Friday, July 25, 2014

PDBA July Blog Hop: The Mid Year Review

I was inspired by this image provided by the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association to write more in depth about the path of discovery I have traveled this year in regards to personal and business endeavors.  It's hard to believe 2014 is half way through.  I feel like it was just January.  As I look back, the past 6 months have trended towards discovering focus in both my personal and professional life.

Personally, I've paid less attention to negative influences and found myself to be more at ease and better able to concentrate on what I'm doing more.  It's been a liberating experience to let go of members of the aerial community that don't fit my idea of an uplifting and positive environment.  In any performing arts community, negativity can be intense and overwhelming.  It happens in the most creative environments when strong personalities come together- especially in such a competitive industry like aerial arts.  Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of positive experiences and energy too, unfortunately it's the negativity that will take the spotlight in many situations.  I've witnessed a strong movement by fellow close friends who have also begun surrounding themselves with kindred spirits. The results have been amazing with so much energy and love for life's experiences and learning opportunities.  This personal influence has also trickled over into my business agenda.

Owning a business is an ongoing learning process.  One thing I absolutely love about owning my own business is all the ideas I generate are my own.  I love the freedom of letting the business evolve. In just a week, I'll be hosting my first student showcase.  Throughout the process of rehearsals, I've been so amazed by the strength and achievements of my students in their practice.  I've discovered strength within myself through the pride I feel for their accomplishments.  Through this experience, I have discovered the sense of community and empowering each other through support as being an integral part of what Pole Harmony is all about.  The harmony or balance within one's self and all the fitness disciplines and aspects associated with aerial dance is much more clearly understood to me now than it was when Pole Harmony began.  Existing and excelling independently is not possible without the encouragement of others and the supplemental details that attribute to one's personal progression.  Pole Harmony can't exist without all the elements that make it whole.

With each passing day, I watch my students grow as they become stronger internally and externally.   The pole and aerial life has become more about the journey for me.  As I'm teaching, I'm also learning.  This learning process has been an amazing journey that fuels my passion of pole and aerial dance.  One thing I've discovered about the pole industry, as represented out there among social media outlets, is it is not flawless.  Yes, the pictures and videos out there may appear to be, but there's a lot of hard work and years that have gone into those representations.  I've been pole dancing for six years now and I just recently performed my first ever flawless (in my own overly self critical opinion) artistic piece.  It was hard for me to compile so much strength and flow into one 5 minute long song.  5 minutes of choreography in an art form that requires so much total body commitment from  both mind and body can seem like an eternity.  I applaud those that share and represent for whatever level they may be- day 1 or 1,000.  Each and every representation takes hard work worth appreciating.

So what have I discovered this year? In summary:
  • I have discovered it's okay to rid myself of those who just tear me and others around them down.
  • I have discovered my business is a sanctuary. A place to safely evolve.
  • I have discovered my brand is supportive empowerment.
  • I have discovered my blog is a platform to educate and express my passion for apparatus style dancing.
  • I have discovered my pole life is not about teaching but more about learning.
  • I have discovered the pole industry is not flawless but regardless of it's level of perfection, every detail and moment is an accomplishment and deserves to be applauded as we would for the best version of the end result.  
 Thank you for reading and continuing to support everything I do.  Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association July Blog Hop entries: 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Online Fitness Challenges

The pole and aerial community is exploding with online challenges these days that offer a fun way to stay motivated in your workouts.  I've been seeing so many of these challenges and have mentioned a few to my students.  I realize trying to keep up can be quite confusing so I decided to compile a list of some of the top challenges my pole and aerial friends are participating in.  If you have a favorite online challenge that is not on the list, please feel free to leave a comment with details below.

1. Finding Your Freestyle #fyfchallenge #findingyourfreestyle 
Category: Ongoing
Created by pole dancer Tracee Kafer and offered as a class at New York's Body & Pole Studio, Finding Your Freestyle followers stay connected with challenges via Facebook and YouTube by posting videos of themselves performing the current challenge with the pole.

2. @BeachYogaGirl
Category: Ongoing
Kerri Verna is a Yoga instructor in West Palm Beach.  Kerri has taken her teachings from local to national via the internet by offering online classes and Yoga themed online challenges.  Followers stay connected with the monthly challenges via Instagram. The monthly challenges have been posted in the form of a picture where each day of the month followers perform a pose of the day and share via social media by tagging the challenge's original creators.  Kerri includes videos with tips and instruction via her Instagram account to accompany each pose of the day. Check out July's challenge below:
3. BeSpun Flow Challenge #BeSpunFlow #VideoBattle
Category: Summer 2014
A recent installment to the online challenges, BeSpun Pole Workout Studio in Los Angeles, California, has recently launched a summer flow challenge.  Each week, BeSpun introduces a pole dance combo and follows up throughout the week with tips and tricks to smoothing out the combo and making it your own.  Challenge participants may also submit videos of themselves performing the combo and submit it for a video battle to win prizes.  Followers can stay connected and motivated for this challenge via the BeSpun Flow Challenge Facebook Group.

4. #MoreHandstandLove @shaktiactivewear @fitqueenirene
Category: Summer 2014
Another Instagram challenge courtesy of users @shaktiactivewear @fitqueenirene.
A trend I have noticed with all these Instagram challenges is the sponsorship of Yoga wear brands. Not only is this a genius idea to incorporate an internet motivational challenge, this is also a smart marketing move for companies that have a broader consumer base.  I've included this challenge mainly because it has been a popular challenge among my pole and aerial friends.
5. #Handstand365 @handstandsanonymous 
Category: Ongoing 2014
A handstand a day for an entire year!  Followers of this challenge can share their progress daily and draw inspiration for handstand poses via the Facebook group Handstands Anonymous. Follow this group via Instagram and Twitter.  At the end of the challenge the images with the most likes will be selected for the 2015 Handstands Anonymous calendar. All proceeds will go to support addiction recovery.
6. StudioVeena Monthly Challenges
Category: Ongoing
A monthly theme for the pole, this challenge is part of the online pole community at  Members share their videos via the online pole community site.  Membership is free and the community allows users to share their dance progress in one location where everything is all pole 24/7.  Video features allow users to share their own videos via Facebook and Twitter.

7. #aprilpolejunkies #polechallenge @yazminqc
Category: Monthly Ongoing
This challenge first came on my radar back in April with the instagram #aprilpolejunkies challenge.  A pole move a day for the entire month of April.  Since then, the instagram member has continued with monthly pole related challenges.  Even though it's now July and April is long gone, the April challenge would still be a great challenge for those wanting to have fun and stay motivated and explore their capabilities on the pole. Followers can stay up to date on the latest challenges and find tips and tricks to each move via @yazminqc on instagram.

8. Pole Dancing Bloggers Association Pole Photo-A-Week Challenge
Category: Monthly Ongoing
A fun challenge incorporating a weekly photo theme courtesy of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association!  This challenge is open to all social media outlets.  Each month is accompanied by a blog post describing the challenge and how to participate.  Check out July's Blog Challenge here.
9. #100HappyDays
Category: Ongoing
This one is a challenge that is for everyone regardless of their pole and aerial commitments. Participants submit a picture every day via a specified social media platform.  The picture can be anything that made you happy for that day.  I'm pretty sure if I was to do this one, my dog would dominate my 100 Happy Days.  To get registered, visit

10. #boomkittenpole @boomloulou @lithiumkitten @polefly
Category: Ongoing
Three of the pole community members coming together to create a monthly challenge focusing on categorizing pole moves and working on the variations among that category. Follow @boomloulou on Instagram for the details on this challenge. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blueberry July

July has been declared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as National Blueberry month.  In honor of this exquisite fruit, we've decided to share a few tasty recipes. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  To get started with your day, add some fresh blueberries to your morning pancakes.  A traditional breakfast favorite, during the peak blueberry season May-October, you can find local fresh blueberries at the market.  Want to enjoy the delicious healthy addition to your breakfast during the winter months?  Try frozen blueberries. 

Another great breakfast option that also doubles as a great mid-day snack is cottage cheese and blueberries.  Cottage cheese is known for being rich in protein.  Protein is an essential dietary element that helps maintain, repair, and build muscles (Coleman, 2014).

Blueberries are great alone or paired with other fruits.  During the summer months, strawberries are also in season.  A delicious snack or dessert alone that can be paired with yogurt or pudding includes the addition of strawberries and bananas with your blueberries.  The pairing of a lemon or vanilla pudding adds just the right amount of sweetness that balances the tartness of both the blueberry and strawberry combination.  Want to chill out on a hot summer night?  Substitute yogurt or pudding for vanilla icecream. 

Blueberries may be traditionally thought of as a food element, however the trend of juicing has introduced many delicious recipes.  We found a great starter juice recipe on the blog Clementine Bean.  This juice recipe includes mixing blueberries, spinach, green apple, and lemon.  Please note that if you're wanting to get into juicing, you will want to invest in a juicer.  There are many juicers out there on the market. Check out this article What is the best Juicer? by Green Juice a Day to learn more about the different types of juicers and how you can get started.

Not interested in juicing but still want a refreshing beverage that includes blueberries?  Another great recipe I came across recommended freezing blueberries in an ice cube tray and adding blueberry ice cubes to your favorite drinks like iced tea or lemonade.  Instead of just freezing whole blueberries, we recommend blending a few berries in a small amount of water and freezing for an ice cube that melts blueberry flavor right into your drink. 

It was fun to research multiple recipes for blueberries and how to go about enjoying this healthy fruit.  We hope you enjoyed this article and would love for you to share your favorite blueberry recipes with us below.