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Grind Workout:Fitness With Flava [VHS]
Grind Workout:Fitness With Flava [VHS]
Offered by Safe Secure Deals
Price: $4.19
35 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Part of my (antique) VHS workout collection, December 12, 2011
As I wrote in the original Grind workout review, this was one of my favorite "workouts" in the 90s. I think these videos catered to "my" generation. I was a teen in the 90s and loved R&B and hip-hop. Back then, I didn't really have workout goals, let alone workout to lose weight or for health matters. I just liked to do whatever was fun and got me moving. The Grind videos gave me exactly what I needed, something fun, with great music that I could do with my sister and my friends.

I'm actually kind of stuck in the 90s (music-wise) so I'm a bit biased because I love the feeling I get when I hear 90s hip-hop/r&b. This video takes me back to a fun time when I actually had the time and desire to follow bands/artists and watch their music videos. If you're a dancer and grew up in the 90s, then you know what kind of an impact Janet Jackson had on our generation. I thought this video was so cool back in the day because Janet's choreographer was actually the main instructor (along with Eric, who can't dance if his life depended on it) in this video.

This video is more laid back than the first one, but it's still really cool and fun. If you're totally uninterested in the music and groove of the 90s, you'll probably want to pass on this one. But if you're like me, and still request 90s songs at parties and weddings, you'll be kicking yourself for not finding these videos sooner. This series is "da bomb".

Grind Workout: Hip Hop Aerobics [VHS]
Grind Workout: Hip Hop Aerobics [VHS]
Offered by Safe Secure Deals
Price: $6.90
58 used & new from $0.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Takes me back to the good ol' 90s!, December 12, 2011
I bought this VHS when it came out in the 90s. Back then, it was one of my favorite "workouts" because it was just so cool and so fun. The music was the same music we were listening to on the radio. The vibe was the same vibe we wanted to bring to our school dances (I was a teen in the 90s). All in all, it was hilariously fun.

I busted out this VHS more recently, and popped it in on one of those days when I didn't really want to work out, but just wanted to move and have fun (I still have a VHS player). And "oh snap", it was still fun! Even moreso now that it makes me reminisce on my "younger" days of the 90s when I loved hip-hop. The moves are "fly", with none of those booty-poppin'/stripper or complicated poppin/lockin/isolation moves of today. All the dancers in the video are amazing (well minus Eric, who has little rhythm) and bring their own "flava" to the moves. I'm biased because I have such history with the workout, but I think it's supposed to be taken like a dance class where, it's not really supposed to be an intense workout, and the moves aren't really supposed to be done at a club, but it's supposed to get you moving to have a good time. I also think I had a crush on Anthony... I hope that's his name. He was one of the dancers with the dreads that takes his shirt off mid-way through the DVD.

I think people who were around in the 90s and loved hip-hop as much as I did will love this video.

Patrick's Step My Way
Patrick's Step My Way
DVD ~ Patrick Goudeau
Price: $14.99
12 used & new from $7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the dancer and the stepper, and anyone who wants to be!, December 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Patrick's Step My Way (DVD)
I love this DVD. I have been looking for a step DVD like this for a long time and I'm almost upset I hadn't bought any of Patrick's DVDs sooner.

As a dancer and an advanced stepper, I found this DVD to be a nice steady-state cardio workout (though I think if I used 2 risers instead of 1 it could have a more "interval" feel to it). I love step workouts with complex choreography because it makes the time fly by while at the same time giving you a great, fun workout. I found Patrick's cueing to be impeccable and his method of teaching to be really effective.

There were 3 combos (plus 1 bonus) in the video and each combo was broken down by first teaching it with the utmost basic steps, then layering and layering on choreography and changes until you had a quite complex combo. I was able to do the whole DVD from start to finish without any mishaps or fumbles (which is not what I found with some of the Amy Bento DVDs that I love so much), and I think it is because of Patrick's layering method and his cueing.

Now, this DVD is labelled "advanced". I think the misconception (among the people who have given it negative reviews) is that in this case, I believe "advanced" not only implies having had stepping experience (names of basic steps, experience facing different directions, etc), but also, I think it implies that the stepper have a good understanding of spatial orientation and movement/rhythm. Lacking these things, I think that is where the layering could get confusing because Patrick loves to "step his way" and change direction and work across and around the step. Not to say that you can't learn the combos with more practice, I just think that it is impossible to truly enjoy the video if you are tripping all over your feet and not knowing which way to turn. If you don't like complex choreography, I recommend Gin Miller's Simply Interval: Short and Sweet DVD.

Besides the semi-poor DVD quality, there's nothing negative I can say about the actual workout. The combos are fun. The music is upbeat and fantastic. Patrick and the girls can really groove and look like they are really enjoying themselves. To address another reviewer: I think the girls are really fit, and beyond that, they are downright cool! Even just between segments, when they're just supposed to be marching in place, they are grooving like they are the 2 coolest chicks at the club, and I'd love to be down with them! I know some people can only be inspired by extremely thin and perky instructors, but for me, I've walked out of many classes and stopped many programs because the instructor (though thin and model-like) had absolutely no cueing ability, rhythm and just looked/grooved plain-cheesy. So, to each one's own. But this dance-y/complex step DVD is definitely for me!

C2G / Cables To Go 40405 3.5 mm M/F Stereo Audio Extension Cable, Black (1.5 feet/0.45 Meters)
C2G / Cables To Go 40405 3.5 mm M/F Stereo Audio Extension Cable, Black (1.5 feet/0.45 Meters)
Price: $3.62
42 used & new from $1.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible., December 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There's not much else I can say.

I ordered this audio extension cable for my computer at work. When I'm working in my cubicle I like to listen to music, but my work entails me typing in front of my monitor, then sometimes sliding my chair over to write on documents on my desk. My standard length earphones were not long enough, so whenever I'd slide my chair away from the computer, the earphones would pull out of my ears.

I thought this extension would be a perfect solution as they were not too long (to tangle) but also super affordable. I guess I got what I paid for. I tried them out for the first time this morning and the sound quality through them was horrible. The audio was distorted and echo-y, and the male part fit loosely in my computer's earphone jack. I don't like being so negative, but frankly, this is a piece of junk. Please don't waste your money.

Amy Bento's Hi/Lo Dynamics
Amy Bento's Hi/Lo Dynamics
DVD ~ Amy Bento
Price: $12.31
21 used & new from $4.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice blend of plyo and aerobics, October 18, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amy Bento's Hi/Lo Dynamics (DVD)
I really like Amy as an instructor. She is enthusiastic and encouraging, cues early and her personality just seems really real. I especially admired her in this DVD because it was recorded only a few months after she gave birth, and it showed that even instructors have to go through the whole process and work hard when on the road back to being physically fit.

I have most of Amy's advanced step DVDs (1-3) and I like them all. One of them is always in my regular DVD rotation. This hi/lo DVD is slowly becoming one that I enjoy doing more and more. I got it a while ago and at the time I had been doing my Insanity/Advanced Step rotation (when I was very fit cardio-wise), and I found it a little easy. I haven't really been working out religiously in the past 3 months and so I popped in this DVD a few weekends ago in an attempt to kick-start a routine again. I thought I would do the 25 minute (or so) option of plyo intervals only thinking that the shortest version would be the easiest. Not that it was a bad idea, but it definitely proved to be way too challenging and I was winded throughout the whole workout. I should know better that interval training is never easy when you're trying to ease your way back into a routine from zero cardio.

Since then I'm getting back into shape and I've done the full workout, as well as, trying the plyo only version again. Both are still fun and challenging for me, and the more I get to know the choreography, the more I can get into it and really enjoy it. I love that you don't need equipment for the workout and I also really love that there are variations in workouts and lengths of time because sometimes I just don't want to do the whole workout or I want to do a quick cardio workout and then do some weights.

The only gripe I have is that you need some room to do some of the movements full-out, as a few parts really travel both forwards/backwards and side-to-side, and I don't have that much room in my living room. But all-in-all, if you enjoy aerobics and plyo (as I do), I think this is the perfect blend of low and high impact, and it also has a nice little abs section in the end to complete the package.

Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer Natural Flavor By Vega - 36.6 Ounces
Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer Natural Flavor By Vega - 36.6 Ounces

5.0 out of 5 stars My daily staple, October 18, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My journey from fad diets to consistent clean eating has been a long one. A long time ago, I started off learning about nutrition with the soul goal of weight loss/maintenance (and back then, all for superficial reasons, too). After trying a lot of extreme diets, the road has led me to a new paradigm of seeing food as energy and fuel. And with that, I am a lot more in touch with how my body reacts (both positively and negatively) with what I ingest. More recently, I've tried to make the move even closer to a plant based diet and that is where Vega has come into play in my daily diet.

I've tried all the flavors of Vega (via single packets), and after trying them all, I decided that I prefer the natural flavor over all the others (my favorite flavored Vega is the vanilla chai). I like to taste everything that I put in my morning shake and I found that the other flavors tend to mask rather than enhance what I add. Even if I add a lot of veggies to the shake, I do always have almond milk and a banana in there, too, so I can't really comment on what the natural flavor tastes like plain.

I really like the consistency of the powder, too. It dissolves really well, but it is neither grainy (like some cheap protein powders) nor do I feel like there are any thickeners or ingredients used to add bulk to the shake (which I'm 100% sure shakeology has).

It is just a pure, clean and healthy powder. After I have it in my shake, I feel great all day and I know it's doing it's job. It's not something I crave, nor something I resist. It's just exactly what it is and should be - fuel for optimal health.

TurboFire DVD Workout
TurboFire DVD Workout

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fusion of HIIT, Kickboxing and Yoga... Master of none, December 30, 2010
This review is from: TurboFire DVD Workout (Sports)
My initial Fall 2010 plan was the do the Chalean Extreme/Turbo Fire Hybrid (after finishing my 4th cycle of Insanity). I was really excited as the Insanity program really got me hyped up and on the Beach Body wagon. After I found the hybrid program on one of the forums of the TeamBeachBody website, I gave myself a start date and off I went.

After years of Jari Love weight training workouts and super intense cardio workouts (step, Insanity, HIIT, spinning, BODYattack), I found this hybrid program to fall all the way short. I only got through 2 months and the whole time I was wishing I could switch programs. My lack of enthusiasm had nothing to do with a lack of results (as weight loss isn't my highest priority goal). I think in the case of Turbo Fire, I couldn't get into the workouts as much as I have for other workout DVDs in the past.

Chalene seems great. She's super fit, energetic, not overly bubbly and performs all her moves with good form and technique. I'm sure she'd be awesome in a live class setting, too. For the Turbo Fire workouts, my favorite were the HIIT workouts (probably because they were the most similar to Insanity). For the "fire" workouts, I think I missed something by not having tried Turbo Jam before because when I first tried a "fire" workout, I felt like Chalene was moving too quickly and assuming the viewer knew all the steps she was calling out. As I got to know the moves, it got better, but I think I'm not in love with so much choreography in a kickboxing class (as the few kickboxing classes I've attended have focused on the form and direction of energy of each movement as opposed to making the steps seem so dancey). Asthetically, I didn't really like the set up of the DVD. I like DVDs that seem more personal with just a few instructors. I'm already not keen on attending packed classes at the gym, and this DVD made me feel like I was at the back of class in a sea of stick thin barbies.

I think it's difficult for programs like this to appeal to picky exercisers like me. It attempts to cover all bases, first with the HIIT, then trying to round things out with some dancey kickboxing and "yoga"/stretching. But I find that when programs try to do that, they fuse too many different mentalities together. For myself, I want my HIIT to be more "serious", with athletic looking exercisers that grunt and sweat. I prefer my kickboxing to be more focused and centered, emphasizing the power of the movements. And my belief about "yoga" is that it is the time to connect with your body and breathing and to practice mindfulness and awareness (which is hard to do at the back of the room full of barbies).

As I said in my Chalean Extreme review, I think Chalene workouts are just not my cup of tea. I wouldn't say this series was easy by any means. But it just didn't motivate me or inspire me to continue it after the first 2 months. I probably wouldn't do it again unless someone who wanted to try it needed the company. If you love Chalene or loved Turbo Jam, maybe this is exactly what you're looking for.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2011 12:04 PM PDT

ChaLEAN Extreme DVD Workout
ChaLEAN Extreme DVD Workout
Offered by Beachbody
Price: $109.80

19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of cha..., December 30, 2010
My initial Fall 2010 plan was the do the Chalean Extreme/Turbo Fire Hybrid (after finishing my 4th cycle of Insanity). I was really excited as the Insanity program really got me hyped up and on the Beach Body wagon. After I found the hybrid program on one of the forums of the TeamBeachBody website, I gave myself a start date and off I went.

After years of Jari Love weight training workouts and super intense cardio workouts (step, Insanity, HIIT, spinning, BODYattack), I found this hybrid program to fall all the way short. I only got through 2 months and the whole time I was wishing I could switch programs. My lack of enthusiasm had nothing to do with a lack of results (as weight loss isn't my highest priority goal). It was more that when I'd finish each workout, I felt like I needed more.

Chalene seems great. She's super fit, energetic, not overly bubbly and performs all her moves with good form and technique. I'm sure she'd be awesome in a live class setting, too. For the Chalean Extreme workouts, I just found that the level of difficulty was not high enough, even for someone like me (who does weight train but has more emphasis on intense cardio). I see where she is going with the low rep/high weight progression to higher reps in the 3 phases. And I also see where she is going with the use of compound exercises. But I've just seen and tried other workouts with the same goal that are more effective.

I love the Jari Ripped series (particularly slim & lean, ripped to the core and ripped & chiseled). I've also just purchased some Cathe Friedrich DVDs that are slowly becoming a new addiction. I think Cathe, or even a blend of Cathe and Jari (particularly Cathe's slow & heavy series) will make for much more effective workouts than this Extreme series.

The one thing I did like though was the use of the resistance bands and I learned something new about how to use them for each of the muscle groups. But I just think that the use of the word Extreme was an overstatement. I think that this workout is geared towards those newbies to exercise that bought the DVDs from watching the infomercial or who were already followers of Chalene from Turbo Jam. At least I know now that any of Chalene's DVDs will be at the beginner intermediate level and can recommend them to the appropriate people.

INSANITY Base Kit - DVD Workout
INSANITY Base Kit - DVD Workout
Offered by Beachbody
Price: $144.80

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would give it a 10 out of 5 if I could!, December 30, 2010
Other reviewers have really gone into detail about the Insanity program, the breakdown of each workout and what to expect out of it so I'm just going to write a review about the impact that this program has had on my life.

I'm a 29 year old, active female that's been working out since I was 18. My favorite types of workouts are the kind that either involve a lot of jumping (plyometrics, step, jump rope) or the kind that make you wanna hurl (sprints, spinning, burpees) - or both! This workout definitely involves both. I did my first round of Insanity in January of 2010. Like other reviewers, I agreed that this was the hardest workout video I'd ever done. After the first warm-up, I hurled and at that point I knew I'd forever love this workout.

As of today I've finished 4 cycles of Insanity (not all back-to-back, and the last 2 times were done interspersed with weight-training), and it never gets "easier", which is a great thing. Going from month 1 to month 2, I still experience that sense of fear that you only get before doing a really hard workout. During the first cycle, I lost 25 lbs (though I had put on 30 lbs when I relocated from Toronto to California - which I'm sure had everything to do with my new "American" diet and little to do with exercise, which I still did religiously). I can't say that the program itself was the source of all my weight loss because when I started the Insanity program I simultaneously went back to my normal eating habits (clean eating, and no junk food), but the physical change I experienced was enough to turn a lot of heads. So many people noticed the difference in my weight and fitness level that after I finished my first cycle, 7 of my friends bought the Insanity program and became addicts themselves.

I really like Shaun T in this series, too. In hip-hop abs, I felt he was lacking in the masculinity department. In this series, everyone in the DVD looks like an athlete and you can see that they all work at their own pace - they really push, but also still need to take breaks. I've gone through a lot of aerobics classes and workout DVDs, and generally, there is always one part in every class/DVD that for whatever reason "bugs" me. I have to say that this series is the least "annoying" of any set of DVDs I've done. There are no parts of any of the workouts that I feel like skipping because they're ineffective or parts where I feel bored because I've already mastered the moves. I love that the program keeps you building on each move - you can always do something faster, or jump higher or engage your core even more. When Shaun does have some verbal cueing slip ups, however, you do tend to memorize where exactly they are or when he corrects particular people's form, I find myself saying it along with him ("don't open your legs too wide... Josh. You never want to overstretch your groin muscles"), but the instances are few and far between. The asian "machine" Tanya used to really annoy me, but since so many of my friends do the DVDs now, it has become a running joke to imitate her facial expressions, and now imitating her has become our form of "insanity bonding".

This is the one workout that I think I'll always go back to. And the one workout that I'll always want to do. I've had to force myself not to do a 5th cycle so as to add some variation to my life (I'm currently alternating Amy Bento's advanced step workouts and Jari's ripped weight training DVDs), but I'll probably go back to Insanity some time in the new year. I'm looking forward to trying Insanity Asylum, hopefully it can live up to the bar set by Insanity. My favorite of all favorites by far!! 10 stars!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2011 4:35 PM PDT

Curly Girl: The Handbook
Curly Girl: The Handbook
by Lorraine Massey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
194 used & new from $4.97

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice reference and cute DVD!, December 30, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I received this book yesterday in the mail and I was really excited! I came across the website a few weeks ago and someone in one of the forums mentioned Massey's book and products so I came to to read the reviews about the book. I think I "cheated" a little and maybe read too many of the reviews or looked at too many of the forums because I got so excited about the techniques and products that I ended up buying some of the devacurl products from Beauty Brands and trying the techniques from the naturallycurly website before the book even arrived.

I guess it's not really considered "cheating", but by the time the book came and I read through it, I realized that I had already read most of the advice and techniques for my hair type. The book is still a really great reference to have and I really enjoy the "confessions" of other curly haired girls.

I've gone in phases in my life where I try to embrace my curls and phases where I just want to look "normal". I liked how Massey quoted what was said about curly haired girls on the Bravo show "Millionaire Matchmatcher" (I watch that show and Patty always tells the girls on it to straighten their hair for their dates). I, too, have always thought men liked straight haired girls better. And honestly, my perceived experience was that men would give me more attention when my hair was straight. What I'm realizing now is that I didn't know how to bring out my curls without frizz or how to take care of my curly hair that when I did wear it curly, not only did I feel ugly (therefore giving off more insecurity), my hair actually looked unruly and ugly.

In the few short weeks that I've followed some of the techniques (no pooing, plopping, diffusing), my hair is so beautiful. I thought my hair was just wavy and now I've realized that I actually have defined botacelli curls! I love how they say that taking care of curly hair is like taking care of a cashmere sweater. I used to be the queen of buns and braids, but now I let my hair free and it actually feels soft, even at the ends. Though I only used to straighten my hair on the weekends, I can feel the difference in the health of it.

The bonus DVD that came with the book was really cute, too. It was nice to see some of the techniques demonstrated by real girls. And I loved the before and after photos they had showing how all the girls used to try to wear their hair straight. It made me feel like other people understood what I've been going through all this time. And truly, in the end, the curly hair is so much more luxurious and beautiful! I was jealous of the girls with the really really curly hair!

Although, I still think I'll always be jealous of those straight haired girls who can just wash and go on vacation or after the gym, I'm ready to embrace what God gave me, and I can't wait to see how much more beautiful my curls get as I continue taking care of them like I should have all these years. This book, along with, is a great way to start the transition back to your naturally curly haired self. I knocked off one star because I felt like I was left still wanting a little more from the book (that the website was able to provide), but the book is still a must-have for the curly girl.

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