Body-Health-Welness

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

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

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

acorn squash

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,

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

The Body: 5 Questions Answered & Asked

Human Canvas Abstract Projection by Duerring Photography CC BY-ND 3.0

The Body Is Art. What does that statement mean exactly, to you, to myself, to others? This month the PDBA asks us to explore our bodies. What moves them, what they are to us, how we express them, how we celebrate them. What is your version of "Body Consciousness"?

I spent a lot of time on this question. I wrote a lovely inspirational article, one that said all the right things, one that set up the "Body Consciousness" that people, including myself, think they should have. But for the life of me I could not hit "Publish" and then it hit me, my body was fighting writing this article, O.M.G. my body was faking it!

Secretly my body doesn't want to go to class tonight, it really wants a cheese steak, a beer and to watch Survivor Man reruns so when I ditch all of my responsibilities and run off to the rain forest I will know how to make fire and eat. Fuck my body is a cheese steak eating traitor. My body doesn't want to pretend it is as tight and light and airy as it was when it was 25, it kinda wants to put on some hammer pants and grab its snuggy and veg. My body & I clearly need to have a talk.

Triangle Connection by Duerring Photography CC BY-ND 3.0

Is that art? What's happened here? My body needs to remember all of the reasons why its amazing. And it IS AMAZING! Hopefully these 5 questions from the Speed Round can help jump start a little self love.

  • Describe your body in one word. STRONG
  • In what environment, do you typically feel the most amazing? The beach, skiing, the mountains, the beach. Yeah I live for the beach.
  • What do you love about your body and about yourself in general? That it is smart enough and strong enough. That it allows and empowers me to live, be & create a life I love.
  • What feels really good to your body? Hot Tubs, Chocolate, Sleep, Sex, Sleep, The Ocean, Sleep.
  • How does your body feel when it is dancing? Alive!

Think about what these questions mean to you. I would love to hear how you celebrate your body.

Love & Glitter,

My Emotional Rescue - The Power Of Music & Movement

 Photo by Blue Muse Fine Art CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Photo by Blue Muse Fine Art CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

My first time, I remember it well. The lights were low, the room was quite - less some heavy breathing on my part. It had been an annoying day at work and I just wanted everything and everyone to disappear. Tonight needed to be all about me. I distinctly remember being in a funk that I was sure would last for days and decided on the spot to not worry about pointed toes or smooth movement or tricks or balance...and then the music came on. That night by letting go of "perfection" and not giving a shit, I had the perfect dance. While I couldn't tell you who was in the room or what I was wearing I remember with all clarity the emotions, the music and the dance. It's ironic because while it felt great for me I thought it probably looked like crap for everyone else. As my teacher screamed "SHIT that's your song - never seen that from you before!" I realized apparently my letting go resonated across the board.

From that moment on I became obsessed with music and movement. While I recognize the beauty in "perfection" I also recognize the beauty in different emotions. I realize I like to get angry and wild and sad and happy and stunted and loose and free and large and full and small and dirty. In realizing what moves me isn't always perfect or clean, my definition of "dance" has become less narrow.

Numerous studies show a strong coloration between emotions and movement. The word emotion stems from the Latin "emovere" which means "to move out". De Rivera’s A Structural Theory of Emotions suggests "When we examine individual f.t motions they reveal different types of movement and these different types suggest that an emotion is not an isolated entity, but rather part of a system that governs object relations..." (De Rivera, 1977 p.12). Our emotional experiences reflect our relation to the world and life around us.

What moves you? Which emotions does your body want or rather need to express?

I would love for you to share your first time with me. The first time you REALLY felt your dance, the first time you were completely out of your head and fully in your heart, the first time you truly felt the emotionality of movement.

Love & Glitter,

*various forms and styles of movement that I love!

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[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMmL6kIx-w&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EklN7_lQ8U&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpVfF4U75B8&w=854&h=480]

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8xwPBCx08I&w=854&h=480]

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Dance - Getting Down On The Floor To Learn How To Fly!

One day I was sitting around the studio trying to think of class ideas that would compliment aerial & bring more cardio into our lives, lord knows I need more cardio. I started poking around YouTube and it hit me - I secretly want to dance. Just dance.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMmL6kIx-w&w=854&h=480]

 

And not "pole dancing" with out the pole (which is admittedly fun), not in the air in a hammock (which I love), not spinning in a hoop, or wrapped up in silks, I want to embrace some contemporary dance, some modern, maybe throw up a jazz hand or two, dance on the floor - on the ground.

Just dance.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8xwPBCx08I&w=854&h=480]

This actually seems to be a theme among a lot of my friends lately. Maybe it's all the competitions or the need to push our selves to extremes? Maybe with our busy lives we just need a release from our hectic days or training schedules, maybe we need an excuse to buy more leg warmers, maybe we need to learn to incorporate other forms of dance into our aerial routines? Who knows, but the drive is there and it's strong. I can't remember the last time I went out dancing for the hell of it and I'm pretty sure I used to love it.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”   ~Friedrich Nietzsche

 

So we rolled around the floor, we leapt, we spun, we got sweaty, we giggled at how much we were out of our element, we became invigorated and acted like giddy children.

And we just danced!

Sometimes you just need to get down on the floor to learn how to fly!

Why not challenge yourself to take a break, get off all of the apparatuses & just dance, however that dance might look for you.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpVfF4U75B8&w=854&h=480]

Defining My Gratitude Practice...

Every Thanksgiving I say to myself that I need to be more grateful for what I am blessed with. Every year I say I need to work thanks and realization into my everyday life, not just an acknowledgment a few times a year. Every year I fall short. I vow to be better. But just how does one define or embrace a constant practice of gratitude in their daily life? Do you start a daily journal, a vision board, chant, pray, volunteer? Those things are great and I highly suggest we all try some, but - I really think the key is to screw actually trying to define a practice as something we should do - and just DO IT already.  If we just breathe and embody love and gratitude in our hearts, always and truthfully, we never have to embrace a practice - it just is.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS

"Got no checkbooks, got no banks. Still I’d like to express my thanks - I’ve got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night." - Irving Berlin

I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE MOUNTAINS AND THE OCEAN

 I AM GRATEFUL FOR MR. RISK, MY HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER, WHO NURTURED MY LOVE OF SCIENCE & MR MARTIN, MY 4TH GRADE TEACHER, WHO CULTIVATED MY INTEREST IN FINANCE.

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,  and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;  so, let us all be thankful."- The Buddha

I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY STUDIO, POLE FRIENDS & MY TELEVISION CAREER, ALL OF WHICH TEACH ME SOMETHING NEW EACH DAY.

What are you grateful for and how do you show your gratitude on a daily basis?

In the end I believe this JFK quote is perfect..."As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

The divine light in me honors the divine light in you.

 

This post is my entry for the "Pole Dancing Bloggers Association" November Blog Hopon Gratitude.

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Resolutions vs Intentions (or Veruca's fall cleaning blues)

I decided to update the look of my blog, a fall cleaning of sorts (I believe in spring & fall cleaning) Thoughts, comments, questions, concerns? Anyhow while looking through a few old entries I came upon this one: The New Year’s Resolutions…It speaks of setting intentions vs resolutions. That year (2011) I decided I was going with INTENTIONS, because while I intended to do a lot of those item – I was not quite sure I was resolved to do them. Um CLEARLY I wasn't because as I review the list I am getting mildly annoyed with myself, as you can see from my notes below, I didn't really get very far.

  • Seriously work on my flexibility. Saying SPLITS seems like an elusive goal, working on flexibility makes more sense to me. It’s something I can do that might actually get me to those elusive splits I took for granted in my youth UM - NOPE - NADA GOT NOWHERE WITH THIS ONE. I HAVE NO EXCUSE OTHER THAN I SUCK AT BEING DISCIPLINED TOWARDS THINGS I DON'T FIND FUN... GOING TO HEAD HOME TONIGHT AND START WORKING ON THE SPLITS.
  • Let go of toxic things, people, thoughts etc that weigh me down. Honestly this is probably a life long process but I really need to start being better at it. In the end the only one you are punishing or is suffering is yourself and while I know this, the process is not an easy one. THIS IS REALLY SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE A LIFETIME PRACTICE AND WHILE I STILL HARBOR SOME ANGER ISSUES TOWARDS A FEW KEY PEOPLE I WILL SAY I AM GETTING MUCH BETTER AT THIS!
  • Get stronger! I think that if I was honest that this one would really be ”lose 20 pounds”. But I am trying to be positive Veruca, so I will not harp on weight and instead make a goal of strength. I do however believe with getting stronger there is an inevitable outcome of weight loss…how ever little or large that maybe. I AM STRONGER - YES SO THAT'S A WIN.  IF I COULD ADD A20 POUND LOSS TO THIS THAT WOULD BE EXCELLENT!
  • Take a vacation! A real vacation, somewhere out of the state for 5 whole days, with no doggy in tow and I must not think about work and not feel guilty about being away for 5 days! Clearly if I can’t leave my job for 5 days I am not being paid enough and quite honestly I am the only one who is making myself stay home. Work is FINE with me going on vacation…it’s just me. I always find more stuff I need to do or I let something get in the way. I need to get over this – this is a must for my sanity. HA VACATION YOU SAY - PLEASE VACATIONS ARE FOR CHUMPS (I WILL KEEP TELLING MYSELF THIS UNTIL I HAVE ENOUGH FREE TIME AND EXTRA $$ TO TAKE ONE)
  • Dance to my favorite songs, for an hour, at least once a week, by my self, at my studio, just for the sake of dancing. WELL AN HOUR MIGHT BE A STRETCH BUT I DO PLAY AROUND IN MY STUDIO BY MYSELF AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK (AND DOES CAR DANCING COUNT, I HOPE SO BECAUSE I CAR DANCE EVERY NIGHT WHEN I AM STUCK ON THE 405N)
  • Be a healthier, happier, less judgmental Veruca. Spend more time with my doggy outside, go biking once a week with my husband on our new Christmas bikes, spend more time at the beach this summer, work hard at my job and my studio but remember to enjoy the process a bit more and not worry so much about the outcome.  I AM GETTING THERE - NOT THERE YET BUT HONESTLY ISN'T THAT WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT?

So what have I learned from revisiting my "intentions". Clearly looking backwards isn't they way to go about life. Maybe I should just look at the now and towards the future, keep moving - like a shark always move forward. Not be so hard on myself and my "intentions".

I do still feel the need to come up with some actual concrete goals for 2014 but I'm thinking if I start them now I will have a little extra time towards them, so here we go...

  1. quit smoking
  2. work specifically on shoulder, hamstring & hip flexor flexibility
  3. lose 10-20 pounds
  4. work on my surfing
  5. take a vacation to Costa Rica (and do #4 above)
  6. pay down all credit card debt

With the best intentions,

-Love, 

 

Labor Day of Love...

Yes - I know why the holiday is actually called Labor Day - but I'm boycotting that name and this weekend I'm hiding out at home. I have a long weekend from work and I need to try to relax. I'm going to lay by the pool. Drink boat drinks. Try not to drive anywhere. Watch an entire Criminal Minds marathon. Veg out completely. Stay at home. I'm really going to try to lay low.Well, I might just work at the studio for a couple of hours one day and I do enjoy surfing so I may just sneak in a little surf time, plus I am NOT missing hammock class on Saturday....

Sometimes your cup runneth over. I have been out of control busy and while I really enjoy what I have been working on I still need to learn to find a better balance in my life, it seems to be an ongoing theme as of late.

For one, I have been prepping for our first Student Showcase (Midsummer Flight Dreams!) at my studio Aeriform Arts.  It was a huge success, incredibly fun and I am extremely proud of all the students and instructors, BUT it was a lot of work (look at the fun photo's).

Secondly, it's summer and I am trying to learn how to surf or rather learn to surf better. I love the ocean and love surfing, my shoulder on the other-hand not so much.

I like many other of my friends, am trying to fit 72 hours into 24 and it's not working, something has to give. As of late that has meant myhealth as well as my sanity. Not cool. I have always had issues with my "go gadget go mentality" & I really thought I had it under control but much like a drug - the demon has taken over and I feel trapped in its jaws!

Why is it that we all seem to take on so much in our lives without really enjoying what is already there? This thought always starts to hit home for me as we get closer to Thanksgiving. People spend one day giving thanks for everything in their lives, while at the same time mentally calculating their plan of attack for the shopping excess and insanity that is Black Friday - the following day no less.

I have my friends, my family, my career, my studio, 1 web site and 1 blog to run. Not to mention that I want to take sewing lessons, learn how to weld and find that perfect spot in the desert where my husband and I can build our selves that perfect little vacation home (and yes I do see the irony in this). Is that too much to ask for - maybe.

Plus as I get older it seems to get worse!!! What exactly is driving me to continually up the insane pace of my life. Could it be some sort of hidden agenda bucket list?  Who knows but something other than me has to give. I am reminded of the saying what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I wonder, is that really true cause I'm thinkingwhile it may make you stronger it might also make you extremely tired.

The universe is filled with "balance" yin & yang, good & evil, day and night, Betty & Veronica, positive & negative, I need to get on board with the universe so I'm really going to try to find a way to balancemy labors of love - after I finish surfing.

 

This Body...

This Body

*reposted with permission from our Instructor Lira’s web site The Sensual University

This body is old.  This body is ugly.  This body is slow, weak, cumbersome. It gets in my way and pisses me off.  It trips me when I’m tired and gets sticky when I sweat.  It has rolls and wrinkles, and cellulite dimples.  It has jiggly thighs and arms that aren’t half as strong as I want them to be.

I sit immobile at a desk all day and complain when my body gets sore. I work out and dance and stretch and move and push it to the limits.  I punish it because I want my body to know how wrong, how bad, how unruly it is.

And it forgives me.

My Body Forgives Me

My body accepts my complaints, my fears, my worries, my aches, my pains, my childish demanding nature that wants it to conform to the tiny girls in the magazines that are 15 years younger than me and photoshopped within an inch of their life.

My body gives me permission. To try something new. To emulate a pretzel on a flat yoga mat.  To twirl and spin on shiny poles. To dance until I can barely breathe. To smile and laugh until my mouth aches and my lungs burn. To run until my sweat turns pure.  To cry until my face swells and my throat dries up, and I simply can’t scream anymore.

My Body Gives Me Space

Space to withdraw into myself when I’ve said too much, gone too far, felt too judged. Space to watch the clouds drift across the sky.  Space to feel the sun heat my back and the wind caress my belly. Space to be whoever I want to be, whenever I want to be, with no expectations. Space to be held and loved. Space to share myself with the world or just one person. Space to choose.

My body is the one who listens when I rant and rave over something that I won’t remember a week from now.  It’s the one who knows all my deepest fears and doesn’t belittle me for them.  Who hears me and understands perfectly, even when I’m still figuring out what the hell I’m trying to say.

My body holds my memories, of the past that I’m not ready to let go of.  And the future I’m not ready to posses. It holds my dreams, my wishes, and my hopes with hands so gentle I sometimes think I’m floating. It’s the one who holds me until the sobbing stops even if it takes hours.

My body is the one that remembers to breath. Inhaling deeply from the pool of living air that surrounds me. Exhaling and releasing what I no longer need. The loving breath, the angry breath, the shallow breath, the purging breath, the cleansing breath, the everyday breath.  My body is the one who takes a deep breath with me, right before I take the plunge that could change my life forever.

My Body Loves Me

And loves me. And loves me some more. Everyday, every moment. Every shout, every tear, every laugh.  My body proves it’s love by showing up day after day, morning after morning.  I close my eyes in the dark of the night and my body loves me enough to keep me alive until I’m ready to open them again.

It asks for almost nothing in return. Food to feed me. Shelter to protect me. Water to sustain me. And for this it showers me with pleasure, sensation, titillation, emotion, intelligence, understanding, comprehension, nothing less than the ability to experience life over every inch of my skin. My body fills me with boundless energy and lets me ride that fluid wave over and over again.

My body is dedicated to being with me, loving me, living only for me, until I take my last breath.

And I’m Not Going To Punish It Anymore

I’m going to practice loving this body. Moving with love. Breathing with love. Being in love.

I’m going to practice acceptance.

I’m going to practice experiencing this body without judgement while it laughs and cries.  While it learns to fly and sometimes falls down.

I’m going to practice giving this body permission to be whoever she is. With compassion on most days and trust on the rest.

Because finally after all these years, I think I’m falling in love with her.

The Breath – First & Foremost

I had a conversation recently with a fellow yoga teacher about the breath. I was explaining to her how insightful it is to work with someone one on one, and specifically, how interesting it is to see breath awareness evolve. (It’s sometimes so much easier to understand this unfolding from the outside in, and to this end I am incredibly grateful to have the chance to work one on one with someone in this way.)

To give you more of an idea of what I’m talking about, a client of mine is learning a very common breathing technique that helps to relax the nervous system and slow down the heart rate as a way to ease the body into a more relaxed state. It’s a breath I learned a few years ago and have been practicing regularly ever since, it’s a breath I don’t think about anymore during my posture practice, it just happens as I need it to. Sometimes when I am working with her, she is reporting to me that she feels very relaxed, very calm and happy during practice; and her breathing patterns and the way her face is held and the way her belly moves while she is in the postures, tells me something very different. I can literally see where she is holding her stress in the body, and I can also see that the breath-work is not yet integrated.

…as a student learning these techniques, I don’t think that I was aware of how my body was held as I was learning them. I know that I wasn’t aware of my holding spots or what my diaphragm was doing. The learning curve is such a cool unfolding!

Anyway, it came up during our conversation something that I had read in a yoga sutra translation – that is, that you cannot teach another person how to breathe. I told her that when I read that, I thought to myself, “that isn’t true! you can teach people how to breathe. that’s what pranayama is…breathing exercises…’ Then she said to me, “You can’t teach people how to breathe. All we can do is teach breath awareness.”

And now I get it. Now that I have seen the beginning of this learning in another person’s body, now I get it. I cannot teach another person how to breathe, but I can teach another person how to become more aware of their breath. The tools and techniques that yoga offers is and always has been a personal practice, one that must be integrated into each individual’s livelihood as much as it is their body. Meaning that, even if the intellectual mind understands what the tool is and how it is used, the body-mind must take-up the technique in it’s own way.

Awesome!

***By Aeriform Arts Yoga Instructor Niki (you can find her at the studio or http://www.yogawithniki.blogspot.com/ )

Take A look At Your Sole

March 7th, 2012 Inspirations, Yoga | No Comments »

 

***by our Instructor Niki!

I’ve been going to a chiropractor for a few weeks now and have discovered some completely new information about my body and how I hold it in space.Today, during my chiropractic appointment, my doctor tells me that my right foot tends to pronate, or hold my weight more on one edge rather than an even distribution across the 3 major points of the foot [namely, the mound of the big toe, mound of the pinkie toe and center of the heel - creates a triangle] I have the unhealthy habit of wearing [cute] ballet flats which have no way of supporting or enhancing my standing and walking habits. He could tell by the wear on the sole of my shoe that I was a pronator! As I did some research online, I found that I actually “underpronate,” which causes stress on the lower leg…maybe the reason I used to get shin splints?… I don’t know :)So in yoga, [think Mountain pose] it is essential to bring the physical body to neutral, and do our best to bring our mental focus to neutral. When we do this, we communicate to the nervous system that we are safe and can begin to restore and repair on both planes. From this place of neutrality, we can then begin to condition specific aspects of the mind-body that we know [through self-study] are our challenge.Take a look at the link above for some interesting self-study. I’m not really promoting self-diagnosis here, but maybe the information will lead you to discover a small detail worth considering next time you step on your mat, or buy a pair of shoes.

Re Posted from YogaWithNiki’s blog