What Happens in Vegas Ends up on the Blog

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Bobby Pins & Bullets / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

I believe that is how the saying goes.  That or ‘What happens in Vegas ends up on YouTube.’

Not to worry folks; we left our mark.

Tom and I arrived on Thursday afternoon and checked into the Mirage.  We had a lovely volcano-view room, so that was fun.  We had a burger and milkshake for dinner our first night.  We went to LVB (Las Vegas Burger).  It was a great introduction to the price of food in Vegas.  The cheapest burger on the menu was $16.50.  That was a burger on a plate.  If you wanted to add fries and a soda, it was an additional $8.  ADORABLE.

I opted for the spiked milkshake to start off my trip.  I got the birthday cake and it came covered in sprinkles and with a piece of cake as garnish.  Cake should always be garnish by the way.  Who started the whole parsley garnish nonsense?

Vegas milkshake

Friday we explored a bit and for dinner tried a fun, new experience.  We would have waited and gone with Josh and Ashley, but Josh is very similar to his father who he is constantly teasing.  He wanted no part of this little experience.  Blackout Dining.  Have you heard of it?  Here is how it works: you put any light emitting devices (phone, watch, etc.) into a locker.  The menu is a mystery.  The waiter has night vision goggles and leads you into a pitch black dining room.  He helps you find your plate and utensils.  Walking your hand up to the end of the butter knife is how you find your water glass.  It was a 6 course meal.  The waiter would mysteriously drop the food and give instructions for eating (such as: A stabbing motion towards the center might yield the best results.  or, it  might be hot.) At the end of the dining experience we got to see the menu to see if we guessed what everything was correctly.

We thought it was quite fun and we enjoyed the adventure of it.  First thing when the waiter walked away we made sure we could find each other’s hands.  I love that man.

So am I right dad?  Would you cut your left arm off before paying $62 a person without knowing for sure that the dessert would be chocolate?  What are the chances you could handle a dining experience such as that?  Josh said we had hit about twelve strikes.

We quickly learned the way to afford drinks in Vegas.  For example, a simple rum and coke in most bars was anywhere from $14 to $18.  We forgot to rob a bank before we left.  Therefore, we found the penny slots at the Bellagio and settled in to “gamble”.  The pretty lady in the black dress soon learned our drink orders.  You see the drinks are free if you are gambling (i.e. pulling the handle once per minute or when she walks by) with a suggested dollar tip on each.  In a few hours we paid ten or twelve dollars total for four drinks each plus “gambling”.  Joke is on you, Vegas.

On Friday I might have thrown up on a slot machine in the Bellagio.  My bad.  It wasn’t even alcohol related. Welcome to my new body.

Saturday morning we ran into some good looking people.

vegas j and a

vegas ash and amy

Saturday included Senor Frogs and a pub called the Tilted Kilt.  It was fun, but towards the end I needed to go to the bathroom.  They pointed us towards the restroom sign.  It was up a flight of stairs.  Tom took me out of the pub to find a bathroom with an elevator or on the ground level.  That took about a mile of walking back behind two hotels and through a parking garage entrance to a casino to finally find the bathroom.  Saturday night was the great George Strait in concert.  It was really fun to see him in person and hear just how talented he really is.

vegas strait

Tom was not impressed with the opener for the concert, or the volume of her.

vegas concert

Sunday I got to be a superhero.  I did the Slotzilla zipline.  It was a hoot.  Ashley flew above Freemont Street with me.  We laughed and enjoyed it.  At the beginning they told us to brace for the impact at the end when it stops you.  I am not sure how to ‘prepare’ for that.  I attached a gif of us at the beginning leaving the slot machine and at the end.

vegas zip line 1

vegas zip line 2

We got to visit the Taco Bell Cantina.  It’s a slightly fancier Taco Bell that also serves frozen alcohol beverages.  That was definitely on my list.

Poor Ashley had a ‘predicament’ as she put it.  We said a predicament of having to hold both vodka and gelato is not at all the worst predicament.

vegas ashley

Speaking of gelato… the lady at the Bellagio place yelled at Josh and told him to “follow the instructions on the screen!”  The prompt on the screen was would you like to tip?  Josh said that was the easiest set of instructions he has had yet!

See that background?  That’s the Bellagio Christmas display.  It was fairly impressive I thought.

vegas bellagio 2

I think Josh is getting down Tom’s picture face pretty well.

vegas bellagio 3

These polar bears are made completely of flowers.

vegas bellagio 4

The scarf on this flower polar bear is made of red rose petals.

vegas bellagio 5

I love the fountains at the Bellagio too.  So neat.  I guess there are over 100 songs that the fountain is choreographed to, although we only saw a few.

The one to God Bless the USA was pretty cool.

vegas bellagio fountain

vegas bellagio fountain 2

Some of my favorite highlights were:

  • Being able to say “I heard someone threw up on that slot machine a few days ago.”
  • Tom taking the peace beads from the monk on the street and then when he asked for a donation, Tom donated peace beads.
  • Ashley telling me she loved me before we shot out of the slot machine six stories up… just in case we plummeted to our death.
  • Any time Josh was grossed out by someone, especially people dressed up on the streets, namely the person dressed as ‘retired stripper’.
  • Losing money playing the big 6 wheel with Ashley.
  • The blackout date with my love.
  • Josh getting flustered and accidentally betting on the wrong team, then winning money.
  • Ashley sharing her unlimited mimosas with me, but only when the server went into the kitchen.
  • Bumblebee Transformer yelling at Tom for only tipping a dollar.
  • Tom vandalizing every notepad at a bank of phones in the Bellagio.
  • Tom being so old that the concert lights and noise made him nauseas for 12 hours.
  • Tom fixing the leak in my oxygen tubing with gum.
  • Us almost going to a drag brunch until Ashley read the sign and realized we were in the wrong line.  (This is why you learn to read, kids).
  • The four of us were playing slots and Josh went to bed.  The lady sat down at the machine right after him on her first spin won money. Tom laughed about that for a while.
  • Accidentally borrowing drink glasses from the Paris.  They made it all the way home to Post Falls.
  • The amount of cowboy boots on the Vegas strip with the rodeo in town.

All in all, we had a great trip with lots of memories made!  Looking forward to and saving our pennies and hundreds to go again sometime!

My Guide to Las Vegas with POTS and Other Forms of Dysautonomia

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Big Medical Words / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Oxygen-y Stuff / Uncategorized

So you want the bright light city to set your soul, set your soul on fire, eh? Here is my little guide to surviving with POTS.

Water

Pack it, or plan to bring a small fortune to stay hydrated.  The other option is to learn to like tap water.  Bottles of water on average were anywhere between $3.50 to $6.  These are for 20 oz bottles, not even big bottles.  Some hotels had vending machines with bottled water, but those were still around $4 each.  If you’re living the POTS life, you need a LOT more water than that.  We searched high and low though for the very best deal, in case you don’t want to pack it.

The very best deal we could find was the CVS across the street from the Mirage.  It was $2.39 for a gallon.  Walgreens and the ABC store both had water for $2.99 a gallon.  Your first stop after landing should be one of these places.

Electrolytes

Don’t count on being able to buy Gatorade in Vegas.  Gatorade wasn’t found anywhere.  We did find PowerAde once, and only once.  We found a small bottle for $5 at the Bellagio pool gift shop.  I suggest you bring Nuun tablets, or something similar to dissolve in water and make your own electrolytes.  I don’t get paid to say that I like Nuun tablets, I just prefer them the most.  But, if Mr. & Mrs. Nuun happen to be reading this, feel free to give me some money.

vegas powerade

Wheeling Around

Bring someone strong and able to push your chair.  Walking (or rolling) the strip is no easy task.  Some parts have crosswalks where you can cross, but other portions have fences that do not allow you to cross at the corner, but require you to walk up the street a bit and then take an escalator to a sky bridge to cross the street, then go back down again on the escalator.  Obviously escalators are not made for wheelchairs, but there are elevators available.  They are farther back behind the escalators through a sketchy alley way.  Special bonus: some of the elevators smell like urine and one had a man passed out sleeping on his skateboard on the floor.  He was there several hours because we saw him twice.

They also have scooters available to rent, but I’m not sure on the pricing.  Also, if you think about a street corner filled with people, it’s definitely a hassle to wait to be able to roll the wheelchair down the sidewalk ramp instead of jumping off the curb.

Vegas is filled with adorable cobblestone too.  Be prepared for bumps.  I should point out that Ubers are readily available and taxis too.  As with most places, Uber is more affordable than taxis.

From a wheelchair you get to see Vegas from a whole different perspective.  You can’t see over most table games and railings, not to mention you are traveling through Vegas at hiney level.  Maybe that is a bonus for you.  I found it a bit annoying.

I don’t use my wheelchair much in my life around home.  So when I suddenly am being wheeled a few miles a day, my dizziness, and sometimes my nausea increases.  Going up and down on the elevator over and over can help to create that “I just got off a cruise ship and I feel like I’m swaying when I’m standing still” feeling.  I found rest to be incredibly necessary.  Afternoons always included a nap.

I know this is stupid and vain, but being in a wheelchair makes attractive selfies difficult.  I prefer a camera above looking down, but if you are trying to get someone else in the picture, it’s frequently a camera looking up to capture you and another person, unless they come down to your level.  At the end of the day, choose to enjoy the moment and the time and not worry about an unflattering picture.  It’s small potatoes, which brings me to food.

vegas wheelchair 1

Eating

If you have POTS, then you know that eating is most effective and least symptomatic when eating a bunch of small meals, instead of two or three large meals.  That’s not what Vegas is about.  Vegas is about all you can eat, all at once for one price.  If you do the buffet scene, take your time.  The water is free and unlimited too.  I am sure it is tap water too, but I do think in some of the machines it is filtered, since it tastes less like a swimming pool.

If I could go back again I would bring some little salty snacks and granola bars, etc. to help in between the expensive Vegas meals.  Sure, I could get a piece of pizza in the afternoon, etc. but it is $12-$15 for a slice, and then it seems like you absolutely must finish it, so you don’t waste the money.

Don’t think you can eat half of your dinner and take the rest back to the fridge in your room.  No fridge. No microwave.  I’m not talking about a Travelodge; I’m talking the Mirage and the Bellagio.  No fridge.  No saving or buying string cheese at the Walgreens and storing it in your room.

Bathrooms

Locate the restroom as soon as you enter a casino or restaurant.  You never know if you are going to suddenly vomit on a slot machine in the Bellagio, not that I know anyone who did that.  (It was me.  I did that.  It wasn’t even alcohol related sadly.)

Also, sometimes the bathroom is a trick.  We were in one pub having dinner and asked about the bathroom location.  We walked over to the sign and there was a set of stairs up to the bathroom.  No elevator.  We ended up walking almost a mile back behind two different hotels in through a parking garage to find the closest bathroom.  That was frustrating.

Oxygen

If you are dependent on oxygen, I would make a plan to bring a concentrator.  Everyone, everywhere smokes in your mouth.  I have tanks and a concentrator at my house at home, but for trips I rent a portable, airline approved oxygen concentrator for $100 a week.  It’s annoying to have to pay for it, but I’d rather have it than not.

Yes, there are oxygen bars in Vegas.  I don’t know how many liters per minute they can do though, so I wouldn’t count on them being able to do whatever your prescription approves.  They do have cute bright colored water bubbling though too.

Light & Sound Sensitivities

Vegas is kind of known for being bright and loud.  If you have a lot of issues with neon and flashing lights, it might not be for you.  I have issues with certain fluorescent lights increasing my POTS symptoms.  I was only really bothered by one buffet’s lights.  The other lights didn’t cause me too many issues.

Tom said that Vegas would be perfect for our eight year old because there are people everywhere making noise for no reason at all, other than just to make noise.  He’s not wrong.

Debrief

It might seem like I’m being negative, but that is not the case at all.  I just want to be sure that you know what you are preparing for exactly.  I had a great time.  We went to the George Strait concert and it was amazing to hear him in person.  My brother and his wife flew in and met us there for our little Christmas together.  We made all kinds of memories together.  My brother got flustered in the sports betting area and accidentally bet on the wrong team.  He ended up winning $20.  My husband won $69 on the nickel slots and $20 at Roulette.  My sister won $38 on the big six wheel.  I donated to the casino on every game I played, but I made my money back in free drinks.  I’m no fool.

vegas wheelchair 2

 

 

 

 

A New Venue and a Reminder about Faith

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All summer I saw signs about Aunt J’s Farmer Market.  I remember this because Carter has called my sister-in-law, Tom’s sister, Aunt J since he could talk.  I never made it to the market throughout the summer.  Timing, illness, planning, whatever the reason, it just didn’t come together.  I was scrolling on Facebook and saw an ad about a Small Business Saturday and a Holiday Marketplace being held at Aunt J’s Farmer’s Market.  I was confused at first since it is Idaho and much too cold to be outside at a Farmer’s Market.  I was relieved to see that it was an indoor market.  The ad said that they had room for one or two more vendors.  I sent a message just to look into vendor fees and pricing to see if it was something I could do maybe.  I got a message back quickly and it was exceptionally reasonable and since I had no plans on that day, I figured, hey why not give it a try.

Without wanting to deplete my inventory at Salvage 7 (my store space), I had to work somewhat quickly to whip up a few more holiday rustic/farmhouse style goodness things to sell.  **it should be noted that last year after selling little mesh garlands, Tom told me, “hey babe, each month throughout the year you should make a few of those and start preparing for the upcoming Christmas season so at the last second you aren’t rushing around.  I failed to do any such thing. ** I worked for a few days as quickly as my little body would allow to prepare and I ended up having a nice little set up for the Farmer’s Market.

holiday marketplace

Overall, it was a somewhat slow day.  We all had a lot of interest on social media, but customers were a bit sparse.  Either way, I still made money, but what I gained that day was worth so much more.

I had seen a flyer hanging up talking about a fundraiser to ‘Save Aunt J’s Farm’.  There was no further explanation.

I got the opportunity to learn about this little farm.  I got to meet Aunt J herself and she welcomed me and took me on a tour of the farm.  She showed me all of the animals she has and her garden, fruit trees, raspberry patch, and her 200 blackberry bushes.  She showed me her grain barn, where she makes her own chicken, pig, and goat food.  She talked to me about more than just the animals though.  She talked to me about how God has been working in her life.

Without getting into too many details, let me give you the short version.  J had been married to her high school sweetheart for 36 years.  One day, things changed.  He became violent and angry with no reason given.  Divorce became the only option due to her safety.  Brutal does not begin to describe the constant fear and pain she went through.

Long story short, even though he took more than half of their farm to a new location, she has five months to come up with $70,000 to buy out his half of the farm and continue the work in the community she is doing.  She has cried and spent many hours in prayer and God has always said that he will provide and little by little, doors have continued to be opened.  Free hens arriving.  Pigs getting pregnant.  A family in the church showing up to say that they had been praying and were told that Aunt J needed $600 for the farm.  She had no idea what that would be for but graciously and humbly took the money.  Two days later a pipe burst and flooding ensued leaving the pigs with mud up to their shoulders and 3000 gallons of water lost.  Calling for help pumping out the pen and repairs and filling up the water again came to a total of exactly $600, not a penny more, not a penny less.  Around each corner God has provided.

She works hard all day to keep the farm running with only her and a part time farm hand.  She makes goat milk soap and bakes chocolate zucchini cake to sell at market.  She sells eggs and is licensed to sell pork in smaller portions for those who can’t afford to buy a half a pig or a whole pig.  She teaches children and takes them on farm tours often to teach them how to care for animals appropriately.  She spoils her goats exactly as much as we do too.  She makes goat cookies especially for them.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that our goats like Doritos, whiskey, and chocolate chip cookies.

She was told that her grain needed to be inspected by the FDA for her to sell it.  They came out to do the inspection of her grain barn and feed.  She passed all tests and inspections with flying colors and at the end of the day, the FDA agent prayed with her and said he would continue to pray for her and her farm.  A week later the FDA agent called and asked if he could bring his family out to see her farm and pray with her.  Each step of the way, God is providing and strengthening her and giving her peace and comfort in his plan.

Hearing this story was moving.  Watching her speak about her life and the fact that before all of this she had grown away from God for thirty years.  In the midst of all of this she picked up her bible.  She has been keeping a journal of all the blessings that God has brought to her through this tumultuous journey.

I was offered to stay at the market through the spring and summer too, when they move a bunch of it outdoors and it becomes a local produce market, which I am thrilled about.  I told her a bit about me and she said she would be praying for my health and she looks forward to getting to know me more.  In fact, her last words to me were, “Well Amy, welcome to the farm.”

Never before have I met someone and in that first meeting felt so truly moved to want to help her.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a spare $70 grand laying around, but I will do what I can to help.  There is a go fund me for this farm, which I will share here if you feel so inclined to help with funds.  Either way, if you pray, would you include Aunt J in your prayers please? Would you consider sharing this blog or her go fund me as well?  I have a hard time seeing someone working so dang hard to keep something available as a resource to the community.  Look, she is living a humble life working hard and just wishing to be able to continue on in that fashion.  She is not living in a big fancy mansion and paying people to tend to the animals and such.  She is out in the stalls and with the animals every day.  Her boots are covered in mud and manure and she dreams to keep them that way.

https://www.gofundme.com/save-aunt-js-farm

 

 

 

Dancing with the Stars: The Winner of the Mirrorball is…

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Dancing with the Stars Recaps / Uncategorized

It’s night two of finals, folks.  We’re here.  We’ve made it all this way.  It’s the final three and by the end of these final two hours we will have a new mirrorball champion.  Spoiler alert: Sharna doesn’t win.  Maybe next season they won’t give her a basketball player.

Ok, I’m not bitter.  Here we go.

What I like about the finale: finding out the winner and celebrating.

What I hate about the finale: 1 hour and 40 minutes of recaps, musical performances, and dances of previous contestants and pros.

Tonight we get to watch each couple dance their favorite dance all over again for judge scores.

Lindsey & Mark: Jive Replay

We got a redo of their happy Wake me up Before you GoGo jive.  You remember, the cute one when they started and ended in the stand up bed prop.  It’s just as cute as it was before.  The judges agreed.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Frankie & Witney- Argentine Tango Replay

They chose their Pirates of the Caribbean Argentine Tango.  It was excellent once again.  The judges agreed.  I still loved the costumes.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Jordan & Lindsay- Salsa Replay

I don’t remember this dance, but Lindsay was wearing denim panties so there’s that.  Either way the judges said it was amazing and magical.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Ok, we got three dances from people competing and we’re one hour into the show.  There were songs and dances and videos and commentators.  Next up will be fusion dances and then supposedly a mirrorball will be given out to someone.

It’s 10:15 and there have been no more competitor dances.  Oh thank goodness… I see the ballroom.  We must be getting close.  Nope, just a recap of the last three weeks, but I remember because I watched it.

Fusion Dances

Lindsey & Mark- Tango/Cha Cha Fusion

Well, it was a great mash up of two somewhat difficult dance styles.  Len loved it because there was no messing around and it went straight into the routine.    Carrie Ann called it not a fusion, but alchemy.  This partnership was fantastic, really and I will miss it.  Who could Mark get next season that would be this fun to watch?  Ugh.  It’s the end of an era.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Frankie & Witney- Tango/Foxtrot Fusion

Frankie says if he doesn’t win, this was still the most amazing experience of his life.  Silver is their color theme, but all I see is gold.  Len tells Frankie that he hasn’t always been the judges champion, but he’s always been the people’s champion, which is code for “You’re not gonna win, bud.”

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Jordan & Lindsay- Salsa/Paso Doble Fusion

I feel like the judges could watch with blindfolds and would award all 10’s.  (Mind you, I’m typing this before they have awarded scores).  He’s the most well rounded male celeb they have ever had, according to Len.  Carrie Ann was actually right once when she said that there is really nothing else to say.  Well, that I agree with.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

After their dance they jumped into the sleigh with Tom and the mirrorball and rushed over to the Grove so that Nick Lachey could perform while they stand there awkwardly waiting to find out who won.

But first, surprise! Two celebs are headlining with the dancing with the stars tour: Jordan and Frankie!

Seven minutes until 11.  Tell me they are announcing the winner soon.

Ah, they have envelopes.  It is time.

The couple in third place is: Frankie & Witney.  Not a big huge surprise there, but I’m happy that he gets to continue on with the dancing with the stars team.

The winners and new champions of dancing with the stars are:

Jordan & Lindsay

Now, a reminder, we can be mad at the producers for casting a dancer from Broadway as a contestant, but we can’t be mad at Lindsay or at Jordan.  All they did was do their best, and to be honest, I’m happy to see Lindsay win a mirrorball.  She is a great teacher and choreographer.

In other news: Tom casually mentioned that in the Spring they will be doing a special athletes-only edition.  Can I please cast my vote now for Sharna to get a hockey player?  Ok, great.  Thanks ABC producers.

Thanks for following along with me this season!

 

 

 

 

Dancing with the Stars: Night One of Finals

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Dancing with the Stars Recaps / Uncategorized

It’s the first night of Finals.  Tonight will include a judge’s challenge which is a redemption dance chosen by a judge from one of their dances earlier this season that did not receive high scores.  After that is the ever popular freestyle round, which is always incredible.  Not to mention, a freestyle round including choreography from Mark and Lindsay.  The only thing that would make it better would be if Sharna was choreographing a routine.  Oh and the guest judge is some blonde lady, named Julianne Hough.

In case you forgot our final four couples are Drew & Emma, Frankie & Witney, Jordan & Lindsay, and Lindey & Mark.

Drew & Emma

Bruno shows up in rehearsals in a very interesting Village People-esque construction outfit.  Drew comments just how dainty his tool belt is, which I find just excellent.  Bruno tells us that Drew is the dark horse in this competition and I would agree.

Drew works on a Paso Doble and comes as close to wowing the judges as possible for him.  Len says he finally had finesse.  Julianne says he had confidence.  Bruno was impressed with his posture.  Carrie Ann is heartbroken because it was his best dance.  I’m not even going to pretend that I speak her language.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Julianne- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Frankie & Witney

Carrie Ann showed up in rehearsals to encourage Frankie.  She tells him he can win this.  Not only does she want a foxtrot, she wants Frankie to have a solo.  All foxtrots should be danced to Frank Sinatra songs.  Witney has big bouncy loose curls and a gorgeous baby pink gown, half see-through and half sequins.  Oh, and long silk gloves.  Carrie Ann loved it.  Len said he still has a little work to do on his frame, but overall it was a great job.  Julianne says she was transported to the golden age of Hollywood.  She calls him a Frank Sinatra manly man.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 9
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 9

 Jordan & Lindsay

They start with the back story of their struggle last week with both having injuries.  They paint a beautiful under dog story that no one across America buys.  Len shows up to say their last Charleston lacked Charleston content.  They whip up a fantastic number and to no one’s surprise completely own the dance floor.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Lindsey & Mark

Long distance via Skype, Julianne calls up to tell them they get to redeem their week two quickstep.  Lindsey and Mark are both touring around the country.  A soon as Lindsey gets off the stage at night they rehearse until 3 AM.  I can’t even imagine.  I would not be good famous.  I love sleep way too much.

Anyways, she nailed it.  Julianne is super impressed with how well she did.  Carrie Ann says she is the most improved dancer in the competition.  Len says even though he doesn’t like to use the vile American word, the dance warranted it: awesome.  My only complaint is that her dress was too long.  I like being able to see the feet more.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

 Drew & Emma- Freestyle

They do a super cute little swing/jazz type number with a bunch of fun trick moves and lifts.  It’s adorable and fun and bouncy.  Drew looks like he is having so much fun.  Emma choreographs what is a mixture of Drew and Emma- two quirky weirdos.  I loved it.  Len says that on week one he called him a fixer upper and he says he is all fixed up now and is a hot property.  I am expecting a 10- LEN.  Bruno says he was in between Maks and Val and yet he could only look at Drew.  All happy and great, but oh wait.  Carrie Ann is here to remind him that he was off time a few times.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 10
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Not that any one of the judges is especially bitchy or anything.

Frankie & Witney- Freestyle

Witney has a vision for this freestyle.  She wants it to be powerful and strong and serious.  The producer calls midway through the week to suggest something more fun and happy.  She goes back and forth and Frankie says he trusts her 100%.  She decides to go with her gut, which is the more powerful song that she things describes Frankie and his journey through this season.  When Frankie is talking to the camera about this dance and this season, he breaks down in tears talking about how much Witney has helped him in his life.

Julianne loves that he said he trusts Witney no matter what.  She is happy he went with the hard dance.  Bruno says he really, really, really liked it.  Len has all positive comments.  Carrie Ann reminds him that he lost steam a little bit at one part.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Jordan & Lindsay- Freestyle

Can I just start by saying that if I was on the show and I made it to freestyle, I would want Lindsay or Sharna to choreograph my routine.  She is amazing.  They dance to Puttin’ on the Ritz and it is full of technique and skill and tricks and lifts and glitz and a true show stopper.  It was everything you would hope to see in a freestyle.  Bruno calls him a superstar.  Carrie Ann says his star shines brightly.  Len says it was a cracker jack of a number; brilliant.  Julianne reminds him that they worked together on Grease and this show has made him so much better.

And in the wise words of my mama, “This kid is so good he could dance on Broadway.”

Image result for gif that was a joke

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Lindsey & Mark- Freestyle

Mark is the king of crazy ideas and choreography.  This starts out with them conducting an orchestra and is a general mashup of all dance styles.  And oh look, she’s playing her violin while in hold and while Mark is lifting her upside down.  Well, that is quite the trick.  STANDING OVATION.  Julianne calls it Tim Burton quirky and elegance.  Talk about a crazy dance.  Bruno calls it a modern classic extravaganza.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Julianne- 10
  • Bruno- 10

I better just show you how cool this was, in case you missed it.

And oh no, now someone has to be eliminated.  The first couple competing tomorrow night is Jordan and Lindsay.  Also dancing for the mirrorball are Lindsey and Mark.  The couple going home right now is…… Drew & Emma.

Ok, look, Drew was not the best dancer, but I’ve loved watching him grow and learn.  I am happy he made it as far as he did.

Tomorrow night is the big finale.  Who will win the mirror ball?  Will it be Jordan, the favorite since the beginning?  Lindsey, a natural performer, but newer dancer?  Or the underdog, Frankie?  Will he swoop in for the win?

 

 

Dancing with the Stars: Semifinals

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Dancing with the Stars Recaps / Uncategorized

We’ve made it to the semifinals!  In case you missed last week’s episode (since I didn’t blog about it), those left in the finals are Drew, Lindsey, Jordan, Frankie, and Victoria.  They will dance two dances, one of their own and one that was a previous iconic dance on dancing with the stars, usually performed by a couple that went on to win the mirrorball.

Drew & Emma- Tango

This is a fun Scottish dance to the song 500 miles.  Drew is in a kilt and Emma is in a long flowing skirt of matching tartan.  Now I wonder if that is his actual family tartan since he talks about being a proud Scot and wearing a kilt in his upcoming wedding.  He looked handsome, but nowhere near as handsome as these two guys (Tom and Carter on our wedding day).

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Anyways, the judges thought he lost technique and posture.  They always say that to him, so that is fitting I suppose.  My favorite comment was Carrie Ann’s that she found his kilt to be a bit revealing.  Riiiiiiight, because the girls’ outfits are never just embroidery floss with pasties.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 8

Victoria & Val- Contemporary

Val recreates her family living room where she recovered while she was ill.  Jenna dances as her mom.  It’s a beautiful story-telling dance that ends with Victoria in tears hugging her parents.  Just a wee bit emotional.  The judges praise her dancing and the choreography.  Only positive comments with nothing to work on noted, but perfect 9’s from the judges.  That must be so annoying.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Jordan & Lindsay- Argentine Tango

He dances to a song about being a brother, since he has two younger siblings.  There was a scare in rehearsals this week when Lindsay hurt her knee, but don’t worry, she’s ok.  Mr. Professional dancer does a pretty perfect dance.  Ah, leave it to Carrie Ann to bring the honesty- that wasn’t his best dance; there was a disconnect.  Len says a ballroom tango is like a man dancing with his wife and an Argentine tango is like a man dancing with his mistress.  (I HATE these comparisons, btw.)  Len says he needs to focus on the dance and not the story and it not being too big.  Bruno says it was his most mature dance yet.  So, divided on the judging panel I suppose.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 10

Lindsey & Mark- Contemporary

She dances to a song called head high by Mark and his wife.  It’s essentially a story about her fighting back against all of her critics who told her she would never make it.  The judges loved it and commented on how much she has changed since the beginning.  Carrie Ann says she used to be ‘pastel and light, but now she is dark blood earth mama’.  Based on her score I guess that is a good thing.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 10

Frankie & Witney- Salsa

Apparently Frankie accidentally said at the very beginning that if he made it past week 8 that he would take his shirt off.  Last week Len said he needed to bring his confidence so he does his best to bring his confidence to salsa, which is tricky by the way.  As promised in the last 2 beats Witney rips his shirt off.  Len says it was too much hip hop and not enough hip action.  Witney tore a muscle this morning, but she says you’d have to drag her off that dance floor because she loves dancing with Frankie.  Witney has never been one of my favorites really, but her being with Frankie is really making her much more tolerable.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 9

He was only one tiny point higher than Drew, and the judges HATE Drew.

Iconic Dances

Drew & Emma- Jazz- Dance by Corbin & Karina

It is mentioned by the judges and in rehearsals that he is nothing like Corbin.  Cool.  Why can’t they at least give the guy a bone and match him with someone at all like his body?  You would think he is the weirdest shaped person ever they way they always talk about him.  I think he did a really good job with some terrifying moves and lifts and spins.  Emma didn’t die so that’s great!  The judges talk about his lack of finesse and technique, oh and he’s so not like Corbin at all.  I rolled my eyes as we moved on to the next dance.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 8

Victoria & Val- Charleston- Dance by Amber & Derek

Now, comparing the two dances, I would have to give the edge to Derek, but only because I think he does amazing with Charleston.  However, the dance overall was remade as their own and it was super cute.  In dress rehearsals her leg went into a spasm and was twisted all wrong, but she referred to it as a bump in the road.  Way to rock it, Victoria!

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- “this hasn’t happened to you before” 10
  • Bruno- 10

Jordan & Lindsay- Jive- Dance by Mark & Paige

This is a crazy fast and difficult jive.  I love the original and I absolutely love the way they do the dance too.  It was fantastic.  It absolutely deserved a perfect score.  Len says over the years there have been good jives, great jives, and now there is the yardstick for all future jives– Jordan jives.  Look, I know I whine a lot about him being a professional dancer already, but truly it’s not the judges fault and it’s not his fault.  The producers need to stop picking professional dancers for the show, but we can’t take it out on Jordan.  That’s just not fair.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

This dance was just so great that I had to include it for you in case you missed it.

Lindsey & Mark- Tango- Dance by Meryl & Maks

In rehearsals Mark stresses that she has never had dance lessons ever and she said she has always wanted to be a dancer.  She tried out for dance teams and never made it.  Ok, fine, maybe she isn’t a professional.  Len says the holds were a tiny bit loose occasionally.  Bruno says it was incredible.  Carrie Ann says even though they didn’t have the sexual chemistry they still really made it their own.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 10

Frankie & Witney- Paso Doble- Dance by Apollo & Julianne

Witney says since the dance is so iconic she wants to keep the choreography the same.  Frankie says the choreography is insanely hard, but it’s not just that.  He has a hard time ripping her skirt off and reattaching it again.  He says never mind the moves, he can’t even get the Velcro to work.  He nails the knee walks (even tough he tore his meniscus two months before this show).  I really think they killed the dance.  Truly, the whole dance was so powerful.  Carrie Ann is here to tell us that he didn’t breathe through all of his movements.  Len says there wasn’t enough shaping and stretching.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 9

It’s time for the horrid red light of doom.  The first couple who will be dancing is Lindsey and Mark.  Also dancing in the finals are Drew and Emma.  (WHAT?!)  Jordan and Lindsay are going to the finals.  It’s down to Victoria and Val and Frankie and Witney.

The couple leaving is: Victoria and Val.  Poor thing burst into tears as soon as she heard.  Val tells her how incredible she is and that there is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be upset about.  Daddy Tom tells her how amazing she is and how inspiring she has been to thousands.  Daddy Tom calls in the big guns, mom and dad to come out and hug her.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the judges hate Drew so just imagine how many HGTV folks are out there voting for him!  I like Drew and Emma.  Really, I liked all of these last five couples.

Tune in next week!

The Big, Exciting, Sparkly & Rusty News

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Our little business, Sparkles & Rust is growing up.  We are officially in a store, and not just any store.  It’s an amazing and highly rated vintage-style boutique.  I have loved this store for a while and I’m so excited that she loves my products too.

I was deciding between two stores, but this one was obviously more expensive in all ways, but also that much busier and higher quality.  As I was choosing Tom and I had this conversation:

Amy: She just sent me a few more rules for products.

Tom: That’s stupid.  Why are there rules? You should be allowed to sell whatever you want.

Amy: Well that other place might have rules too.

Tom: That place is a dump; they don’t have rules.

Amy: That pretty much makes my choice right there.

Once I officially made me decision and agreed to everything, I had three days until the ‘revamp for Christmas night’ when all the vendors would be there changing up their booths.  It’s safe to say I was BUSY-BUSY-BUSY for those three days finishing up bunches of handmade Christmas decor.  I whipped up a gorgeous mesh wreath, a couple lit mesh wire garlands, some buffalo plaid jars, and a couple gorgeous buffalo plaid and burlap lit garlands (which I LOVE).

As we were moving in my products, I got to meet all of the other brilliant minds whose stuff I have been admiring for quite some time.  I look up to some of these women so much and it was just so magical for me to have them impressed and commenting on my hand-picked and hand-made items too.

As Tom and I were signing paperwork, I realized something else fairly significant too.  I officially started my law enforcement career on November 9th and there it was, Novemeber 9th when I was starting another journey.  I hope that together we can make this work, and I’m really very excited for this new challenge.

Tom has always told me that you have to do things that scare you in life.  Looking back, some of the most incredible moments in my life came from taking a risk and trying something that was scary.  I was terrified to travel around the state teaching my class to dispatchers.  So many things could have gone wrong and they could have hated my material, but instead I made some great friends and was told by so many that they truly changed their outlook on their job and were refreshed and motivated about officer safety.  Look, if my class helped anyone to encourage their passion and focus towards safety for officers, it was completely worth it.  I’m so thankful I took that scary step and put myself out there.

I hope that looking back I’ll be just as thankful that we took this risk too, but we won’t know until we try.

I have to clarify in case anyone out there is thinking, “wow, she’s doing so well she can totally just get a job.”  This is unfortunately not true.  But, in my moments when my hands and arms are working and I’m feeling ok, I can work on little projects (majorly with Tom’s help and muscle) in between bathroom runs and bedridden days.  So, ideally, I’d still love to go back to law enforcement.  If I could, I would go back tomorrow, but as far as that all goes, my doctors still say I’m nowhere near healthy enough to do that.  So, again instead of wasting my woes on what I can’t do, I’m going to focus my attention and energy into what things I can try to do that give me purpose and goal to work towards.

Overall, I’m just so excited.  I like my location in the store and I’m so excited to keep picking and making treasures to sell.

Here are some peeks at my little area:

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Salvage72

salvage3

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Hello Old Friend

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I have my happy little heart monitor back again.  It’s been two years since I spruced up my cleavage with wires.  This time it’s only for a few days though, not a month.  No big deal.  I also had an echocardiogram this morning.  It has such potential to be a great nap.  The lights are low and it’s mostly quiet except for the occasional blood whooshing noises.  Right when you are ready to sleep the lady makes you breathe and hold your breath a bunch of times so she can take snapshots and measurements of your heart doing all of it’s tricks.  It’s a very easy test, but mine was at 7:40 which is when I like to be asleep, or at least snuggled up in bed.  Either way, I got it done and then got my heart monitor all hooked up.  Then I got to come home for a few hours until my next doctor appointment.

Fun fact about the heart failure and electrophysiology office: I’m the young one, by far.  I go through life mostly feeling like the ‘old lady’.  I walk slower.  I hold people up who are behind me at the store.  I can’t do as much, etc., but at the heart clinic I’m the young one!  I’m the one who can hear the receptionist.  I’m the one who looks out of place.

I got it all done except for blood work, which I need to do tomorrow.  It would have been nice to get everything done, but three appointments and running errands AND doing blood work was just not all possible today.

If you are one of my faithful readers, you might have noticed that I didn’t do a Dancing with the Stars blog this week.  I did watch, and I have some thoughts, but I was just a teeny bit busy with other projects this week.  All of those projects come together tomorrow and by Friday morning I should have a really fun and super exciting announcement, so keep an eye out for that.

I suppose that is all I have to say tonight, but I should have another post out on Thursday night or Friday morning.

I hope all of you are finding smiles out there!

heart monitor

 

Happy Discounted Candy Day

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It’s been a bit since I’ve done some updating of health and life and random whatnot.  I figured today is as good a day as any.  So first off, it’s discounted candy day.  I got up, threw on my skeleton leggings and ran down to Walmart to get some 50% off candy.  While I was looking through the carts of candy, a lady held up a bag and the following conversation took place:

Lady: Will this last a while do you think?

Me in my head: Well, it depends on how much you like candy or how much you eat each day, right?  Is this a test? Is she asking how much candy I’m going to eat when I get home?

Me out loud: Oh sure.

Lady: It won’t go bad for a while right?

Me in my head: Do people have candy in their house so long it goes bad?

Me out loud: Oh no.  You’ve got a few months for sure at least.

***

Neurologist & Electrophysiologist 6 Month Visits

A couple weeks ago I had both my six month neurologist and electrophysiologist appointments.  The neurologist didn’t have anything new to say really.  Same old, same old.  He did talk to me about watching my weight to make sure it doesn’t go up any more as that would cause increased issues.  I had a baby breakdown about this, but overall I know where I am and I am working towards changes with baby steps.  I realize I will see change also in baby amounts at a time, but I can only do what I can do.

The electrophysiologist was slightly more news.  She thinks I may have inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which goes hand in hand with POTS fairly frequently.  She ordered an echocardiogram and she wants me to wear the monitor for a week while trying a new medication to see how it works.  The medication is evidently only FDA approved for heart failure, but she said it works well to treat this usually.  It’s also unknown if my insurance will cover it, but one thing at a time.  So, that was two weeks ago and I’ve yet to schedule the echo or the monitor because they are waiting for approval from insurance.  So I won’t know any more until they call I guess.

Winter Preparations

The first projected snow is in two days.  Are we ready?  That’s always the game.  Tom takes good care of me and the wood rack is jam packed so I know we’ll be warm.  We need to make sure we have some fuel for the generator.  We are set up pretty well with canned goods just in case of storm.  I’d like to get some larger qualities of baking supplies just to have on hand as well.

Christmas Prep

This year we will start decorating the day after Thanksgiving promptly so hopefully it won’t take forever to get things set up how I like.  I have started planning Christmas crafts and décor that I want to make this year to sell so that is fun and keeps me busy.

More Surprises

I’ve had some recent projects and buys that are very fun and I can’t wait to share, but I need to get them cleaned up and restored as much as possible before I share about them.  So keep an eye out for those fun posts coming up.

Costume Party

The Saturday before Halloween is one of Tom’s favorite nights each year.  This year we went as Negan and Lucille.  If you’ve watched the Walking Dead (which I don’t.  I hide behind my laptop while Tom watches it) you are probably familiar with the bad guy Negan and his bat named Lucille.  We went as that, but with a little spin since I didn’t want to dress up like a baseball bat.  I went with the Lucille Ball angle instead.  We had a good time and learned from last year and therefore didn’t spend the next entire day vomiting thanks to Tom pouring my drinks and reducing alcohol in each one.  He’s brilliant.

Negan and Lucille

Ok, I think that is all to share right now.  More again soon!  Enjoy Fall, friends!

 

Dancing with the Stars: Halloween

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Dancing with the Stars Recaps / Uncategorized

*Sorry I’m a teency bit late.  Last night I was busy watching the movie Mark of the Vampire from 1935.  Don’t worry, I caught up today.*

It’s spooktacular.  It’s all treat and no trick.  It’s bootastic.  It’s all the Halloween puns you can imagine.  Daddy Tom warns us at the beginning not to try to play a drinking game with Halloween puns as we will surely die.  Carrie Ann’s hair is blue.  Bruno is wearing a black glitter jacket.  It’s time to dance.

Victoria & Val- Viennese Waltz

Victoria had a rough week in rehearsals.  She’s been closed off and you know, dancing is hard, not to mention dancing against some of these other people.  Val mentions some of my thoughts that Jordan and Lindsey have been dancers for years, meanwhile Victoria cheated death and is just now able to walk again.  Val gets her in the right mindset to get out there and do her best and forget the rest.  She floats around the floor in a long white gown.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Jordan & Lindsay- Paso Doble

Lindsay is dressed as a version of little red riding hood I’ve not seen in children’s books.  She has to get through a forest full of wolves (including Jordan).  As usual the choreography is fantastic to a techno music blend.  Is it just me, or do the songs chosen by producers sometimes make a BIG difference?  I knew I was right.  Half way through the wolves devour Lindsay to remove her clothes to a much more appropriate and less inhibiting outfit for tromping through the woods.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Nikki & Artem- Jive

Nikki puts a caffeine spell (the best kind) on Artem.  They dance to I put a Spell on You in a coffee shop set.  It isn’t the fastest jive I’ve ever seen or the most amazing, but the flicks and kicks were there.  The judges critiques are so weird.  Carrie Ann didn’t think she connected as well to the music this week as others.  Len thinks the coffee was a decaf because it lacked a ‘bit of punch’.  Bruno says she didn’t quite get into gear.  So, next week more punch, more music connection, and more in gear.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 8

Vanessa & Maks- Paso Doble

Let me just say, zombies and paso doble seem to work well together.  I think she does a powerful routine and I saw quite a bit of paso between the fog and zombies attacking.  I feel like maybe if Jordan and Lindsay did this routine they would get 10s for how intense it was.  I think the judges are just done with Maks and Vanessa maybe.  While Len starts off the critiquing death wanders by behind him.  Bruno says she didn’t finish her lines well.  Right after this comment Maks whispers something in her ear that makes her laugh.  I rewound as many times as I could and I couldn’t get it.  Carrie Ann thinks she was ‘over-mauled’.  Again, I feel like if it was Lindsay it would have been the perfect amount of mauled-ness.  Tom asks her what she thinks about the judges all saying the same thing.  Her response is great, “As you can see I don’t really have a costume because this was just all about the show.  I’m sure there are more proper Pasos, but this was a Halloween theme and I felt so spooktacular doing it.”  BAM.  Translation– y’all made me dance a Paso on Halloween so I’m sorry if you didn’t get the traditional paso you thought you would get.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 8

Tom asks if they have any comments after the scores.  Maks simply responds by saying, “eight”.

Cheryl & Terrell- Tango

They tango to superfreak, which might be the first time that any has ever tangoed to superfreak ever.  The judges are impressed with what Cheryl has done.  Bruno says he nailed it.  All of the judges compliment Cheryl.  Carrie Ann wants him to keep the flow of movement in stillness.  What?  I want him to eat toast but feel like he’s eating meatloaf.  I think the blue hair dye seeped into Carrie Ann’s head.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 9

**Sidenote, I’m impressed that Sasha has made it all these seasons scaring people all week in rehearsals and never had this happen to him.**

 

Lindsey & Mark- Paso Doble

Last week in dress rehearsal Lindsey displaced a rib.  Tom refers to it as a painful rib injury.  I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure all rib injuries are painful.  She makes it as far as she can in rehearsal before they leave to go to urgent care.  No one tells us what the doctors say, but it is clear that she is in pain.  She does a fantastic paso all painted up with sugar skulls.  The song is a fantastic and very fast violin number by some girl named Lindsey Sterling.  After the song she sits to hear the judges comments.  She admits that she is in pain and that the paso doble is a beast.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Frankie & Witney- Contemporary

Witney and Frankie talk about how horrible his dance was last week.  He said halfway through he just wanted to lay down and raise his hand and pretend he got hurt.  I love the honesty.  On to the planning for the dance this week.  Frankie had a hand in choreographing this mini horror film.  They dance to ‘Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you’- the quintessential stalker song.  Rather than trying to explain this incredibly unique and well choreographed dance, I will just put it here for you to watch.  The judges absolutely loved it.

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

Frankie’s first perfect score right there, people.  Ok, watch this dance.

Drew & Emma- Charleston

We have to start be being reminded by how much the judges hated his dance last week.  He has two dances this week and he and his brother are filming three shows this week and three different cities.  Their rehearsals are whenever and wherever they can get a moment.  They manage to pull together a super fun and creative dance.  I always love Charleston, but Charleston choreographed by Emma is even better.  It is bride of Frankenstein-themed and crazy fun.  All three judges have only good to say, which is why their scores are annoying.  Zero critiques, but not perfect scores.

  • Carrie Ann- 9
  • Len- 9
  • Bruno- 9

Team Monster Mash- Nikki, Jordan, Terrell & Lindsey

First, lets see who might be safe from this team and who is in Jeopardy.  Jordan and Lindsay are safe.  Terrell & Cheryl are in jeopardy.  Lindsey and Mark are safe.  Nikki and Artem are in jeopardy.

In rehearsals Terrell says he’s probably the weak link of the team and Cheryl says ‘yep’.  Dang.  That’s rough honesty.  On Sunday night at 9:16 they are still trying to finish choreographing and working out the details.

They dance around a corn maze with different couple costumes.  Mostly I found myself thinking, ‘man this is long.’  It certainly wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best team dance I have ever seen.  Len agrees with me which makes everyone boo.  Bruno says it wasn’t quite synced together.  Carrie Ann says she feels like they all under danced.

  • Carrie Ann- 8
  • Len- 8
  • Bruno- 8

Team Phantom of the Ballroom- Frankie, Vanessa, Drew, Victoria

**Time to see who else is in jeopardy.  Frankie and Witney are safe.  Drew and Emma are in jeopardy.  Victoria and Val are safe.  Vanessa and Maks are in jeopardy.**

I have to share this quote from Frankie during team dance rehearsals, “Our team has a really cool dynamic, Drew is a great leader, Vanessa brings a lot of energy, Victoria brings tons of heart and I’m the nervous wreck in the corner hoping it goes well.”

Ok, song wise, this team has a FAR better song to work with.  Their costumes all match and it looks amazing.  I already know Len is going to prefer this by far.  There are some fun lifts throughout and great group choreography overall.  It is very well done.  They referred to themselves in rehearsals as the underdog team, but all this does is prove that the underdogs can bring it!

  • Carrie Ann- 10
  • Len- 10
  • Bruno- 10

 

It’s time to reveal who is eliminated.  Death brings in result envelopes for Tom and Erin.  The next couple who is safe is Drew and Emma.  Terrell and Cheryl are safe.  We’re down to Vanessa and Maks and Nikki and Artem.  Tom reveals that it is a double elimination and they are both going home.  The ballroom fills with boos, not booze, unfortunately.