Saturday, July 31, 2010

English Paper #2: A New Way To Exercise

So, here is the second installment of Kayla's College Adventure ^.^

This particular paper is my favorite of the three I wrote for this English 101 class-Maybe since it has something to do with one of my new found passions:: Pole Dancing!

Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the witty banter of yours truly.

P.s. My original grade on this was a B+, but when I did all the corrections I got it bumped to an A-. Not too shabby if I do say so myself ;)


A New Way to Exercise

If I came right out and told you that I was a pole dancer, would you automatically assume I worked as an exotic dancer in some lively dance club, or would you assume I did pole fitness, a type of exercise used to keep in shape and tone one’s body? If I had to choose, I would likely say that exotic dancer would win out for the most common assumption made by a person, particularly someone who is not educated in the art of the pole. Going a step further, I have to wonder if they are aware of the fact that if a person becomes exceptionally good at pole dancing, they can go on to compete and perform professionally, or they can even take it a step further and join the circus! Unfortunately, pole dancing is not considered a traditional exercise, and is frowned upon, as well as not readily discussed in everyday society because of the misconceptions surrounding it. According to Debbie Mendel, the author of Addicted to Stress, pole dancing is a form of self expression that helps articulate certain emotions or events, similar to that of any other type of dancing. If people would only wake up, and view pole dancing for what it really is: a simple and effective way to exercise! The word “exercise”, however, is viewed as a taboo in today’s society: a chore that needs to be accomplished daily, similarly compared to things like taking out the trash, or washing the dishes. If people could have fun and actually enjoy exercising, more would be apt to do it, which brings me to my subject: pole dancing is more effective then a workout at the gym.

Some people think exercise is just exercise, and there is no escaping the monotony of its daily routine, but I would have to wholeheartedly disagree. There are so many different ways you can execute a certain exercise and keep in shape, from the machines that help you on your weight loss journey, to the classes and instructors that give you the knowledge to succeed on your own. Many gyms have both of those individual factors plus some, but to certain people, those factors can be quite overwhelming and more then a little intimidating. For example, a single person might need a treadmill for their aerobic training, a range of different sized weights for strength training, another machine for toning just a single part of their body, and a yoga teacher to help with breathing, just to name a few. With a pole, however, it is so much simpler: a single piece of exercise equipment and you. In fact, did you know that in an average hour, a 130 lb person who walks on the treadmill at the speed of 3.5 mph burns up to 354 calories, but it is said that starting at a beginners level in pole dancing with just the basic spins is roughly equivalent to that 354 calories? Imagine moving up to more advanced tricks and almost doubling, or even tripling that number. The same concept can be said for muscle groups. On the treadmill, you are specifically targeting your leg, thigh, and buttock region (hamstrings, quads, and gluts). If you substitute pole dancing, not only will you be working out all of the muscle groups in your legs, but you will be working to strengthen your core and upper body region (triceps, biceps, deltoids, and pectoral muscles) as well, which is the same as doing several sets of abdominal exercises and weight lifting reps. As if that was not enough already, while you strengthen all those muscle groups, you will also simultaneously be stretching, and becoming more flexible depending on what spin or trick you do.

Exercising is not only good for the physical body in numerous ways including combating illness, managing weight, increasing a person’s overall sleep quality, and decreasing stress levels, but it is also good for the mental aspect of your body as well. Losing and gaining weight can do a number on a person’s confidence level, so no matter how it may be done, weight loss is a huge attitude booster. Whether you are running on a treadmill at the gym, or pulling amateur to advanced tricks off on your personal pole at home, you can guarantee if it has anything to do with physical activity, you are going to reap the benefits! In that way, I can say both exercising at a gym and exercising on a pole are quite similar.

Continuing along with the confidence level boost that exercising can give a person, there is something that I can honestly say pole dancing as an exercise gives more so then a quick trip to the gym: empowerment. Weight loss can undoubtedly give a person confidence, but it cannot necessarily give them a feeling of empowerment and comfort within their own bodies. For example, for a woman, lifting weights and bench pressing doesn’t make you feel sexy like it makes a man feel masculine, but learning to ebb and flow with the beat of the music while working out your body on a pole definitely can! Numerous women (and even some men) of every size, shape, and age come away from a pole dancing class with new insight into their bodies, and how they work not just physically, but mentally. Apparently there is something to say about the practice itself since it is being adopted by big name schools like Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Cambridge believes that the sport is also a way to “empower woman, as well as a fantastic way to exercise and have fun together.”

Calories and confidence are not the only things needed to be considered when thinking about exercising; money is undoubtedly an issue that few people equate with keeping fit. While there are certain gyms that are better then others, it all comes back down to money. To prove my point, I’ve chosen three local gyms: Peak Sports Fitness Club, the YMCA, and Bally Total Fitness. Monthly memberships to these three gyms, including the initial joiners fee, are as followed in the same order as listed above: $198.95, $96.00, $26.99. These totals do not include fees, taxes or any other incidental costs. A good, sturdy pole can be bought for anywhere from $200.00, all the way up to around $400.00. At first glance, that may seem like an expensive piece of equipment, but adding up the numbers over a period twelve months proves otherwise. For argument sake, we will say I purchased a new pole for $300.00. In the case of Peak Sports Fitness, a year would equal around $750.00, so comparatively, it would take close to five months to get my moneys worth on the pole, as opposed to a year membership at the gym. For the YMCA, around $625.00 a year and 6 months. Lastly, the gym with the longest amount of time to equal out our “pole purchase” is Bally Total Fitness, which costs a little under $325.00 a year to be a member, which is roughly what we spent on our pole.

I think the last, and most important factor in judging why pole dancing is better then a workout at the gym is one that everyone, no matter who you are, will be able to relate to. It is pure fun! You will always have those people who love to exercise regardless (me being one of them), but the majority of people viewing exercise as a daily chore will always dread the routine when the time comes, which is probably why society views it as a “taboo.” When I pole dance, time flies by and before I know it, the class is over, and I feel I have not really started exercising yet. However, when I’m in a gym, I’m quite aware of the time being spent on each piece of machinery, and my effort being put into all that time. If people enjoyed themselves while exercising, there is no doubt in my mind more people would be more apt to join in, and we would see a drastic reduction in obesity numbers.

The purpose of this review is not to belittle spending time in a gym, or to tell you you are wasting your time, but rather to give you options. Not exactly the extent of options a gym can offer you, but options that are simpler, a little less intimidating, and quite enjoyable. Pole dancing is not only an art form, but it is the best exercise I have ever gotten! Many people have seen the effects of my pole dancing physically through my weight loss and toning, but what they have not seen is my boost in self confidence, my being more comfortable within my own body, and my sheer enjoyment of the sport itself. I still love to do my many other exercise related activities in between pole dancing, but that is because I generally love to exercise. This is a chance for those who love to exercise, like me, to try something new, and those people who view exercising as a “chore,” to shatter that illusion and start treating their body with the respect it deserves!

Works Cited

· Mandel, Debbie. Addicted to Stress: a Woman's 7-step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

· NutriStrategy. "Calories Burned During Exercise." NutriStrategy, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010. .

· Peach, Susan. "How Many Calories Does Pole Dancing Burn?" Http:// Pole Dancing For Fitness, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010. .

· The Age. "Cambridge Offers Pole Dancing Lessons." Http:// The Age, 13 Apr. 2010. Web. 29 June 2010.

· Peak Fitness. “Club Membership Price List.” Peak Fitness & Peak Sports Club, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

· YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Membership Information.” YMCA, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

· Bally Total Fitness. “Become a Member.” Bally Total Fitness, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

Disclaimer:: This paper is the exclusive property and copywrite of The Eclectic Element.

You're 21!

Happy 21st Birthday Emily!!

I hope you have a fabulous day with your family and I can't wait to celebrate your special day on Monday :D

Love ya!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Countdown Begins...

Exactly a week from today...


Dear lord, I have so much to do!

-I still need business cards made and sent to me (any suggestions will be REALLY appreciated).
-I need to get some new nice clothing.
-I need to pre-write posts for this week and next weekend.
-I need to get better {post to come}

And of course there are probably things I'm forgetting about.

But it's going to be SO worth it when I'm on that plan headed to the big apple :)

Let the countdown begin!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Research Papers Make You Tired

Hey all my lovely readers!

I just wanted to quickly let everyone know I have not disappeared even though I haven't been posting anything in over a week >.<

I have a research paper due in my English class (last one thank goodness) and it's literally making me crazy!!

And I'm so tired...

Hang in there everyone-Today I have a conference with my teacher to see how my research is going and hopefully he'll give me the A. O.K.

Love and Energies.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!!

Like every holiday that has passed at The Element, I hope and wish this one is a safe and enjoyable one for everyone and all of your families :)

These are the days that make memories and traditions, so enjoy the day and everything it comes with!

I'm off to spend the day with my family and friends.

Love and Energies.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

English Paper #1: Everyone Deserves and Equal Shot

I recently got my first English paper back from my teacher, and since it's safe to post online now (we have to go through a site that scours the web to make sure we didn't plagiarize before we hand it in), I thought I would go ahead and share it with all my readers to let you all know I'm not just skipping out on my blogging duties ;)

Be sure to let me know what you think about it!!

Love and Energies.

P.s. I got a B+ on it with all the end extra credit corrections I handed in-Apparently a B is actually considered an A in this guy's class, so I guess I'm okay with it.

Although I would have liked that A. Lol


The 504 Plan: Everyone Deserves an Equal Shot

When questioned, no matter who it is, the popular assumption about youth is that “high school is the best years of your life.” It’s advertised on the television, and within books and movies, thus traditionally becoming a major deal throughout the generations; a right of passage if you will. Our parents reminisce about back in the day, and the memories they have about their years in high school. Us younger kids who hear the funny and wonderful stories from our parents about their past simply cannot wait to grow up and become freshmen. Our turn at memories and fun await us once we walk through those halls to our first class as high schoolers. My question to you is what about those of us who are already in high school, and are having trouble with our classes, or the required reading, or even the hallways our friends and fellow classmates seem to walk everyday with no problem? Certain people have problems when it comes to school and need a little help to get an equal shot at an education. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was one of those kids who needed that extra help to see me through my four years of school. This is generally where a 504 plan would come into play.

The section of the 504 law, also called the Rehabilitation Act, was passed by congress in 1973, but was not fully put into effect until about 1977 because the people who passed the law did not completely understand its concept. Those four years in between 1973 and 1977 were looked upon as basically granting access to certain buildings, restrooms, and classrooms for those who needed the help, instead of granting access, as well as, helping people with their educational, physical, and emotional needs. Within the last several years, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has helped expand the law by spreading awareness of what it is, what it states and defines, and also what it’s supposed to encompass when it comes to everything an individual might need. Now, the 504 plan should not be confused with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which is a plan that deals with students with specific learning disabilities and educational needs.

To qualify for a 504 plan, an individual has to have a physical or emotional disability that in any way prohibits, or restricts them from participating in any major life activity. A major life activity is defined as something a person must do in life, some of which include, but are not limited to walking, talking, seeing, and breathing. In my case, I was denied the 504 plan, because in the school and the school district’s eyes, I “seemed” perfectly fit to attend school. That was far from the case, however, and because of this detail I was forced to either go to school when I was able bodied, or be put on homebound status (not to be confused with home schooling). This is how my four years of high school went: short periods in school when I was well, and prolonged homebound absences when I was sick or bedridden. Some of my fellow Lyme Disease sufferers, lovingly referred to as “Lymies,” who were unable to participate in school or school related activities were granted the ability to pursue a 504 plan. When questioned, they said it was the best thing that could have happened to them, and their education. Why I did not meet the qualifications is beyond me, but I do know that this plan would have helped me immensely instead of me struggling to get through high school on my own for four, long years.

When a person suspects that they or someone else they know may need help with school or a school related activity, it is helpful to know the steps in applying for a 504 plan. Generally there are four steps in attaining an individualized 504 plan. Step one consists of being referred by someone such as a parent, physician, teacher, or counselor. Sometimes, if the student him or herself suspects something is wrong and feels they need special help, they can often refer themselves. After the initial referral is brought to the attention of the school and all parties involved, there will be a scheduled evaluation. This is step two in the four step process. In most school districts, there are specialized committees that are designed strictly to carry out these four tasks and to make sure students get the right plan for them. In this type of situation, formalized testing is not required. The committee does is looks at the student’s numerous past records: prior grades up until that point, standardized testing scores, disciplinary actions taken, teacher’s reports, medical records, and so on. When satisfied with the outcome, the committee can either do one of two things: deny the referral or approve it and go about setting up a meeting with everyone involved to discuss what must be done and what type of help is needed. Once the evaluation is completed, and you’re granted a 504, a meeting will be held for you to make a plan of what type of help is needed. This is step number three. Those involved in the meeting will most likely be one or both parents, teachers, the principle, counselors and anyone else pertaining to your case. Depending on the degree and specific area of help needed, certain accommodations will be made to make your days in school much more easily manageable. Of course, accommodations range from situation to situation. A few examples of what can be done are different seat assignments for people who have issues seeing the board, the ability to eat in class for those with low blood sugar problems, or even a pass for an elevator (if your school has it) if you can not take the stairs for one reason or another. The last step in the process is to schedule an annual review with everyone who was involved in the initial meeting to see if and how the changes made in the student’s day to day routine have helped. Anything that makes your high school days easier can be incorporated into your individual 504.

I can tell you with certainty that if I had had the 504 plan tailored to my needs, I would have been much better off than not having it. As a result, I suffered through my four years of high school. Due to this, I am never going to have fond memories I can share with my children about high school, because when I look back at the time spent, all I’ll remember is the unrealistic deadlines, the constant fighting, and the discriminatory, mean spirited teachers who fought against me instead of trying to work with me. It is the law that education must be provided to all children ages three to twenty-one at the public’s expense despite their ethnicity, sex, economic, or religious backgrounds; it does not state the quality at which the education should be provided. In the overall scheme of things, the 504 plan helps provide the education children need, as well as help with the quality at which it is provided.

Disclaimer:: This paper is the exclusive property and copywrite of The Eclectic Element.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Updates Galore!

I know I've been M.I.A. for the past week, and I do apologize to my readers for leaving them high and dry...

Looking back on the past few posts I've done, I realize that I left you with some seriously big news flashes, and then totally took off!

Can you say cliffhangers!?

I always hate when television shows do that-It majorly sucks to have to wait until next season to see what happened to Bones and Booth Beckett and Castle the characters.

Anyway, here are some updates I'm pretty sure you've been waiting for!


Thankfully, I have a 5 day weekend off from school due to the 4th of July holiday (amen, hallelujah, and THANK GOD!). Which means I did indeed turn in that paper I was having so much trouble on, and I took a test on homophones I've been studying for(then/than, principle/principal, where/wear/were, etc).

I got a B on that (I could have done better though...)

Anyway, I have to wait until next week to find out what I got on my paper, but I'll keep you guys in the loop, and definitely post the paper when it's all "safe."

Now to read The Death of Ivan Ilych, which is what our research paper is going to be on.


Speaking of me having so much trouble getting through this paper, we figured out why!

Apparently, I was reinfected with spirochetes (the little buggers that cause Lyme Disease) from a mosquito bite a month ago while working with my dad outside.

No wonder I was having such horrible brain fog!

Thankfully my medical intuitive picked up on it and put me on a regimen to kill the SOBs asap.


For those of you who are wondering about the condition of Charlie, a.k.a my laptop, he is still hanging in there for now.

*knocks quickly on wood*

I have the charger jimmy-rigged with a rubber band to keep that little blue light on. The unfortunate news is I think I'm going to have to invest in yet another charger to get us through the summer.


In the mean time, I just keep cleaning Charlie out real good after every use.


I alluded to a blogger event that I was invited to towards the end of July in my last Slapdash Sunday post, and promised I would keep you guys informed.

After exchanging a few emails with the MyBlogSpark people putting together the event, I realized I couldn't make it due to a few factors beyond my control.

They were extremely understanding, and apologized for the unfortunate circumstances. Then they go onto say that they are going to send me a package of gluten free products from General Mills for the trouble!

How wonderful are they!?


Last but not least: BlogHer 2010!

I still can't believe it.

Sometimes I sneak another peak at the email just to make sure it's real. LOL

So far everything is going good-I've been sharing emails back and forth with one of the sponsors from the sweepstakes contest, and my flight is booked, as well as my hotel.

I'm flying in bright and early on the 5th, which gives me plenty of time to explore the city until I have to go to dinner at 8:00pm that night.

The best thing is I contacted two of my very good Lymie friends who live in the area and they are going to try to get out and spend the day with me!!! I'm SO excited because this will be the first time we have ever met :)

The only thing I'm worried about are incidental costs. I realized that I'm going to need to get business cards made, buy a few new pieces of clothing, accumulate money for the bus, cabs, shopping, etc.

Hey, where there is a will, there is a way, right!?


I think that just about covers everything! If I missed anything you are all wondering about, just leave me a comment, and I'll be sure to add it to the list :)

Love and Energies.

P.s. I'm headed to downtown Chicago for the day today, so stay on the lookout for that adventure (pictures hopefully included)!