Think Your Too Old For Pole Dancing? Think Again

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One of the reasons I enjoy pole dancing is that it’s a sport anyone can excel at. Whether you are old, young, small or large, the sport of pole dancing is accessible to you.

That being said I need to honor the fact that I’m 47 not 27. While I own and am proud of my age I need to keep it real. Life is different at 47, not necessarily harder, but definitely different. Pole dancing in your 40’s (for me and most others) is not the same as pole dancing in your 30’s or even your 20’s. I’ve found there are some challenges and issues with pole dancing at an older age and to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist doesn’t work. Instead I’m choosing to embrace those differences, embrace those challenges and learn how to enjoy and continue pole dancing at any age.

I really wanted to see what poling at an older age looked like for others and how it felt for them. I wasn’t just interested in how their bodies responded. I also was curious about the emotions and the journey taken as well. I decided that it was important to have a conversation with other older women and men in order to get their take on pole dancing, figure out how they handled changes in their body, attitude and goals, and what pole dancing at a more mature age means to them.

As pole is a relatively new sport many of the people I spoke with started at an older age. I didn’t start poling until around 2005 when I was 37. Some people started pole dancing to get in better shape:

“My wife has bugged me to get fit for 30 years and I always had an excuse not to, until I couldn’t reach my feet to put my socks on. A family friend told us she was involved in choreography for a pole show at king kings so I asked my wife ‘Do you care if I pole dance in a class?’ She said as long as she can come too , and we began our pole journey.” ~James Flury, The Cowboy Pole Dancer, started poling at 50

“I was having blood pressure problems and hated the gym. I was driving around and saw a sign for pole classes. It was love from then on. It’s helped with my blood pressure and stress problems as well as bringing back my sensuality which I had forgotten about. I do notice I tend to get injured easier as I get older and take longer to recover. I also tend to go more toward dance than tricks since I feel like I might hurt myself. Maybe being older puts me more in touch with my mortality…I’ll keep on poling though!” ~Valerie Wear, started poling around 39

Others started pole dancing on a whim and with no background in dance or gymnastics:

 “I started pole sport classes 2 years ago at the age of 51 after seeing a pole sport demonstration at an open studio event. I find pole dancing to be empowering and rejuvenating…My biggest challenge is finding a pole outfit/costume that I am comfortable enough to compete in. I find it frightening to step out on a stage wearing barely any clothing!)  ~Lisa Agliano, 53 yr old pole dancer

“I started poling 7 years ago, with absolutely zero background in trained dance or gymnastics. It continues to be an incredible source of empowerment for me–I’m still amazed every time my body pulls off a move I thought was impossible. It has shown me depths of strength, passion, commitment, and beauty I never imagined I had inside. As the industry changes and talents progress in exponential leaps and bounds, I’m happy to continue to have a role coaching and inspiring new dancers–and am proud to be called “pole mama” by some amazing dancers!”  ~Ellen Kaplan Lovelace, 45, instructor, nutritional therapist & co-producer of Northern California Pole Presentational

There are times when it is hard to be an older pole dancer in a class full of younger women and men. We may feel that we can’t keep up, that we are too old to pole, that the younger students or instructors don’t “get” us, or that we could easily get hurt. Sometimes it’s our own self doubt that’s the culprit. Learn to quiet your inner demons with the fact that “You Are A Pole Dancer”. Not many people, old or young, can say that! Other times it’s our bodies that won’t get with the program. Finding a happy balance between training and over training is an ongoing challenge with any sport but we need to remember honor our age. Learn to train appropriately, get enough sleep, and don’t push things too much while also not giving up too easily.

“My challenges and tips for older polers are one and the same: training smart. My joints won’t let me push as hard or as long as someone half my age, so I set boundaries and honor my body’s messages.” ~Ellen Kaplan Lovelace, 45, instructor, nutritional therapist & co-producer of Northern California Pole Presentational

And while everyone seems to agree that there are certain physical challenges, for example our bodies do not recover as quickly as they used to or gains may take longer, everyone I spoke with felt passionate that pole dancing kept them young and enriched their lives.

“Life is an adventure, especially if you are open to trying new things – like pole dancing! January 2011 I started  to pole dance at age 57. My family thought I was crazy, that I was ‘too old’, that it had a bad reputation, that I would get hurt, and my husband said, ‘You’re going to drive me to drink!’ Now, almost 5 years later, they are all enthusiastic about this activity.

What have I experienced?  That I am stronger, more flexible and my balance is much better than at any time in my life.  That good friendships of women and men of all ages, from all different backgrounds, are a very enriching part of my life. That if I believe I can do something, and visualize it happening, it probably will happen. That my long-time belief in ‘aging is optional’ is mostly true.  And so much more it would take me another lifetime to share it. Growing up in North Dakota, I did a little high school gymnastics but no competitions. Although I do a little social tango, my dance background is not much at all.  What I do have is a willingness to try different related activities, which have helped me to go on to do pole dance performances and  competitions, locally, nationally and internationally. I also teach workshops, my specialty being splits. My advice is to believe in yourself, have confidence and don’t limit your potential. Try lots of new things – at any age!” ~Mary Caryl Giltner Serritella, 1st place 2015 Pole Sports Championships USA – Masters 50+, 2013 Winner National PSO for Dramatic Level 3 (matser)

“It’s the most empowering workout I’ve ever done, and it also NEVER bores me. It has helped me shape my own personal mantra: I’m not going down without a fight.” ~Judy Jovanelly, owner of The Girl Spot, began poling at age 50.

“My journey with pole has been a long but wonderful one, spanning almost 20 years. At my age staying attached to that pole means something different than it did when I began. Now it is about holding on to my youth, as long as I can. The feeling pole gives is explainable, but we don’t have that much time! I feel young, invigorated, challenged and fulfilled. Challenges are appearing daily that I never considered, my body does not recover as easily, but my mind and drive remain the same! Pole is my Pillar of Youth. As long as I can stand beside it, dance around or on it…I am young.” ~Alena Downs, age 45, owner Pole Junkies

“I started poling when I was 45. I wanted to get back in shape but the gym bored me to tears so when I found a living social deal, I gave it a go. My body is not as resilient as it once was, but through pole I’ve become stronger, more flexible and healthier than I was in my 30’s. Every once in a while, I wish I had discovered pole in my 20’s and imagine what I could have accomplished back then, but the fact  is that I didn’t, it wasn’t what it is today and I believe that everything in life happens when it’s supposed to. Not only has pole helped me stay in shape, but it’s also become an incredible creative outlet and a way to give back to the world. I love teaching more than just about anything else I’ve done in my life! Between teaching and performing, pole has brought me the fulfillment I didn’t know I was looking for!” ~Arloa Reston, instructor & performer who will be turning 50 in March

 

For me, pole dancing & aerial arts are a life journey. There is an ebb and flow to my practice and it’s not always about age. Sometimes it’s about the fact that at 47 I am more comfortable in my own skin than I was in my 20’s. My need to impress is lower and the “not giving a rat’s ass” quotient is higher. Sometimes it’s about the lack of sleep I had, the really cool move on that YouTube video that was floating around that I need to nail, the boy that I was madly in love with in grade school or the person who’s hurt rocked me to my core years ago.  It’s really not about age, but about life. My pole journey at this older age may be a little more bruised or slightly more sore than someone younger, but it’s real, it’s mine and I’m looking forward to nurturing and honoring it way into the future.

* Are you an older poler? What does pole dancing mean to you at an older age? Is there even a difference? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings – share them with us here!

-Love & Glitter

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News 2015…we’re all older now :)

When It’s Time To Move, Anatomy Of Studio Relocation - or "Shit I have to move my studio!"

Have you ever had to move or close your business not because you necessarily wanted to, but due to extenuating circumstances? Have you had to do it in a less than reasonable amount of time? I have.

When BK asked me to write a piece on moving my studio I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It was not the happiest moment in my life and I did not really feel like reliving it. But then I thought about one of my core values: inclusivity. Inclusivity means embracing all types of students, all races, sizes, all levels – hell it’s even part of my studio’s tag line. I always try to help other studio owners who reach out with questions and I think it’s really important to share knowledge in our industry. That, along with the fact that people seemed to think our move was easy and went smoothly (it wasn’t and it didn’t), helped me decide to do this piece. I know others have been through similar situations, but I never heard the nitty gritty about how they handled it. So here it is. The 5 stages of my studio move. It isn’t pretty, but it’s real and it’s all right here.

FUCK I HAVE TO MOVE!!!!

DENIAL (week 1): The writing was on the wall for a good year. The landlord was trying to sell the building, the pot store that moved in next door was annoying us, the students had all grown and we needed a space with more height.

My studio needed to move. The thought alone wasn’t scary. I mean sure, moving and re-rigging could be expensive but we have time, there is no real rush, so let’s do this the right way. We will search for the perfect space, save funds diligently and move once we find our new circus & pole mecca.

FEAR: OMG The landlord actually sold the friggin building?

That was the first thought in my head (because honestly it was way over priced). The second thought was “Shit we are probably going to have to move and move fast”. The third was “I am so screwed” and the fourth and hardest thought of all was “Should we move or should we close the studio?”. The fifth was to balls out cry.

I love my studio, truly I do, yet even before I set out to open it I decided that if it became a huge financial or emotional drain, if there was not enough of a student body, ego be damned, I would close it. I think it’s super important to be realistic with your studio. Is it killing you financially, are you being driven by ego, does closing symbolize a fear of failure to you? Honestly, even opening and owning a studio to me is a win. It’s a hard gig. Close if you need to, stay open if it works for you but never look at closing for whatever reason as a failure.

Tip…breathe through it. Take care of yourself. Giving yourself a stroke is not going to make things any better.

That being said, damn it, it wasn’t really the case here. I had already had the come to Jesus talk with myself months earlier about the need to move for growth or close and I was prepared to do it on my terms…just not in six weeks! Six weeks is not a lot of time to actually find and secure a space that would fit our needs, secure funding, come up with a new business plan, hire everyone that needed to be hired – oh and did I mention this all went down right around our student showcase, Thanksgiving and my rigger just booked a job in Turkey? Amazing timing…

DECISION: We had to make a decision and make it fast because we really wanted to be able to give the students a month of time in the studio to finish their classes packs IF we had to close. We went back and forth between thinking “it’s impossible to move that quickly and we need to close” to “we’ve finally hit an amazing stride with the studio and this is NOT the way we want to go out”. We loved our students and the community we built. If Aeriform were to close it should be on our own terms not because someone bought our building. Throughout this whole period we spent every waking moment dragging ourselves and eventually our rigger to locations all over LA. We decided finding a space would dictate whether or not we would close. We basically left it to the universe. We wanted to stay open, but we weren’t willing to blindly move into a space that didn’t work for us. We gave ourselves two weeks to find a space or roll out our exit plan.

Tip…be realistic about your finances, your motivations and the projected outcome.

ACCEPTANCE (week 2): I did eventually find a dark, depressing, sad little space deep in the Valley but hey at least it had high ceilings! In an attempt to be an optimist and because I did not want to admit defeat I dragged my husband and our rigger there and said “We can do this, right, this will work, some paint, new floors…it will work”. They begrudgingly agreed but behind my back they agreed it was a bad idea. It was doable but felt all wrong. I knew that space was wrong but I was not ready to give up my baby.

“If it feels wrong, it is.”

So even while I was talking with the owners of that sad space, I continued to look and literally on the last day I found a listing on Craigslist that sounded promising. I told our rigger we were looking at one more space then sent my husband over to see it. He loved it. I went over the next day, fell in love with it and then sent over our rigger who loved it too. At the last minute we had found our space, took it as a sign and moved full steam ahead with the closing and re-opening of our studio in a new space.

Tip…make sure you are looking towards the future. Right now you are in crisis mode and probably looking for any space you can “make work”. Try instead to look for a space you can grow into or with.

PLANNING/BUDGETING/EXECUTION (week 3-6): On Oct 10th, during our student showcase and 4 Year Anniversary Party, we made the announcement that we were closing our North Hollywood location on Oct 25 for three weeks and would then re-open in our new Hollywood location with more height and space. We prayed that with the geographical change and three weeks down we wouldn’t lose too many students (we didn’t).

Tip…do as much as you can yourself but know when to hire the pros. Make sure to spend the money where it counts. Make a budget and then add in a contingency of at least 25% – trust.

I set a budget and started working the numbers. While we found an amazing space there were still a lot of things to deal with. There are unforeseen costs and multiple things to take into consideration when changing locations. Here are just a few of the items we had to take care of in just 3 weeks…

Work through a tricky lease

De-rig and move from our old location

Hang not 2 walls of mirrors but 3 because the pro hung mirrors that cost way too much money to think about came crashing down 1 week before our grand reopening

Have new rigging designed, purchased and built out. The added ceiling height was great and at 15 -18ft we would have a lot of new apparatus and class options but it also meant we had to buy all new rigging and that meant a very pretty and new truss set up, plus a pulley system (which we LOVE) but $$$

My rigger had a job outside of the country so while the truss was up for both the aerial and pole sides of the studio the actual poles didn’t go up until after our open house

More Height = more insurance

The studio floors were concrete so we needed to build a padded dance floor side, which we decided to do ourselves. We also needed to purchase and lay full mat flooring for the aerial side. Lot’s of the items we were looking for were out of stock for weeks.

Two sides means 2 sound systems, two cubby set ups, two…well you get my point right?

Different height = all new crash pads. I am lucky to live in LA where I can purchase them and pick them up to avoid shipping, don’t assume stores will have them in stock as they are a specialty item. Mine didn’t, so I begged, they took pity and rush made them for me.

Our landlord had taken out the shower plumbing so he needed to put it back in.

Tip…Share your situation with a few key trusted people. Once you do share with the staff and any students keep them in the loop. Post progress updates. Make it an event - a good thing. People get scared with the prospect of losing their jobs or studio, reassure people as much as you can during this time.

In the end all of the emotions you go through when faced with a crisis in your business can be difficult. My initial instinct was to not share the situation with my instructors or close friends until we figured out whether or not the studio would close. That choice was literally making me sick. I didn’t want to scare anyone, but when going through something like this it’s important to have support. Once I shared it with my instructors and a few key students it took a huge weight off my back. What we accomplished as a team in just 3 weeks of moving, building, painting and rigging still boggles my mind. I know there is no way we could have ever pulled it off without the love, help and support of so many of our students, friends, employees, contractors, amazing rigger and I thank God for them everyday. We closed down our old space Oct. 25th reopened the new space 3 weeks later Nov. 15th.

While initially the experience was difficult and felt very wrong, in the end I think we are where we were meant to be. For the sake of our studio’s growth it really was time to move. Maybe this was just the universe’s way of kicking our butts, tossing us out of the nest and pushing us to create that loving, safe space, that “just feels right”.

*Have a similar story or questions? We’d love for you to share them here.

Love & Glitter

Polyamory Pole: Juggling The Relationship Between You, Your Pole And Your Loved One

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In a perfect world our partners support all of our goals, dreams and pastimes unconditionally. But the world isn’t perfect and unconditional support is not always the case  – especially when it comes to pole. We know pole is the best thing in the world (and hell if you think we are giving it up) but not everyone has that view. Sometimes our love for pole, tunnel vision, or dare I call it, our “obsession” with pole, isn’t always reciprocated by our significant others. And if that’s the case, how do we find a way to incorporate our love for pole with the loves of our lives?

 “nobody wants to feel like a pole widower”

First off I think it’s important to identify what the level of disconnect is – or rather how does your significant other really feel about pole? Second I like to look at why they harbor ill pole feelings and are we somehow contributing to those feelings? Lastly, what can we do to help them understand, accept and embrace our love for pole?

The feelings our significant others have about pole run the gamut. We know what pole means to us but sometimes we don’t truly know what pole represents to the people in our lives. Indifference, pride, moral issues, jealousy, time sucker, crazy obsession, are all terms I’ve heard my friends’ partners use to describe their feelings towards pole. Once you’ve figured out what pole means to them, then you can begin to attack the reasons and hopefully make changes to incorporate your partner into your pole world, or at least reassure them that they are as important as pole.

There are many reasons our loved ones may not love pole. While we might want to spend every waking moment thinking about pole, looking up videos on Instagram and taking classes, sometimes we might not truly realize how much time we are spending on pole and how much time we aren’t spending with our partners. I have found that there tend to be 3 main issues with our loved ones not being supportive of pole:

TIME: I don’t fully understand the obsession with video games but I do know LOTS of men and women who love them. I’m fine with my husband enjoying them but if he spent hours a day playing them, talking about them, showing me videos of them, talking to others online about them and not as much time with me I’d be over it real fast.

JEALOUSY: This goes hand in hand with time issues. people become jealous for so many reasons. When we spend so much time on pole sometimes people feel like pole is replacing their relationship. We might not even realize that we’re not including them in our pole life. At what point does your pole practice become intrusive in a relationship. Or does it?

MORAL ISSUES: I have actually heard someone say “I don’t want my girlfriend to be a stripper”. Crazy, right? Not that I think there is anything wrong with being a stripper, but come on dude just because someone takes pole dancing doesn’t mean they are going to start stripping. Lots of people take Barre class yet I somehow doubt husbands and boyfriends are asking them if they are going to become a ballerina. Sometimes our significant others have an actual deep seated moral issue with pole but rather than be honest and own their feelings they act out and don’t really address the issue.

Clearly pole is a huge part of our lives, so how do we incorporate our significant others into it? My solution was to go big and open a studio with my husband but there are many different ( and cheaper) routes you can take to cohabitate with your two loves. Here are just a few…

  • If your partner feels like you are obsessive, spend less time “sharing” your pole adventures with him/her. By no means am I saying you need to dial down your love for pole but just realize that he/she may not be as interested and doesn’t actually have to be, share your love for pole with your pole friends.

  • Try to schedule pole activities during times that he/she isn’t around or times that don’t interfere with possible couple time.

  • Set boundaries so that pole doesn’t become the other woman (or the other man).

  • If your partner is jealous of pole, bring them into the fold. Invite them to a pole show.

  • Ask for their help with your comp routine.

  • Make sure to participate in non pole activities together. This one is key. It’s not all about pole – I mean it should be – but it’s not.

  • Show an interest in their hobbies and ask to be part of them.

  • Have sex. Okay I know I’m going to get crap for this one but what I really mean is spend more quality time with your partner. You like them, right? That’s why you are dating, married or whatever. If you would really rather spend all of your time doing pole that might be something to think about as well. A while back I saw a post on Facebook asking if you had to give up sex for a year or pole for a year which would you keep? So many people said they would chose pole over sex! I. Want. Both. So does your partner, remember this.

  • If your partner has stripper issues, these are harder waters to navigate. Reassure them that pole is for you and it’s a class with other students – not a job. Explain to them that pole is just another form of dance. Try having a candid conversation with them as to what their fears are and don’t be defensive. Their feelings, right or wrong, are their own.

  • When the moments of encouragement do happen (and they will) make sure to let them know their support is sexy, makes you feel strong and is appreciated. Showing gratitude goes a long way to creating a bond, making pole a positive for them.

Here’s something I hadn’t even thought of: I had a conversation with a friend’s boyfriend who was actually annoyed she never asked him to pole with her. Clearly not every guy is going to be into this but ever noticed how at parties guys always gravitate to the poles in the room and not just to watch the women dance? Guys like pole too! If your partner is open to your poling, if he/she watches videos with you, comments on them, spots you, knows what a Fonji is why not take it a step further and invite them to a class? You will be surprised how far a tiny bit of encouragement will get you. My student Ellie’s boyfriend, Max, has started taking classes with her and it’s been great for both of them.

“Ellie started doing pole pretty early on in our relationship, so it was just this new activity that she enjoyed. As time went on I became more interested in it and decided to take a class for myself. I really enjoy the social aspect of it, how it’s more than just a physical activity – it’s a real community of fun ,supportive people. Taking the class made me see how people do pole for self empowerment more than any other reason – it’s given both of us a lot more confidence. I also have a greater appreciation for exactly how hard it is, and I know why Ellie’s sore all the time. Plus having a pole in our living room is a great conversation starter.”

In the end I think the key to a strong relationship is living a life together, also having separate life and respectful communication. Invite your partner into your pole world but respect them if they don’t jump right in. Enjoy and nurture your pole practice while acknowledging your partner’s needs. Talk to them about why you love pole so much but make sure you listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, find a partner who respects and enjoys what you do, always respect and enjoy what they do and hopefully your passions can grow together.

*I would love to hear how everyone incorporates their partners into their pole life. Share it here!

Love & Glitter

When I Grow Up

 Photo by Ryan McGuire CC BY 0

Photo by Ryan McGuire CC BY 0

When I was a child I wanted to be an astronaut, a gymnast, a dinosaur hunter, a fighter pilot, a pro surfer or run away with the circus. “I can’t wait until I’m older!” This is the mantra I would say over and over to myself when I was six or seven years old. “When I’m old I will finally be able to do what I want!” Yet another gem from my youth. In my 30’s I swore I would never, ever be one of those older women that doesn’t wear stilettos and only wears baggy, comfy, “happy pants” – you know the ones with the crazy 80’s colored track suit that makes that swooshing sound when they walk.

Last week I ordered a pair of Hammer style genie pants. They looked comfy and I’m a dancer right? Then it hit me, like a brick in the head – I am older.

In a few months I turn 46 and I have to say as much as I would like to think I have that sexy, stiletto wearing, no-holds-barred, carefree, age-be-damned attitude, this birthday is really affecting me. Not necessarily in a negative way but I am much more aware of this birthday than others.

As a child and all throughout college I was extremely active. I was in gymnastics classes before I could walk. I was an avid skier and played soccer as well. These were all activities that came naturally to me and they were the things I loved most. But somewhere along the line I became an “adult” and life got in the way. All the glitter in my world was replaced with work and mortgages. I hear this all the time from women and men hovering around my age range. When did we give up “ourselves”, relinquish our childhood dreams?  During my early 40′s I realized I missed “me”. I missed all of the things I loved to do in my youth. Is it too late I pondered? Am I too old?

I wanted some of that glitter back, but how to go about finding it? While I might be a tad too old to run away with the circus I might be just old enough to bring the circus to me, so I started taking pole classes, which led me to aerial arts. I realized I love this stuff! It’s amazingly fun and while I might not be able to run off and join Cirque du Soleil I can most definitely incorporate it into my everyday life and maybe even open up a studio. And why exactly did I never learn to surf? That gig as a pro surfer was not going to happen if I didn’t actually learn how to do it, so I started taking lessons and now paddle out every Sunday I can. I’m also really trying to eat healthier. It’s a domino effect. I set out to make some small changes, to capture some of the fun and lightheartedness of my youth and in doing so I realized my childhood dreams were always with me, albeit slightly buried.    

After class the other day at my studio one of the students said “You’re cool – I want to be you when I grow up.” At first I was highly annoyed. But then I was flattered. Age really is just a number, a number I have come to embrace, respect and even be proud of. We should strive to live life to its fullest, whether in our 20’s or 60’s. What’s the saying? “Youth is wasted on the young”? There is beauty in age and maturity.  I have gained a sense of self that I didn’t have in my twenties and I’ve found I’m more willing to let go of things that are negative in my life and embrace the positive. 

And while I acknowledge all of the psychological complexities that come with growing older, it’s okay because it’s a part of life we all go through. It’s extremely important for us to figure out how to keep our body, soul & mind young, while continuing to age physically. We also need to find a balance between responsibility and fun. For me I think it’s achieved by working hard, surrounding myself with people who love me and are deserving of that love, exercising and training for the health benefits and the love of the activity (not necessarily to compete) and to always continue to chase my dreams. Dreams and goals are important; I honestly believe the only way we truly fail at them is if we never try.

So bring a little glitter into your life. Those circus classes you’ve always wanted to try – sign up for a class. And don’t tell yourself “I’m too old” or “I’ll do it when I lose weight.”  Just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our experiences define who we are, so regardless of our age we should all learn to take more risks daily, whether that means, pole dancing, aerial arts, surfing, dinosaur hunting or just breaking out of our daily ruts. It really is about the journey not the destination.  And yes I’ll be navigating that journey comfy in my happy pants.

Love & Glitter

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? Coming Out Of The Pole Closet To Family & Colleagues

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We’ve all been there and if you haven’t been there yet, you probably will be soon enough. It starts out innocently. A friend talks you into a pole dancing class or maybe you see a pole dancing segment on Oprah or you catch a video on YouTube and think “Hmm that looks like fun!”  So you sign up for classes and from your first Fireman Spin you’re hooked. The yoga outfits you started wearing during your pole journey have long since been replaced by tiny little shorts and glittery tops. Shoes are bought, many shoes – the higher the better. It’s getting harder and harder to explain all of your bruises to your family. You spend way too much time on YouTube watching videos, making videos, taking photos. Pole becomes a huge part of your life and you’re proud of your accomplishments. Much like a great boyfriend or girlfriend, you want to show it off, put it out there, share pole with everyone! But should you and just how do you go about doing it? I personally think you should, if your circumstances and lifestyle can support it. So when and how is the best time to come out of the pole closet to your family and co-workers?

Sharing a secret with someone can be extremely freeing – yet extremely difficult as well, so I always try to look at my motivation for wanting to open up in the first place. Basically I use what I call the 4W System.

WHY

Establish why you want to share with Jenny that you think her husband is cheating on her, why put your pole video on YouTube, why tell that secret about so-and-so, why are you talking about your hobby outside of work to the other teachers at your school.

What is truly the reason? Is it for shock value or for information? There have been times I have shared something with someone and if I take a really hard look at the situation, I can see that I may have acted out of my own insecurities.  Do you want to tell your family and coworkers about your pole journey because feel you are suppressing a large part of who you are?  Do you already share your other hobbies with them as well? Is it because you are proud of your accomplishments or maybe you’re afraid they will find out on their own? Whatever it may be, it’s really important to identify your motivation as it will shape the rest of your experience.

WHO

Okay so you’ve thought long and hard about the WHY’s and you realize that you really want to be able to share your pole accomplishments with your close friends at work and your family. Maybe you have a competition coming up and would really love to have their support. Think about who really needs to know and the most realistic reactions to your sharing. If we are using pole dancing as our example, we have to remember as much as we love the dance and the sport, other might not feel that way. Which doesn’t mean you should replace “I’m taking Pole Dancing classes” with “I’m Taking Zumba classes”.  It just means you need to be aware that realistically no matter how progressive your family or friends are, there is probably someone in your group who is not on board with pole. I think it’s really important to be able to read your audience. Are you telling your boss or contemporary in the office, sharing with your cool, progressive mom or your extremely uptight grandmother? Establish who you want to share with and what you think their reactions will be because we are going to try to preempt any negativity.

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WHAT

What do you want and what do you do if things don’t go that way?

Establish what you want the end result to be. How do you want each person you are sharing with to react or not react? I think it’s important to realize that you can be your true and authentic self without sharing every bit of “you” with the entire world. So what exactly are you going to tell them, share with them, show them? I like the layered approach to my reveals. Not everyone needs to know everything about me. They don’t all need to know where I work, if I have a blog, if I have a studio etc. I don’t share all parts of myself with everyone. Certain people get certain information. The trick to layering is realizing that people talk, people gossip. It happens. Make sure to deflect negative reactions by structuring your layers of information.

WAY

Once you have asked yourself all of the above questions you have to figure out how to tell people. For me this is always the hardest and most important aspect of sharing my pole world with others. I think how you go about sharing your journey can really alleviate some of the issues that come up when telling others about pole.  I like to be extremely direct but also nonchalant. I will share a few pictures of me but no videos.  I’m direct but I act as if it’s no big deal. “Oh I love pole didn’t you know I have an Aerial/Pole Studio?” I like to let people know before they find out on their own.  I’ve found that once it’s out there, there is less to gossip about.  But that’s my approach and it may not necessarily yours. Obviously the approach is going to be different for different people depending on careers, geographical areas, ages, religious backgrounds etc. For people with careers that could be adversely affected by being known as a pole dancer think long and hard about who you tell. Make sure you know your company’s policies and “moral” climate.  I would keep my online photo and video presence to a minimum if you work somewhere where pole dancing might become an “issue”. I know this may not be the most popular stance but we need to acknowledge that our careers are important and the internet is forever. For family members or friends who have issues with the perceived sexual or sensual aspect of poling try showing them some non-sensual videos. You can always make a cute video to share with your friends and family. Also let them know while pole is your love it doesn’t have to be theirs. If your family feels that way, respect their feelings and just reveal less to them about that part of your life. Sometimes our love of pole is so all encompassing we forget not everyone is as fanatical as we are. We know pole is the best thing ever – even if everyone else doesn’t.

One of my best friends is obsessed with country music, which I hate.  We don’t talk country or at least I try not to talk to much country with her. Every once in a while she will invite me to a country concert and I always pass. We’re still great friends but if she pushed her crazy country music obsession on me all the time it would make me nuts! Agree to disagree on certain things and don’t feel the need to convert everyone.

Start slowly and tell one or two close people at first. You would be amazed how many people secretly want to try pole dancing but just need a little encouragement from a friend. I’ve also found that if I actually give people a chance to digest it, that sometimes sharing my pole world isn’t as scary as I thought it might be. Sometimes people can pleasantly surprise you.

In the end there’s no perfect equation but hopefully by really distilling down your motivations you will be able to navigate the waters of “coming out” a little easier.

Love & Glitter

*p.s. I would love to hear how everyone shared pole dancing with their loved ones and coworkers and what their reactions have been!

**previously on Bad Kitty USA News

Dancing Along With My Mom: Inverting And Embracing A New View Of Our Mothers

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I still remember the time when all I wanted to be was just like my mother. She was beautiful, full of life, artsy and always made me feel special. She was the mom who came to the grade school to teach crafts and always encouraged me to be me. She shuttled me at ungodly hours to soccer, skiing and gymnastics. Mom made my world safe and rocked Madonna’s lingerie-as-clothing look way before Madonna was born.

Then I grew up. Or at least I thought I did, and well obviously, I knew everything. My mom no longer made sense to me. Her choices seemed extremely bizarre. I wanted to spread my wings and clearly my mother wanted to clip them.

We had the typical “You are NOT leaving the house in that outfit” battles. I wanted to be free, wild, and alive – why was she killing my buzz? I began to look at my mother as someone who just lived for her children and husband but didn’t live for herself. Someone who put up with more than she should have and I knew I didn’t want that life. I would never be like my mom.

 My mother at her prom

My mother at her prom

Why do we fight becoming our parents? What is the deal when we start to hit puberty? Is it hormones or the need for independence? I distinctly remember thinking I can’t wait to be on my own, live in my own house and then I can do what I want. Now I have a hefty mortgage, cook for myself and constantly think why was I in such a rush to grow up?

My mom used to carry around this huge purse and when we were in the store she would take forever to find her wallet. It made me crazy and I swore I would only ever have tiny, sexy little purses. It worked for a while but I never had what I needed.

My mom always had what I needed.

So what did my mother need? What were her dreams? I realized I didn’t really even know. And that’s really the crux of it all isn’t it? We see our mothers as a parent, not an individual who had a life before us filled with friends, college, even sex (God forbid), and most importantly their own dreams. Maybe we need to try to look at our mothers not as the sum of all of their parts, but to recognize all of the pieces that make them whole. Maybe if we embrace our parents as individuals, for better or for worse, we will gain a better understanding of them and building an adult relationship with them will be easier. Try having a heart to heart conversation with your mother about her life, her youth, her dreams; you might be surprised what you find out. Explore sharing your passion for pole with her while discussing her passion, by including her interests in the conversation it will make it easier for her to understand yours.

When I decided to start with pole and aerial and pretended to run away with the circus I thought my mom would not be thrilled. Much to my shock she embraced the whole idea, reveled in it even, supported my dream to open a studio and talked me off the ledge when I wanted to give up. She watched every video and eventually realized there are many different aspects of pole dancing that can be artfully represented by both women and men. Who is this woman and what had she done with my mother?

Now that I’m older I can look back at the past and realize the choices my mom made were what she needed to do at the time and they were her choices to make. The total devotion to your children is something only a parent can understand but it doesn’t mean that she didn’t have her own life or desires.

 My mother and me

My mother and me

As I was preparing to write this I thought I should actually speak to my mother about her dreams. As a child she ice skated, did ballet and always wanted to be a prima ballerina. While I knew she took ballet I didn’t know she dreamed of being a dancer. Everything makes more sense now. I’m becoming my mother.

My mother, in her late 60′s started taking aerial privates and aerial yoga. She is working towards her yoga certification to teach seniors and is threatening to go skydiving. She is revisiting some of her dreams and quite possibly starting to embrace some of mine.

My Mother Has Chosen to Fly With Me

A funny thing happened the other day. I was trying to find my wallet in my ridiculously huge purse and it hit me, things are just as they should be, my world had turned full circle.

I am just like my mother.

*previously on Bad Kitty News

Honor Your Age: The Everyday Poler Over 40

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When Bad Kitty® asked me to write an article on poling at an older age I was slightly verklempt. I wondered – at 48 am I that old and how much of an effect on pole dancing, aerial or exercising in general does age have? I like to believe that everyone at any age can achieve their goals, that age is just a small factor and that we shouldn’t use age as an excuse. Then I remembered the time I fell…  

I fell out of a hammock while standing up in it. Not from doing a trick, not from exhaustion, not from lack of skill or knowledge or strength but because, wait for it…I got dizzy from a hot flash! So not cool. I played it off as if I lost my balance and fell, which is partially true, but really the hot flash threw me off. Clearly I’d rather pretend to have lost my grip than own up to hot flashes. What does that say about me and my attitudes towards age. And what are our attitudes towards older polers?

As a studio owner I embrace all sexes, sizes, colors, sexual preferences, and ages in all of my students and yet I don’t seem to embrace my own age. And by embrace I don’t mean own. I own my age and I’m proud of it. What I really mean is I don’t honor my age – it’s something I’m working towards everyday. Americans tend to honor and embrace youth much more than our “elders”. While I fully believe we can do anything we set out to at any age, for most of us our bodies at 40, 50, 60 etc are extremely different than they were in our 20’s or even 30’s. It’s important to recognize and honor this fact.

There’s nothing wrong with these differences. some people may actually be in better shape now than they were before (poling can have that effect). But still, there are things that we can and should recognize and do to honor our age and to continue to have a healthy pole life into our later years.

Reasons To Continue Or Start Pole Dancing At An Older Age:

  • You’ve had more time to learn your body’s likes and dislikes.

  • Hopefully you have more of a disposable income than you did in your youth.

  • Pole dancing is an amazingly fun, and a full body workout including cardio, stretching and strength training.

  • While pole dancing is a great form of exercise it feels more like a party than a work out!

  • Pole dancing is a great way to safely express feelings or emotions that you may not of been ready to express when you were younger.

  • Pole dancing can be as hard or as gentle of a workout as you want it to be.

  • Pole dancing is extremely social – you will meet some your best friends on your journey.

Some Things To Consider As An Older Poler:

  • Typically as we age recovery time is extended.

  • While warming up and stretching at any age is necessary, it is extremely important as we age.

  • It may be harder to regain strength after surgery or after being away from your practice for a bit. Don’t get disappointed you will regain your strength back!

Tips For The Older Poler:

  • Stretching, ice and heat are your friends.

  • Supplements can be a great addition to your practice. Talk to your doctor about what will work best for your body.

  • Embrace baths with Epsom salts.

  • Eat as clean as possible but don’t sweat the occasional treat – everything in moderation!

  • Drink as much water as possible.

  • Be gentle with yourself physically and emotionally when needed.

  • Make sure to cross train. By embracing other forms of exercise your body will be stronger and you won’t tend to burn out.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others in your class or to Pole Stars. It’s really not a competition and it’s definitely not a race. It’s your own personal journey – enjoy the ride. That being said, check out this article by UPA on 13 ‘Bad Azz’ Pole Dancers Over 50 Years Old!

  • Set your own pace. Don’t worry if you can’t do a Fonji. Do what you do best, the rest will follow.

  • Take pictures and video. They are a great tool to see how far you’ve come.

  • Embrace relationships with younger polers. They are inspiring to us as we are inspiring to them.

  • I’m strong so my instructors push me but sometimes my body really can’t do a move or the move scares me to pieces. Always make sure to talk to your instructor about any physical or emotional concerns you may have.

  • Listen to you body and give it an appropriate amount of rest time in between workouts.

Most importantly honor and embrace your age!

All of these tips are applicable to polers, aerialists and athletes of any age. While there are differences in sports when you are older the differences aren’t insurmountable. Just remember to listen to your body and soar with your heart.

*Are you an older poler? I would love to hear from you with any stories, questions or tips about your pole journey!

-Love & Glitter

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

10 Tips For A Healthy Pole/Work/Life Balance

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I'm always trying to find my balance. Avoid stress and find your balance with these 10 helpful tips...

When I was fifteen I thought I could do it all and I had no fear of death. I was go, gadget, go – I did all the things. I was young; I had stamina and the support of my parents to pursue my dreams, not to mention I didn’t have a mortgage. School, studying, work, gymnastics, soccer, skiing, friends, boys, partying, whatever…I managed to fit all in. Now, in my late forties, I most definitely have a fear of death (although I tend to ignore it or smack it in the back of the head from time to time) but I still want to do it all.

So I do. I do everything I can, and while my life is amazingly full, sometimes it can get completely out of control. I overbook my time, ignore family and friends, get stressed at work or just end up giving too much of myself . And while I thrive in an environment where I am busy rather than not busy, it has taken some time to figure out how to slow down and find some sort of wholeness and balance.

People always ask “just how does one go about achieving a happy balance between our pole, work and personal lives?” I’m sure that answer is different for everyone. But I feel that finding a pole/work/life balance can be best achieved holistically and with an integrative approach in four body systems: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
Here are my top 10 tips for a more balanced life.

PHYSICAL

1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP: Getting through your hectic day starts the night before. Make sure to get enough sleep and conversely not too much sleep which can make you groggy. You need to figure out what works best for your body, most people are in the 6-8 hour range.

2. EAT A GOOD (HEALTHY) BREAKFAST: It’s hard to be productive and find balance when you’re hungry. Your body will not work at its peak performance. Your poling won’t be at its peak performance. Plus the quality of how you fuel your body matters. Cars run better on different types of fuel right? Eat something healthy and drink a lot of water to jump start your day correctly.

EMOTIONAL

3. START THE DAY OUT JUST FOR YOU: Spend the first 30 minutes of the day on yourself doing something that helps calm you and sets your intention for the day. I like to surf. Figure out what works for you whether it be yoga, dancing naked, getting up early to have coffee and watch the news. Whatever it is allow yourself a little “you time” in the morning and the rest of your day will flow smoother.

4. HONOR YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND SELF: It’s really important that you honor the needs of your friends and family while always honoring your needs as well. Part of having a well-balanced life is having actual people in your life, so why not call them? Yes I know that’s so very 1990, but it’s actually much more personal than texting. That being said, balance is not doing everything for everyone and doing nothing for you. Work towards finding a happy medium between their needs and yours and try to include them in other aspects of your life as well.

MENTAL

5. MAKE DELIBERATE CHOICES ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR LIFE AND MOVE TOWARDS IT: Figure out what you truly want and need in your life. Discuss these needs with your family, your partner, friends, employers etc. Set goals and work towards them. Sometimes that means taking more on, sometimes that means taking less on. It’s much easier to create balance when everyone is on board or at least aware of what you are working towards.

6. MANAGE YOUR TIME WELL: The key to managing your time is to actually allocate time for all of the different things in your life. If you consistently want more time for pole dancing you need to actually book that time out. List everything you are trying fit in your life and start assigning amounts of time to the items. Once you have a good idea of how much time you need, you can work towards managing your schedule better.

7. PRIORITIZE: Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things in our lives. Trying to figure out how to balance it all can be frustrating, so it helps to prioritize. Make lists of your overall general goals, then break down goals for the week. Next, break it them down to daily goals. Bite size is always cuter and much more reachable. Don’t forget that wellness needs to be a priority as well. Make that pole class you want to take a priority.

8. MULTI TASKING AND TIME SAVERS: Double up on everything you possibly can. If you are going to watch television, do it while stretching or working out. If you have to write a blog article, get some speech recognition software and “write it” like I am now, in the car. If you hate shopping or it takes too much time, shop online. If you are stuck in traffic every day after work, call your mom and make that “her” time. Meal prep multiple meals for you and your family one day a week. Figure out as many multi-tasking activities possible.

9. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: Distractions are a balance killer. They shift our focus from our true goals. Take a break from social media, turn off your tv and spend more time doing something “real”. Instead of watching 5 videos on YouTube, do 5 dances.

SPIRITUAL

10. SPIRITUAL EXPLORATION: I think it’s really important to allow ourselves time to explore or grow spiritually. I’m not necessarily talking about religion – although for some that is exactly what spirituality will mean. For others it might mean seeking knowledge, meditation, practicing yoga etc. For me it’s spending time and being one with nature. Whatever spirituality means to you, spend time with it, unplugged from the electronic world, allowing your soul some much needed reflection and rejuvenation.

Balance, much like life, is an ongoing lesson. These are just a few habits and patterns I use to work towards balance in my life. What works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone but hopefully it is can be a starting point and a conversation towards your own personal balance practice.

Love & Glitter!

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

Anatomy Of A Student Showcase...

We love having student showcases so everyone can show off all of their hard work to their families and friends. We try to make them inclusive and a special event for the students. Even though they always appear to run smoothly there is a lot of hard work that goes into them. Here's a taste of just a bit of the madness and magic in the weeks before performance night...

It's time for our summer showcase! 

So are we going to do a play or stand alone, yet themed performances? A play works better for everyone in the winter - themed showcase performances it is. Pick a theme...hmmm maybe Sci Fi . Yes sci fi works well for us.

Announce to students - they love this theme - good!

Sign students up for showcase.

Students start claiming songs - I've already claimed Space Oddity for my partner & I - she will be Major Tom to my Mission Control - fun!

Pick a date.

Pick another date because that date doesn't work for everyone... 

then pick another frigging date! 

Enough - lock date.

Try to figure out how to fit the showcase into our beautiful new studio.

Realize - there's no way in hell the showcase will fit in said beautiful new studio.

Stress over finding a showcase space that is affordable but will also support all of our rigging needs - preset points would be a godsend. 

Come to the conclusion that most of the affordable spaces in Los Angeles don't actually have the rigging points or height that we need and we'll need to find a big, high, empty space plus bring in stage poles and a portable aerial rig.

In a moment of genius locate a space that actually has two different stage areas and allows us to have a separate aerial rig set up and a separate stage pole set up - do that little happy dance!

  • Negotiate and pay for space.
  • Lock dj
  • Lock videographer
  • Lock photographer

Decide on ticket prices.

Decide performance order. This is tricky as rigging point is not on a pulley and as much as I would like to break up apparatuses - it is way too much climbing for our rigging girl. 

I selfishly want my partner and I to go first so I can enjoy the rest of the show (and maybe even sneak a beer) but we will start with pole. Okay then after intermission can we go 1st - nope. The cube is crazy heavy and it makes more sense to be preset. Hopefully I'll stay warmed up enough and relaxed until my routine - the beer can wait. 

Start to promote showcase - I guess we are really doing this!

Set up free open practice time for students and have students start working with their instructors on their routines.

Start working on my hammock routine with my partner...oh and did I mention she's going to be away for a good deal of our practice time - stress over this.

Practice as much as I can with my partner - practice on evenings after work, practice on weekends, practice whenever we can, end up tweaking my back and bruising ribs but dammit - continue to practice! #aerialistproblems

Order really cute custom made costumes for me and my partner.

Struggle with our hammock set up - it has to be just high enough for me to be able to do a drop without slamming my knees into the ground but low enough that my partner can climb up on me and reach the secondary hammock. Finally come up with the perfect height combo. 

Watch student rehearsals - it's a nice start but come to the realization that some of the routines still need more "story".

Plan a run thru of setting up the aerial rig and have students practice on it so they are used to the height & feel of the portable rig (much less bounce than our studio pulley system).

My partner wants to wash our double hammock - I don't. Break down and wash hammocks - but still think this is a bad idea as we have finally got the length correct and now we will have to re-tie everything.

Re-tie hammocks and realize you. were. right. 

Where the fuck are our costumes?

Continue to rehearse...

Watch more rehearsals and beam with pride with all of the hard work everyone is putting in - routines, costumes and stories are really starting to come together!

Studio manager's boyfriend is going to do lighting - thanks!

Students ask to come in at ALL hours to rehearse their routines - I act just slightly semi-annoyed but secretly I'm actually very pleased with this. Oblige and schedule more rehearsal time for everyone!

Have a brilliant idea to change my costume, buy new costume - and am unilaterally told by everyone "NO that costume sucks" go back to cute custom made costume but refuse to wear "helmet" can't really hear music cues with it on anyhow.

Help instructors find Space Kitty costumes...this is not easy.

Find cool Space Kitty costumes on line and on sale score!

Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to happen the week before the showcase. I got this. Hell I do production for a living, we are in a good space. Make production schedule. I'm feeling super calm.

The week before the showcase...

Why hasn't everyone sent in their music yet? DJ is asking for music. Everybody send in your music!

Chairs - did you order chairs? Shit you did NOT order chairs? How could you forget chairs, that's like production 101. Student overhears your chair woes and has a great chair vendor! 

Make arrangements, order chairs and plan to have them dropped off and picked up day of.

Videographer falls out...

Secure fab new videographer... yes steadicam is cool but um no - I don't think we REALLY need drones...thanks Trevor!

Make sure photographer is still avail - she is! Thanks Jazmin!

Crap when we moved we changed our insurance - pretty sure the new studio insurance only covers in studio student showcases...

Call insurance company and realize, yes you are correct, order additional "out of studio" showcase insurance coverage for the day.

I really just want to start drinking now but already feel like I look too large in my costume - which has finally showed up, is super cute but somehow a bit large on top???

Have one of your students alter costume for you - thanks Noelle!

Call performance space and make sure they can black out skylights in space so it can be completely dark - they say yes they can - no problem it'll be done before we get there day of.

The day of showcase...

Meet at studio early with hubby/co-owner and hammock partner and load up truck with all supplies rigging and apparatuses.  

Drive over to space and secure parking...start unloading.

Sweat to death unloading items why is it so hot? Right because it's July, why did we do this in July? It's like 100 trillion° next summers showcase will NOT be in July!

Where is everyone? Ugh people are late & oh my god where is Tamysen with the aerial rig??? LA traffic is killing me we need to get that rig up!

People start to show up, aerial rig and poles go up. Chairs are being placed, chair vendor helps us unload all of our vehicles - Thanks!!!

Rigging heights are set - seriously why can't all the Lyra people use the same Lyra at the same height... 

Lighting starts to go up - any color choices that weren't previously decided are locked. Lighting is beautiful! DJ is setting up. 

Skylights that were not blacked out when we arrived are being blacked out.

Lounge spaces start to be created, furniture and wall flats are being moved. 

Final run through and camera blocking happens. Things are smooth until MY routine - audio cable craps out and is only playing the melody??? For the record...Bowie sounds weird with just the melody. I guess it's better than during the show? I stop mid routine stressed because I can't really hear my music cues. DJ fixes problem and we continue - but now I'm "off" - just deal with it Lea...

Ticket area is finished - thanks for the offer but no - I don't think we have time to paint a flat with our logo...ticket girls work out kinks with mobile credit card swipper.

Dinner is ordered, space is prepped, we start to relax and snack on some protein and veggies...

Food and wine is put out for guests (& who knew they made star shaped cookies covered in chocolate with Pop Rocks on top - too fun!) Our secret stash of PBR for after our routines is hidden - um NO that is not for the general public s consumption please take it off the bar. One of the space rep stays and helps our pole cleaner/bartender with the bar/food area - so sweet (and yet i'm pretty sure it's because our pole cleaner is super cute) - thanks! 

The stretching/dressing room is buzzing, last minute costume adjustments (for the record LED costumes can be tricky with hard apparatuses) makeup, glitter and lashes are everywhere. 

People start filing in - lots of people. The turn out is great! The energy is amazing, the students are excited and ready! We've hit the calm AFTER the storm 

It's time. It took a village but we are here. Lights dim, show starts, performances are beautiful and students are shining! Everyone is truly Floating In The Most  (fabulous) And Peculiar Way!

 

At the end I am exhausted. I am ridiculously proud of our students and everyone who helped this night come together, we could not have done it without everyone's help - but I'm glad it's over. I sneak outside to the patio to have a few minutes alone, to reflect on the beautiful evening and of course can't help start planing themes for the next showcase - all while drinking my beer...

Bad Kitty® Everyday Poler Series: Meet Roz "The Diva" Mays

Did you ever want to try Pole Dancing or something else outside  of the box - but didn't think you "fit the mold" ? Take a lesson from Roz Mays: A true diva that speaks her soul, defies social norms and proves there is no excuse not to try pole dancing or any other dream you might have. 

LW: Hi Roz, thanks for chatting with us. So the first question I have for you is: how long have you been pole dancing?

Roz: I have been poling for about 8 ½ years.

LW: Wow

Roz: I know that’s OG status.

LW: I think I started in 2005 so yeah, I’m right there with you.

Roz: Oh shit!

LW: So how did you did you get introduced to pole dancing? How did you start?

Roz: So I actually started where a ton of New York based polers started, at Crunch. I tried it because it looked like it had a cool title and I’d never done anything like that and it was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I got my ass whooped up and down, sideways and forward and to the left and right – but from the first class I was done I was hooked! It was no contest, it was no question, I literally just needed one class and it’s a wrap.

LW: It’s funny that you say that because I think most people who try pole dancing and who have continued with it were just like that. It was one class and – I’m in!

LW: So how did you end up transitioning from student to instructor?

Roz: I was competing in Polesque in 2011 and the owner of the studio that held the competition happened to be there and she saw me. Afterwards she found me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to teach pole at her studio. Her studio was in Brooklyn. That was my foray into teaching. At that point I had been poling for a year and a half. I wanted to teach but I wasn’t pursuing it because I didn’t know how to do it or where to look, but once I started teaching…nothing makes me happier than teaching. Maybe, for me the feelings that come closest to teaching are when I’m on stage and it’s dark and I’m sweaty and everybody in the crowd is like losing their shit. But besides that, teaching is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

LW: Nice! So you know you’re known in the pole world as probably one of the 3 most recognizable (and vocal for that matter) plus size polers. How do you feel about that label, and do you think it’s helped your career or hurt you career?

Roz: It absolutely helped my career. I didn’t seek to be the spokesperson for plus size pole and I didn’t really give a shit about it. But that’s just kind of what happened. That’s just the big difference between me and everybody else right now out there poling. And if you look at Hustlenomics , straight from a business black and white perspective, you have to be different from other people in some way to standout. Something about you or your product has got to be remarkable and unique and fortunately for me, I didn’t really have to seek out or make up something to be remarkable and unique because it was just built in. My 200 plus pounds is there, so I’m very lucky, I’ve already got my uniqueness built in, my competitive advantage. There certainly are other plus size polers and instructors, but there’s not a lot and I probably know most of them in the country. I literally mean I think I know all of them, because we all talk of course. So I’m fortunate in that I’ve got a very well rounded perspective of the entire industry. I just happen to be really different aesthetically.

LW: Do you find people are apprehensive or open to plus size instructors or do they just not know how to take them?

Roz: There isn’t a lot of times where I had to teach something where I physically couldn’t do it . Because I teach a lot beginners and intermediate classes as well. So that’s one thing. Number two, to my face I haven’t had any students really say anything, they might have been thinking it, but they were at least nice enough not to tell me. Who is this fat bitch that’s about to teach me something?  But I have had a student or two afterwards come up to me and say “when I saw you I was surprised that you were the teacher and I didn’t know what to expect, but wow you’re really good at what you do” and that’s fine with me. When I have doubting people who are questioning “should I be doing what I’m doing?” It’s actually usually from other fitness professionals. I had like another trainer who has been doing you know group fitness for probably 15 years now and she thought she was doing me a favor. This happened last summer. She thought she was doing me a favor by saying “no one is gonna really hire you unless you slim down, because you’re not practicing what you preach and living a healthy lifestyle, cause if you were – obviously you’d be smaller”. It doesn’t really hurt when random people say things, but with professionals – you expect them to know better. Yet for every one person who has some shit to say about my size and that I have the nerve to be a fitness instructor, I have nine jillion billion people who are like “I specifically came to your class because you look like me and you’re a lot less intimidating. And I feel like if she can do it I guess I have to at least try, and you don’t make me feel bad about the way I look and you give me permission to just be myself”

LW: How many studios are you currently teaching at?

Roz: Body & Pole and IncrediPOLE are my two home bases and I teach pole dancing at each of those. Body & Pole is in Manhattan and IncrediPOLE is in Brooklyn and I’m also am a personal trainer.

LW: What do you love most about teaching and what makes you crazy about teaching? Cause I know there’s got to be both.

Roz: Sure what makes me crazy about teaching is when people go out their way to make an excuse as to why they can’t do something. I’m not talking about having legit physical limitations but like when they tell me “oh I can’t go to pole because I’m too big “Bitch who the fuck you think I am, I just told you no you’re not too big”. They’re like “yes I am”.

Roz: What I love though is over the course of 90 minutes seeing people start out being afraid of their own shadow and then by the end of class, they’re only a little nervous about their own shadow. Over the course of weeks and months and years they’ve transformed into a different person, physically and otherwise – I especially love a good underdog. Give me the student that is 400 pounds, just now getting off the couch and they want to start exercising but they don’t know how. They want to try pole, they can’t do a spin they can’t climb. Those are the students I absolutely live for because I get to be the most obnoxious crack head cheer leader you have ever heard. I love giving pep talks.  I will be giving pep talks till the day I die. So I love seeing students the first time something makes sense to them. My favorite moment so far as a teacher goes back 5 years. Everybody was brand spanking new. I was just drilling their asses all day every day. Finally after a few weeks I saw my first couple girls climb to the top of our 13 ft. pole and they were literally screaming my name out from the top of the pole and I had to hold back tears cause  “oh my gosh they did it “. In my opinion climbing is the first major hurdle that you’re going to face in pole dancing. So to see that they got so excited they wanted to take pictures.  That little boost right there gave them so much confidence – that moment was just absolutely phenomenal.

LW: Do you remember the first time you climbed to the top ?

Roz: I do – it was my 6th class I was at Crunch and the pole was about 9 feet.

LW: Do you do you remember the moment where you said to yourself “yeah I can do this, like this is for me” where everything just sort of clicked and you realized that this was something you were gonna be able to accomplish, something that you knew your size wasn’t going to hold you back from?

Roz: I don’t think I’ve had that moment yet, because people they see me as like this beacon of confidence, but I’m still extraordinarily insecure about my size. I’m lot less insecure than what I was, but generally speaking I still have to fight feeling embarrassment over my weight all the time and especially in pole. I’ve walked out of classes holding back tears with every bone in my body because I’m looking around and everybody has 6 packs and their fucking flying off the ceiling and I’m literally still trying to do a chopper. Now funny… specifically about that chopper, I can do a lot more complicated things, things a lot more technically challenging and difficult, but a fucking chopper slays me. You know I’m the first one to fall susceptible to bullshit that I place on myself. There’s never been a time where I’m just like “I did it” I haven’t found that yet.

LW: You know there’s so many pole comps now I can’t even keep track of them so I’ve just stopped trying, but I think one that is really important is the one you created, Dangerous Curves.

Roz: Thank you!

LW: How did that come to be? Why did you create it and then let’s talk about how you passed it on to Tasha.

Roz I started Dangerous Curves the summer of 2012 because, one, I wanted throw a big ass party around my birthday and I didn’t want to pay for it, and two I wanted to see people like me. I was still relatively unknown at the time so I could kind of do whatever the hell I wanted in a way. Me with my little pole playground and I just thought I can’t be the only poler of my size out there. Now mind you this is way before Instagram, this is before pole took over Facebook. So we were all on YouTube, but it wasn’t like it is now where everybody and their mothers are on. So for you to find somebody who actually looks like you is a huge deal. For me it was a huge deal, so I literally just went on Facebook and said anybody want to do this competition? Fast forward to polers from 6 different states traveling just to be a part of this. They loved it too, turns out we were all kind of feeling the same way – wanting to know we were not the only ones out there. So we found each other and that was the way we started Dangerous Curves. Since then there have been 7 different events; 4 official competitions and 3 other showcases and they’ve been good. But I decided to pass it off to Tasha. It was time. It wasn’t a dramatic emotional “guys I have to do this”, it was I don’t want to do this anymore – someone else take it and do it right. This shit is expensive to do, I was running things on a part time income and I don’t know how I pulled it off. I truly don’t know how. It was a New York miracle. So being as cheap as I was doing it I was still shelling out $3500 and praying I would make that money back which I did.

LW: Nice, most comps do not necessarily make you your money back.

Roz: They don’t, yeah exactly.

LW: If you even break even I feel like it’s a win, but it’s a lot of work.

photo by Ray Tamarra

LW: If you could tell people one thing about pole dancing they might not already know, what would that be?

Roz: Pole dancing is the hardest workout you’ll ever put yourself though. With the exception of like, Navy S.E.A.L. training. That shit is gonna whoop your ass even more so than you know it’s gonna hurt it’s gonna hurt much more.

LW: What’s your favorite song to dance to? Spit it out favorite song.

Roz: Nasty Naught Boy by Christina Aguilera.

LW: What is your signature style of poling and how did you develop your style? Do you lean more towards athletic or do you lean more towards sexy or something in between?

Roz: My style is to do whatever is going to get the crowd the loudest. I am a fucking ham on stage so when I hear the “woop woop!” I become absolutely addicted to the roar of the crowd. If I’m doing something and I see them get a little bit louder than they were before, I keep doing it. Right now I would say I’m in kind of like a contempo phase. I go through phases all the time. There’s always a Beyoncé situation but you now sometime it’s the ballad Beyoncé, sometimes it’s the early Beyoncé where she’s just singing about paying the bills and now “trow shit in your face” Lemonade Beyoncé – basically my style changes with Beyoncé.

LW: What are you currently most excited about in the world of pole dancing and it doesn’t need to be a pole star, it can be one of your students, it can be an instructor. Who really gets you going in the pole world now?

Roz: I would say I think my students. They make the biggest, most consistent impact on me day to day. I gave up watching pole videos on YouTube and pole stars years ago because I would just start looking and comparing myself. I would watch a video and end up crying and getting depressed. Literally crying cause I couldn’t do that like them. I felt like such a failure and I wasn’t able to separate myself from where I’m at versus where I wanted to be and feel like that’s ok. I really like my beginners students. I understand them. I would also love to meet Emma O’Toole because she’s a plus size dancer, has her own studio in the U.K and she can do an Iron X . All I wanna do is a fucking Iron X .

LW: I’ve seen some videos of you and you’re almost there.

Roz: I’m so close I’m like a crooked Y.

LW: HA! This has been great. Thanks so much for speaking with us and being so candid! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Roz: I actually have a documentary coming out, Dangerous Curves, which is pretty cool.  I didn’t produce it but I’m in it. A couple of my friends from high school decided to follow me around for a year and half with a camera. I’m excited about it; it’s going to be screening at a film festival in Brooklyn in July.

You can find out more about Roz “the diva” at rozthediva.com

DIY: Homemade Wheatgrass Powder

This year for me is all about getting healthy: I've quit smoking, I've decided I need to be kinder to myself with more "me time" and less work, I'm trying to figure out how to move to the beach, I'm working out all of my finances, I'm getting certified in Integrated Wellness and In an effort to eat less processed food I have broken down and finally bought a Vitamix (more on that adventure later). I really also wanted to try to grow my own wheat grass - I mean how hard could it be it's just a grass right? But would I be able to actually use it as fast as it grew? Probably not - so I thought "I'm going to need to figure out how to powder this".  Once I looked around I realized it was MUCH easier than I thought - so no excuse not to try!

Here's a great Wheatgrass Powder DIY reposted from Rachel Lee - check it out...

Homemade (garden-made) Wheatgrass Powder //

Posted on May 24, 2016 by rachaellee

Lately I have been sharing some DIY ideas straight from my garden, and today, it’s all about the wheatgrass. My little wheatgrass plant has been growing like a weed, and I couldn’t juice or use the stuff as fast as I was harvesting it! So, I decided to make wheatgrass powder for my daily smoothies and homemade skincare creations. I’ll get to those fun recipes sometime soon, but first thing’s first: How to powder your wheatgrass...

  • Harvest/cut it by trimming your wheatgrass about 1/2 an inch above the soil. 

  • Place your wheatgrass on a baking sheet to dry out at 120-150 degrees for about an hour until it feels dry/brittle to the touch. 

  • Grind all of your dry wheatgrass in a coffee grinder until it turns to powder. I had mine on the espresso setting, which created finer grounds. 

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  •   Store your wheatgrass powder in the container(s) of your choice, and stay tuned as I will be sharing some amazing edible and skincare recipes with our new favorite ingredient! 

  
Wheatgrass has so many amazing health benefits, and in powder form, it’s easy to use on a daily basis. For skincare, anemia, blood cells, cancer fighting, pH balance, and so much more. Enjoy! 


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SEIZE THE DAY: THE TOP 5 THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T WAIT TO DO

Have you ever wanted to do something new but talked yourself out of it? I’m sure we all have at some point and while there are sometimes legitimate reasons to hold off – sometimes you just have to frickin jump! Having a plan is good but when “planning” overshadows “doing”, when we become stagnant, we need to look at what is actually holding us back.

Fear of flight and more importantly fear of failure can be overwhelming. I get it, I’ve been there – you don’t want to look stupid, you don’t want to be let down, you don’t want to be disappointed. The truth of the matter is if we never take that leap of faith, the true disappointment will be the regret of never having tried. Honestly what do you have to lose, if it doesn’t work out – and it might not, you can start over again but at least you tried. Life is growth and change, this all takes motion, I say jump!

1) Getting The New Career: This could be a new job, leaving a stable yet un-fulfilling job to start your own business “So babe did I mention I’m thinking about quitting the bank to start a Pole Dancing School?” or changing careers entirely “Yes mom I know being a lawyer is great and all but honestly I really want to be an organic soap maker for a living”. However you look at it it’s scary. I mean it’s a little less scary if you don’t have kids, a mortgage and/or a spouse, but it’s still scary. On one hand it can affect your finances, on the other hand it can affect your ego, it may create repercussions in your relationships, but in the end if you’re reading this and seriously thinking about a change all the time, if it is taking more and more sleep and more and more coffee to drag yourself to work, it’s probably time.

This is not to say you should just up and quit tomorrow, sure you need a plan but you also need to really move towards your end goal. Take it from dream to realty. Discuss it with the significant other, start saving cash, downsize and reevaluate/adjust your budget. You would be amazed at how much less money we spend when we are already happy. Our happiness at work is a huge part of our life equation. There is absolutely no point in slaving away at a job that makes us miserable until we are 67, life really is too short, especially after 67.  You can have all the money in the world but if you are miserable, you are poor. So, go find that bridge job you can do in between gigs, set a “date” and then take the plunge.

2) The New City/Country/Travel: I live in LA and I love the beach, the sun, the weather. Sure I moved here for work but it was between NYC and LA and I chose the sun and the beach. I have so many friends that live in cites they hate with jobs they hate and complain that it’s making them miserable, but they stay. No guys in NYC to date – move. Too cold in the winter in Boston – move. Some don’t move because they are single and they won’t know anyone in a new place? I don’t get it, maybe it’s me but I see that as a cool plus. I mean if you were geeky in your past town/life, now you can be a rock star, you have a whole new dating pool, everything is new, you can start your life over, create a new destiny, to me new = infinite possibilities for adventure!  Are you upset that you haven’t visited Italy – go!  Where there’s a will there truly is a way. if you want it, find a way to do it and I don’t mean by “manifesting” it – that’s BS – well okay maybe bs is a bit harsh, it’s a lovely thought and all but I mean more like take. some. actionable. steps. Research the job market in the area you want to move to, stop eating takeout every night, buy groceries in the store, stop buying Starbucks, frickin get a credit card that gives miles or hotel dollars, pay ALL of your bills on said card and then go to Italy.

3) Being Single Again: Leave. You’re in a crappy relationship. You know it’s bad, you’re unhappy. He/she is a dick yet you stay. Is the bad that you know better than the unknown – NO. Leave. You’ve been dating a guy for 3 months and you are already in couples therapy – LEAVE. You’re getting this right? You know you need to, and yes it may be hard and it may screw you financially – in the beginning – but money comes and goes, your sanity and well-being – not so much. Staying for the children…a noble idea, BUT…and I may get yelled at here, lots of times we use this as a crutch. Leaving is hard but honestly most children in a household where the parents are constantly fighting, they feel it, they know what’s going on and that is less healthy than splitting up. Trust.

4) Waiting Until I Lose Weight To…: Take that circus/pole/surfing/karate class I’ve always wanted to try. Hmmm I’d love to get those sexy photos done but I’m too large. I need to lose a few more pounds before I go back to the gym (this one is my favorite and makes absolutely no sense). Conversely – you won’t throw out the ten thousand items you have in your closet left over from high school (you’re 40 by the way, you know that right?) because you might fit into them one day. The sad truth is if you don’t fit into them already it’s never going to happen, so sell or donate that clothing, buy yourself some booty shorts and a bra top, rent a wet suit & board and put yourself out there. Have fun now, do stuff now, enjoy and live your life now, cause for most of us (not me though, I plan on living for ever), it’s the only one you have.

5) Saving for your future: Regardless of how old you are start saving now. Teach your children the value of a job and savings at a young age. Get them excited about finance. Get them a DRIP (dividend re-investment program). Open a savings account and put something, ANYTHING in it monthly. Even if you are trying to pay down debt you have to “pay” yourself. Trust me on this one, you need to save as well as pay down debt in order to get ahead, otherwise when something comes up, you will be back on the credit card crack train. When you are older and getting ready to retire the last thing you want to deal with, other than loft bedrooms, is a lack of funds.

In the end it’s important to be able to face our fears head on. Change can be scary, it’s true and while fear can keep us safe it can also hold us back. It’s so easy to get caught into the “I’ll do later” loop or “it’s not perfect yet”. Really look at what’s holding you back, don’t let the goal of perfection stop you in your tracks and learn to take a chance and fly!

*I would love to hear some of the goals or dreams you are working towards and what you feel is holding you back.

Love & Glitter,

5 WAYS TO PLAN YOUR DAY FOR MORE PRODUCTIVITY

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I’ve always been a go-gadget-go kind of girl and while I thrive in an environment where I am busier than not, it has taken some work to find a happy balance between over extending myself and having a realistic set of goals. I am a full time, married, television executive, aerial studio owner and avid (wanna be) surfing babe. One of the things I’m always asked is – how do I manage to fit as much as I do within a 7 day week?

Balance and productivity are key, but just how does one go about achieving these goals. I’ve found that while it is a life long pursuit, there are certain things one can do to help the situation along. Here are my top 5 tips for planning a more productive day.

  • EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST: “I’m hungry and sleepy and hungry and lazy…I’m going back to bed”  been there, done that. It’s hard to be productive when you’re hungry or not working at peak performance. Our bodies and mind need fuel to get you through the day and while it seems really obvious, many people skip this step – eat breakfast.

  • START THE DAY OUT DOING SOMETHING JUST FOR YOU: Spend the first 30 to 60 minutes of the day doing something that helps calm you and sets your intention for the day and by intention I don’t mean on what you plan on getting done, but rather your mood for the day. I try to surf in the morning before work as often as possible. It’s soothes my soul and quiets my thoughts allowing me to be fresh and invigorated at work. It’s no surprise that the days I go surfing before work are always less stressful and more productive. Find what works for you whether it be yoga, taking a long walk, getting up early to have coffee and watch CNN, dance naked – whatever floats your boat. Allow yourself a little you time in the morning and the rest of your day will flow smoother.

  • PRIORITIZE: Prioritization is one of the most important keys to productivity but sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the amount of work or items we need to complete. No worries I have a master plan! Start with a list of overall goals for your week, I know this list can seem large and sometimes undo-able but we need to look at it differently. Once you have this list built out, break it down to your overall daily goals. Once your daily goals are in order break down those goals into bite size pieces that you can work on over the week. This makes things easier to comprehend, handle and achieve. When breaking down your goals try to think about what works chronologically. This will help you immensely. Sometimes we get so caught up in the big picture (“Oh My God – I will never finish designing this web site, there’s just too much to do”) that if we just made the picture smaller, bite sized even (“Okay, now that I have the header to the web site built out I can start working on some of the other graphics elements”) our goals would seem much more reachable.

  • ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: Distractions shift our focus from the tasks at hand which in turn limits our productivity. Social media and the internet can be extremely useful OR a black hole of time and energy. Eliminate distractions by limiting the amount of time you surf the net and social media. There are plenty of “timer/clock” web sites and apps that help schedule your online time. Learn to lock down certain web sites after a certain point, use an app or just schedule time appropriately. Spend a few minutes during the day to go over your emails and try to limit the amount of time you spend with them unless of course you have to respond to them for work.

  • EMBRACE A HEALTHY WORK LIFE BALANCE: You know how hard it is to get anything done or give your full attention to something when you are stressed right? That’s why as important as it is to work on your, career, business or job, it’s equally important to work on your life outside of these elements. It’s much easier to enjoy both your personal life – hell I don’t even like that saying – your LIFE and  your work when you have a better balance between the two. When you have this balance,  you’re happy. Happy people have a tendency to put forth more effort towards everything and a whole lot less procrastination!


These are just a few ways I work towards being more positive and productive. What works for me may not work for everyone but give these ideas a go! I would love to hear your tips and life hacks for productivity. Please share them here.

Love & Glitter!

10 Tips To Help Realign Your Emotional Well-being

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Winter has always been a hard season for me, especially when I was living on the east coast. I would hibernate away in my apartment, filling it with stuff, cluttering my personal space and in turn creating mental chaos. But I think it’s finally here, or it’s close… you know, that moment after a long, cold winter where you can see the sun through the clouds. It may not be spring just yet, but it’s in the air and it’s the perfect time to declutter our lives: a cleanse for the soul.

It’s amazing how most people will go through some sort of spring cleaning of their home but don’t give their minds or body the same consideration. When our mind or emotions are in turmoil this affects our body. Decluttering all aspects of our lives creates harmony in not just our home, but our body and spirit. But how to go about doing it?

How to Realign Your Emotional Well-being

  • Start your day with Ginger Lemon Tea: A cup of hot water with lemon slices and ginger pieces is a great way to start your morning and is a natural cleanse. Not only does this drink manage to be calming and pack a zesty “wake me up” zing but there are other benefits as well. Lemon is alkalizing, has high levels of potassium and vitamin C, is a strong antioxidant plus helps stimulate proper digestion while ginger has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and aids in digestion.

  • Meditate for 5 – 60 minutes each day: Make time at some point in the day to take a breath, stop down and meditate. It doesn’t need to be an hour, it can be as little as 5 minutes but the benefits of meditation are huge. Not only does meditation reduce anxiety and stress levels but research has shown it to help with depression, reduce blood pressure, improve one’s sex life, improve your skin, improve your sense of self-acceptance and self-worth, improve concentration and aid in pain relief, just to name a few.

  • Spend time in nature every day: We spend so much time indoors and at our jobs that our stress levels are through the roof. Sometimes all it takes is just a little time communing with nature to quiet our minds and give a sense of peace. Think about it, whenever we go on a vacation a good deal of that time is spent outdoors whether it be in the mountains or at the beach our bodies typically need to be one with nature.

  • Clean up your emails, computer desktop, and office space: Visual clutter can overwhelm us and translate feelings of stress and annoyance to our bodies. You know that feeling of happiness and freedom you get from crossing the last item off your to-do list – it’s the same feeling when your work space/digital life is clean. Spend 15 minutes each day, whittling down your unread or old emails, filing or trashing items on your computer desktop, cleaning up your workspace. It’s amazing how far you can get in a month by just spending 15 minutes a day and honestly the relief you will feel when everything is in order is priceless!

  • Do something every week that scares you: Life is about growth. While this growth can come in various forms it almost always stems from trying, learning or experiencing something new. Sometimes we might try something new and when it doesn’t work out we feel as if we have failed. If you try something and it doesn’t work out don’t think of it as a failure – it was an experience, a failure is not ever trying at all. You need to have experiences to grow and that growth promotes a healthy spirit. Whether those experiences are taking crazy circus classes or telling someone you “I love you” first, try to embrace something scary and new in your life each week. It will make you a stronger and happier person!

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  • Make your bedroom an oasis: While sleep is a hugely important part of your well-being, your bedroom is more than just a place for you to rest. Your bedroom should be a comfort zone, a happy place where you should feel safe. Make it an inviting, work-free zone and it will be much easier for you to get the amount of rest you need and deserve. If your room is too busy, too full, too chaotic it will project that onto your mindset and sleep patterns.

  • Love and take care of an animal: Albert Einstein once said “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” Caring for and loving animals has numerous benefits, both physical and mental. People who have pets or work with animals typically are calmer, have lower blood pressure and lower levels of depression. Not only do animals reduce stress levels but they teach us about our own humanity by caring for something other than ourselves. If you are a pet owner, spend more time with your pet, if you don’t own a pet volunteer at a rescue or a hospital that works with pets and the elderly, it will calm your thoughts and soothe your soul.

  • Check out of social media, emails and the internet one day each weekend: We are so obsessed with the internet, likes, email, social media and technology that we have actively moved away from interacting with people in the real world. With so much electronic chatter, it can become deafening and slightly addictive which is not a healthy pattern. Spend some time with yourself, your friends, the outdoors, your life and just be, your body and mind will thank you for it – the internet will be there on Monday I promise.

  • Let go of items, people or situations that no longer serve you: There comes a time in all of our lives when we are dwelling on something or someone in our past, maybe even in our future, who just isn’t right for us. It may be an ex or a family member even, who just doesn’t fit into our lives, who is detrimental to our well-being, but we will not let go. We collect people, items, bad situations that anchor us to a stressful reality that we don’t need. It’s time to pull up the anchor and sail towards calmer waters. It’s not an easy thing to do but try to identify these markers in your life and work towards releasing the negative energy, in the end your body and mind will thank you for it.

  • Get enough sleep: We all know how important sleep is to our lives, yet most of it don’t get enough. Sleep recharges us – with the correct amount we’re rock stars, with the incorrect amount we’re a pool of mess and funk (not the good funk – the bad funk). The trick is to figure out how much sleep your body needs (tons of apps and info online to help you with this) and then get it. Quality sleep, not tossing and turning sleep. Make your bedroom an oasis then breathe, relax and let go.

Hopefully these ideas and tips will alleviate some of the mental chaos and help create some harmony in our bodies and spirit. I would love to hear your tips or coping mechanisms as to how you realign your emotional well being. Share them here.

Love & Glitter,

-Lea

 

Coconut Thai Chili Miso Soup Recipe (Trader Joe's hack)

Whoever said you couldn't get anything Fast, Easy, Cheap & Good had clearly never shopped at Trader Joe's. Seriously the easiest, yummiest "one pot" soup, it's got the perfect amount of creamy, chili, coconut love going on, you can make it with any veggies you like & all of the ingredients are easily found at your local Trader Joe's.

I'm always looking for super fast, yummy, cheap, quick meals. This soup fits the bill. It's the perfect soup to make when you have a lot of leftover veggies or some left over chicken claiming space in your fridge, add it on in. The whole soup can be completed in 15-30 minutes depending on the amount of veggies you need to "prep'. Plus you look like a frickin rock star - it's just that good!

You will need: 1 medium size bowl, a big, deep pot, 2 table spoons of coconut oil, any veggies (fresh or frozen) or meat you want to add, any noodles you want to add &...

  • 1 can of Coconut Cream

  • 3/4 of a jar of Thai Dry Chili Paste
  • 1 Box of miso broth
  • saute your fresh veggies/meat in large pot with coconut oil. I used bok choy, bean sprouts, red bell peppers and pre cooked chicken.
  • scoop out 3/4 jar of dry chili paste into a bowl and add in enough of the miso broth that you can dissolve the paste in it by stirring (this will make it dissolve/settle better in the soup)
  • once veggies/meat are tender add in dry chili paste mixture, the remaining miso broth and 1 full can of coconut cream.  Also add in any frozen veggies at this point (we used frozen corn)
  • cook on medium/low heat for 5 minutes until hot & then switch to low heat & add in your preferred noodles and cook until al dente (I used linguini but you could use udon, soba or any noodle you prefer)
  • garnish with green onion

Makes roughly 6 decent sized bowls

*couldn't tell you the calorie count so why the hell are you asking

Enjoy!

Sexy Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

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I think Acorn Squash is sexy! There I said it. Not quite sure why I feel this way. Maybe it's all the butter, it's warm, sinfully melts in your mouth and the fact that I always picture myself eating it while laying on a bear skin rug, in a chalet in the French Alps with Jude Law by my side, doesn't hurt. Whatever...that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.  I'm obsessed - acorn squash is too good!

There are a bunch of yummy foods that say "fall/winter" to me. Roasted Acorn Squash is one of them.This acorn squash recipe is like the best combination of nutty, syrupy, winter goodness. I could eat it non stop.

AND

It's the easiest thing to make! You just need...

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Cut Squash in half & while you preheat oven to 400°F, scoop seeds out of squash. Butter each inside of squash with 1 table-spoon of butter (use your fingers) lightly sprinkle each inside half with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each inside half with one teaspoon of brown sugar and then drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup as well. Place the halves cut-side up in a deep baking sheet or tin and fill sheet with the tiniest amount of water, just enough so the bottom of the pan is coated. Bake until the squash is tender in the middle, about 30 -45 minutes depending on your oven.

Serve it on your bear skin rug, invite Jude over & enjoy!

Love & Glitter,

My Rockin 2nd Date w/Cleo! A Review Of Cleo’s Rock N Pole Part Deux

Warm up, choreo, cool down, warm up, choreo, cool down...work on these Veruca! So yes it's been about 3 months now - high time for a check in regarding my progress with Cleo's Rock N Pole dvd. I would love to say that I have managed to look like this...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1OILXkbJO0]

But I haven't.

What I have seen is a huge improvement in my cardio during pole workouts, improvements on my never ending split work and more hair flips & head rolls in my dancing - and kids I'LL TAKE IT!!

Click here to check out more about the dvd from: - CleotheHurricane.com

Click here to check out my previous review of Cleo's Rock n Pole! 

The 3 areas I decided on really diving into this time around are the warm up, choreo & cool down.

Warm Up: I really liked this warm up. While it's much faster of a warm up than I'm used to that's not a bad thing.

Choreo: While I like this section the choreo was really hard for me. It moves pretty quickly and while I definitely feel like I have improved I can't say I feel comfortable doing it. But if I did, I guess I wouldn't need to work on the routine. I also feel that this style of choreo moves much faster than I do when I normally dance, that being said I have picked up a bunch of hot moves and added them into rotation!

Cool Down: Loved the cool down - great stretches and a much needed break from all of my hard work. It actually could have been longer for me but other than that I loved it!

All in all I really like this dvd. The floor routines were my favorite. While there are routines for beginner to advanced I feel a true beginner might have a slightly harder time with a some of the routines - she/he might want to start with the floor work first.

So...Will I be using the dvd again - yup! And while I do feel most of it is better suited for non beginners, there is a goddamned lot of content in this dvd usable by everyone. I think it's a great buy and something people, myself included, will be able to refer back to on a regular basis.

Love, Glitter & Rock N Roll,

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of thePole Dancing Bloggers Association. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Rub Me The Right Way: DIY Arnica Muscle Balm

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Looking for a customizable, super easy, DIY arnica rub to ease your aches and pains? Check out this article I wrote for Bad Kitty! As pole dancers we like to think we are invincible. We proudly wear our “pole kisses” as a badges of honor, but really they’re just bruises. And they hurt. And I’m over them. It’s summer and they don’t look cute in my little sun dress.  Admit it. Aren’t you tired of the nurse asking if “everything is okay at home” each time you go to the doctor’s office? I’m thinking there has to be a better way.

I’ve heard great things about arnica rubs/salves/balms. They are supposed to be amazing for aches and helping bruises to heal faster. But the all organic, yummy smelling ones can be expensive and really – how hard could they be to make?

I like to think of myself as a crunchy, granola, DIY diva. Plus if I make it in a lavender scent I can turn this salve into a sexy massage/muscle balm combo. I’ll get the hubby to rub away some of my pain and I’ll smell pretty, instead of my normal mentholated mess. I am so very smart. I got this.

So I set out to whip up a few batches. The first two attempts were not my finest hour but the last batch turned out rather nicely. I’ve learned from my mistakes – so you don’t have to!

DIY Lavender Arnica Muscle Balm

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut oil (you can use any carrier oil, almond for example, but I chose coconut. It’s cheaper and has a light but summery smell)

  • .6 ounces dried arnica flowers

  • ½ cup beeswax granules (you can use solid bees wax but if you do, shave it – I didn’t at first and it takes too long to melt and kind of messed up the oil)

  • ¼ tsp. Tea Tree essential oil

  • ¼ tsp. lavender essential oil

*There are lots of different places to get the supplies from on the internet but I ordered my flowers, oil & tins from here: Mountain Rose Herbs.

Supplies:
Crock Pot, Cheesecloth or old cotton t-shirt, additional large bowl and measuring cup (to pour it into the tins – I tried to just do it from the crock pot because clearly I’m cute but not so smart). Containers for balm – get something pretty!

Instructions:
1. Bruise the arnica flowers – either by crunching them up (my choice!) or whizzing a bit in a food processor if you’re talented (I tried this but I made a huge mess and I sprayed flowers everywhere in my kitchen so consider yourself forewarned).

2. Melt the coconut oil in the crock pot on low.

3. Add in the arnica flowers, stir to make sure they are completely covered in oil and steep on low for 12-24 hours – stir from time to time to make sure they are covered.

4. When done let cool for a bit – 15 minutes or so should do. Enough that it’s not lava hot and too dangerous to pour (my mistake the first time), but not completely cool – you don’t want it to solidify (like mine did the 2nd time).

5. Use cheesecloth to strain out the flowers and make sure to get them all out.

6. Place oil back into crockpot (make sure there are no left over straggling flowers in the pot). Turn the heat on high.

7. Add your beeswax and stir until completely dissolved. Add more bees wax for a thicker balm – less for a softer. Once everything is melted, remove from heat and let cool for about 30-60 minutes. Add in essential oils (I like tea tree for its antiseptic value and lavender for its calming effect but you can use whatever oils you prefer), scoop it out with your measuring cup and pour into your containers.

Store the balm in a dry cool place and it should last for up to a year!

*Please let me know how this recipe works out for you and what scents you end up using. I’m thinking about adding a fine grade glitter to mine!

Love & Glitter

*previously on Bad Kitty USA News

Studio Diaries: Top 10 Things I learned By Opening My Own Business

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Dammit I'm just going to have to open my own pole/aerial studio then I can run it my own way, I remember smugly thinking one day. I started thinking about it often, every other day, many days, many more days, mentioning it to friends, mentioning it to my accountant, mentioning it to a realtor, mentioning it to my hubby and somewhere along the line, somehow - BAM -  I owned a studio? [Tweet "It's super important to know what you know and know what you don't - then own it!"]

A lot of shit has happened in the past 3 years of owning and running Aeriform Arts, good stuff, annoying stuff, happy stuff, growth. Enough to fill a book and way too much for a blog post so for now let's just chat about my 10 best tips, revelations and findings that I learned from running my own business.

  1. Know your budget. So you say you have a realistic budget set up? Right - take that number and add at least another 40%, trust me on this at least 40%. Things will come up. Things you didn't expect or could have never foreseen. It's not your fault, it just is - better to be ready for it.
  2. Do as much yourself as you can for your company. If you can do it yourself do it. At least in the beginning. Do you really need the cleaning woman? For a long time at my studio we had a manager that worked for us and we covered the weekends. What a colossal waste of money. Now my husband runs the studio m-f and we have someone cover the weekends. Had we done this from the get go we would have more savings.
  3. It's super important to know what you know and know what you don't - then own it!I know enough web stuff to design a website BUT I do not know enough about photography to take photos for said site (although I'm working on it). I am, however, smart enough to know I suck at them and need to hire someone who doesn't.
  4. Have a realistic business plan & LIFE plan in place. Things will change, morph and grow over time but have one in place from the jump. Now here's the thing - most people have (or should have) a business plan in place, yet most everyone forgets to have a life plan in place. Hell I know I did. I had the financials, paperwork, support systems and vendors all worked out. I have a full time career, now I'm opening up a studio? When the hell am I going to be able to go out and get drunk, have a date night with my husband or watch Tivo for 3 hours? The thing I forgot to focus on was my life outside my business, how the fuck to eat sleep & be merry. Plan this shit out - you'll miss it!
  5. Listen to your clients. Clients are going to offer up LOTS - O suggestions. Listen to them all. A good deal of the suggestions will make no sense for your brand, or they don't actually understand the inner workings of your company, but some of them - some will be GEMS! For example "Hey Veruca I love this class - there should be more people in this class?!?! Maybe if you add the word cirque to the class it would help. People like that shit" so we did and boy was she right.
  6. Know that the customer is not always right. At least know when they are really wrong. There will be times when there is no pleasing anyone and you have to just say "no". Whoever came up with "the customer is always right" clearly didn't actually run a business on a day to day basis. I mean I get it, customer service is key and we do pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients but at some point enough is enough and you have to learn how to delicately handle some of the crazy customer service situations you will find yourself in. [Tweet "Don't forget to focus on life outside of business, how the fuck to eat sleep & be merry"]
  7. Some days you will be over the moon happy and other days you will want to quit. Running your own business is hard. It can be extremely rewarding but it is hard. Enjoy the good days, revel in them. If you ever feel like giving up, sit down, take a deep breath and step away from the situation for a moment. Try to remember why you created this in the first place. I'm sure generating an income is one of the reasons, but I'm also pretty sure there are more. Maybe you wanted to create something for you and your family or you wanted to be able to stay home with your children, have a better schedule, you felt passionate about your product - what ever drove you to starting your biz - try to remember it fondly. Talk with a neutral friend and ask for advice. Look at what the issue is and see if it can be fixed or improved or salvaged and then...
  8. Don't be afraid to walk away if you need to. Don't be afraid to say "okay this didn't work out as I planned" This is not a failure. This doesn't represent who you are as a person. The only time we fail is if we don't try. The moment you embrace this the amount of stress that is relieved will be mind blowing.
  9. Celebrate the small things!We always celebrate the big accomplishments but somehow never the small. I think it's extremely important to celebrate the everyday "wins" it keeps us going. It shows a progression in our business and personal lives and reminds us why we do what we do.
  10. Gratitude is key. Be grateful that after year 1 you are still in operation. Be grateful that your product or services helps people. Be grateful you live in a country where you can start your own business swinging around a pole. Just be grateful!

It's been a huge learning curve and even though there have been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I wouldn't give up the past 3 years for anything! Learning about my business has helped me learn about myself. Hopefully some of these insights will help you on your journey.

I would love to hear from anyone regarding what you've learned from starting your own business, things you would do differently, things you never expected, that amazing moment where you knew you had made it, share it with us here!

Love & Glitter,

My Rockin Date w/Cleo! A Review of Cleo’s Rock N Pole

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Totally excited and slightly scared I jumped at the opportunity to review Cleo's Rock N Pole DVD. I mean it's Cleo for damned sake, it's going to be bendy, it's going to be hot, there's going to be heels and I assume some neon. "Am I going to be able to keep up?" I hoped so, "will there be modifications?" cause I'm going to need them. Oh Veruca get over it - download the damned DVD already and get at it. [Tweet "I'm an 80's child so Cleo's dvd spoke to me. Any excuse to wear neon colors and fringe tee shirts will immediately draw me in."]

Here's a little bit about the dvd from - CleotheHurricane.com

"Cleo’s Rock N Pole is a fun and high energy workout combining strength, flexibility and cardio training by a two-time Australian Pole Dance Champion. Choose from 4 heart racing routines from Pole to Floor-work danced to a HOT Rock N Roll soundtrack. Not only do you exercise your body, but your brain is getting quite a workout! A challenge conquered can be so rewarding, learning new skills that test your memory ability AND improve your dance skills. Plus, once you know the routines it raises your heart rate so you reap the maximum benefits in cardio fitness!"

The first thing that hit me about this dvd is there is a goddamned LOT of content, 113 minutes of content , that's almost 2 hours so at $34.95 you're getting your moneys worth.

You get:

  • 1 warm up
  • 3 choreographed pole routines
  • 1 sexy floor routine
  • 3 strength routines
  • a cool down

Plus breakdowns and modifications for each. While there are routines for beginner to advanced I feel a true beginner might have a slightly harder time with a some of the routines - she/he might want to start with the floor work first. Also I opted for the digital download not realizing there aren't chapter breaks. Knowing that now I think I would pay the slight extra for the dvd version. Since I was feeling less then bendy I thought I would watch the dvd and concentrate on the floor work and strength training - clearly areas I need to work on! Next week I'll review the warm up, choreo pole section and cool down (with modifications thank you!) and then end the week with a review of where I'm at! I'm hoping to see some flexibility & strength improvement but I know I need to actually put in the time.

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The 3 Strength Routines: The 1st routine consists of pull ups on the pole (with modifications for beginners), tricep dips on a chair, more pull ups, push ups, shoulder/bicep stretches and then seated pole climbs from the floor only using your arms to climb. I was good until that end part and then FAIL - I think I did two baby climbs lol. The 2nd routine consists of oblique crunches with one leg on the pole and side stretches using the pole. The 3rd routine consists of laying down on the floor on your back with your head near the pole, cup griping the pole and with straight legs using your abs to lift your legs up and butt up off the floor - not quite a full plow as your legs are going straight up in the air. Then you do the same type of lift but with your legs in a center split (or your version of a center split) while these are not the easiest moves they are great building your strength for achieving a correct basic invert and chopper while safely on the floor.

The Floor Routine: I loved the floor routine (I even videoed myself doing it - and NO not gonna post that shit but...) it has a lot of leg moves in it that look great if you have sexy splits and while I don't, I can see how doing this routine and the others will help me get closer to that goal. The nice thing about this routine is you can take pieces of it and incorporate it into your own routines OR just use it for a warm up after your normal pole warm up, plus its sexy and great for people who may not have a pole in their home.

So far I'm loving the dvd, while it is harder for someone who isn't as far along in her flexibility as she would like to be, I'm hoping by using it on a regular basis I will see some improvement on that front. After completing the warm up, 3 strength routines and floor routine I was EXHAUSTED - which is a good thing. One note I will add, don't make my mistake, have some knee pads or leg warmers around to protect your knees for some of this stuff (notice how in the 1st two photos I don't but the last one I do - trust).

I'm going to go take a nice hot shower now but check back in with me next week to see my review on the warm up, choreography and cool down sections!

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Love, Glitter & Rock N Roll,

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of thePole Dancing Bloggers Association. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.