH1 television show Hit The Floor where us 11 dancers were forced to draw straws to decide who got to sit in her makeup chair.  For some perspective- 12 year old boy with severe acne would come out of Sarah’s makeup chair looking like Kim K on a good day.   This Emmy nominated make-up artist is not only a former model, she has a bachelors in Biology, is a certified Nutritional Biochemist and Esthetician, and is also a wife and mother of two insanely beautiful children.  Sarah is my go to on any skin question- what ingredients are good/bad in my products? what make up is ok to sweat in?  will washing my face before AND after my workout dry it out?  how do I get the mountain range on my forehead to flatten by tomorrow?

The number one habit Sarah pushes whether it be about my face or my body— you must exfoliate! “[Exfoliating will] enable the skin to generate new skin cells and open up the surface to allow oils to penetrate and increase nourishment,” Sarah explains.  This makes so much sense- We spend so much money on fancy products, but debris aka dead skin can actually block their effectiveness.  Exfoliating my face twice weekly and body once has made all of the difference.  My skin shines brighter and any eczema flair ups settle quickly.

Sarah created Restoration Skincare and explains, “I believe in eating clean and not putting anything on my body that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. I like to feed my skin vitamins and nutrients to promote a healthy status and balance inside and out.”  Though I love her Hydrating Mist and deodorant dispensed Body Butter Balm, the Sugar Body Scrub is definitely my favorite.  I’m in awe of the simple ingredients: coco butter, coconut oil, raw sugar and vitamin E.   I’ve noticed that after I use the scrub and pat dry, the coconut oil and cocoa butter subtly remains on my skin to moisturize it without feeling oily.

Sarah recently hosted a Restoration Skin event at Soule Spa.  This Sunday Spa Day was equipped with a brow bar, oxygen facials, shoulder massages, and hand treatments.  Naturally, I kicked off the event with a glass of rose accompanied by a plate of brie and brownies.  I experienced a brow revolution with Candy who pointed out that my left brow was round and sloped downwards compared to my perky and pointy right brow.  She evened me out and taught me how to fill my brows in to lift my face (tail end to center, then define the inside corner point).  Candy used Restoration’s lavender hydration spray on a Q-tip to calm my freshly waxed skin which I loved because other calming oils and creams make me break out.  Sarah gave me a hand treatment with her Brown Sugar Scrub which I was already sold on and my garden shoulder massage was heaven accompanied by Restoration clove body butter.  I went home with a mini lavender hydrating spray and roll on body butter which will keep my skin fresh and dewing during a month of heavy travels.