Monday, January 9, 2017

The Underwater Photoshoot in Vegas...

I have received the photos from my Las Vegas underwater shoot with Brett Stanley, The Underwater Photographer.

Brett was incredibly patient during the shoot.  The nose plug didn't fit properly at first, so I took on some water.  We went over the poses I wanted to do....then we scrapped the plan and he suggested poses I could actually do.  Once you're in the water, everything changes.  It was fairly difficult to get myself positioned, actually stick to the pole, then make a face that wasn't completely hideous.  The panic of NEEDING air took over more than once.

I really love the end result though.  And now that I understand how the whole thing works, I'd love to do another one and plan better poses.  Check them out below:






Thursday, December 22, 2016

Recovery...

As most of you know, I had gastric bypass almost 13 years ago.  I initially lost 165 pounds (and have maintained a little over 110 pounds of that weight loss).  In 2006, I had three rounds of plastic surgery.  The first round included a breast lift and lower body lift (which is an extended tummy tuck). 

Although I had plenty of breast tissue at that time, my surgeon suggested an implant with the lift, as you apparently lose a lot of volume when you do a breast lift.  We discussed a size that I thought I would be happy with.  However, as I was literally going to sleep, he asked, after I'm done with your hips, if I think I can go bigger on top, can I?  I said sure.  Then I woke up with these monsters.  As I was in the recovery room, the nurse yelled over, doctor is on the phone and wants to bring you a support bra, what size do you wear?  I said, 38D.  She laughed and said, oh honey, those aren't D's.  Ugh.  He never brought me a support bra, so I'm guessing I was beyond the sizes they carry. 

I have always felt like my boobs were too big (currently I'm something like a 42DDD aka an F, G or H depending on the brand) and too low (essentially hanging at my elbows), and the nipples dropped unevenly, so earlier this year (ten years later), I went to another surgeon for an opinion on fixing them.  She said that she generally does not do a breast lift with a tummy tuck since you are pulling down what you would like to pull up and gravity always wins.  She warned me that since this was a revision of old work, I may not be fully happy with the results and there was a high risk of having to go in for another round to do some fixes.  I figured it was worth the risk and scheduled my surgery for the day before Thanksgiving.  I scheduled a breast lift, replacement of implants with a smaller implant, and installation of a mesh that would keep them from falling again. 

Before/After
I was pretty nervous on the day of surgery.  It is so much money, and time off work.  You can't go to the gym.  Shit, you can't even lift your arms above your own head or pick up more than five pounds for two weeks.  You don't realize how often you do those things until you can't do them anymore.  Yoga is out for at least six weeks.  Pole is out for probably more like three months.  Your whole life gets uprooted for a cosmetic change. 

I am now a month out from surgery.  I will admit when I first peeled the padding and garment off a couple of days after surgery, I was shocked.  Blood, bruising, angry incisions.  It looked scary.  I thought maybe I had made the wrong choice.  When the drains were pulled out a week later, I started getting a stabbing pain underneath that was apparently my body getting used to the mesh.  I was allowed to pull the tape off at about two weeks.  I was swollen and still pretty scary looking (I accidentally ripped a bunch of skin off with the tape), but I could see that once things relaxed, I was going to be extremely happy with the results. 

Now at a month out, I have people asking me if I've lost weight.  Although, I have lost 15 pounds in the last six weeks or so, what they are really noticing is that you can see my waist now that my boobs are out of the way!  The kicker is that my measurements are exactly the same, but that will go down as swelling settles in the next couple of months.  I'm struggling with getting off the pain pills (I like Percocet a little more than I should) and being patient to let myself heal, but I feel like I made the right choice.  However, there will be very little pole stuff on this blog for another couple of months.  I get to try yoga in a couple of weeks, but I'm still waiting to make sure that under-boob/mesh pain is gone first. 

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!  I will probably touch bases early next year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Milli Vanilli of Pole is Back!

Jade, Alana and I took another routine off YouTube and performed it for Twirly Girls' Trick or Twirl event in October (and found out they probably borrowed it from yet another group).  It is popular, as Jade recently attended a studio party and another group did a version of it as well.  Watch ours here (and don't mind me missing half the routine):



Monday, December 19, 2016

Photoshoot with Lockbox Studios

While I was in Las Vegas for Pole Expo in September, I did a photoshoot with Somer of Lockbox Studios.  I am absolutely thrilled with the end product, so I wanted to share a few.  I also made an album on the Confessions fan page, so you can see a few more HERE.

I know I've been quiet again.  I actually had surgery about three weeks ago.  I will share more about that later!  For now, please enjoy these photos!









Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Real World Problems

I almost felt guilty typing that title.  Real World Problems.  I don't have real world problems.  I have a great job, a warm place to sleep, food on my table, clean water, a new car, great friends and family, enough money to go out and enjoy life.  I don't have any actual problems.  Then why do depression and anxiety still plague me? 

Twelve years ago, I lost 165 pounds and went from being invisible to the world to having so much attention that I couldn't deal.  What a problem to have.  Too many people suddenly liked me.  Wah.  Eight years ago, when I was getting out of a relationship and was being stalked.  Three years ago when I was commuting to San Francisco to a job I could not stand.  Last year, when I went through another break-up of a mediocre relationship I should have known wouldn't work from day one.  Oh yeah, and then when my boss decided to end his life in a completely horrific manner.  I've lost two grandmothers in the last two years.  All, still not problems that should actually ruin me (okay, well I'll give myself a pass on the suicide since that is the most shocking and horrible thing that has ever happened to me and it didn't even happen TO me). 

Privilege at its best.  I'm doing so well in life, I have too much time on my hands to worry about shit that doesn't matter -- thereby causing me anxiety about ... about what?  Sometimes it's so small, it's nothing.  Truly nothing.  Try telling my brain that! 

For years, I battled this.  One day, I am on top of the world.  The next day, I can't even lift my head off the pillow.  There isn't always an obvious trigger.  Sometimes I can figure it out after I'm out of the funk.  But it is very real in my life, and my mind when I'm going through it.  There's only so much "keep your chin up" and "this too shall pass" before I want to scream.  I tried anti-depressants in 2006-2007.  One worked for me for about nine months.  And then it stopped.  I played Russian Roulette two more times.  Then I decided medication wasn't for me at that time.  When I was working in San Francisco a few years back, and was quite literally wanting to hurl myself off the Golden Gate Bridge, one of my doctors handed me an anti-anxiety medication.  He gave me 100 pills with instructions to only take half of a pill (and that half will knock me on my ass).  Two weeks later, he asked if I needed a refill.  Kickback much?  I'm not belittling the benefits of taking medication when it is needed, however, I know that the trade off for me wasn't worth it. 

I have been managing my anxiety and depression fairly well for the last five or six years.  I won't lie, I still pop a half a klonopin when I'm really struggling (I still have the bottle from the original 100 prescribed to me three plus years ago).  I have more good days than bad ones -- and I've had a fair number of amazing days lately.  Even my bad ones are no longer *so* dark.

I have been trying to spend less time on Facebook, because I have noticed an increase in stressed out posts with the elections coming up.  So, I guess the point of my blog post today was to say exactly what I hate:  this too shall pass.  Everyone fears the future since we don't know who will win the election today and people seem to think that these candidates are going to burn the White House down and start a dictatorship as soon as they take office in January.  Guess what?  I am pretty sure life is going to go on.  I am not saying we haven't made a complete mess of our country, but I am pretty sure there have been many other times in history when Chicken Little announced the sky was falling -- and everyone survived.  We need to take care for our future generations, but maybe we can spend more time living in the present instead of predicting inaccurate futures and causing everyone anxiety.

Lately, I have been spending some time acknowledging the things for which I am grateful.  All of those things in the first paragraph....plus.  I do appreciate that I have a job that I enjoy.  I appreciate that my health is good.  I have so much love for my friends and family.  I am thankful every day for the babies.  I find that the more time I spend thinking about these things, the less time I have to worry.  I hope tomorrow when half the country is upset that their candidate didn't win that you can spend some time reflecting on why your life is good and how it truly is a privilege that we even get to choose between two bad candidates. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dangerous Curves V

I would like to congratulate Tausha Ostrander for taking the Dangerous Curves reins from Roz THE DIVA Mays, and putting on a successful event earlier this month in Denver.  I had the pleasure of attending the event and was impressed with Tausha's hard work.  The competitors did an amazing job as well!  I know how difficult it is to plan an event of this magnitude, and I cannot imaging doing it alone.

I really appreciate the safe space that Roz and Tausha have created, which allows plus sized pole dancers to compete.  Although I have often heard that plus sized dancers should just compete at the level in which they feel they are able, I do recognize that our bodies are not usually built the same as our "straight sized" counterparts.  We often have to move boobs out of the way, or we have more thigh skin that shifts when we try to attach ourselves safely to the pole.  Competing against other dancers that face the same challenges evens the playing field.

I have often blamed my size for my inability to invert or climb well.  Mama Bel has recently stopped accepting my whining and excuses and has been forcing me to do the work -- basically, each week I am climbing and inverting in class.  Watching these ladies do so many of the moves that I keep telling myself I'm too big to do makes me realize I really am just making excuses.

Congratulations again to Tausha for putting on a great event and to all of the competitors for sharing their souls with us!  I look forward to next year!


Monday, October 3, 2016

Dating Survey: Please Help!

Where are the quality prom dates?
Many of you have followed my online dating adventures over the last year or so.  I feel fairly lucky.  Although I have certainly run into some douchebags and have probably received more than my fair share of dick pics, my experiences haven't been horrific.  I have heard some pretty "interesting" stories from my friends though.  My friend Jade, also single, has been my dating consultant and partner-in-crime for most of this year.  After growing tired of the same 'ol, same 'ol in the dating world, we decided it was time to take action.  We are in the process of setting up a new dating service and we have created a survey so we can offer a service that people will actually be excited to use.  We are especially interested in hearing what makes men tick. 

So, even if you are in a relationship, if you have EVER tried online dating, please click the link below to take our survey, then share it with your friends. 

https://goo.gl/forms/XNbmIH162cfL9wFi2

Thank you!!