Monday, April 19, 2010

The Lovely Rita Fundraiser was a HUGE success!!

I am at a loss for words.  This never happens.  First off, I want to thank everyone who helped get the Lovely Rita fundraiser set-up.  Bel and Kristin especially really spent the final two days before the event tied to the studio.  Daisy saved the day by bringing flowers and food for poor Bel who was too busy to even feed herself!  I am amazed.  Touched.  Excited.  In awe.  And exhausted. 

We had a few minutes of panic last week when the volcano erupted in Iceland and the volcanic ash in the air affected flights all over Europe.  Rita was "stuck" in Ireland for an extra day.  Luckily, she got out only 24 hours late...five days later, some people are still waiting to fly to or from Europe.   And poor Rita was only home a little over 24 hours when she had to come play with us -- dealing with jet lag from a good 8 hour time difference. 

Rita set a goal to raise $750 for her walk.  I believe she already has about $200 on her kidney walk page.  The Lovely Rita Fundraiser at Twirly Girls brought in an additional $2,700!!  The generosity of everyone who was involved -- whether it was time or money...we appreciate it and we love you.  Thank you to Bel for your time and for volunteering your studio for this.  We had donations for silent auction and raffle gifts (please see my previous post for the companies that donated -- although we had donations coming in up until the time we started!).  We had donations to buy raffle tickets and to take classes.  I'm almost afraid to name people because I don't want to forget anyone.  But I do want to again thank Kristin for swooping in and saving the day when time was getting short and Bel needed help with the silent auction and raffle preparation.  Also, thank you to Andrea for her donation of such beautiful clothing from Susana of Paris.  Thank you to Marilyn for donating her time to prepare and perform two dances at the recital (and donating personal training sessions for the raffle!!).  To Hooman from Alice Radio for coming out to support us and for making the winning bid on the date with our Raiderette, Jovann (and, of course, thank you to Jovann for putting herself up on the auction block)! Ok.  Ok.  I could go on all day.  There are a lot of people to thank and we want each and every one of you to know that we appreciate the time and money you each donated to support a great cause.  So, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!  :-D 

Our day began with two classes taught by Marilyn -- Corelicious and the Oooh La La burlesque dance class.  Bel then taught the Lovely Rita Pole routine.  Unfortunately, Kat's go go class had to be canceled.  She spent the weekend in the hospital with her mother.  Her mom, coincidentally, is battling kidney failure.  We wish the best for Kat's mom...and hope she has a speedy recovery.  The silent auction opened at 4 p.m. and we started the dance recital at 5.  It can be very scary to put yourself out there and dance for strangers.  I was really nervous to do my own dance and had to apologize to the crowd sitting in the corner for basically showing them all what I had for lunch that day.  HELLLOOOOOO BOOOOOYS!  IN YO FACE.  haha!  Thanks for being great sports!  Loved the Ooh La La girls -- Marilyn, Kristin and Sam!  Andrea even performed for us with her injured hip!  A huge thank you to Gina for braving a solo to what she must have thought was the longest song in the world!  Marilyn and Lisa did a great doubles performance.  Kristin, Maryam and I did the Lovely Rita routine.  And Rita, Maryam, Daisy and Mandy did a great free dance.  Hopefully I'm not forgetting anyone!  The grand finale was AWESOME!  Each of the Twirly Girls gave Rita a flower and did a little twirl in her honor.  I really hope someone got it on video.  I know that Maryam's husband had a good seat and did get photos.  I will share them when I get them. 

All of our Twirly Girls came through, though.  And thank you to all of the husbands and boyfriends who share their time with us (and allow their girls to share so much time with us)!

It's not too late to donate!  Rita's kidney walk is May 8th in San Francisco.  Please click HERE to donate directly to the National Kidney Foundation (through Rita's page).  If you want to come walk with us, you are welcome to join our group.  No need to sign up or get donations!  Also, if you donated an item for auction/raffle or bought something at the fundraiser and did not get your receipt, please let me know and we will get one to you. 

Next up...Booty Parlor fun with Mandy this Friday night and the Pleasanton Street Party, which begins on Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another amazing Twirly Girls weekend!

I had another fun three-day Twirly Girls weekend!

We started off the weekend on Friday with Andrea's 50th birthday.  Yes, she is 50.  No, she doesn't look like she's 50!!  We all put on our costumes and danced for each other.  Kristin made the funniest cake with a Barbie and a pole!  But the REAL fun started when Andrea's daughter's "gift" showed up.  A stripper.  Holy moly.  This guy was dancing and whipping Andrea around like she was 20!  (Hello, sore back!!)  Bel challenged the guy to a lap-dance-off!  (She clearly won!)  Then Shannon gave him a run for his money in the exotic dance category.  She, as always, ROCKED the pole!  Unfortunately, what happens at a Twirly Girls party like that, has to STAY there.  So not many public videos or photos.  But, it was a FUN night!

Saturday, I had my regular class at Twirly Girls.  I love our group of girls.  Everyone is so sweet, although we miss Rita this week since she is still in Ireland.  We practiced some of our twirls for the upcoming benefit!  After class, Bel and I met Hooman from Alice Radio for lunch.  He's supposed to come to the benefit next week and he brought some Alice schwag for the silent auction.  Although the service sucked at the restaurant, the company and conversation made up for it.

On Sunday, Jamilla Deville, taught workshops at Twirly Girls.  She is the top pole instructor in the world right now!  You can buy her DVDs at  You can also find her fan page on Facebook.  I took her beginner workshop.  She was so sweet and patient.  She showed us some twirls and then gave us a few different ways to get to our end result, depending on our level of experience.  Honestly, I think most of us just wanted to watch her.  She is so fluid and beautiful.  She makes it all look SO easy!

That evening, Sapphire in Livermore hosted a meet and greet, and Jamilla performed for us.  Again, there are no words to describe how easily she transitions through her moves.  When she climbs or pulls herself up onto the pole, it looks completely effortless.  I will post a couple of photos below, otherwise, the rest will be on my flickr account.

I thank all of my Twirly Girl friends for another amazing and fun weekend!!  We will have to do it again soon!

Andrea, the birthday girl!!!

 Kristin's cake for Andrea!

Uh.  Wow.

 I'll be Andrea's bunny!

As we learned, bunnies do it with one leg up!

Bel and Hooman

Twirly Girls at the studio with Jamilla

Jamilla, me and Bel (uh..hello I look tired with no make up on!!!)
Jamilla performing (photo above, of course)

Jamilla and me! (photo below, of course)
The Twirly Girls group with Jamilla at Sapphire

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rita's Fundraiser: What can you win?!

The Lovely Rita Fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation is Sunday, April 18th.  During the day, Twirly Girls will hold classes (  All of the money will go to Rita's Kidney Walk.  A silent auction will begin at 3:30 p.m.  The raffle will be held throughout the dance recital, which begins at 5:00 p.m.  If you want to know what you can win, check it out below.  Tickets are:  3 for $5.  8 for $10.  20 for $20.  After 20, tickets remain $1 each.  You can send a check made payable to National Kidney Foundation, c/o Lori Myers, 2950 Buskirk Avenue, #300, Walnut Creek, CA 94597.  I will send you your raffle tickets and a tax receipt.  If you buy at least $10 worth of raffle tickets, you will have free entry into the dance recital!

RAFFLE ITEMS (you DO NOT need to be present to win):

Half hour foot massage with Just By Touch.
Facial with Linda Aragon.
Bottles of wine (values: $50 and $80).
Wii games for fitness.
One hour of personal training with Marilyn Rainville (two separate sessions).
Wax/Brazilian with Waxcraft ($60 value).
One hour of body work with Tri-Valley Bodyworks ($90 value).
Gorgeous print from Andrew of Liquidpulp Photography.
Life coaching time with Rachel Cullar.
Relationship coaching time with Roya Daizadeh. (
One his-basket of hair items (including a haircut) and one hers-basket (also including a haircut) from a local salon.

SILENT AUCTION ITEMS (you kind of need to be present to bid and then pay if you are the winning bidder):

Another amazing print from Andrew (looks much like Creepy's my favorite!!).
One month of boot camp from Inspire Fitness ($169 value).
Beautiful clothing from Suzannes' of Paris. (
Twirly Girls clothing donated by Doug Korb ($75 value).
Pole party at Twirly Girls ($350 value).
Gourmet Pasta (Apparently this stuff is not available in's generally only available to high end restaurants and hotels).
Twisted Silver Jewelry.
Producer for a Day with Alice Radio's morning show, Sarah and Vinnie (PRICELESS).
One dance videoed (from Rita, who produces our cool videos for Twirly Girls).
Cruise around the bay. (
Sports memoriabilia.

The lists are subject to change and the lists are also continuing to grow!!  Please come and support a great cause!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


How do I know I'm stressed?  Not the tight feeling in my chest.  Or my brain constantly turning thoughts over in my head, making it worse.  Not the sleepless nights.  Not the feeling that I am THROUGH with money, work, family, friends, the gym, my house, life in general...which then causes me to throw a tantrum like a two year old.  It's my PSORIASIS (pronounced SORE-EYE-UH-SYS).  It tells no lies.  Even when I don't actually FEEL stressed out, it usually tells me that I am harboring some kind of issue in my sick little brain. 

Psoriasis is a weird disease.  It looks like a skin disease.  Usually it's on my elbows -- patches of overly dry skin will show up.  I also get small spots on my nose where glasses would sit, which is why I usually don't wear sunglasses.  (I am actually VERY lucky that I don't have it on my scalp or other embarrassing places.  I've met people who have it on every inch of their body, and I cannot imagine the pain that it causes.)  It's an autoimmune disease, so stress makes it flare up.  I can always tell when my stress is higher than my medication can deal with...because I will have ugly red arms.  Right now, I have very angry red arms. 

So, in the normal world, your skin regenerates every 30 days or so.  Most people never notice it.  When you have psoriasis, the affected areas can generate skin every 3 days.  So like a nasty snake, you shed. 

Before I had gastric bypass surgery, I had moderate psoriasis.  Mostly it affected my knees and elbows -- it commonly starts around your joints (it makes you more susceptible to psoriatic arthritis -- which affects 10% of people with psoriasis).  However, if you damage your skin (say, cut yourself with a razor), you can sometimes "grow" patches there as well.  After I lost weight, my psoriasis became a lot more manageable (I believe the doctors would now call it "mild," affecting less than 10% of my body).  I have gone year-long stretches without touching my medication.  I can usually pick up a heavy moisturizer (I love Kiehl's), or if it's starting to get bad, I can catch some rays (the sun kills I have talked my dermatologist into allowing me to use tanning beds on occasion).

When I'm having a bad flare up, I have three heavy duty medications to knock it out.  These medications have come a LOOOONG way since I was a kid.  My mom used to have to wrap me up like a mummy at night, using tar-based vaseline types of medications.  They did almost nothing.  Back then, they believed that psoriasis was a dysfunction of the liver and gave you a special diet to follow, which basically said you shouldn't eat carbs.  I remember having to run track in 6th or 7th grade.  It would be cold and windy and I'd be in a short-sleeved gym shirt.  My arms would crack and bleed like chapped lips.  I'm actually very surprised kids didn't make fun of  me.  Maybe I am blocking it out, but much like being a chub most of my life, I don't remember being harassed too much about it.

But I digress.  Currently, I am back to using my medications, and it's not working.  I actually had to make an appointment with the dermatologist.  I haven't seen him in well over a year.  He has this lovely little shot that he can shoot directly into the skin to make it go away.  It sounds gross and it hurts, but it makes it go away (sometimes permanently...he gave me those shots in the knees a few years ago and I haven't had a recurrence since).

Cortisone shots, interestingly enough, clear my psoriasis (I guess it makes sense, since it treats inflammation).  I had to get a cortisone shot seven or eight years ago, and it cleared my psoriasis for about six months.  I was secretly happy about getting my recent cortisone shot for my hip because I was hoping for the same deal.  I got ONE MONTH of psoriasis-free skin.  A MONTH!  That's it?!  And it's almost come back worse than before.  So I made the dermatologist appointment. 

I've had a lot of stuff going on over the last couple of years.  My psoriasis seemed to do okay.  Yet suddenly, it is out of control again.  I'm not even sure what is causing this flare up.  But it's frustrating.  I've had psoriasis since I was a kid, so I'm used to the questions (OH MY GOD, DID YOU GET POISON IVY?!).  When I was a teenager and working at Sears Portrait Studio, one parent refused to let me photograph their kid because they didn't want to catch whatever I had (guess what, you can't catch it -- it's hereditary, although perhaps I am adopted because no one else in my family seems to have it).  I also had a massage therapist tell me that she had to use rubber gloves for my massage because the redness meant there was blood at the surface and she could catch HIV from me (also untrue...and I don't have HIV anyway).  Maybe my sudden weight gain brought this flare-up with it, so now I get to be grumpy about being chubby AND flaky!

So, tonight I go to Twirly Girls -- which is something I enjoy, so there is no stress there -- and I look forward to meeting the world-famous pole instructor, Pantera at Sapphire in Livermore!  And I guess I hope the stress will die down and I can get back to have clear, beautiful skin!