Monday, January 8, 2018

Getting Flexible with the Valentino Brothers: Day 1

I am not a flexible person.  I can touch my toes but I can't do the splits to save my life.  I am even worse at back bends.  Over the last six or seven years, I have noticed I am losing what little flexibility I do have.  I have been in the pole world for eight years.  Many polers are crazy flexible.  Even the ones who swear up and down that they aren't flexible look like Gumby next to me.  Although I envy them on some level, I haven't been motivated enough to want to follow them.  The splits have never been a pole goal.  However, as I'm getting older and things are tightening down (especially my hips and lower back), suddenly staying out of pain IS a goal.  I have seen many talk about the Valentino Brothers on Facebook, so I decided to download their basic package.

The beginner series includes three videos.  I did my very first one on Saturday (two days ago).  It was a seven minute yoga sun salutation to warm-up, then it was a series of static stretches, each held for one minute.  They were pretty basic stretches but I definitely had a little bit of an issue holding some of them.  I was fairly sore the rest of the day and the next day.  I am scheduled to do my second video Monday night.

My take on the videos is that they are fairly simply made.  They come with little to no instruction, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I kind of wish they had a list of things you'd need to get started.  For example, that I'd need some clear wall space in the middle of the video for one stretch.  Or a list of the photos you may want to take to track your progress.  Otherwise, they got the job done.  

So, here's a video I took to help track my progress.  Basically, I'm so inflexible that it should take minimal effort to make progress.  I am shooting to do the three videos over a week, one every other day.  Day 1:  Side Split and Joints Stretching System.  Day 3:  Front Split and Spine Stretching System.  Day 5: General Anti-Stress Stretching System.  I am going to do them for one month, then I will decide whether it is time to get the intermediate videos (I am going to guess I'll be able to continue with the beginner series for another month or two).  

I will come back and share my progress in a month!  Until then, please share your tips and tricks below.  Thanks!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Get upside down with a yoga inversion chair!

So last night I missed pole class.  I had to get my door handle replaced and would have had to rush out to class.  I decided instead to set up my yoga inversion chair, which was recommended by someone in my plus sized poler group on Facebook.  It was AWESOME!  So easy to put together and use.  I am going to get a ton of use out of it.  Now everyone is asking me where to get it, so I figured it was easiest to put out a blog.  I got it on Amazon.  Link below!  I also did a little video for my friend, Keri, so you can check that out as well. 

As most of you know, I am six months into Operation Upside Down.  You can check out my latest blog on that HERE.

Want one for yourself?

Get it on Amazon!

Try it out, then let me know what you think!  Happy inversions!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Operation Upside Down: MONTH SIX!

I can't believe we are already six months into this project.  Although I still struggle lifting into a chopper, I can definitely throw myself into an invert.  Now, whatever happens next still leaves much to be desired, but I CAN get upside down.  If you want to see my month five update, click HERE.  December was another light month for me.  I was in Vegas and I missed another class because I was on a date.  I also only made it to lyra once.  I haven't been to yoga much in the last two weeks either.  Basically, I've been a lazy butt.

Here's how the month went!

I celebrated my 8th twirliversary on December 2nd!

Bad side first:

The slowest shoulder roll ever:


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My favorite mascara!

This one will be short and sweet.

I love this tarteist lash paint mascara.  It is my favorite.  I cannot explain why...I just know that it is!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Healthy Viking Warrior

Since having gastric bypass in 2004, I have been the queen of supplements and vitamins.  I still drink protein shakes and I take an insane number of pills every day -- all just to keep me alive and healthy.  When I started working with Ellen (A Balanced Table), I started taking a bunch of supplements and vitamins that are only available through a licensed nutritionist (and if you are trying to get control of your health for any reason, I highly suggest you contact Ellen).  However, I do still take some "over the counter" supplements that I can share.

When I first had surgery, whey protein was kind of the "gold standard" for protein powders.  It was called a "predigested" protein, which was easier for my altered stomach to digest.  At Ellen's suggestion, I switched to a grass fed beef protein powder.  No, it doesn't taste like beef.  I use vanilla, and I find it to be a much higher quality protein.  I tried to go back to whey (as it is cheaper than my new protein powder), but I could taste the fake sugar in the whey.  You get what you pay for.  So I am sold on this one.

A year or so ago, I started adding a collagen protein to my shake.  I felt like it would be good for my hair and nails.  It has no taste.

I take my probiotics religiously.  I take one that I get through Ellen.  I also drink a kefir tea every other day.  When I am in a bind, I do like this brand (in fact, if you ever have to take an antibiotic, they have a five day super strong version that I take to replenish the good bacteria; you can find it in the fridge at places like Whole Foods):

I also take fish oil.  I don't eat fish but I know its good for your brain.  Ellen had me switch to fermented cod liver oil.  It also helps with inflammation.

Anyway, these are just a few of my favorite supplements (I also take a simple biotin for my hair and nails).  Working with Ellen on my health and making supplements like these a priority have helped me feel better than I have in years.  At 41, I feel better than I did in my 30's! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Recording the journey...

I learned how to journal as a child.  I grew up in a church that taught us to chronicle our lives by writing our story down.  I got away from it after I found out my parents were reading it.  I got back into it in my 20's but they contained a lot of negativity, so I stopped again.  I've been journaling again in the last couple of years.  I feel like writing helps me work out my bullshit in my head before I spew it out for the world to hear (you're like, wait this is you holding back?!  I know, right?). 

My latest journal is pretty awesome so I wanted to share it.  It is leather bound with a thick cotton paper.  (I actually have two journals right now as I am still in the middle of the Rituals for Transformation, which is 108 days long).  I really do feel like writing helps on my journey towards enlightenment.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoy -- it makes a great gift too!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I Am So Fortunate

I originally titled this piece, "I am so lucky."  But luck seems so random.  Like I bought a lottery ticket and was the lucky winner of millions of dollars.  Being "fortunate" feels more like a choice and feels a little deeper.  It goes along with all the joy and gratitude I feel lately.  I also feel like I am noticing more synchronicities in my life as I relax into a more content state (4's are kind of my thing and I will often notice repeating 4's in times of stress so I use them to calm myself down).  Sometimes those synchronicities read like a "theme for a day."  For example, Saturday I was staying out of town with friends and I woke up to a text which included a photo of me wearing a unicorn head from a trip to a costume store we took a couple of weeks ago.  Kind of random he chose to send it at that time.  Minutes later, my sister-in-law tagged me in Facebook a video that drew a unicorn.  Then I logged into Instagram to see someone had left a unicorn emoji as a comment on one of my videos.  I laughed when I unpacked my clothes for the day.  I had forgotten I brought a unicorn shirt and socks to wear whale watching.  I went in to have breakfast and saw Diana was wearing her unicorn leggings, and her husband had a unicorn shirt.  It was a pretty magical, unicorn kind of day.  I mean, I did declare myself a unicorn very recently.  My Facebook profile also says it, so it's true.  Facebook would never lie!

We celebrated Rita's 52nd birthday over the weekend.  Rita feels pretty fortunate.  She's had three kidney transplants and never thought she'd make it to 52.  I guess my good fortune feels kind of material next to that, but I am grateful Rita is still here and that I have her in my life.  I thought, as I slept for free in a multi-million dollar house in Pebble Beach, that I am so very fortunate.  I am surrounded by pretty amazing people who take good care of me.  We enjoyed a beautiful weekend of whale watching, beach sunset photos, really amazing singing by me (happy birthday, Rita!!), and several hours relaxing at a day spa. 

You know, when my roommate left six weeks ago, I worried that money would be tight and I would struggle.  Then I just decided that it would not be the case.  And it hasn't been a problem.  I have no issues paying my bills, and I have continued to enjoy adventures.  That is due to the fact that I have a great group of friends and family who include me in the fun things they do.  The added bonus is now I also enjoy coming home!

I also recognize that in this day and age of people struggling to feed their families, facing terror attacks and other political strife, the fact that I have a little bit of self-esteem bullshit and anxiety to deal with means I'm doing pretty well. 

Still.  This journey has not been an easy one for me.  I am shedding all kinds of bad habits and limiting beliefs.  Sometimes I don't know if I'm a butterfly emerging from my cocoon or a snake shedding her skin.  And not because I'm a snakey person.  The whole process has just felt kind of ugly (sorry, snake lovers...but I'm not a big fan), but I am feeling like I've turned a corner and I finally see the light. 

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be a long one.  I just find it helpful to get my thoughts out when they are swirling around in my head.  Thanks again for being on this journey with me!  I know this blog was initially set up to chronicle my pole dance adventures, but I believe we are all dynamic people with multi-faceted lives to share.  Sharing these different aspects of my life seem to be helpful for those who are also struggling (thank you for all of the comments and messages that you send).

Until next time, keep twirling!