Missy/Ink Fall 2014 Issue On Sale Now!

Missy Ink Fall 2014

Thanks for your patience while waiting for the new Workout Wednesday article. I had the first vocal performance I’ve had in a long time on Friday outside of karaoke, and had to take some extra time for practices beforehand. 😉

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And to show my appreciation, here’s an extra little bonus for you: the Fall 2014 Issue of Missy/Ink Magazine is now in stores! This one is the Deviant Issue. Oooo…. Plus, it’s got a great article on eyeliners, and some awesome Q&A from pin-up and burlesque princess Kerosene Deluxe. Go get yours today!

Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

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Ballet Beautiful

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If burlesque is on one end of the dance scale, it could be said that ballet is on the complete opposite. And yet, ballet dancers have often been popular in pin-up, and even in burlesque routines. Though they are different, both dance styles require a certain fluidity and grace to pull them off. Whether you’re balancing on a chair or en pointe, it doesn’t matter – you have to have the confidence to keep yourself upright! 😉

That being said, ballet dancers have a long-standing tradition of whisking us into the realm of the fantastic and the seemingly impossible. Haven’t you ever wondered how they can stand balancing on their toes like that without showing the slightest hint of agony? Not without a lot of hard work and training for sure. In fact, in the 1970’s, a study was done to find out which athletes were the strongest. All different sports were analyzed and reviewed, and the results were astonishing. Number 1 were football players, but guess who were number 2? Yep. Ballet dancers. The data showed that ballet dancers exerted incredible strength balancing their full weight on the tips of their toes, but it was the fact that they showed no signs of physical discomfort or strain while doing it that shot them near the top. Plus, male dancers also have to be strong enough to lift the female dancers. Just goes to show that beauty and strength don’t have to be exclusive of each other.

Now here’s the interesting part: if ballet dancers are so strong, why are they not typically bulky? Could it be that you can actually be toned and lean yet powerful at the same time? The answer is definitely yes, and with the popularity of ballet-inspired workouts today, many are starting to realize this. Of all of them, there is one series I find I like the most for kicking my backside while making me feel as elegant as the great Karen Kain. Say hello… to Ballet Beautiful.

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Created by Mary Helen Bowers of New York City Ballet fame, Ballet Beautiful is a program that features ballet-inspired workouts to tone muscles all over the body. The sessions are typically 10-15 minutes long, and you can do them individually as part of a weekly regimen, customize the order for your own unique workout, or do them straight through for a total-body experience. And with the birth of her delightful daughter, Mary Helen has expanded her teaching to include prenatal ballet fitness too! And if you still have any doubt of her expertise, consider this: she trained Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan, for which the actress won an Oscar. ‘Nuff said. 😉

The two DVDs I’ve tried from Ballet Beautiful are Body Blast and Total Body Workout. Body Blast contains 4 15-minute workouts for arms, full body, and the butt. Total Body Workout has 6 workouts over the course of an hour focusing on bridge exercises, standing exercises, the outer thighs, inner thighs, abs and arms.  I was definitely aching by the end of the various sessions, and I found the Swan Arms one from Body Blast and the Arms one from Total Body Workout surprisingly to be the most intense. I never would have thought the exercises used in those segments could be so powerful. And the best part? These two workouts usually are not that expensive. I got my copies at Shoppers Drug Mart for like $15.00 each.

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Along with these two DVDs , Mary Helen has written an expanded book for Ballet Beautiful, and has done two ballet-inspired cardio DVDs. You can get the cardio ones through Amazon.ca, and the book through them and Chapters. Your local library may have a copy of the book too, as that is where I got the copy I read. I even found some great stretches in the book that have improved the flexibility in my hips for Kung Fu. Bonus! And if you can’t get those items, no problem! She also offers online classes through her website. For more information about Ballet Beautiful and Mary Helen Bowers, please visit her website at https://www.balletbeautiful.com/.

Again, as with any exercise program, it is always best to consult with your doctor, and play it safe with any moves you feel might be harmful. You alone know your body, and your doctor will be able to help you find alternative moves you can do that will help you achieve your goals without injuring yourself.

Now if you’ll please excuse me, I’ve got some exercises to do. And… pointe!

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

Canuck Crooners: Shakin’ Up North!

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When I was growing up, my father loved playing classic tunes on the tape deck in our 1989 Dodge Caravan. Road trip after road trip was accompanied by these great soundtracks, and I can attribute my love of vintage music to those precious times with him. And of all the music my father played, my favorites were the rockabilly tunes.

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So… what is rockabilly you ask? Ever listened to Wanda Jackson? Johnny Cash? Buddy Holly? Jerry Lee Lewis? Or Elvis in his early days? Then you’ve listened to rockabilly. Birthed in the early 1950’s, it was a musical style that combined country or “hillbilly” with rock ‘n’ roll. Western swing and boogie woogie (yes, that is a musical style :p) also played a part in its development, and it took America by storm for more than a decade.

Even though it faded out of the mainstream in the 60’s, the seeds of rockabilly could never die. John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles were greatly influenced by the style, and the early Beatles tracks used combinations of things that made their predecessors famous. Even the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin found inspiration from these kings and queens of rockabilly, as did the Stray Cats, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Linda Ronstadt, and the Everly Brothers. Shows like Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley kept the memory live on our TV screens, and c’mon—who could forget the amazing soundtrack to American Graffiti?

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As America heated up with the fires of this swingin’ style, do you think that the flames hit an ice wall at the 49th parallel? Heck no! In fact, several great Canadian artists embraced rockabilly with a passion, and developed successful careers of their own. But… can you name any of them? Thanks to Bear Family Records, now you can! Released in 1999, Shakin’ Up North: Canadian Rockabilly Vol. 1 is an awesome collection featuring samplings from 30 of Canada’s rockabilly legends. Bob and Lucille… Hal Willis… Rhythm Jesters… Jerry Palmer… all here for your listening enjoyment.

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First, let’s take a look at what you get with your purchase. I must admit a pin-up tacked up alongside a fisherman, a fish, and a fly wouldn’t make the cover of Vogue, but it seems to fit this collection. Oh Canada… 😉 Still, they used a beautiful pin-up, and inside, you are greeted with photos of some of the original vinyls, shots of the artists, and a nice booklet telling you more about their stories.

Then, we hit the songs. With 30 tracks to choose from, this is a BIG collection. However, the songs are quite short compared to most songs today. Mary Lou by Ted Daigle & the Tremlos, which is the longest song, clocks out at a whopping 2 minutes and 38 seconds. But because you get so many songs, you can put this CD on and have it going for a long time without having to toggle to another album on your playlist.

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I really enjoyed listening to this at work, especially since its happy-go-lucky lyrics and boppin’ tunes had me ready to jive ‘n’ wail without being too much of a distraction from what I was typing. The one drawback is that some of the songs border more on the country side than rockabilly.  The true rockabilly hits include “Jimmy Boy”, “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe”, “She’s a Square”, “Rockin’ Jukebox”, “Come Along With Me”, and “My Pink Cadillac”. Also, only one track is just instrumental, and that is “El Ringo” by Wes Dakus and the Club 93 Rebels. Even still, I found the tracks a treat, and appreciated getting to know some of our Canuck crooners who helped contribute to the rockabilly legend. If you’re looking for a rockin’ trip down memory lane, put on your bobby socks and your blue-suede shoes, grab a milkshake, and get ready for a fun ride with this collection! 🙂

Shakin’ Up North: Canadian Rockabilly Vol. 1 is available through Amazon.ca. My iTunes is down, but if you can find this album there too, take advantage of it. Stay hip, cats!

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up

Workout Wednesday: Burlesque Booty!

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Alright! New Year’s resolution time! As usual, after we’ve gorged ourselves on the finest foods and wines of the holiday season, how many of us strive to work out again and get back into tip-top shape? I’m just as guilty as anyone, but I’ll be really honest here… does anyone else have flashbacks of The Jetsons when they look at a treadmill? Or feel like they’re going nowhere fast on those stationary bikes?

Working out takes… well, work. 😉 But for me, I have found that I’ve lost weight when I’ve done things that don’t feel like exercise to me. It’s come off without me even realizing it because I was too busy having so much fun, or I was just doing something I needed or wanted to do anyway. For example, I used to work for a television station, and would walk an hour there to get to work, and an hour back home. Even just working two shifts a week, I was shocked when people started making comments that I’d lost weight. I hadn’t consciously changed my diet or adopted a strict exercise program, and I wasn’t ill at the time, so the only thing I could attribute it to were those two hours of walking twice a week.

But let’s face it. If we don’t enjoy what we’re doing, we’re most likely not going to stick with it, right? It was a necessity for me to walk to work at that time, but in general, powerwalking and running are exercises in torture for me. Kung Fu is the most challenging and rewarding activity I’ve done physically, and I love it to bits. However, there are times that I don’t feel very feminine with it. I’m the only woman in my class, and sometimes I long for something a little more flirty… and with less bruising.

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Bring on the dance party! Tada! We know that dance can be one of the most aerobic activities, and hey! It’s fun, right? Do I even have to mention Zumba here? With the world of pin-up being a fun, flirty, and empowering environment to boot, I thought it would be cool over the month of January to share some of the DVDs and dance styles I’ve found that have made me feel the most gorgeous and fantastic, and which you can actually try out on this side of the border. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that tickles your fancy as well as your toes. 😉 So without further ado, let’s get these Workout Wednesdays started!

As I’ve mentioned before, the worlds of burlesque and pin-up tend to cross over quite often, with many burlesque performers doing pin-up work, and vice-versa. There is just something about embracing your inner sex kitten and allowing yourself the freedom to move and dance sensually—whether you are doing it on a stage for an audience, in the privacy of your home, or in the controlled setting of a dance class. Burlesque classes are popping up all over in dance schools and gyms across the country, and yet, they can be awkward because of some of the social stigma still found with burlesque. Believe me, the first time I took a burlesque class, I was so excited, but I was also terrified that my friends and family would judge me for it. Fortunately for me, the instructor preferred not to get into the extremely sexual parts of the style, and treated the class as more of a Jazz class. She also set the class as female-only, and for women 18 and over. Even with these safeguards, I still felt self-conscious about it all, and if anyone would ask, I would just say, “I’m going to Dance Class tonight!” 😉 But if it wasn’t for that class, I may never have checked out that shop next door that changed my life, the Drunken Sailor, and may never have started this blog with all of you wonderful readers.

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If you’re not ready to take the step of joining a burlesque class, World Dance New York has produced some phenomenal DVDs in this genre that you can enjoy in the comfort of your home. Hosted by burlesque queens Peekaboo Pointe and Gal Friday, the Best Assets Burlesque Booty Workout and the Rock Bottom Burlesque Booty Workout are programs designed to help you tone and strengthen those gorgeous lower-body muscles while celebrating your femininity and prowess. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to pull a Miley Cyrus without anyone knowing, these workouts are your chance. 😉

Rock Bottom focuses more on the glutes through its lunge and squat variations, while Best Assets offers more Pilates-style leg training to go along with your bumps, grinds, and shimmies. Each DVD is broken into three instructional segments that slowly walk you through the moves, and then a 10-minute dance session with those steps after each one. You can also do the dance sessions as one giant 30-minute session once you’ve done the workout a few times. Gal and Peekaboo definitely make the process fun, and they help show you exactly what you need to do by showing you the moves from various angles—something I appreciate as a visual learner. Plus, you get a glamourous, sexy soundtrack in the background to dance to that is a nice alternative to the usual Buns of Steel material.

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I found these workouts made me sweat in a good way, and gave me a great excuse to wear sexy workout wear without feeling inappropriately dressed or exposed. The one caveat to these workouts, though, is that they can be hard on the knees. You transition from floorwork to standing exercises at times, and there are movements done on the knees. If you have any issues with that part of your body, these may not be the best workouts for you.

As with any exercise program, it is always best to consult with your doctor, and play it safe with any moves you feel might be harmful. You alone know your body, and your doctor will be able to help you find alternative moves you can do that will help you achieve your goals without injuring yourself.

Both Burlesque Booty workouts are available through Amazon.ca, and of course Amazon.com. If you prefer, you can also stream the workouts directly onto your computer through World Dance New York’s website.  For more information about this option, please visit http://worlddancenewyork.com/collections/worldwide-instant-video-streaming.

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Always with love,

Liz

The Canuck Pin-up