Hump Day Love: Dance 10 Performing Arts Center

I’m shooting this week’s “Hump Day Love” to the one and only Dance 10 Performing Arts Center.  Let me start by saying this post (long but I did my best) comes from all sorts of angles; as a former student, as a former teacher (not only there but at other dance studios) and as a lover of the arts.

I found Dance 10 during my Freshman year of high school when I had begun to realize that dance was going to be more for me than a hobby and actually be the thing that carried me into college.  I needed a place that would give me more technique, more challenges in terms of choreography and let me have some fun.  I had found a place (a high school) that gave me all of that in the classical forms but I was craving more and had realized that the studio I had been at wasn’t able to give it to me.   I came to Dance 10 after some recommendations and I never left.  It challenged me technically in terms of styles that aren’t considered “classical” and challenged me choreographically but the best part was that I smiled and laughed more there than I had ever done with not only the teachers but my peers.  It was a “safe haven” for me and in my teenage years, I’m forever grateful for that.

That technique and choreography came from some of the best teachers around.  Artist instructors are brought in from surrounding cities (NYC in particular) to provide workshops.  Guest choreographers (who many times happen to be former students who have gone on to conquer the world)  are brought in to provide new perspectives and push students out of the box.  And the teachers there day-in and day-out with the students pour their hearts and souls into the students.  Keep in mind I was very conscious about saying students and not dances.  Yes, they put hours into creating those dances but they create dances with their students in mind.  They find moments for every student to shine and ensure that the dances they create showcase the technique the students have been taught throughout the years.  When students are cast in certain pieces for competition numbers or the Holiday special, it is not without thought or many hours of deliberation.  It is well-thought out to give every student the right balance of moments to shine while also challenging them.

Many of the studio’s teachers were once the studio’s students.  They went on to receive further education in dance and have come “home” to take that education and pass it on to the next generation. As their peer students in the 90’s (yikes!) I’ve had so much fun learning dance with them. As their peer teachers I’ve learned so much from them.  I’ve seen Misty run from one end of the studio to the other just to give a simple correction but she wants to make sure that correction isn’t missed because for that one student it isn’t a simple correction, but could be the difference for making a technical element work just right.  I’ve seen Lisa challenge herself in terms of how much she pulls her time thin to balance her full-time job, teaching and extra rehearsals but she does it with grace because the education she’s giving those kids means everything to her.  I’ve seen Kayla have such patience with students that are truly struggling and help them get past the struggle and have fun.  I’ve seen Jess be the one person one of the tiny two year olds need to turn their first stage performance from a crying mess into a smiling masterpiece.  When I recommend Dance 10, I’m not just doing it because I went there or taught there, I’m doing it because I’ve lived it and experienced it in every way possible.

Teacher pix! My final year as a teacher while pregnant with my 2nd and yes, I refused to wear a crop top while dancing on stage and pregnant.  Miss you all!


As a teacher, it’s to be appreciated when you can come in and truly just worry about the lessons you have to teach.  I’ve worked at other studios where I have to do so much of the administration that I don’t get time to teach.  The value placed on the talents teachers have to offer is high here.  That’s why the staff behind the scenes is there and without their fabulous dedication to the job, the studio wouldn’t have grown from the 1 room rental in the American Legion when it was Dance 10 Studios to the entire building that is now Dance 10 Performing Arts Center (and yes, more than dance is offered there.)

But perhaps the greatest asset of this whole studio is the woman at its helm, Mary Ellen Reilly.  It is her vision, her leadership, her talents, and her love that has turned this “dance studio” into “home” for generations of students.  Her goal has always been to make sure that whatever path your child decides to take with dance…recreational, semi-professional, professional….that they have been taught a true dance education so that your money was not wasted, but also that it was done with love and respect for both the dancers and their family.

17 years ago I walked into Dance 10 and as I’ve grown up it’s been one of the few things I can always rely on.

This marks the studio’s 30th anniversary (I’m literally already stressed about the alumni dance) so it’ll be big and fabulous! Find out more via their website here.

I hope to see you at the recital!




Hump Day Love: Flower Girl Weddings

Kelly’s pure talent, eye for floral beauty, customer service skills and professionalism are the exact reasons you hire her for your wedding. Based out of Southington, Flower Girl Weddings takes your vision and colors and brings them to life in nothing less than utter perfection, all within your budget!  Kelly was fantastic at taking my budget and turning it into a bridal masterpiece.  She advised me on where I could cut down price and when things would and wouldn’t look good.  She took pictures I had and transferred what I loved about those pictures into my wedding.  Don’t know what you want?  No problem.  She will take individualized, personalized time to sit with you and discuss your wedding.  Her goal is to ensure that you have all of the information you need and she has all of the information she needs from you to make your dream wedding a reality.  She was very prompt on the day of the wedding and there wasn’t a single thing wrong.  I have and will continue to recommend Flower Girl Weddings to anyone.

My Bouquet…Loved the Rhinestone Roses
Kelly did a great job of matching the flower girls’ bouquets to mine while keeping them subtle
I loved the way the dark rose looked against Jason’s suit
church alter piece
The Church Altar Centerpiece

Hump Day Love: Ferraro’s, The Meat King

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Photo Credit: The Meat King

Ok just picture it; an ice cream truck but for meat!  It is that good.  We found this company in New Haven, Ferraro’s, that not only offers great cuts of every type of meat, but at excellent prices.  Unfortunately, its in New Haven which is not the most convenient for us.  Luckily, they’re now in Wallingford via a meat truck.  The truck comes to Wallingford Monday-Friday 11am-7pm and on Saturdays from 11am-5pm.  The availability on the truck can be limited so its always best to order ahead, which we do.  In our personal experience, we order a day before and its on the truck the next day.  All of the meat we’ve gotten has been delicious and we’ve even been able to order things in bulk when there’s a fantastic special.  The staff is accommodating, helpful and if you subscribe to their email list they’ll not only send you emails about their weekly specials but also let you know if the truck is ever running late.  Talk about customer service!

Hump Day Love: Lake Compounce Holiday Lights

65 degree weather in mid-December in Connecticut?  You bet we’re taking advantage of that, which is exactly why we went to Lake Compounce’s Holiday Lights Event.  What a great event!  We went with relatively low expectations and came out completely impressed!  The light display is fun to see walking around rather than riding in your car like many other like light shows.  Just take a look at this tree!


Also, select child rides are open helping to make the trip even more enjoyable for the little ones.  There’s also a North Pole Railway, story time with Mrs. Clause, ice carvers, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating and different nightly entertainment.  What’s also great is that you can get a fun array of food with the variety of unique food trucks there including trucks offering gourmet grilled cheese, cupcakes, and poutine.  Be sure to stop by Dunkin’ Donuts in the park for a refillable mug to keep yourself warm throughout the night with coffee and hot chocolate.

It was actually such an enjoyable event that we’re considering going back for this upcoming weekend, which is the last weekend!  Be sure not to miss out on this!  Also, buy your tickets online and save $2.  Let us know how you like it!



Hump Day Love: Beardsley Zoo

This week’s Hump Day Love is going out to a Connecticut staple, Beardsley Zoo.  Living in the Greater Hartford area, you sometimes forget about what other counties can offer especially as you get further and further towards NYC.  I’ve had many people tell me about how great Beardsley Zoo is and in my previous career in nonprofits, Beardsley Zoo was always a generous donor of auction items.  So, when we decided to do a family day we went to the Zoo.


On of its high points is that its quick.  We spent 2.5 hours there and got everything done including a mini picnic lunch and stopping for ice cream (we didn’t do the reptile show though).  The quickness means that it can be a morning or afternoon trip and holds the attention of a young child for just the right amount of time.  Also, most of the Zoo is under the shade, making a long walk on a hot day feel nice.  Also, its affordable.  Admission is low and we used our Big Y card, getting us a good discount.  If you plan ahead, most libraries offer complimentary museum passes and you can put them on reserve for when you want to go.

The low points for us are that it is far so for a quick trip, traveling that long is slightly frustrating.  There is only that 1 reptile show and for our 2 year old, reptiles in a big arena aren’t necessarily impressive so it would have been a benefit to see another show with larger animals.  Also, while sometimes the constant drink cart and ice cream cart can be annoying, there were no carts at the Zoo.  It’s central cafeteria offered everything.  To be able to pick up an ice cream in the middle of your walk rather than have to walk back around to the cafeteria would have been a nice treat.

Overall, it was a great day made evident by our son’s screams of “Back, back” as we were exiting the Zoo.

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Take a day trip there and let us know what you think!  Do you live near there?  Do you go often?