iTac 2 Level 2 Grip Review | Product Review

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review

I purchased the iTac 2 Level 2 Grip 5 years ago when I first embarked on my pole dancing journey. Aren’t you curious why I still have it to date?


I debated for a long time if it’s still worthwhile to do a product review on such an old product. I did some quick research and found the formula is still the same even though the product has already gone through many renditions of re-packaging and re-labelling.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Directions for use. Old formula suggested to wait 30-60s, now it recommends 1-2 minutes.

Here is the information found on the iTac2 website:

iTac2 Pole Dancing Grip works like an invisible glove turning every square inch of your hands into a gripping surface. iTac2 will improve control and conserve energy.

iTac2 contains organic beeswax and provides a water repellent surface. iTac2 is a low allergy formula that’s easy to apply and long lasting. It will not leave any white residue on your hands and as an organic product it is also very soft on your skin yet provides a very strong and reliable grip. Each 1.6 ounce (45g) tub will provide 50 – 60 applications.

Directions: Take a very small amount of iTac2 on to your finger and rub on to your hands and or body, wait one minute to two minutes for itac2 to activate, so do not keep rubbing your hands together to dry be patient. Best to apply itac2 a couple of minutes prior to starting of an event, you are now ready good luck.

Take a very small amount of iTac2 on to your finger and rub on to your hands and or body, wait one minute to two minutes for itac2 to activate, so do not keep rubbing your hands together to dry be patient.
 Best to apply itac2 a couple of minutes prior to starting of an event, you are now ready good luck.

– See more at: http://itac2.com/pages/what-is-itac2#sthash.4sNO9qYv.dpuf

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Caution label on iTac2

Pole Fitness

As a product that was marketed towards pole dancers, I was disappointed it didn’t do all the amazing things it claimed!

I used to have a 45mm titanium gold x-pole at home and it never worked for me. I followed the instructions every time, varying the amount I use each time and allowing it to dry longer in between and still had no luck. The grip left a nasty mess on the pole that was incredibly hard to clean up*. Personally, I found the grip made my hands more slippery by introducing a new film between my skin and the pole. It pilled and left residual balls that acted more like ball bearings to hasten my slips down the pole. I also tried the grip on my thighs and calves and that didn’t work as well.

Now I’ve switched over to a 45mm chrome which felt a lot more slippery than the titanium gold finish. However, I still practiced for months without using any grip and eventually regained my strength. I’ve been learning the Ayesha (see blog post here) and noticed I wasn’t able to master the move because I was scared my hand would slip off (and it did!). I applied a thin layer on my hands and tried the move again. I was able to miraculously hold the pose for more than 5 seconds and felt completely stable! While the grip was again very hard to clean off, I’m happy to finally say it works!

From experience, the iTac2 works great on chrome finishes, but not so much the titanium gold.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Tub is rather small but lasted me quite a while!

I absolutely hate cleaning this stuff off my pole. As if practice wasn’t enough of a work out, keeping the pole shiny after definitely requires some crazy elbow grease. To clean the grip off my pole, I spray some Windex onto a microfiber cloth and wipe the pole from side to side rather than up and down.

Aerial Arts (silks, hoop, trapeze, straps)

So the grip didn’t seem to work very well on certain poles, but it worked really great on cloth-like surfaces such as all the apparatuses in aerial arts! I first tried this on the silks and it worked like a dream! With one-hour long classes, I would only need to apply and re-apply the grip 2-3 times while doing climbs and tricks on the silk. The grip did leave a sticky residue on the silks on the first and second grabs, but stayed sticky without residue after that.

The grip also works really well on cloth-taped apparatuses like the hoop (lyra), trapeze and straps. I wasn’t particularly slipping on these apparatuses because the tape was really helpful, but I do feel a lot more confident with the grip knowing I won’t slide off. There were times when the grip was so sticky that I had to peel my hands away from the apparatus. Keep in mind though, with parts of the hoop and trapeze that are not taped, you will experience the same problem as with the pole.

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Still many applications left in the tub

Conclusion

The iTac2 was marketed for pole dancers but I found it only worked for the chrome finish, and not the titanium gold. However, for any other porous surfaces such as silks, or taped circus apparatuses, I found the grip very useful!

iTac2 Level 2 (regular strength) Pole Grip Review
Close-up of the iTac2 to show the texture. This stuff is extremely thick and very hard to scrape out.

As for why this little tube has lasted for 5 years? Well, I keep pushing myself to train without grip since it’ll only make me stronger. That, and also it didn’t work that well on my first pole. After switching to a chrome pole, I continued training without any grip just because I’m too lazy to clean it up after.

What pole grips have you used and would highly recommend?

_____________________________________________________________
The iTac2 was purchased by the reviewer and this is not a sponsored review.

Adventures of a Socially Awkward Dancer #1

I think I can carry out a normal conversation. I’m not a social butterfly, not a public speaker, and definitely have my arsenal of awkward moments. People I interact with daily will know I say stupid things all. the. time. and they accept and like me for that (I hope?). Put me in a new environment, mix in some new faces, and I can guarantee you’ll get a good laugh, either at me or with me (hopefully the latter!). I’m pretty sure I can start a series with my awkward stories, so here’s story #1.

I’ve been doing private pole fitness lessons for a few months and I love meeting new students. Since the students book their lessons through my website, I don’t really know how they look in person. When meeting them at the underground parking, I can usually identify them by someone dressed in athletic wear, also looking a little lost (it’s quite a maze in P1!).
Yesterday I had a new student. Like usual, I meet her by the lobby doors to the parking lot. I waited for a few minutes but didn’t see anyone. Finally, from a distance I see two ladies walking towards me. At that instance, I was thinking: Hmmm… is that her? She looks like she’s dressed for pole classes, but who’s the other lady? Did she bring someone to watch me teach? Oh no! Maybe she doesn’t trust me 🙁 Or maybe that’s not even her… Do I say hi? It’ll be so awkward if it’s not her… arghhh

As they walked closer, I smiled and asked, “Hey, are you Elizabeth?” and thank goodness she said yes! Still perplexed at who the other lady is, I waited for her to introduce herself but she didn’t. The other lady looked like she walked out from a magazine photoshoot; she was very chic, walked gracefully in a beautiful dress and heels. I just thought it’ll be so rude not to say hi to the other lady so I aske”Hi, are you Elizabeth’s mom?” There was silence.
After my statement got processed by all three of us, the lady laughed nervously and said “Omg no, I’m not her mom”. My brain was already going, Oh crap, what did I just say?! and in an epic brain fart moment I tried to save myself, “Oh, are you her sister or friend then?” And this whole time, the chic lady was just saying (more so mumbling to herself), “I can’t believe I look like a mom!” but no one told me what’s going on. I still didn’t know who she was and Elizabeth who I just met was looking at the floor and trying so hard to contain her laughter.
By the time we got to the elevator lobby, elevator repairs couldn’t have occurred at a worst time. The elevators took forever to arrive and it was AWKWARDNESS, version 2.0. In my defense, the lady did not look old at all, but Elizabeth just looked very young and it would not be out of the norm for her to bring someone with her. I obviously didn’t say that in case I offended Elizabeth as well! During the seemingly eternal elevator wait, the lady was still muttering in disbelief, “Omg, I can’t believe I look old enough to have a daughter as old as you!”. Then she turns to Elizabeth and presses, “Ok, please tell me how old you are so I feel a little better. 18? 20? ok, at most 23”. 
Poor Elizabeth just shook her head but the lady kept asking her to reveal her age. Elizabeth reluctantly did in a lobbyful of random strangers. I felt soooooo bad and knowing I caused this whole thing made me want to crawl into a corner. I probably let out an audible sigh when the elevator dinged and took us away from this situation! Two elevators arrived at the same time and I secretly hoped the lady would take the other elevator.
I rushed into the elevator, turned around and the lady also followed us in. I was just thinking oh no… this is so embarrassing, now she will know where I live!!!
The conversation took a pleasant turn. The lady broke the silence and asked, “Do you work out? Lift weights?”. Perhaps the way the elevator lighting hit my shoulders and arms really defined my muscles. In hesitation, I replied, “No, I do pole dancing” and Elizabeth chimed in saying “Ya, I’m actually here for her lessons!”.
The doors opened and I hurried out. But the lady was actually really interested, stepped out of the elevator to hold it open and said, “No way! I didn’t know you can get toned just by doing pole dancing! Wait, you teach here? How do I find you?” So I left her my website and she said she and her friend (the one she came here to visit) will be interested in doing some lessons too!
After talking to Elizabeth, I found out she didn’t know the lady. They both got lost in P1 and bumped into each other while trying to find the exit. Note to self: I need to write better instructions!
Overall, it was quite a memorable way to meet people, surely we all talked about it to our friends and families. Elizabeth was super understanding and reassured me it was an awkward situation that could have happened to anyone. I didn’t see the lady again, but actually found her personality very positive and optimistic. She wasn’t offended at me (which I would completely understand if she did!) but was more in shock at the situation while keeping composure and was still so friendly! 

Moral of Socially Awkward Story #1: 

If you don’t know if people were attending an event or party together, don’t assume and guess their relationship. Just ask, Oh, did you come here together? Might still be awkward, but I guarantee it’ll be better than what happened to me!

Or if you have better tips/suggestions, please let me know! 

Did I Get a Fake X-Pole? | Product Review

or… is it just an older version?

If you’re not a pole dancer, you’re probably laughing and wondering why there are ‘real’ or ‘fake’ poles and whether we’re crazy looking for ‘brand name’ ones. To explain this briefly, a dance pole is the biggest investment for a pole dancer. Cheaper/fake ones cut cost on material, designs and safety features that may break, fall on us, or ruin our property (i.e. windows, glass tables, walls, floors, ceilings). Even the cheapest X-Pole costs upward of $300 so it’s quite an investment and not a disposable prop you purchase at novelty shops.

As an X-Pole retailer, I get a lot of questions asking me how to tell if a pole is genuine or fake. Sometimes I’ll get people sending me pictures of an older X-Pole they bought second-hand and worry whether it was fake. I thought this might be a good opportunity to write a comparison post outlining the difference between the older (2010-2013, XX) X-Pole (read full review here) with the newer (2014-current, NX) X-Pole. With so many pictures and reviews of the newer model, this post will be helpful to highlight the changes and ensure you still have a genuine, but just previously loved X-Pole 🙂

What’s new with the post-2014 XPert?

Unboxing the 45mm Chrome XPert

1. Packaging

At first glance in the unboxing photos, there isn’t too much of a change. I was a little disheartened to see the pole did not come in extra cardboard tubes in like previous model. I used to use the tubes to as extra protection inside the carrying case (see here). Inside, the pole were wrapped in cellophane and fit snuggly into a molded cardboard box. Both newer and older packaging adequately protected the pole during shipping and handling.

Updated adjuster cover on XPert XPole

2. No more adjuster cover

In my opinion, this is the best change in the newer poles! One thing I hated about the older model was how finicky the adjuster cover was. For those that are not familiar with it, you can read about it here under the section Problems, or see the picture here. Sometimes the adjuster cover does not tighten and would require you to readjust (maybe -that- is why they call it the ‘adjuster’ cover haha!) the pole. This only happens occasionally but can be very frustrating when it does.

In the new version, the adjuster cover is no longer a moving part but part of Pole A (bottom pole). On the very bottom portion of the pole, there is a red line, and a small nick on the adjuster cover where you would align with the red line. This ensures the three adjuster screws align with the flat portion of the pole. I really think this upgrade is genius!

Laser-etched X-Pole logo on all poles parts and extensions

3. ‘X-Pole’ logo etched on individual pieces

As the leading manufacturer for dance poles, there are unfortunately many counterfeits claiming to be genuine X-Poles. In the newer models, X-Pole has etched their logo on each of the pole pieces (Pole A, Pole B, and extensions). The logo only appears at the top of the pole which provides an indication of which direction the pole should be (although it doesn’t really matter). The etching is fairly faint and not noticeable from afar. In fact, it took very many tries to get a successful, yet blurry photo of the logo. For those that are concern the etching might scratch or catch skin/clothing, rest assure you don’t actually feel the etching when you’re on the pole!
X-Joints and instructions to expand or contract

4. Larger holes for X-Joint

The old X-Poles were notorious for pieces getting stuck together by their X-Joints, with people complaining they aren’t able to disassemble the parts. Luckily, I’ve never had that problem with both my older X-Pole and newer X-Pole. However, to address this problem, X-Pole seem to have made larger holes for the X-Joints and the pole pieces. The Allen key included is the same size as the older model, but now has an additional rubber coating to provide more grip. While I’m not sure how the larger holes will help, X-Pole claims it’s easier to take the pole apart. I personally thought the pole looked nicer with smaller holes.
Tool kit with 2 Allen keys and spare parts!

5. Spare part bonus

As a nice added bonus, X-Pole included 3 extra adjuster screws and 2 extra spin/static screws. It’s a nice little bonus since it would probably be quite difficult to find the right ones in case you lose them.

6. Snug carrying case with diagram

When I was unboxing, I didn’t notice any changes with the carrying case since I was way too excited about the pole itself! From the outside, it looked like the old black carrying case (picture here). I admit it was not the highlight of the pole, so I stashed it away. But when I finally opened up the carrying case a few weeks later, I was surprised they updated the design… I think I LOVE it! The previous one, seen here, had filmsy velcro straps that could easily scratch the pole so I kept the original cardboard tube packaging for extra cushion. In contrast this new case has beautiful sewn in compartments for each pole part, secured by a wide velcro strap and the bigger flap just in case.

The previous carrying case was very modular so sometimes I forget which piece should be stored where. The little legend printed on the inside of the case tells you exactly where each piece should go. And they fit perfectly in it! I rarely need to use the carrying case since I don’t need to carry it around often but at least now I feel they’re super well protected.

Installation Video

I always love watching people’s jaw drop when I say I didn’t hire anyone to install my pole, or I didn’t need to drill holes in my floor and ceiling, or… I installed it in less than 10 minutes alone! To show it really doesn’t take much time or effort, I didn’t speed up the video and it took less than 6 minutes in total. So let’s start off with an installation video.

 

 

_________________________________

Was there anything I missed? Were these changes revolutionary enough to make you upgrade your X-Pole?

Check Out My New Home Pole Studio!

It’s been two months since my last blog post and it’s difficult to get back on schedule after such a long break. There have been some major changes in my life and I thought I’ll share them with you!

First update: I moved! The new place has a 9ft ceiling (compared to the 8ft before) so I’m very excited to try out some new combos with the extra height. There is also a nice floor to ceiling window that allows plenty of light if I want to film during the day. The floor is an oak engineered-hardwood floor so this really brightens up the place and looks so clean on video.

Home pole studio



Second news: I replaced my 45mm titanium gold X-Pert pole with the 45mm chrome X-Pert pole. Nothing wrong with the older model, in fact I loved it (click here to read my review). Reason I changed it is because I eventually do want to try out for competitions and the 45mm chrome is the competition standard so I thought I should start practicing on this new finish. The chrome compared to the titanium gold is a lot sleeker and took some time to get used to the more slippery finish.

Home pole studio

Third upgrade: You’ll notice the pictures in this blog post are SUPER wide angle! I kinda love it since I used to use the Canon T3i with a Canon EF-S 10-18mm F/4.5-5.6 IS STM, or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 with the 14-42mm lens. Both were great camera but neither were ideal. I decided to do a huge splurge and got the Go Pro HERO 4 Black Edition. It’s a great little camera and camcorder for hiking and it seems to work well for my pole videos. The wide angle is great since I don’t have to push the camera as far into a wall as possible to capture the whole pole. The downside is there is a lot of warping, but hopefully I find a angle that’s acceptable 😀

Home pole studio

Final update: I officially started teaching a few months ago and I absolutely love it! The students are so enthusiastic and wonderful learners. I’m probably as excited, if not more excited than them when they’re finally able to get a move. While I don’t think I’ll create videos for beginner tutorials (there are many very good ones on YouTube already!), I will possibly create blog posts with tips to help get these moves!

Thank you everyone for your support! I hope you love these changes as much as I do!

Why do Canadians love brass poles?

Why do Canadians love brass poles?

 

As a self-taught pole dancer, I own a 45mm Titanium Gold X-Pole X-Pert and love it to death (read my review here). I’ve visited a total of three different pole studios in my lifetime: my very first intro class at Aradia Fitness, a bridal shower at Brass Vixen and a few lessons at UV Pole Fitness.
One thing I immediately noticed was the shiny brass poles. Yes, those gold-coloured beauties that also makes your hands smell like copper after class.

 

Aradia Fitness in Vaughan, ON

 

Choosing a pole

Let me start off by telling you how I decided on my current pole at home. Buying a dance pole at home was quite a daunting task for a first timer. There’s an overwhelming combination of choices and it was hard picking something I never tested all the options for.  So to briefly summarize, there are three main options:

Static or spin/static?

This was an easy choice for me. Although the spin/static pole was significantly more expensive it made sense to buy the duo mode one than regret later and potentially lose money reselling it to upgrade. I never regretted my choice and I love doing tricks on spinning mode!

Diameter?

When I first bought my pole, 50mm was the standard and 45mm was the ‘skinny’ pole. Now there’s 40mm, 45mm, 50mm, 53mm and 58mm. The first pole I ever tried was 50mm and it deflated my confidence since I couldn’t hold on. I never tried a 45mm but after much research I settled on it. I’m so glad I did because it’s perfect for me! Competition guidelines have also changed and now uses the 45mm as well 🙂

Finish?

Starting from the most slippery to grippy finishes: stainless steel, chrome, titanium gold, and brass. I won’t mention the powder coated or silicone ones since I’ve never actually seen or use them in person. I chose titanium gold through process of elimination. Brass while grippiest was high maintenance, scratches easily and the most expensive. Chrome was the cheapest and competition standard but may be too slippery. Stainless steel was/is not available for sale on Canada. Titanium gold was an excellent choice then: medium grippiness, low maintenance, available and fairly priced.

 

Brass Vixen on Queen St, Toronto, ON

So going back to the question: Why do Canadians love brass poles?

From my limited sample size of three (hardly a representative population of Canadian pole studios), I came to believe brass poles are the standard in pole studios.
But didn’t I just mention competition standard is chrome? I was confused but didn’t care too much to find out.
Until recently I became an Authorized X-Pole Dealer (click here to visit my shop!) and had to make recommendations on ordering poles for a new studio… I called Los Angeles head office to find out more.
Interestingly,  the manager chuckled when I asked her why the studio poles are mostly made of brass if they’re so much more expensive, higher maintenance, and scratch so easily. I asked if it’s because the climate in Canada is drier and therefore the brass finish helps us Canadians stick more. At least that’s the only reason I could think of. She said she has no idea why Canadians love brass poles so much; the climate isn’t an issues since New Yorkers and Minnesotans all have chrome poles in their studios. After a pause, she asked if I knew the Arabia Fitness franchise. I said I did. Then she said, “It’s probably because Aradia first started ordering brass poles and then everyone else decided to follow them”.
So there we go! Maybe not all Canadian pole studios use brass poles, but the ones I’ve visited in Toronto definitely do. Thanks to Aradia, Toronto studios are graced with beautiful shiny brass poles but also prepares us poorly for pole competitions if we were ever interested. 🙁

 

UV Pole Fitness in Toronto, ON

Summary

With this information, I would personally recommend chrome finishes to pole studios and individuals that are seriously considering competing in the future: they’re cost effective, low maintenance and most importantly competition standard! Titanium gold is an excellent choice for home use but the gold-colour will fade quickly for studio use (do rest assured the grip and plating doesn’t fade). As for brass poles… I’m not sure if following a trend is worth the extra cost and hassle!

* I’m thinking about switching to a Chrome 45mm X-PERT at home to prepare for competitions in the future!

#Journey to Handstands | Day 1-7

Since I didn’t have access to the paid videos accompanying this Journey of Handstands challenge from Cody App, I snooped around the website and made some assumptions on what the day’s challenge was based on the video titles and thumbnails.

Here’s my interpretation:

Day 1: Shoulder work

Since handstands put a lot of pressure on the shoulders and maintaining engaged shoulders, it makes sense to start the challenge by connecting with these muscles. In day one, grab a yoga block (or basketball) and hold it over the head. Engage the shoulders by rolling them back and slide the yoga prop higher, then lower back to neutral position. This exercise aims to warm up the shoulders and strengthen the muscles in the upper shoulders.

Day 2: Chaturanga pushups

Aside from this handstand challenge, chaturanga are great strengthening exercises for the upper arms and core. If you are not familiar with the pose, this is very similar to a push up with the exception that you keep your elbows close to your rib cage as you lower to a hover above the floor. In the lowered position, your arms should resemble grasshopper legs 🙂 I did two sets of 8 chaturanga pushups.

Day 3: Handstand against the wall

This is rather intimidating since it’s only Day 3 and we’re supposed to go into our first handstand. I definitely was not confident about this and found no other safe way to get into a handstand without a gentle kick into the wall. I did this several times until I became comfortable and was able to land very gently on the wall. I then stayed in the handstands with feet against the wall for 30 breaths each (around 60 seconds).

Day 4: Handstand prep pose

We can get into the handstand prep pose by doing a simple forward fold with hands flat on the ground. If your hamstrings are not as flexible, you may step your feet slightly apart until you can comfortably reach the floor with your palms. In this pose, shift your weight back and forth between your hands and feet. If you’re feeling comfortable, you can try this with tippy toes and/or shift more weight onto your hands.

Day 5: Shoulder opening exercise

To take a break from the previous poses that may have added a little strain on the shoulders, Day 5 focuses on stretching the shoulders. You can use the wall or a chair for this pose. If using the wall, stand facing the wall and bend forward at the hip such that your body is around 90 degree. Place hands firmly on the wall around hip height and push hips back as you would in a downward dog. If you’re using a chair, place hands on the top of the seat and do the same. This exercise aims to open your shoulders back.

Day 6: Handstand dips

Taking this challenge one step further is the handstand dips (with the wall). Start off gently kicking into your handstand against the wall and place feet on the wall. Once you feel stable, you can do mini push-ups in this pose (this will feel like a very hard version of the chaturanga pushups!). Make sure your weight is distributed equally and that you’re pushing off with equal strength on both arms to reduce risk of tipping over and falling. I found handstand dips to be challenging and that my dips were more like micro-dips. But that’s ok! I did two sets of 8.

Day 7: Mula Banda checkup

These are also known as L-sit lifts. There are two variations to do this:
1. Start in seated staff pose (L-shape) and place hands firmly on the floor next to your hip. Lift legs and bum off the floor.
2. Start in a kneeling position and place hands firmly on the floor next to your hips. Engage your core and lift bum and legs off the floor.

This pose can be very challenging and requires strength in the arms (to lift the body up), as well as core strength (to maintain the L-shape or kneeling pose). Practice makes perfect, so don’t give up!

Related posts:
Introduction to #Journey to Handstand

DIY Pole Grip for Dry Skin

Pole fitness is such a temperamental activity – your daily performance changes because of your body’s chemistry with the pole. Humidity and temperature both play a big role in determining how well your skin sticks to the pole.

For me, I have very dry skin and will only be able to stick to the pole if I warm up significantly and build up a bit of sweat. However, I found a way around this by DIYing my own pole grip. Please note that this grip only works for dry body parts and not for hands!

This simple pole grip only requires TWO simple ingredients and a spray bottle.

  • Distilled water
  • Glycerin

 

Steps to make Pole Grip:

  1. In a small spray bottle, sterilize the bottle with rubbing alcohol and allow to completely air dry.
  2. Fill approximately 10% of the bottle with glycerin.
  3. Fill the remainder 90% with distilled water, or cooled boiled water.
  4. Replace lid/pump and shake to mix.
  5. Make a fresh batch every week, or keep in the fridge to prolong shelf-life.

How to use the Pole Grip:

  1. You will want to apply the grip to all your contact points (inner thighs, calves, waist, inside elbow, etc) that you anticipate you will be using.
  2. Hold the bottle approximately 10cm away from the skin and spray sparingly.
  3. Allow the mist to dry naturally on your skin. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Avoid getting the grip on your hands as it will be too slippery. Simply wash it off with soap and water.
  5. If the pole feels too slippery after, you may have applied too much. Wipe the pole down with alcohol and adjust how much you spray for the next session.

Random Fact

I originally used this simple mixture as a toner for my face since I have very dry skin. One day I felt too lazy to apply lotion after my shower so I sprayed the toner on my legs and it felt a little tacky to the touch. I tried poling after and realized it was an amazing pole grip! So I’ve been using this for both my toner and pole grip since.

I really wanted to share this with you since I’ve had a hard time finding a pole grip that I liked. Even if this mixture doesn’t work as a pole grip for you, it’ll still make an amazing moisturizing toner for your face! Please give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Bruises, Swelling and Muscle Pain?

If you’re a natural born klutz who walk into door frames, furniture, and walls (like me…), or choose to do activities like pole or aerial arts (also like me!) which constantly leave you covered in bruises, then I highly recommend you stock up and bathe in this:

Arnica is like my holy grail.

What is Arnica?

According to WebMD:

The flower of arnica is used to make medicine.
Arnica is applied to the skin for pain and swelling associated with bruises, aches, sprains, and arthritis. It is also applied to the skin for insect bites, muscle and cartilage pain, chapped lips, and acne.

There are also many other uses for Arnica, such as internal use (which is not recommended!) and for cosmetic purposes. For this review, I will only comment on Arnica applied topically for bruises and swelling.

Holista® Arnica is a clear gel that comes in a squeeze tube

Holista®Arnica Review

Arnica is relatively cheap and in my opinion an effective treatment for bruises. I purchased 3 bottles of 75g for $23CAD from Costco. The gel is clear with a slight yellow tinge and fragrance-free. To use, rub a generous amount onto the bruised and/or swollen area using clean hands. Avoid areas with broken skin. The arnica gel absorbs quickly into the skin and dries to a slight tacky finish after 1-2 minutes. I would recommend air-drying the area for another 5 minutes before covering with clothing. Apply at night time daily until bruises dissipate.

The ingredients for the Holista® Arnica gel is listed below:

Medicinal ingredients:

  • Arnica flower (Arnica montana) 1:1 fluid extract – 15%

Non-medicinal ingredients:

  • Purified water, ethyl alcohol, triethanolamine, acrylates/ C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, PEG -33, PEG -8 dimethicone, PEG -14.
Holista® Arnica is absorbed quickly and dries clear

Is it safe?

Arnica, like other natural remedies, are not pharmaceutically derived chemicals and therefore very little is known about it. Since natural compounds cannot patented, pharmaceutical companies have very little incentive to fund and scientifically test the compounds – either to test if it’s efficacious, effective, or even harmful. However, sources do suggest arnica should not be taken orally (WebMD, 2014). As for topical use, there is no evidence to suggest it is safe nor unsafe.

Is it effective?

Early studies of topical arnica gels and ointments for arthritis, symptoms of the hand and knee – like pain and swelling — have been positive . So far, research is mixed on whether arnica skin treatments can help ease muscle pain. (WebMD, 2014)

A double-blinded randomized control trial found that 20% arnica was effective in reducing bruises after 2 weeks compared to placebo (white petrolatum). (Leu et al, 2010)

I purchased arnica mainly to help with the bruises I develop through pole and aerial arts. I found the gel does help dissipate my bruises quickly. Before I discovered arnica, my bruises would take approximately a week to look less noticeable. After applying arnica, I notice the bruises go away after 2-3 days.

Below are some before and after pictures of my horribly bruised knee. Arnica was applied once daily.

 

Arnica before and after

 

The 6 People You Meet on Classified Ads

Classified ads are a great way to recoup money on some impulsive purchases or items that are no longer of value to you. I’ve been a loyal user of Kijiji for years and found there are 6 distinct personalities you meet through your ad postings.

What spawned this post was a very horrible experience 5 years ago that I would never forget. I first started pole dancing then and purchased my first pole. The pole was 50mm in diameter (instead of 45mm I have now) and was just a little too big for my hands. I posted it on Kijiji and got a few replies. The first response I got was from a lady about 40 minute drive away from me, she was really interested but unfortunately didn’t have a car. She asked me repeatedly if I could deliver it to her house and I foolishly agreed. The ugly part starts when I got to her house, her whole family was there but she wasn’t. The family (mom and 2 sisters) ordered me to carry the pole into their house while they stood and watched. After which the mother demanded me ‘show them’ how to install the pole. I placed the parts in the right place and gave them instructions but she basically told me to install it for her. This was NOT what I signed up for. In the end, she said she didn’t really want it anymore. It was a pretty horrible experience and after that, I became more adamant with classified ads. Luckily, the second buyer offered to come pick it up at my location and said they could figure out how to install it based on YouTube videos!

So with experience, I learned how to filter out potential buyers based on their email responses:

1. The Lowballer

There are items that are currently selling for $300 retail, you post it for $200, and someone messages you for $100 or even $50. Lowballers are generally not serious buyers and you shouldn’t waste your time replying them. Responses from Lowballers are typically rude and disrespectful – they waste your time and tell you your items are not worth much. Finally, most lowballers reply as if they have character limits:
“I’ll pay you $___”
“$___ my offer”
“$___”
In fact, it almost feels they go through every related ad post, quickly type in a bid amount and hope to get a response.

2.  Non-responders

Non-responders are generally courteous people that send out sincere ad replies in which you feel compelled to respond. However, non-responders are those that you never hear back from which leaves you wondering if your response offended them. But then again, how can “Yes, the item is still available. When would you like to meet?” be that offensive? We can only think these people found a better offer elsewhere, or somehow the email got lost in their spam box.

3. Illiterates

I feel bad for calling these people illiterates because they really are not, or at least I don’t think they are. Illiterates choose to read what they want to read on your ad, and email to ask details that are already mentioned. The most common question: “Is the item still available?” when I mentioned that if the ad is up, then it’s still available. Perhaps if all sellers are diligent with this unspoken rule, buyers and sellers can bypass this phase. Other questions include specifications of the product, which can be easily Googled or found in the links provided in the ad.

4. Chatterers

Chatterers are those rare potential buyers that mistaken your ad as a personal ad and tries to strike up conversations not related to the sale. Before the sale, the buyer may try to get a better understanding of why you’re selling the product, and on a very high level of what type of person you are. This information sheds light on the condition of the product and whether the seller is a trustworthy person. However, some Chatterers may continue to email and text you after you’ve made the sales, and even try to get intimate. Depending on some people, this may be a start of a wonderful new friendship/relationship – but this was definitely not for me.

5. Angry Birds

The Angry Birds are a broad category of people that are generally very angry in life. Some are also Lowballers that get angry at you for not lowering the price for them, despite giving you no reason to. Then there are those who get angry for you not being able to meet at location or times convenient only to themselves. Angry Birds show their anger through passive aggressive emails, text messages or even calling to yell at you. Again, learn from me and don’t give out your number if you really don’t have to.

6. Angels

And finally, the Angels make these ad postings all worth it. Angels are like what humans should be – respectful and kind. Angels make reasonable offers, sometimes not even asking for a lower price, they also agree to meet at a time and location convenient for both of you, they’re courteous in their emails, texts and phone calls, and lastly, they’re people you would be happy to sell a good deal to.

As much as I hate posting classified ads, it’s an unnecessary evil to downsizing and selling off items I really don’t need. Are there any other categories I’ve missed? What are your experiences like with selling items through an online marketplace?

 

5 Ideal Requirements for Installing Pole at Home

I live in the beautiful city of Toronto and I love relocating to new neighbourhoods every few years. The change in surrounding is refreshing and gives me so much excitement. In the past 4 years, I’ve moved 3 times and I’m looking forward to moving again!

My dream house for pole
(The Veer Lofts, Seattle, WA)

From moving around so much, I’ve come up with a basic list of requirements for my ideal living space:

  1. A condo or building with exposed ceilings
    As per X-pole’s installation requirements, you would need a stud finder to locate the ceiling joists (the wooden support) under the dry wall material in a house or older building when installing your pole. With condos, the entire ceiling (with the exception of the drop ceiling) is concrete which means you can install your pole almost any where without worrying about damage. I’ve never been charged a damage fee from my landlords.
  2. 9 feet ceilings or higher
    There are many people who have poles installed in much lower ceilings, but the shorter amount of space really limits your potential. The first two condos I lived in had 9ft ceilings and I took this for granted. The third condo I lived at was larger (more space, yay!) but had only the standard 8ft ceilings. That 1 foot difference is quite significant! Even as a person of average height (5’4″), doing a basic invert meant I had to strategically allow my hands to slip a little or start lower, so my feet don’t graze the ceilings.
  3. Sufficient space around the pole
    At minimum, make sure you can’t touch any walls, furniture or decor when you’re walking around the pole and kicking your legs. Of course, the more space the better! If you’re focusing solely on pole tricks and don’t care too much about floor work, you will need the area of approximately the size of queen bed to avoid hitting anything. At least asking ‘Do you think a queen bed can fit here?’ is easier than ‘Do you think I’ll have enough space for my pole?’ when you go house hunting 🙂
  4. Hardwood or laminate floors
    Confessions of a germaphobe: I find carpeted floors to be really dirty. But that aside, hard floors are so much easier for floorwork, pirouettes and dancing. In addition, I have a real fear of getting carpet burns if I was spinning on the pole and slid down too fast. But I guess carpet could be great for cushioning your falls too!
  5. Bonus: Large windows with white walls
    Not really a requirement for pole dancing, but large windows provide great natural light for filming my videos and the white walls are a good backdrop. Windows also let in more sunlight and makes me happier!

So here’s my list of requirements when I go shopping for my new lease! I would bet this is a very different wish list than a non-pole addict looking for a place to call home.