Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy World Hoop Day!

(Marietta Center for Advanced Academics) MCAA Rocket---Some of my awesome hoop dance students
This picture was taken a couple of days ago at my very last hoop dance session with a few of the MCAA students. I will so miss seeing them on a weekly basis. As part of our last class, we successfully recorded their entry to the World Hoop Dance project:

It's not the entire choreographed dance, but this clip represents a major accomplishment on their parts---they had a relatively small amount of time to practice and learn the routine. They should be SO proud of their accomplishment, because I definitely am!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I went to and plugged in the numbers. Congratulations to Taylor Oviedo---she won our grand prize package, and Natalie Shaw is the lucky recipient of the smaller prize package. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are you following me on Facebook?

Since my last blog entry was over a month ago, one might get the impression that I've been letting Alphabet Hoops-related activities slide into obscurity. That is SO not the case! I'm working on so many hooping-related projects that I'm beginning to wonder if I've completely gone over the hooping edge.

Hoopnotized products are available here.
As I work towards getting my various hooping projects ramped up and ready to go, I have slowed  down on blog entries, but I am making frequent updates to my Facebook page...and Twitter. So if you miss my regular posts, please join me on Facebook.

(And don't forget to enter my hooping gear giveway! The drawing is next week!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Blind are Also Color Blind

I do NOT have the rights to this image. This is the source. If you know where I can purchase a print, please let me know.
This is one of my all-time favorite photos. I first saw it in college when sifting through old magazines for a research project. (Judging from the dimensions of the page, I'd guess it was a Life Magazine. However, I've always remembered it as being Time Magazine.)

I haven't been able to verify any of the details, but  a post on the Internet, states that the photograph was taken in 1964 by LA Herald Examiner photographer Doug Wilson at Disneyland, during an event for the Foundation for the Junior Blind.

Apparently, Lyndon Johnson bought a print for the White House. I would love a print, too, but can't find one for sale anywhere. (Sad side note: The photographer, Doug Wilson, rode his motorcycle off a cliff and died not long after the photo was taken.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

My heart stopped just a little

My heart stopped just a little as I pulled into Laurel Park behind a TOUR BUS yesterday!!!! I had a lot of hoops but not *that* many! I was so relieved to find that the bus was for another event. Many, many thanks to the much smaller group of guys and gals who hooped with me! I loved seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. I look forward to our next get-together!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hula Hoop Giveaway!

Each time you attend an Alphabet Hoops-sponsored hoop jam, your name will be entered to win a custom adult- or child-sized hula hoop (a glitter tape color of your choice + black grip tape)!

Drawing will be held at the final hoop jam in either September or October (TBD). You do not have to be present at the drawing to win, but you DO need to include contact information so that I can reach you!

And, on a related note, did you see the Marietta Patch article about our inaugural hoop jam earlier this month?

Next hoop jam is Sunday, July 31st!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free hoop jams at Laurel Park in Marietta, Georgia!

Do you live near Marietta, Georgia? Then please join us at a free hoop jam twice a month Sundays, 4 - 5:30 p.m. at Laurel Park! Check here or Facebook ( for date announcements.

Our very first hoop jam is Sunday, July 10th at 4 p.m.!!!

We'll set up near the three large trees in the center of the huge field opposite the tennis center. Bring your own hoop or use one of mine. I'll also have a limited number available for sale (adult sized are $30 each; kid sized are $15 each).

UPDATE July 9, 2011: Laura Roinestad, Baila Hoops Hoopnotica-certified instructor, will be at the hoop jam! (Visit her Facebook page for information on her adult hoop dance classes!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some recommended online hoop tutorials

UPDATED: March 2018

My hands down, number one recommendation for online hooping lessons are those offered by Deanne Love of She has several free lessons available on YouTube.

Sandra Sommerville (aka, SaFire) at is also an amazing instructor. She was the very first hooper I learned from. Unlike the (albeit awesome) free tutorials that are available on YouTube, you can download the lessons and watch them at anytime---no internet connection required. All updates and additions to the class group you buy are included in the one time only purchase price.

For more free hooping tutorials on YouTube, take a look at the following:
*Betty Lucas:
*Fire Groove girls on Expert Village. Here's a link to one:

YouTube is an EXCELLENT resource for general hoop dancing inspiration. Like this one:

Here are some tutorials that I liked:

Butterfly (Betty Lucas)
Body Wrap (

Basic sequence (Deanne Love)
Inside Out Whip (Babz)
Yo Yo/Cat's Eye (KatieBug0376)

Underarm toss (Funland Tricks)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

OMIGOSH! I'm crying with JOY here, people!!!!

Watch this video for a dose of hula hooping happiness. I'm grinning...
Click the image to display the video, then click the Play arrow.
It's seeing the kids hooping in the background that makes me so happy. Now I'm off to explore the album for possible use in my Fall kids hula hooping program.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Everybody move your body!

I'd love to create a hoopdance routine to this song and teach it to kids in the Fall. Beyonce created the workout/dance routine in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to curb childhood obesity.

The song is available as a free download here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'd like a case of these, please

They're not exactly a health food, but they don't have trans fats or hfcs...and they have no "artificial flavors, colors, or msg". (A list of ingredients is available here. And if you want to try some, they're available here on Amazon.) I'm hoping to lead an afterschool hula hooping program in the Fall; I would LOVE to give the kids a pack of these at the end of the session!!!

And if you are experiencing some serious boredom, take a gander at the various entries to the Golden Hoop Film Awards. Like this one.

I enjoyed watching the videos just because I got to hear the words "hula hoops" a gazillion times over.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Current favorite hooping videos

I've decided to maintain two hooping videos in the sidebar: My current favorite instructional and inspirational videos.

There are a LOT of pluses about face-to-face lessons with a hooping instructor, but my schedule often doesn't allow the amount of personal instruction that I need. That's where online hooping videos come into play.

Following are two videos that I've watched and re-watched numerous times over the past few days. I'm in the midst of finetuning the hoop isolation moves taught in the first video. As a beginning hooper, I didn't understand the appeal of hoop isolations. Now that my skills have progressed a bit, I can see why many hoopers enjoy them; they add a little extra pizzaz to hoop dance routines. Males and kids also find hoop isolations appealing. Since I'm always on the lookout for (simple but impressive) moves that I can teach kids, I'm honing my isolation skills so that I can better explain them. I especially enjoy the following tutorial because Deanne presents several moves and then shows them in sequence. This sequence will help me improve my hooping flow*, so I'm grateful that Deanne went to the trouble of recording this tutorial.

Instructional: Isolation sequence
Deanne of

I've been watching this second video in the hopes that some of the moves will come to me through osmosis during one of my (almost daily) hoop practice moments. I find Ria's flow akin to that of Beth Lavinder's (the hoop dancer whose moves I most want to emulate).

Inspirational video: Hoopdance to Bond
RiaHoopAleenaDeeLite (YouTube user name)

*What is "flow"? It's the almost seamless transitions between hoop moves. When you have "flow," the viewer doesn't catch you prepping for the next move. They just happen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hula hoop rug

The lovely (and talented! and hard working!) Rebecca DeShon of HoopEssence* shared a link to this craft and I squealed when I saw it! I'm still fine tuning my blog's identity, but "crafting" and "hula hooping" are included in my profile and this project merges them both!

Image is from Instructions are here.
Coincidentally, I have been eyeing this Etsy item and considering making my own version.
To purchase this Etsy item, go here.
Then the planets aligned and Rebecca shared her link. (My imaginary chorus is singing "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh" and raising their hands to the heavens.)

Spring Break is coming up. I now have a project planned for it.
*Rebecca teaches hoop dancing classes in the Atlanta area. I've never attended one, but I've heard that they're very popular. If Marietta and my local favorite teacher Laura Roinestad are too far away, then I point people to Hoop Essence. (You didn't know that, did you Rebecca? :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pleased (and amazed)

At a McDonald's drive through for coffee this morning I commented that I'd never seen a Big Mac that looked like the one pictured. From the back seat Mason said, "What's a Big Mac?"

He will be 10 years old in July. I am both pleased (and amazed) that we have maintained his fast food innocence for this long.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AJ’s Famous Seafood and PoBoys: Marietta, GA

Last weekend, my family expressed a craving for oysters. Almost instantly finding myself with an identical craving, I immediately disappeared to search the Web for local oyster options. That's when I stumbled upon glowing reviews of AJ's Famous Seafood and PoBoys. It didn’t take long for me to pack the family up and corral them out the door to grab lunch!

As one of the first customers that sunny Saturday, we snagged the best seat in the house --- the elevated table at the front window. And the experience only got better from there. Our attentive server brought over menus and utensils almost immediately and our beverages soon after. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took them to bring the food out, but I do know the boys didn’t get antsy so it mustn’t have been too long.

Crawfish Salad
Everything we ordered was tasty including my Crawfish Salad and my five year old’s Fried Shrimp, but my friend's Softshell Crab po-boy and my 9 year old’s Hot Sausage po-boy were EXCELLENT. The crab was fried to perfection and the hot sausage was flavorful and not too spicy. But what really made those sandwiches was the bread.  It was the perfect combination of soft interior and lightly crusted exterior…just the way French bread should be. (Note to self: Find out where AJ’s gets their bread!)

Hot Sausage PoBoy
Of course, nothing we ordered had oysters in it which was the reason I found AJ’s in the first place... Ah, well, I guess we’ll have to return another day. Soon.
AJ’s Famous Seafood and PoBoys
Pavilions at East Lake
2100 Roswell Road, Marietta, GA
(Next to Kroger. They’re working on their web site.)
Telephone: (678) 999-0767
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day, including Sundays
Healthy Food Notes: I didn't ask about trans fats and food sources.
AJ's Famous Seafood & Po Boy's on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to make a hula hoop

I make and sell hula hoops primarily as a way to promote hula hooping (although I'll admit that I REALLY enjoy working with glitter tape!). When I can, I'll also use them to promote my friend (the excellent hooping instructor, Laura Roinestad) and as a fund raising tool by donating them to schools and organizations (I've actually given away more hula hoops than I've sold!). (Yes. I talk this way, conversations can be a whole bunch of tangential comments. Be happy that you're just reading this and not having to listen to it!)

Adult-sized hula hoops can be difficult to find and then, when one does find them, it can be confusing deciding what size and weight to purchase. So I enjoy making hula hoops for people who are eager to start hooping but don't know how to get started.

As I excitedly promote the many benefits of hula hooping, though, I am becoming increasingly aware that the demand for my hoops is very soon going to be waaaayyyy more than I am able to meet (this is my hobby, after all, not my full-time job). So, to address this imminent possibility, I'm going to add information on how to make your very own hula hoop to this blog's sidebar. To be the most helpful, though, that writeup will take a bit of time. In the meantime, here's a quick and fun how-to that was posted by the singer Elizabeth Mitchell.

elizabeth mitchell - how to make a hoola hoop from You Are My Flower on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This is why I love hula hooping

Last Sunday, I assisted Laura Roinestad with an "Introduction to Hooping" session at Unity North Atlanta Church. Look at the smiles and grins on the faces of these teenagers!

It makes me so happy to introduce people to hula hooping --- it's an activity that combines exercise with FUN. And it's challenging enough to hold one's interest because there are always new moves to learn. (How many different "moves" can one do on a treadmill?!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The payback of perseverance, documented

As hooping master Beth Lavinder said, this is "Great documentation of the payback of perseverance." With a touch of humor. Love it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Random thoughts of the day

"Sewer" is spelled the same way as "sewer" (as in "one who sews"). I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Double vision: The medical assistant who came to get me had the voice of a weathered seaman and the face of a Nordic princess.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Images from this EXCELLENT Chinese New Year educational resource
I’ve volunteered to put together a small Chinese New Year’s activity for Cooper’s Kindergarten class. The key word in the preceding sentence is “small.” (Unlike Valentine’s Day last year in which I made these little trinkets. I LOVED that craft, but there’s no way I can do anything along those lines this year, what with a writing deadline that falls in the same Valentine’s Day timeframe.)

Even though we won’t be making any detailed crafts (again, thank goodness!), I’m still excited about the event. Following is a quick list of what I have planned and information about each item, including links to resources on the web, when applicable. Although it's not as detailed as I'd like it to be, perhaps this information will be helpful to someone sometime. If not for Chinese New Year (which is this Thursday, February 3rd!), then perhaps as ideas for Easter activities.

Book - "My First Chinese New Year":
My First Chinese New Year follows a young girl and her family as they prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year. 

Craft - Rabbit Tangrams: 

Tangram puzzles were invented in China! I was super-excited when I learned that. The image above is from the Family Fun web site which has a wealth of family crafting activities and instructions. I printed the templates on cardstock from the Family Fun web site (the template link is near the bottom of the instructions). The kids will cut them out and then glue their completed puzzles onto cardstock. Hmmmm. I just realized I used pastel colors because I was thinking of Easter. Gold, red, and black would have been better. Ah, well!

Gifts - Lucky money envelopes, rabbit and goldfish cheese crackers, scroll with each child's name in Chinese characters.
  • Lucky Money Envelopes. I will make these using a Sizzix mini-envelope template and put a quarter in each one. I was originally going to copy this pdf (, but I need a quicker method this week. I’ll most definitely use it next year though.
  • Rabbit & Goldfish cheese crackers. Annie’s organic cheese crackers are shaped as rabbits! I gasped when I passed them in Target’s crackers aisle. And then, of course, the standard goldfish crackers.
  • Print of each child’s name in Chinese. This site has 6,000 names “translated” into Chinese so it’s an excellent resource. I used it a few years ago for my oldest son’s Kindergarten class. I copied and pasted the Chinese name into a Word document with the English version underneath. I roll each one up and hold it closed with red ribbon.
For a TON of Chinese New Year for Kids information and resources visit I love, love, love that site. Wish I had time to explore it in more detail.

p.s. We are enjoying lovely Spring-like weather today. I’m having a very. difficult . time. concentrating on work. Which is perhaps why this blog entry came into being. Procrastination and all that…

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Unparallelled peace

The peace that fills me when hooping is unparalleled. Unparalleled, that is, until I watched this video of Beth Lavinder hooping. About 3 minutes into it, I suddenly realized that I had been lulled into a peaceful calmness by the beauty of her moves. Until that moment, it didn't occur to me that watching a master hooper could fill me with peace (joy, yes; excitement, yes; happiness, yes).