Hula Hoop Your Way to being Fit!

This summer, The Domestic Peach is starting to discover new ways to enhance one’s health and fitness. During the month of August, we have hit the pavement to test out some great new fitness practices and try out some wonderful new recipes that are simple and delicious to whip up in the kitchen. For our first feature from our health and fitness exploration, our new Domestic Peach contributor Suzanne Paddock hit the hula hoop and tested out this new form of exercise as one of Toronto’s favourite alternative fitness studios, Brass Vixens. Here is what Suzanne had to say about the experience…

Have you been to Brass Vixens for a class yet? I highly recommend it. Just going to Brass Vixens itself feels like a fun and sexy adventure – far from your routine workout at the gym. Walking into their Queen West studio feels like entering a sultry, feminine boudoir with an air of naughtiness. But just as your mind starts conjuring up bawdy images, the staff warmly and encouragingly welcomes you – immediately putting you at ease.

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Your eyes start to adjust to the low lighting and you begin to notice all the lavish, feminine touches from the damask wallpaper to the dressing room with the heavy velvet curtains. The space feels thoughtful and responsive, like it anticipated your needs and took care of your creature comforts all the while inviting you to let your guard down and have fun. It twists the classic bordello references around to focus on empowering you to occupy this once taboo space in a playful and supportive way.

If taking a pole dancing class seems a bit daunting (although I highly recommend it!), try “HoopVixens” their all levels hula hoop class. I took the 5:30pm Monday evening class with Miss V. Miss V took quick command of the class with pizzazz, and after a few quick fundamental instructions, we were off hooping. You quickly learn the surprisingly subtle range of motion that hooping actually requires and begin to tune into that sweet spot where your body and the hoop move together. Miss V continued her instructions by adding sultry arm sways and coquettish struts to the hooping.

Of course it’s not that easy for everyone. It took me most of the class before I could maintain long intervals of hooping. At first, the loud WHACK! of my hoop hitting the floor punctuated my attempts. I began to feel a bit discouraged but realized, while trying to walk and hoop at the same time, that I am not a side to side hooper but a front to back. After realizing this, I found my sweet spot and could keep the hoop going, which gave me a sense of accomplishment and relief! Thankfully, everyone drops their hoop at some point and as class continues the dropping tapers off considerably as mine did.

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The first half of class focused entirely on hooping targeting your abdominal muscles, and the second half focused on dancing with the hoop, targeting your arms. Miss V showed us how to fluidly move the hoop around with different grips, hand movements and throws, all the while incorporating sexy hip sways and struts. When it moves, the decorative tape wound around the hoop creates an optical illusion that gives this mesmerizing sense of magic about the burlesque style of dance accompanying it. I liked the cardio of the hooping in the beginning of class but really enjoyed the playfulness and enchantment of the second half.

Miss V described the class as “light, playful and sexy”, and I totally agree. While not an intense workout, the class provided low-level cardio and some ab and arm work. But perhaps just as importantly, it does so in this interesting and unconventional setting that brings out the coquettish and adventurous spirit we all have, which I found to be just as invigorating as the exercise itself.

Suzanne PaddockSuzanne Paddock is a freelance writer in Toronto, Canada. Her interests draw from cultural and gender studies, from health and well-being to sex and sexuality.  Suzanne believes in the value of a life examined and rooted in kindness. To contact Suzanne, please email her directly at suzannepaddock@gmail.com, or via Twitter or Instagram.

Peachy Travels, Part One: Packing to Perfection

I don’t know what it is about the summer time, but something about this season sparks the travel bug in most people. However, traveling can happen all year around, whether you are jetting off for work, escaping the cold winters to a hot destination, or taking that road trip that was inspired by your favourite childhood novel. Whatever the reason may be, travel is a constant activity in our lives. This is why I have decided to do a series of travel-focused posts, starting with this one – how to pack well and proper for your upcoming trip!

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1) Make a packing list, base it on the trip you are taking AND plan out your outfits. Think about the type of trip you are taking, the length of the trip, and what you will require for each day of the trip. For example, if you are going on a Caribbean vacation for a week, you may want to pack an outfit with each evening, plus at least 4 bathing suits so you have a dry one to put on each day. Always take extra undergarments, pack two extra outfits in case of any dirty spills or change in weather, and multi-purpose your shoes so your suitcase is easier to pack and carry. And if you need to, take your outfit planning to the next level by trying things on in advance and pairing things up.

2) Multi-purpose your packed wardrobe. Take some articles of clothing that you can wear on more than one occasion. For example, a black or white cardigan is perfect for day and night time to keep you warm and the shades are neutral and match with any outfit. Pack jeans or pants that you can do a repeat wear with – you can always freshen up an outfit with a new shirt.

3) Roll, fold, and protect accordingly. When you pack, not only do you want to maximize space BUT you want to pack your clothes that prevents them from getting wrinkled or damaged. For softer items of clothing, roll them up. For stiffer items, fold them and put them at the bottom of the suitcase to keep them as flat as possible. For delicate items (such as a cocktail dress or a men’s suit), package them up in a garment bag, then fold over once and pack carefully in the suitcase, preferably in the middle on top of the stiffer items.

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4) Do the double stuffing for the shoes. To keep your shoes in their best form as you travel, stuff the toes of your shoes, minus your runners. This is key for all dress shoes, as it maintains the shape. After you stuff the shoes, put them into plastic bags so any dust or dirt from the bottom of the shoes is kept away from your clothes and other items. Once you complete those two steps, stuff the shoes in your suitcase where there is appropriate space.

5) Go with toiletries that are travel-sized and travel-safe. When traveling, always opt to travel-sized items as they are easy to pack. In addition to the size, make sure your toiletries are packed for safe travels. This means the following: tape closed all bottles and tubes, then put them into sealed plastic bags for further protection. As much as this may be time-consuming, it is better than having a shampoo explosion in your suitcase. 

6) Keeping it fresh. A simple way to keep your clothes and the inside of your suitcase fresh and smelling amazing, put a couple of laundry sheets or a drawer or closet air freshener inside the suitcase. It makes a huge difference.

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Got any other great packing tips? Please share below in the comments section!

Friday Flick – The Devil Wears Prada

tumblr_ng5abjdcoG1tr5s6io1_1280What:  The Devil Wears Prada 

When:  2006

Who:  Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, and Adrian Grenier

What’s the story:  College graduate and aspiring writer Andrea Sachs ventures to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. She lands her first job as a second assistant to Miranda Prestly, the powerful editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, one of the world’s top fashion magazines. Being new to the world of fashion, Andrea is in for a lot more than she bargained for when stepping into this role.

Where:  New York City

Why it’s amazing:  This movie is amazing because you see Andrea rise up in her position, from fashion-lacking and unsure assistant to a confident, knowledgeable and well-dressed executive. Aside from Andrea’s character changes, Miranda Prestly provides a lot of entertainment, highlighting a lot of the stereotypes of a high-powered fashion editor. Lastly, this film is just fabulously girly and an inspirational flick for anyone who aspires to become an editor or publicist.

What is bad about it:  Although the movie hits on typical stereotypes of the fashion and media worlds, it presents those industries in a negative light. Not everyone in these fields are terrible!

Wonderful scene in the movie:  When Andrea is made over and goes from a plain Jane girl to a fabulous fashionista. Even her boyfriend is blown away from the change!

Fun Fact: Actresses Juliette Lewis and Claire Danes auditioned for the role of Andy.

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To see the previous Friday Flick post on The Blind Side, click HERE

 

Tatyana: Adding the Vintage Flare to Fashion

During a recent downtown jaunt to Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, I came across a store called Tatyana. An instant wave of excitement came over me, as I remembered this vintage-inspired brand during a trip I took to Las Vegas a few years back. As someone who enjoys embracing the clothing trends of the great decades gone by, I love that this wonderful brand has landed in Toronto’s fashion district.

Founded by Tatyana Khomyakova, Tatyana produces fashions that are inspired by the eras of the 1940s and 1950s. Each design is carefully crafted, instilling nostalgia from these two decades while keeping up incredible quality and cut to the wearer. Aside from the brand’s beautiful clothes, Tatyana also incorporates shoes, purses, and accessories into mix, which helps any shopper complete their desired look.

Here are some of my favourite things that I discovered in the store in Toronto (that is also online on the brand’s website):

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SHIRLEE TEGGE DRESS, $76

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SAILOR BLOUSE, $55

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POODLES IN PARIS SKIRT, $112

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CHARLIE JUMPER, $73

Currently, Tatyana has self-titled boutiques in Nevada (Las Vegas and Henderson), California (Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego), Florida (Fort Lauderdale), Nashville, Salt Lake City, Bloomington, New York City, and Toronto.

For exact store locations and to access Tatyana’s online store, visit www.tatyana.com