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Good-bye 2013!

With the end of 2013 you have no choice but to look back and reflect, what happened this past year? I can barely remember what happened yesterday, I have a goldfish memory here. This past year I shed 15 lbs since the summer, and it took a lot of hard work and experimenting with my eating habits. I have actually learned a lot about healthy eating, although I’m still a fiend for chocolate and sweets, I’m learning to control it. I will be posting before and after pictures when I reach a point that I’m happy with, I am doing this for me, not for anyone else.

I’ve lost friends this year, but also gained new ones! When I think about it, I gained way more than I lost, just being honest. I rid of someone who sucked the positivity from me every time she opened her mouth to complain about pretty much everything, who offered up nothing but back handed compliments, and found ways to insult me while trying to pretend like she didn’t know it would be insulting. I gained so much more, I brought people in that are full of positivity, really happy-go-lucky, people that are supportive and believe in me and what I do. So all in all, it has been a good year.

I did have some hardships though, no year is just smooth sailing. We had a lot of financial troubles for half the year, with school debt, credit card debt, and a hard time finding jobs. But you know what, even that has turned around. It has taught me how to budget, how I don’t need to buy everything, even though I want to buy everything!

My baby girl has gotten so big throughout this last year, it’s amazing. She has become such a little person. She has full conversations with me, she’s so active it’s crazy and she started preschool in September. Next September she’ll be starting school! Scary! I have to sign her up this January. Freaking out a little on the inside!

But I have goals for 2014, I want to make this year fantastic! I want to start it out on a positive note! So here are my goals for 2014:

1. Surround myself with positive people

Like I said above, I have dealt with a person recently that made me realize that I deserve better. Although she was good a lot of the time it was those moments with the backhanded compliments or just general backhanded comments that made me realize that I don’t have to put up with it! So this year those I bring into my life need to be positive because I need people that mirror my positive attitude and don’t try to bring me down because of it.

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2.Keep learning how to budget

Only recently have I been really taking an interest in budgeting to be perfectly honest. Only took me until 26! When I realized how much I liked to shop, and how much it was driving my credit cards up, I realized I needed a change. My father gave me a budgeting spread sheet and since then I’ve taken an interest in it. I can visually see how my spending effects me so it has been quite useful for someone who learns visually like I do. It’s also great for someone who is awful at math like I am because it does it all for you. If anyone is interested in it I welcome you to head on to my about page and send me an e-mail requesting it! I’ll send you it with a description of how to use it. I would love to help any one who wants the help.

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3.Shed the last bit of weight I need off and tone up

Right now I’m sitting at 135, I’m not afraid of saying it, it’s not what my goal weight is but I’m down from 150 so it’s a big thing for me. But this year I want to shed those last few pounds to get into the range I’d be happy with, because I’m doing this for me and not anyone else. My personal goal is to be under 130 which is acceptable for my height, I weighed 125 in highschool so I feel like I should be able to get to at least 127-128 if I continue with my healthy eating and exercise.

Photo from sincerelyjenni.com

Photo from sincerelyjenni.com

4.Get my front splits and work hard on my center splits

This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never set it as a goal. I’m pretty headstrong when it comes to completing goals, I guess it’s part of my competitive nature. I’m still pretty far from it, but I feel that with a whole year to work at it that I should be able to get it. I do stretch after every work out!

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5.Work hard on my art and sell at least 1 piece

This is Jesse, she’s my sexy character that was heavily inspired by one of my favorite artists Dean Yeagle. I love drawing funny comics with her. I’d really love to sell some art this year, I have never been confident enough to do so but honestly with this blog I’ve gained a little confidence and hope I can do it. I’ve had a etsy shop set up for a while but have been too scared to put anything in it, I want to have something in it by the end of this month.

6.Healthy eating, keep on it!

I have a bad habit of being a chocoholic! I also love fast food, so I’m really in danger of falling off the wagon. But I’ve been good as of late, I have a meal plan and have been sticking to it. Although I have sushi cravings regularly! I love trying new foods so meal plans are great to me. This month I’m doing the Fitness Blender Meal plan and so far I love it!

Quinoa Edamame Salad

Quinoa Edamame Salad

7.Reach advanced level of pole

I’m in level 6 right now, well 5/6 and that took me 9 months to do. In my studio there’s 10 levels and then advance, so I’m thinking if I keep practicing outside of class I’ll be able to reach the advanced level by the end of the year. I’ve already been very impressed with how much my strength has grown, and now that I’m cross training again I feel like it’ll be even better.

8.This is either a 2014 or 2015 goal, but I want to perform at Sexapalooza with my studio

Sexapalooza is a convention that goes on in Canada, my studio preforms at it twice a year, and while there’s no way I’ll be preforming at it come February, I may have a chance in October. But that’s why this is a 2014/2015 goal, because if not this year, it’ll be a goal of mine definitely for 2015 when I’m definitely going to be at an advance level.

Jenny Goodwin & Polina Vinogradova at Sexapalooza

Jenny Goodwin & Polina Vinogradova of 3sixty dance and fitness at Sexapalooza

9.Work really hard when I start back at school

This is a must, this one pretty much goes without saying. The course I’m taking is running from September straight through to August, and I need to be on my game the entire time in order to succeed not just for me but for my family as well. I need to get a career so I can contribute. Although right now my contribution is taking care of the 3 year old tornado of a daughter we have. She’s a handful, that’s for sure, but she’ll be in school come September so I’ll be able to concentrate more on school than I was able to last time.

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10.Practice, practice, practice on my art prior to going back to school

I need to get back on the horse. I had a bad experience this summer with people who I thought were family that kind of destroyed my artistic confidence. I was pretty much used by them and then not paid when I was said to have a contract. But I learned my lesson, get the contract in advance to make sure you get paid. Don’t trust peoples word, and even if they’re family (not my immediate family though, I trust them with my life) they will still screw you over if they’re A-holes. Lesson learned, won’t happen again. But I’ve found it’s been hard to get back into drawing, I’ve seriously been doubting myself and I shouldn’t be. I need to force myself back into art because if I don’t my school will suffer.

There you have it, those are my 10 goals for 2014, and I’ll be able to come back to this blog at the end of the year next year to see if I’ve completed most of them or even all of them.

What are your 2014 goals? Tell me in the comments below!

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Educate them! The misinterpretation of Pole Fitness

Every Poler has heard it, “oh you pole dance? What are you, a stripper?” Or “Pole dancing? That’s sexy” And while yes, it can be sexy, it’s usually definitely not for the perv making that comment. It’s time to educate them! Sure pole fitness can be sexy, but it’s not to everyone, to some it’s about pushing your body to its physical limit, and that’s perfectly fine too! What really irks me is when people belittle the sport just because woman spin around a pole for money sometimes (and lets face it, sometimes the pole is there for grinding, they don’t even spin). So as a pole fitness enthusiast I consistently find myself having to defend myself which really shouldn’t happen, but it does. Here’s how I educate them!

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Pole fitness takes an incredible amount of physical strength to be able to lift your own body weight! It utilizes your core muscles which improves posture, coordination, balance and flexibility, and can eliminate back pain. You build and tone muscles (quadriceps are used to grip the pole and triceps are used when you’re hanging in midair on the pole). Climbing a pole is harder and more effective than bicep curls!

At an advanced level of Pole Fitness you can burn up to 800 calories in an hour, at a regular level you can burn 250 or more in just one session. It’s an incredible mix of endurance, flexibility, strength training and cardio (especially if your studio includes routines!)

Unlike regular fitness classes which can include dozens of people and one teacher, pole fitness usually only has 3-10 people which allows the instructor to give you a lot more of her time, making it a very personal class in which you learn more. You build close friendships with the girls in your class, I love my pole friends, we cheer each other on and it’s such a positive environment.

You gain a feeling of accomplishment! When you perform moves that are very much like gymnastics you feel like you could win a gold medal. Honestly that will be an amazing day when the Olympics recognizes Pole Fitness as a legitimate competitive sport. When I look back at where I was, barely being able to do a push up 8 months ago, to now , where I can hold myself onto a pole with NO hands, I am incredibly proud of just how far I’ve come!

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Lastly, but there are definitely many more, the confidence booster that pole provides is amazing. You just feel so good when you get that move down, or when you hear your friends cheering you on. When you’re spinning around that pole and you forget about the world and it’s problems because you’re just having too much fun. Maybe it’s the endorphin’s released from exercising but either way you feel great when you are pole dancing, you feel strong and powerful. It’s an obsession, it’s a passion and no body and their stupid “stripper” comments can ever take that away.

So the next time someone makes a pervy comment, or tries to belittle this wonderful sport, you look right at them and whip out all these wonderful points about pole fitness, and challenge them to hold themselves up on their wrist alone in the wrist seat!

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Until tomorrow mes amours!

A drop of dew a day takes the slip away!

Good morning lovely followers! I always look forward to this time of the morning. I get to just sit here with my tea and talk your ears off, or eyes in this case.

Last night was pole class, and it was a great class. My actual teacher just got back from the Dominican and she won’t be back until next Wednesday, so we’ve had a sub. A fantastic woman who has this unnatural energy that drives you to work harder and preform more. So as you can imagine my muscles are very sore today, not to mention my trapezuis ( the muscle between your neck and shoulder) feels bruised, which means no shoulder mounting for a couple of days.

 

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So here’s my shoulder mount! It’s still a little sloppy but I’m very impressed with myself.  At one point this was something that I never thought I’d be able to do.

I saw the girls doing it and I stood there whining in my head “I want to do that, I want to be able to flip upside down with such ease”

I kept at it, worked on my core, my arms and my general strength and look at me now!

I’m telling you, less than a year ago I wouldn’t be able to do half of this. I could barely do a push up! And now look at me!

 

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But with a hard practice comes some nasty looking bruises.

And these are just the one leg, I’ve got more on my other leg, not to mention the tops of my feet as well! These ones were from doing the dead lift from handstand, cross ankle release and super girl.

Another exciting moment of last night was that I let go and went into the cross ankle release by myself. For the past couple of weeks I’ve had to have the help of my teachers to help me lay back just out of sheer fear of letting go of the pole.

But last night I laid out the crash mats they have and that gave me the lady balls I needed to let go on my own. That’s also the first time I’ve ever used crash mats, I guess I’ll be trying them out more when ever I’m scared. I really didn’t think it would be that much of a help, but it gave me just enough confidence to try a scary move out.

I’m going to take a moment now to praise an amazing pole product. If you live in a cold and dry climate like Canada, you know how much of a toll it can take on your skin. This in turn makes it near impossible to grip a pole, even a brass pole! It’s not so much my hands that I worry about, if I give them a quick wash before pole that’s usually enough to give me grip, and if that doesn’t work I have my liquid grip. The liquid grip is like a liquid that dries to a chalky consistency, it’s main use is for sweaty hands, just like if you were to use chalk in gymnastics.

My legs are the main worry, the liquid grip works on them, but only briefly. I honestly thought it was going to be impossible to pole in the winter. I use a regimen of coconut oil and vitamin E oil on my legs nightly (I’ll post a blog later on about the miracle of coconut oil) in hopes of helping my skin to not dry out. And while it does help, it’s really not enough.

 

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That’s when I came across this!

Dewpoint Pole grip! It’s amazing, it’s super helpful, although I do find I have to reapply half way through class, that’s a small price to pay for such good grip when I need it.

Word of warning, do not get this on your hands. I’m not sure why but it makes it nearly impossible to grip if it gets on your hands. I don’t know if it’s a mixture of the dewpoint and sweat but just remember, rub your legs together to rub it in, and then you have to let it air dry for 1-5 minutes. I usually give it somewhere in between that.

The spray comes in three sizes, I have the middle one because it’s kind of expensive but again totally worth it. If your studio doesn’t sell it (You should probably convince them to) you can buy it online!
If you’re living in the states you can get it off of amazon.com, if you’re from Canada you can get it off of Ebay. They were really good for shipping on time and it got here quickly.

 

 

Well that’s all for today folks, today is gymnastics day!

Improve your lower flexibility!

Good day wonderful people. You will never believe the internet troubles I’ve been having since Thursday night! Thanks to that I was unable to post on Friday, so I apologize! While my internet’s still not working 100% I’m still going to attempt to connect using my phone as a hotspot for just long enough to put up this post. There’s also a guy coming today to fix my interwebs, I’m going crazy without it! Do you know how much I rely on my internet? For e-mail, gaming, SHOPPING… I can’t shop! I had to shop on my phone the other day to get my daughters Christmas gift on sale. Very irritating!

Anyways down to business, today’s blog is all about improving your lower flexibility. I’ve put together a few stretches you can add in to the routine you have already. Best done after cardio (Remember, never stretch cold muscles) they’re easy and feel great. Remember, I’m not a fitness instructor (yet) so follow the following exercises at your own risk, and don’t forget pushing yourself is good, but not to the point where you may potentially injure your muscles.

The first stretch is the basic toe touch!

With feet apart, around hip width, maybe a little wider if you are just starting, bend down until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.

If you don’t feel that stretch try standing your feet a little closer together, the closer they are the harder the stretch is.

Hold for 30 seconds, don’t forget to breath!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The next stretch is the deep glute stretch. I really enjoy this one! The pictures to the right is the same leg being stretched, just from two angles just to give you a better idea of what you’re doing.

So lay on your back, cross your leg onto your knee, the arm on the same side of the crossed leg goes through the hole in the middle, your other arm holds onto the outside.

Now you want to pull back the leg you’re hanging onto until you feel the stretch through your glute of the crossed leg.

Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs and repeat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

image[2]This is called the cross over hamstring stretch. Again the picture is one leg from two angles to give you a better idea of the stretch.

So with one leg straight, cross the opposite leg over and then you’re going to want to reach out on the same side as the standing leg.

Reach as far as you can, remember to breath, and then when you think you can’t reach any further, breath out slowly and reach further! Do it! I know you can!

Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The next is the butterfly stretch, and the seated hip stretch.

The butterfly stretch it’s pretty straight forward, feet together and try to pull your knees to the floor using your muscles, not your arms.

The seated hip stretch is not a contest to see if you can touch your head to your feet, I can touch my head to my feet, but the point of this stretch is to push your chest down as far as you can until you feel the stretch in your hip sockets

Hold each of these poses for 30 seconds each!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image[4]Lastly are a hamstring and oblique stretch, and a hamstring stretch.

With the hamstring oblique stretch make sure your chest is facing outward as much as possible, less than it is to the floor. You’ll feel a nice stretch through your side and your hamstring. Remember to switch legs after you’re done holding that pose for 30 seconds.

After is the basic hamstring stretch. Again this is another move in which it’s less about getting your head to your leg, mainly because that’s simple with the help of your neck, really you want to be touching your chest to your leg as much as you can. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs!

 

 

 

 

And that’s it! If you want to go even further with your stretches you can include the thigh stretch, inner thigh stretch, hip flexor stretch and go into your front splits. All of these are included in my Pole cool down routine which you can find here! 

Until tomorrow mes amours!

Post pole cool down! Lets calm it down!

Good morning wonderful people! It’s a beautiful day here! For the time being, we’re also expecting a snow storm later on. And I have to do groceries, go figure. As promised I am now going to include you in on my super top secret (but not really) cool down, we do these in my pole class and it always feels great to end an intense workout with these stretches. And for a pre-pole warm up click HERE. Now remember, I am not a trained fitness instructor (yet) so follow this routine at your own risk, and don’t push yourself too far with the stretches, remember stretching is for your muscles not as a competition to see how far you can go.

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First off we have the tricep stretch, lightly pulling your elbow, give that tricep a good ol’stretch.

Hold it for 10-15 seconds and then switch arms.

Next we’re going to move on to the thigh stretch, hold it there again for about 10-15 seconds before moving on to the next leg.

 

 

 

 

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The next stretch is a bicep stretch!

Thumbs down, push your arms back until you feel that stretch right through your biceps. I really like this one just because you rely so heavily on your arms while doing pole.

Afterwards stretch one arm over to do the forearm stretch.

Hold it there for 10-15 seconds before switching over to the other arm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next is the frog stretch!

Make sure your feet are pointed outwards.

And try and sit back as far as you can, you’ll feel the stretch, trust me.

The second picture is just a side view of the same stretch.

I usually hold this one for 30+ seconds.

After the frog stretch go into your center splits (which I forgot to take a picture of) hold for about a minute.

 

 

 

 

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Now go into an inner thigh stretch, hold it for 15 seconds and then switch to the opposite leg and repeat.

 

 

 

This one I’m pretty sure is a hip flexor stretch. Again this is another one I love, it feels so good to do.

Push forward on your front leg.

Hold for 15 seconds and then switch and repeat with the opposite leg.

 

Next we’re going into the front splits, now I can’t do it, but I’m working on it. Make sure your front foot is flexed to get more of a stretch.

Also breath, make sure you’re always breathing. I usually breath in and then try to push my splits a little further on my breath out, it’s all about relaxing your muscles. Hold for a minute on each side.

Don’t push too far because you can really pull your muscles on this move, and the horrible thing about that is that you won’t be able to stretch it properly for the next couple of days or even weeks. You put your muscles into a regression.

 

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Lastly we do the bridge. My bridge is actually better than picture but with only 10 seconds between my cameras timer and getting into the move, I had no time to fix my form.

When you’re in bridge you’re going to want to try and walk your hands to your feet until you feel a good stretch. Again this is another one you don’t want to push too far until you’re able to. I don’t know if this happens to everyone but for me, if I push it to far my back muscles cramp up, kind of like a foot cramp, and it really hurts.

 

 

 

After you’re done the stretch roll up into a ball and rock back and forth a little to stretch your muscles the other way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not pictured is a wrist stretch and a toe stretch so make sure you do those, they are equally as important! And always remember to stretch after your exercises, no matter the exercise. Until tomorrow good people! Tomorrow is pole day! YAY!

Pre-Pole warm up! Get those muscles going!

Good morning lovely people, I don’t know about you but here today it’s so dreary and gross out, I’d rather snow. That’s right! I said it! I’d rather the beautiful white snow then dull dark rain. But lets be honest, after Christmas, snow can just go away. I’m not a snowboarder or skier and not really a cold person in general, snows beautiful, but from inside a nice warm house, in front of a nice warm fireplace.

Speaking of warm, lets talk about getting those muscles warmed up before you hit the pole, well before you start spinning. Now keep in mind I am by no means a fitness instructor (yet) and if you choose to follow the routine I do, you do at your own risk! This is a mix of the warm up routine I was taught at the studio and some ones online that I just like. But it gets you nice and warmed up before you start so it’s perfect. Alright lets move on to the first move

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Alright so I have no idea what half the moves are actually called so I’m going to give them my own names!

I call this one, lean back!

You start with your feet together, then lean back while sucking in your belly button and keeping your core tight.

You then bring yourself forward, head to your feet and repeat!

I do this one about 10-15 times.

Easy right? Well that’s just the first one!

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This is called the crunchy thingy!

Balance yourself, knees bent, for about 10 seconds, then switch to legs up in a V position, hold for another 5 seconds!

Then you’re going to lean back, don’t lie down and keep your legs up off the ground, and then come back up into starting position.

Repeat the crunching action of the last two about 10-15 times.

Alright, alright, a little bit hard right?!

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The side butt crunch!

Very similar to the above exercise, but instead of balancing on your full butt, you balance on  a cheek.

Do 10-15 times, and then repeat on the opposite side!

image[4]Now you’re going to lie back and do some (I know the name of this one) reverse crunches!

So lay on your back, your legs can either be straight up, or for an easier version, knees slightly bent.

For this exercise you’re only going to come a couple of inches off the ground. The whole point is to use your stomach muscles to crunch up.

No cheating! If you feel like you’re using your arms, stop it! USE THOSE STOMACH MUSCLES!

Do about 10 of these.

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This is called the dive bomber, start in the downward dog position (do it better than I am in the first picture)

Then you’re going to drop your chest down into a push up position.

Followed by your butt and then bring your chest back up and push yourself back up into downward dog!

Repeat 5-10 times! This one makes my shoulders crack every time but they’re super good for your arms.

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This is a shoulder mount prep move.

Lay on the group and grip the pole as you would for shoulder mount.

First bring your knees up, then back to the first position.

Next bicycle legs, one on the left, one on the right, and then back to first position. The lower your legs on this move the more you’re working your muscles.

Lastly leg lift both legs up, bring your butt a couple of inches off the ground and then slowly and with control, lower your legs back down to first position.

Rinse and repeat as many times until you really feel the burn in your lower stomach muscles.

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Lastly, one of my favorite moves, the pole squat. I just find this one so much better because the pole forces you into a proper position.

Like everything in pole dancing, it’s done on the tips of your toes.

So it’s pretty straight forward, start standing, hands behind the pole. Then drop down into squat position and come back up.

Now make sure you’re using your legs for this exercise and not pulling yourself up with your hands.

To finish up this routine make sure you adequately warm up your shoulders with shoulder rolls and arm circles, and your wrists with wrist circles!

And that’s my warm up routine! Simple, sweet, but effective. And don’t forget to cool down, that will be my post on Tuesday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I have a baby shower for my best friend this Sunday so lots of preparation. I also have a CFL party at my parents on Sunday, why couldn’t one of these things be on Saturday, I have nothing to do Saturday. Anyways, until Monday mes amours!

It’s here! It’s finally here!

Okay well I only had to wait less than a week but you know that irritating scenario when you order something right before the weekend and Saturday and Sunday are lazy jerks that don’t count as business days!… Well I had to wait extra long because of that. So what was 4 days really felt like 4 months to me. It was pretty much like my Christmas when they delivered it.

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Now obviously I have to move the coffee table, also not pictured is my dining room table which also has to get moved, but really I look at this as more exercise! It probably does very little but every little bit counts.

So I have plenty of room, I can even preform the spiral without kicking anything so it’s the perfect spot. My only problem now is stick, if you live in Canada you know how dry and cold it gets as winter approaches. Which in turn makes your skin dry, which as a pole dancer is probably one of the worst things that could happen.

I attempted the thigh hold  and I just slid right on down the pole, my legs had zero grip! I recently purchased a leg/limb grip called Dew Point Pole Dance Grip. Once it comes in I’ll give you a little review and tell you just how well it works in a cold Canadian environment. I also ordered hand grip from X pole, which I’ve used before, it works well enough. It does help but again it’s supposed to help your hands with being sweaty and having no grip, which isn’t the problem here, the problem is having no grip from dry skin.

Scorpio Pillow

I’ve finally started my work to open my Etsy shop, it’ll be a lot of pole related items (obviously). But you know this blog is directed not only at pole dancers/fitness enthusiasts, it’s also directed at the polers who are parents. So I think I may be including some kits toys as well, plushies more than anything.

I’ll also be designing some clay figurines of certain moves like the Scorpio and ayesha. But those will take a little longer to make.

Sorry to cut this post short today but I’ve got a lot of errands to run so it’s a miracle I got it up in the first place. Until tomorrow mes amours!