Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review of Artista Active Wear's Monokini

Recently, I posted a photo of myself wearing Artista Active Wear's monokini on Instagram and I received messages asking how well it supported "the girls."  So, Saturday, I went to the studio to test it out.  I did video my review, but apparently didn't realize that camera wasn't focused, so I figured a written review and pieces of my dance on video should suffice.  I recorded this dance at 9:30 PM on a Saturday, after having participated in the Wipeout Run (a 5k with ten obstacles) that same afternoon (and after spending over four hours in the car going to and from the event).  I got ridiculously sunburned.  And I haven't been doing regular pole classes since starting my new job in February.  Now that the disclosures are out of the way, don't expect much from the actual dance.  Just watch the movements and see how the outfit moves with me.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was recently invited to be a Brand Ambassador for Artista.  However, I did purchase this item with my own money.  This review would be the same whether I was reppin' them or not.

First off, I loved how the monokini looked.  I did order a size up (XXXL), as I felt I was between sizes, and I probably would have been fine with the XXL.  Second off, I loved how it felt.  It was comfortable to wear.  No riding up or slipping down.  And no dreaded back rolls.

Now, for how the girls reacted.  In the category of "TMI," although most people probably do know, and again, in the interest of full disclosure, I had a breast lift nine years ago.  However, my boobs are way bigger and sit way lower than I would like.  That being said, they are still way perkier than the boobs I used to have.  If I had tried to wear this outfit back then, my boobs would not have stayed in place.  However, I do have a halter dance bra that would fit just fine under the monokini.  I have to say, though, that I loved that this outfit didn't give me a back roll, and I imagine a bra under it might do that.

At the end of the day, though, I did love the outfit and would recommend it.  If you want to see it in action, check it out below.  And if you want to order it (or anything else) for yourself, you can use my discount code for 10% off: ABALM10.  Just visit

Check out the video and let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Off The Floor: a pole dance documentary

I was recently offered the opportunity to watch Off The Floor, a documentary about Jessica Anderson-Gwin and her dance troupe, Jagged.  I had been a fan of Jagged for many years, but had NO idea of their history.  This month is kind of crazy with NCPP coming up, and I felt like I wouldn't have enough time to fit it in, but something drew me to say yes.  I am so glad I did.

The stereotypical theme of stripper versus modern dance is definitely interwoven throughout the film.  While I tend to shy away from having that argument (strippers do also use poles, so if that is a problem, maybe this isn't the right dance outlet for you....), as a person with a somewhat conservative day job, I do understand it.  I also understand the struggle to find the proper venue for a show.  Not only do the ceilings need to be high enough, and the set-up needs to be right, but the venue has to understand what you'll be doing.  In the beginning of the movie, Jess is calling venues to set up a show, and then tries to explain what pole dance is.  I feel like I made those exact same calls in the early days of the creation of NCPP.  We really only lucked out with a fantastic venue because Ellen had connections.  Otherwise, almost three years later, I might still be making those calls.

It was absolutely amazing to see where Jagged trains.  I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone, but you have to watch it for the sheer brilliance of how their practice space gets set up.  Seriously, I want to live there.  I mean, you know, if they had a space like that here in Northern California that wasn't on International Boulevard in Oakland.  It really does show you the heart that these ladies have.  It is the love of dance and pole that drives them to make due with what they have and create a most beautiful show.  

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I LOVE GROUPS!  I don't want to discount all of the amazing solo dancers I have watched, and I have been very lucky to see some of the most famous pole dancers in person.  I have been completely spoiled to see the best of the best perform.  So I feel like watching the creativity that comes out when a group of polers gets together is like eating the most delicious chocolate and the calories not counting (it's a serious compliment from a fat girl).  

The movie not only follows the path of Jagged and Jessica from approximately 2010 to 2014, but also includes interviews from some of my favorite pole celebrities and pioneers of modern pole.  I also recognized many of the dancers in Jagged from various showcases and competitions that I have attended.  It was a lot of fun to put the pieces together and realize how many of these girls I had watched before.  I also feel like Jagged was way before its time.  Pole was very much a solo gig all the way back in 2010.  I started poling in 2009.  I attended California Pole Dance in 2010.  All solos.  Pole Show LA had some doubles and groups.  Then Pole Convention had doubles and groups.  I'm sure there were plenty of doubles and groups happening before I realized it but I still remember seeing Mina and Nadia perform for the first time and being completely blown away.  I also remember watching Jagged compete at Masters (maybe this was 2012 or 2013?  I'm getting old).  They were beautiful to watch, and perhaps that is where my love affair with groups began.  

I really believe that polers should watch this documentary.  It does a great job of showing, not only how pole dancers are often treated, but how difficult it is to be an artist.  These ladies put their hearts, souls, and, often, all of their money into this art.  This movie is especially for those polers who are just starting to dance.  For every one of them who won't have to hear, "isn't pole dancing for strippers?"  (Because, let's be honest, even if you support strippers, it gets old when everyone asks you that question.)  A debt of gratitude is owed to all of the pole dancers that came before them.  Fawnia in 1994.  Sheila in 2000.  And every amazing poler since.  One of the girls in the movie had a great line:  The pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their back.  I believe that Jessica and Jagged are part of pole history and I applaud them for sharing themselves with us in this movie.  

Jessica is competing this weekend in PSO's Nationals championship.  In honor of Jess, Off The Floor is offering a $3 discount off the price of the movie.  Just use the code: USNPC.  I am a busy person and I often find myself having a hard time sitting through movies, but I found this one to be engaging and completely worth 90 minutes.  The website is:  

Go watch it, come let me know what you thought, then wish Jessica good luck this weekend at Nationals!