When I decided to move my blog to its own domain name, one of my goals was to talk more about pole. I wasn’t going to try and turn this into a pole fitness blog, but because this dancing is one of my passions, I thought I should let you all into that area of my life just a little more. So far the only pole posts I’ve had are my Tuesday Tunes list. Go me (sarcasm).
Looking back on my blog, I’ve mentioned pole dancing but never really talked about why I do it, how I got into it, or what it’s done for me. So if you’re interested, read on!!
* * *
Some of my friends friends in California had been raving about pole fitness classes. I was intrigued. Then I went to Las Vegas and saw so many burlesque acts in bars. I was convinced I should just stay in Vegas forever dancing in cute outfits. When I got home, the only pole studios I could find were in Maryland or DC. Way too far for me.
One magical day in March of 2009, my friend Ashley, who knew of my interest in pole dancing, emailed me saying that a new studio, DivaFit, was opening up in Chantilly. We both signed up for an introductory class and had so much fun! I was so hooked that I immediately signed up for a Level 1 class. I didn’t even wait for Ashley to tell me if she’d continue to take class with me. I’m such a great friend!
When Level 1 started I was so excited and nervous. My classmates were a huge mix of students – ladies in their 40s, ladies in their early 20′s, tall and short, skinny and curvy, strong and weak, shy and outgoing. We were all starting something together and that helped bond us. My instructor Melissa had the most cheerful attitude. In no time I started feeling really comfortable in class and my confidence grew even larger.
The great thing about pole fitness is it’s not just sexy dancing. You work muscles you never even thought you had. You find new ways to move. You start doing sexy stand ups outside the studio (Oops! I dropped my fork.). The ladies in my class were so fun that we formed friendships. I looked forward to seeing these gals every Wednesday night. I also loved that you learned something new every week so you are constantly being challenged.
This was probably the scariest move I had ever done up to that point, but now I love it! Upside downsies!
In March 2010 I “graduated.” I completed 6 levels of pole fitness and made awesome friends along the way. We had a graduation show where each of us put together our own routines using the tricks we had learned over the past year. It was awesome. And then came pole masters.
My First Graduation Routine
(must be my Facebook friend in order to view, sorry public!)
After a short break, Melissa welcomed me back to her class at a lower level. It was kind of the best idea ever. Redoing the levels helped me build my strength back up and force me to take a second look at why my spins and tricks weren’t working the first time around.
Once again I made more friends, got back into the pole community, and it paved the way to the next phase of my pole “career.” I decided to audition to become an instructor and thankfully, I got the job. I’ve been teaching for over a year now and it’s been fabulous.
I tell every intro student this: during my intro class, I could NOT get the fireman spin, which is the most basic and easiest spin. Here I am 4 years later and I’m an instructor. If you enjoy something and you keep at it, you can only get stronger and better over time.
* * *
Hope you enjoyed my pole story! Have you ever tried pole fitness?
I was going to return with my playlist for tonight’s class, but given that it’s April 30, this was the only thing appropriate to post today:
If you don’t get it:
If you still don’t get it, then I’m sorry, I can’t help you.
Hi Friends! I swear, I’m alive!! Much of my free time has been spent dancing, as my pole studio had our big staff show!!! I spent every evening after work last week at the studio and while I’m glad this big stressor is over, I had so much fun and can’t wait to do it again. I’ll post more on that soon.
In case you didn’t catch my tweets, I’m guest posting over at Tiny ‘n’ Fit while Krista enjoys her vacation in South Africa. I think it’s safe to say we are all pretty jealous of her right now! I write about the secret recipe to weight loss and living a healthy life. Spoiler Alert: I don’t have one. But you’ll have to scoot on over to her blog to see all I have to say about that.
In the meantime I’m catching up on all my Hey Love Designs orders and slowly tackling the tornado that appeared to have hit my home. What have you all been up to?
Once upon a time I had a ton of playlists. Lots and lots of playlists to appease my every mood: mellow, road trips, rockin’ out, smitten, dance party – you get the picture. Back in the Epic Computer Fail of Fall 2012, I lost it all. My carefully curated lists were all gone.
Enter Spotify. I was a user a couple of years ago when it first came on the scene and I had imported all my iTunes playlists. I stopped using Spotify until recently and to my delight, my playlists were saved!!! They’re a little outdated, but it’s nice that there’s something still there to appease whatever music mood I’m in. I swear, one day I’ll rebuild my mood playlists and the Spotify assist makes it less of a daunting task.
To get to the point of this post (“There’s a point??”*), this week’s Tuesday Tunes is inspired by my “Catch Me If You Can” playlist. Despite it being a “gym” playlist, it worked out pretty well for pole class, and I sprinkled in a few other songs.
By the way, have I told you how much I love my new Level 1 students? There’s nothing more exciting than having a class that’s a mix of outgoing girls who have already discovered their wild side and girls who are hoping to get out of their shell and find their sexy side. It results in me making a lot of bad jokes to break the ice. Thanks for that gene, dad. This is how they bond and become best friends for life. “Did you hear our instructor laughing at her own bad joke? What a weirdo! Hey, I like your shirt.”
- “Love Sex Magic” Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake
- “Moves Like Jagger” Maroon 5
- “Express” Christina Aguilera
- “Closer” Ne-Yo
- “I Wanna Go” Britney Spears
- “Troublemaker” Weezer
- “E.T.” Katy Perry ft. Kanye West
- “Alejandro” Lady Gaga
- “In the Dark” DEV
- “Grenade” Bruno Mars
- “Take It Off” Ke$ha
- “Shut Up and Let Me Go” The Ting Tings
- “Mirrors” Justin Timberlake
- Cool Down: “I Never Told You” Colbie Caillat
- “Breakeven” The Script
So I was disappointed with JT’s “Suit and Tie” when it first came out, though I admit it’s growing on me. I just think that for his first single after taking a few years off, it’s gotta be real good. And I’m not hard to please. I just wanna dance! So when I heard him sing “Mirrors” on SNL I was pretty pleased. I’m definitely digging this song. Enjoy this long-ass video!
*Sometimes I like to add stories or random musings so these Tuesday posts aren’t just about the music.
I hear it all the time. “I don’t know how you do it.” “I could never be as busy as you.” “Just reading your schedule makes me crazy.” I’ve heard comments of awe on my ability (most times) to juggle everything as well as jabs from people who don’t quite understand how truly busy I am, trying to make me feel guilty for not hanging out with them. It’s no secret that I’m a busy person. I have an office job, I teach pole classes two nights a week, I run Hey Love Designs, and somewhere in there are the remains of my social and home life.
And in most recent months, it’s been even crazier. My students are getting ready to graduate in May which means I’m helping them with their solo routines as well as teaching them the group number I choreographed. We have a staff show in a week and a half which I’ve barely choreographed my own routine. I’ve even picked up more classes this session. And for Hey Love Designs, I’ve been totally in the zone with designing and giving my blog and business more exposure.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all these things. I wouldn’t give any of this up. It’s just the timing of everything is happening all at once and my friends and family are getting neglected. I’m mindful of this and I can only hope they’re understanding. And to add on top of that (are you overwhelmed reading this?) I’ve got birthdays, babies, and weddings galore! Again, these are great things, but it’s a lot to take on simultaneously.
So, how do I balance everything? The first thing, and this is the honest truth, is I panic and freak out. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s going on and everything that needs to happen. It’s okay to have freak out moments, I just can’t dwell on it for too long otherwise I’m wasting time. So after I have my panic session…
Prioritize. What needs to get done TODAY? I’m a procrastinator at heart and sometimes it is okay to save something for the next day. I get home late from work so that leaves very few hours in the evening to tend to my tasks – even less if it’s a night I’m teaching pole. So I’ll have to think what needs to get done today and tackle that first. If there’s time, then tackle the less important things.
Set a bedtime warning. This probably sounds silly, but I set an alarm on my phone to go off every school night at 9:45 p.m. that says “prepare for bed.” This means, whatever I’m working on when that alarm goes off, I need to wrap it up and go to bed. For a long time I was going to bed at 1 a.m. because I felt like everything needed to be complete. This new system really goes well with my need to prioritize. Do I really need to publish a blog post tomorrow? No. My health and sanity are more important.
The pic above is from when I had 2 alarms – a warning alarm and a “you better be in bed now” alarm. I’ve since then modified my system to the one alarm.
Learn to say no and move on. This one is really hard for me because I either want to put my hand in everything or I feel super guilty when turning someone or something down. For instance my friend is getting married and I’m helping with the bridal shower. I also wanted to help with the bachelorette party but I just had to tell myself to leave it to the girl in charge. I can’t allow myself to get involved with any more things or I’m going to have a full blown panic attack.
I also feel guilty if someone wants to hang out but I don’t have the time for them. Obviously, I will do my best to accommodate my family and best friends, but right now it’s too hard to see everyone. I start feeling awful but I just need to remember that my needs come first. And when things settle down, then I can devote more time to hanging out.
Utilize tools. In an age where there’s basically an app for everything, we need to use these to our advantages. We already know about my use for the alarm. So what helps me manage my life?
- iCal. I cannot live without this thing and I love that it integrates with my Google calendar. If something is not in my calendar, it’s not going to happen. I have to mark everything in here, even simple reminders, or I’ll end up overbooking myself. I’ll even book Me Time. That’s super important.
- Workflowy. When my friend Sunny told me about this app, I was skeptical. Another list making app? How many can there be? But what sets Workflowy apart from apps like EverNote and the plain ol’ Notes app on my iPhone is that you can make outline-level lists. It helps me better organize what I need to do with top levels for Home, Pole, Hey Love Designs, and my personal blog. Then under each of those I can make more lists. For instance I can list all my Etsy orders I need to complete and what stage they’re in. I can remember all the blog posts I’ve imagined. I really like the ability to move the lists around, tag them, and even star them for importance. The interface is a little plain but that’s fine. It’s a simple tool that gets the job done.
Tackle everything in chunks. When it comes to big things – choreographing a routine, planning an event, etc. – it doesn’t all have to be completed as a whole. It’s okay to do things in small chunks. It’s a lot easier to manage when you set small goals versus overwhelming yourself with the big picture.
Scale back. This kind of goes with saying no. Not everything will end up as grand as you imagined it. Take my staff show routine for instance. When I signed up to do this back in the fall (when it was originally planned for a winter show), I had big ideas. I was going to work on my pole masters moves and play around with the spinning pole. Then all of my life happenings started to pile up. As the show crept closer I realized that I didn’t have time to do everything I wanted. So I had to scale back. So what if I don’t have awesome tricks up my sleeve like the other instructors? I’m going to dazzle the crowd with what I know and keep things simple.
If you’re feeling very overwhelmed, if possible, cut back your level of involvement. See if someone can help you take on some of your tasks, or drop what really doesn’t need to be done.
And last, but certainly not least, take care of yourself. It’s really easy to forget that in the madness of everything, whether you’re planning your wedding, working lots of late nights, juggling multiple jobs, or taking care of the family – you need to take care of YOU. What’s going to happen to all you’re juggling when you crash and burn? One week my life got so crazy that I got sick and I was forced to drop everything. While it was kind of a blessing in disguise (forced me time), it wasn’t ideal. Most times, things can’t wait for you to get better. So make sure you get sleep, eat well, exercise when you can (trust me, I struggle to fit that in on non-pole days), and take some time for yourself.
In the end your well being is the most important of everything you have to do.
* * *
Do you have a crazy life? What are your tips to managing it all?
It’s been a crazy few weeks and it shows no signs of slowing down! Thankfully I took a day for myself this weekend and judging by the way my body was rebelling against any movement on Saturday, I definitely needed it!
I always seem to have pretty bad luck with neighbors. From a pot smoker trying to invite my girlfriends over alone in his apartment, loud sex addicts, stompers, and those who blast their music. My latest issue is with my downstairs neighbor who recently got a dog. Judging by how often I hear a door slam and then the poor dog barking and crying away, it’s pretty clear the dog has separation anxiety. I get it, Nico is that way. He barks when I leave, in a way that sounds like “Nooo! Don’t leave me!!” or “Hey! You forgot me! I’m in here!” But I do know for a fact that he’ll bark for a few minutes then he’s quiet the rest of the day (unless someone knocks on the door or someone is walking behind the building). This dog cries and barks the entire time and you can hear him trying to dig his way out of his crate (sounds like hammering). And the worse part? I think my neighbor enables it. I can hear her when she returns and she’s babying the dog. Making a huge deal about her return – don’t they discourage us from doing that?
So anyways, the other night the dog barked and cried all night. This girl left her dog at home all night. How awful is that? I’ve thought about writing a note or talking to her, just in case she’s not aware of how bad her dog’s separation anxiety is, but this is the same woman who ignored me when I tried to go down and ask her – nicely, mind you – to turn down her music. She’s not going to take any dog advice or concern from me. What a shame.
Doctor Who! Doctor Who! I’ve had this show saved on my Amazon Prime Watchlist for awhile, kind of saving it for when I’ve run out of shows to watch. I wasn’t sure if I’d get into it since it’s basically all science fiction, but boy was I wrong. A few days ago I decided to check out an episode just to get my feet wet. Next thing you know, I’ve watched 3 episodes. The next night, I somehow found myself up til 1 a.m. on a school night watching episode after episode. By the end of the second season I was crying my eyes out.
I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked. And I can now understand why so many people are crazy about this show.
And lastly, I have to put in a shameless plug for my design blog. Last week I did a series of guest posts about snail mail. I am loving how much people have enjoyed these posts as well as the thoughtfulness of my friends when writing said posts. If you haven’t checked it out, read up on The Art of Sending Mail Guest Series! If you love snail mail and you know it, send more mail. ::clap, clap::
* * *
What are you ranting and raving about this week? Sound off below!
Instead of my usual pole playlists, I thought I’d highlight a show I saw this past weekend: Anya Marina & Tristan Prettyman!! I’m a big fan of both artists and was so excited when I found out they would be touring together. They are like besties – how fun is that?
Since I follow both ladies on Twitter and Vine, their posts helped pump me up for the show. They both really know how to have fun and let loose (hopped up on tea!).
That’s how close we were!
My friend A and I went to The Hamilton in DC. Let me tell you – this venue was awesome. For our $20+ ticket, we got seats that included table service and we were right up at the stage. The venue was intimate and I loved that we could eat while listening to music! Does that make us old? Or fatties? I just liked that we could enjoy sipping on beers and sushi during the show, we could leave our spot if needed without someone else trying to steal our seats, and we were up close and personal with the band. Oh, and they make it so easy to split the check. Score!
Hummus and Pita Chips, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, Pitcher of Stella Artois
The show was completely awesome. It was my first time seeing Anya and she was just as charming as she was funny, and her voice did not disappoint in her one woman show. I also loved hearing stories behind some of her songs. For instance, I’ve always liked “Busrider,” but never really understood it, until I learned that it was kind of a joke.
“Busrider… you’re too broke to drive.”
She even sang the song that started my Anya fandom. Her cover of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” For whatever reason, her version of the “brain so good, coulda swore you went to college” line is my favorite, except it took me a long time to realize the real meaning behind it. I sing it out loud all the time. I’m slow.
After her set, A and I popped on over to the merchandise table (again, so glad we could just leave our seats safe and secure!) to meet Anya, and A got all her songs on a flash drive. Anya was so down to earth and easy to talk to, except I had no idea what to say. I never know what to say to a “celebrity” when I meet them so I just said “Great show! I’m a big fan.” Nerd alert!
And as always, Tristan Prettyman rocked the house with her silky voice and relatable tunes. Did I tell you that her latest album Cedar + Gold was on heavy rotation during my last breakup? She had a song for every single feeling I had.
It was a nice and intimate show as Tristan shared the backstories to some of her songs. It made us feel like we knew her a little better. Although it wasn’t as raw and open as when I met her at IOTA back in 2011 (fresh from her un-engagement).
This song was crucial in getting over my breakup. “How’s it feel to be cut off? I locked the door and I threw away the key. Letting go never felt so easy. The best thing that never happened to me.” I’ve washed my hands of you. I’m done. Buh-bye. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I’ve never felt better.
Not sure if you can tell by the angle, but Anya is off to the side, singing along.
In addition to the stories behind the songs, life anecdotes, and more, Tristan and Anya both talked a lot about how fun it was to be touring together. Two besties on the road, sharing a van, sharing hotel rooms, and making crazy Vine videos (here’s my non-crazy Vine video from that night). If that wasn’t convincing enough, Tristan brought Anya on stage and they sang a folk-like song they wrote years ago about Lindsay Lohan going to rehab. Hilarious. I wish I had taken a video of it. The banter between them was just awesome. (pssst here’s an MP3 from 2007)
The show overall was just so awesome and I’m so glad I got to see them both. A big thank you goes to A for coming with me, who said “Well you post about Tristan all the time, I figured she was worth checking out.” Once again, peer pressure works. Ha! A and I loved the venue so much that we are determined to come back and check out other emerging artists and maybe even The Hamilton’s gospel brunch!
Want to hear the tunes from the ladies I love? Check out my Spotify playlist here.
* * *
Have you been to any good shows lately? Have you ever been to The Hamilton? I dig it!
Hi Friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. We got some nice spring weather but unfortunately I spent most of it on the couch!
So I got sick mid-week last week and I hated it! No one likes being unable to go out and do fun stuff or feeling weak and helpless, and I swear I turn into a wimp when I’m sick! I’m trying to see the silver lining: maybe because I’ve been constantly busy, stressed, a little down, etc, my body is telling me I need a break. My body knows best and I’m thankful to be spending so much time at home with my dog, but I want to be able to get out and do stuff!
Online creepers. I don’t want to get into the full story and I know that it’s not the norm with online dating, but there is at least an individual online who has seriously been creeping me out. Constant messaging despite no interest on my side resulted in blocking, and then that person found me on another dating site to continue his persistence. Blocked again. Like I said, I know this is not the norm, but it’s guys like him are the ones who make me afraid for online dating. I’m glad I did not share anything revealing and I use an alias that can’t be tracked to Twitter, Facebook, or my blogs. Yes, I know creepy men can be found “in real life” but I’ve found that online makes them more forward and unleashed. Do not like.
I know not everyone gets this privilege, so I’m really thankful for it: telework! I love the ability to work from home when I’m sick, if it snows, if I’m getting some home maintenance things done, etc. I don’t want to gloat too much because I know the nature of some people’s jobs don’t afford them this perk, so I’m just going to say I’m thankful that my work allows me this.
Bone broth! I’ve been wanting to make this since I did Whole30, but never really felt the need to until I got sick. Not only is this super easy to make and requires very few ingredients, it is full of great benefits! Joint health, beautiful skin and hair, heals the gut, clears out toxins, etc. I love that I was able to throw it all in the slow cooker thanks to Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe and once you skim off the layer of fat off the top, it’s super tasty. Yes, I accidently drank it with the fat and all I tasted was fat. Gross!
The Following! I’ve had this on my Hulu Plus queue for awhile and finally got to check it out this week. I knew I wanted to watch it when I could fully pay attention (aka no designing or blogging simultaneously) and since I heard it was scary, I had to watch it during daylight hours. I’m so glad I finally did! It gives me the same thrilling feeling I get when I watch Dexter except I can watch it without having cable! The premise of the story is that this serial killer, Joe Carroll, is in prison but he has this huge cult following who are doing his dirty deeds for him. It’s amazing to learn how big this network is and all the twists and turns that he throws at Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), the FBI agent who caught him. I loved being able to watch the first 7 episodes back to back but now that I’m all caught up, I have to get used to just seeing one a week. Boo!
* * *
What are you ranting and raving about this week?
I hope you’ve survived another long week (with a snow break in between!). Apparently I have a cold, so I only have a couple of favorites to share with you today.
I just saw the New Kids On the Block’s latest single. As they continue to go on tours with former boy bands, I kept thinking “do they even have new music since The Block?” Apparently they do, and I love it! Not only does the song make me want to dance (hmm maybe I should make my routine for the staff show to this…) but it sends a positive message. Let loose, and be yourself. And don’t be afraid to get a little crazy. I wish I could embed it but every link I found doesn’t have a share code. Sad face. Click here to view it.
Warby Parker! I’m in the market for new glasses so I ordered 5 pairs to try on at home and have been having fun using social media to get my friends’ opinions. I’m really shocked at how many people have chimed in via Facebook, this blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine. It has even convinced a few friends to check out Warby Parker for themselves. I like WP because they have a great variety of nerdy glasses styles, they offer virtual try on in addition to at-home try on, if you upload a video to their Facebook site they’ll help you pick the best pair, free anti-reflective coating is included, and every glasses purchase also gives someone in need a pair. Style for good? I like.
Lastly, I’m loving giving myself a snow day. While we got more snow than we have ever gotten in the last two years, I could’ve driven to work without a hitch. But because it was a slow day and I am thankful enough to be able to work from home, I spent the entire day in PJ’s on the couch with my dog. It was glorious. It’s been way too long since I was able to just be home for a full day with nowhere to go. And I got a lot done! (So it wasn’t a complete lazy day.) Next thing to work on, a male winter cuddle buddy who doesn’t have 4 legs and a tail.
What are you loving this week?