Forearm Hamburger, A Practical Approach

I realized too late that I mis-titled my last hip circle post, because in it I didn’t really offer a progression for training hip circles at all and instead just got really excited about analyzing stuff, and in the one before that I just melted into math and spinning and yay!!! Here’s an actual training progression with NO MATH. Super swear.

NB: This progression is demonstrated on lyra because that’s what was hanging in the gym and even though I have pulleys that make changing apparatuses take one literal minute, I am a lazy brat and didn’t feel like it. (You guyyyyys, the lyra is 40 poooouuuuuunds….) There are a very few minor differences, which I’ll mention along the way, but everything here applies to trapeze and everything in the last post applies to lyra.

Step 1: Minor Bitching.

If you’ve trained with me irl you know that I believe that aerial work should be neither painful nor scary, within reason. This means that bruises/burns from regular training shouldn’t be so bad that they last for days and keep you grounded, and students should feel nothing worse than apprehension and excitement before attempting a new skill. Both pain and fear are indicators that a skill is being attempted without adequate facility on the apparatus, out of sequence in a responsible training progression, or with substandard knowledge of how the skill itself works. Pain and fear shouldn’t be a source of shame, however: they’re just another useful tool in our bag of training tricks that tells us how we should proceed.

If you’re afraid of hip circles or if they tear the crap out of your forearms/hips, don’t worry! I’m here for helping! I address proper bar placement right at the beginning of the last hip circle post though, so I won’t address it here. If you’re unsure or if you’re still tearing your hips apart, go back and take a look-see.

Step 2: Clothesline

Do a pull over mount on the bar and stay piked so you look like a paira pants flopped over a clothesline. With your legs straight and your arms overhead, pull your legs to your chest and your chest to your legs. Try to put your nipples on your knees and lick your shins. Make sure you keep your abs engaged or the lyra/trapeze will try to cut your in half because they are giant bullies. If your hips can’t take it, do this in hammock or in a fabric loop first.

Just, you know what, just disregard the blindfold. Don’t make it weird.

Step 3

Hanging upside down like the clothesline pants before, bend your knees and grab your legs behind your thighs. (I know some folks perform these without grabbing the thighs, but I feel better having beginners hold on.) I prefer to grip my two hamstring tendons, but where you put your hands is all personal preference. Find a place where your grip feels the tightest. Maybe ask a friend to try to pull you out of the sky. For science.

From here, bend and straighten your legs. Experience some rocking. Readjust your hip placement on the bar if the lyra bites you. The point of this drill is to find the un-painy sweet spot on your hips, so squiggle around until you find that happy place for the bar (Not your pelvis. Not your pubic bone.).

Step 4

Before we get to the fill skill, we must learn and practice an escape. Almost every trick has an escape: what to do if something goes horribly wrong and you miss a catch, slip, become a wet noodle, or have to bail. In the case of hip circles, there are several options:

  1. Do not let go under any circumstances whatsoever. Hold your legs like someone’s trying to take them from you and deal with the bar/bone scraping. If you fail to complete a rotation, you will just swing back and forth until you come to a stop under the bar in clothesline.You might have a bruise. You will be fine. You will feel silly.
  2. Do a quick hand switch from the backs of the knees to the bar right as your chest starts to come up to 9 o’clock. This is the escape shown in the vid below. I’m recommending it at this point in the progression because I see a couple common tendencies for students who are just starting to work hip circles: When they feel they don’t have enough momentum to complete a full rotation, they get scared and let go without knowing where to go, and/or they’re taken off guard by the momentum once they’re able to generate it and lose their grip on the backs of their thighs.
  3. Stop the rotation in catcher’s. I won’t address this here, but I might do a future post on catcher’s stuff/reverses/etc. Also, catcher’s isn’t really a thing on lyra.

Step 5

Now that everybody knows what to do if things get out of hand (SO TO SPEAK, HAR HAR), we can turn up the gas. Repeat step 3, but now think about straightening your legs up toward the ceiling. You want to straighten them ON THE WAY UP, not on the way down. The former gives you momentum for a front hip circle (somersault) and the latter gives you momentum for a back hip circle (backward somersault). The latter isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just not the skill we’re working. The objective of this drill is to feel what generates momentum and what doesn’t. It’s like a swing, but you’re upside down so it feels nothing like a swing. But it’s like a swing.

Step 6

This is my favorite little trick. Take a piece or tape or whatever: I used that weird spongy prewrap stuff cause I had it lying around for some reason. Put it across the lyra or between the trapeze ropes about 2ish feet above the bar. Repeat step 5, but now your goal is to catch the tape with your toes and tear it off the lyra on your way down like you’ve won a race! Fun! This is just to give you a physical reference that forces you to straighten your legs before what your brain thinks is right. You brain is wrong. Win the race.

Step 7

You guys, there are a ton of steps.

Hooray, you got the tape! Now you have some idea of how to generate momentum by yourself so that you can do one million rotations and not just three ever slower ones as you use up momentum from the initial dive. Let’s talk about the dive! Start in a belly balance/bird/hip balance with hands still on the bar on either side of the hips. Transfer your hands from the bar to the backs of your thighs as you fold into a pike. This part is scary for some, particularly when diving from the fully extended bird, so teaching your body where it’s going from a more comfortable (for your feelings, not for you body) position is really helpful later.

Step 8

Repeat step 7, but this time take the arms fully off the bar and find a balance in bird before you fold into the pike. Coaches, this is a good time to keep an arm hovering above the student’s heels. If the student tilts too far, you can spot them just enough to keep them from face-planting while still making them responsible for controlling the movement.

Step 9

Next, repeat the dive again this time taking the hands over head after balancing in bird. Don’t try to kick yet, just work on getting used to feeling extended for longer than your brain thinks is okay. Coach spotting becomes inappropriate at this step, because duh, you wouldn’t be able to tuck your legs in! If your coach feels you need more time in step 8 before working without the spot, YOU DO WHAT (S)HE SAYS.

Step 10

“Now I’m ready to try the full rotation, right???”


Because, see, the sucky things about hip circles are getting the kick and the bar placement right. We’ve only worked on both from under the bar up to now, so once your chest comes over the bar it’s uncharted territory. Find a stick. It can be a stick-stick or a broom handle or a pull up bar or a small weight bench bar or a dowel rod or a garden hose or whatever. Mine is the plastic thing from inside a bolt of fabric. Sit on the floor and put the stick on that sweet spot on your hips between your pubic bone and iliac crests. Put your elbows on the stick smashing it down onto your belly, grab the backs of your thighs, and flex your abs. Here’s where you get to play with where exactly you should grab your legs. The stick should be trapped as tightly as possible between your flexed abs and your elbows. I’m happiest when the bar is at the tip of my elbows, but your anatomy might demand different placement. You can ask a friend to try to pull the stick away from you: do not let them take iiiiiiit!

K, now roll! The stick should not move AT ALL! Squeeze! Kegal!!!

Step 11

Still holding the stick, start sitting and straighten your legs to balance in yoga boat. Try to lower your legs to the floor, but DON’T LET GO OF THE STICK. This will be impossible! What should happen, is your legs will pull your entire body down to the floor and you’ll end in a pike. Do this until you feel zero movement of the stick.

Step 12

NOW you get to work on the kick! On the floor. With a stick. Start as before. This time, roll back onto your shoulders and as you roll back forward, stab your toes out at the wall-STAB!!! You will land in a seated pike. Repeat. Remember from my last hyper-analytical post that you should be stabbing your feet at the wall so that when your legs straighten they are parallel to the floor. If you stab your legs so hard toward the wall that your butt scootches forward a little bit, someone should buy you ice creams!

Step 13

NOW go try it on a lyra/trapeze! Start with just one rotation. Do it clean. Do it clean 10 times. Then start training doubles. Do 10 doubles clean. Make them consistent and count every rotation. Refer back to Dat Torque and Hip Circle Progressions For Fun And Profit once you’re consistently doing two or three rotations to further tweak the skill (like learning to make each rotation faster than the one before it). Then, DO ONE MILLION HIP CIRCLES!!!

Btw, I realize now that I did not mention any lyra/trapeze differences. Basically, mash the stick harder on lyra because the bar will want to creep toward your wrists taking your internal organs with it. Yaaaay!

Hip Circle Progressions For Fun And Profit

Hey, circusfriends! As promised, now that I’ve detailed the physics that’s happening in a hip circle, I want to outline a more practical training progression. In my experience, the most difficult part of the hip circle to learn is the kick. More specifically, how momentum is generated after you’ve lost the little bit you got from your initial dive off the bar. The easiest way I’ve found to teach this, is super simply, don’t dive!

Step 1:

Pull over the bar and settle into your hip hang. To find the sweet spot, consider yer pelvic musculature:


Photo from the folks over at Oregon Exercise Therapy!

There are three handy muscles that you should take note of: the sartorius (long ropey guy that goes from the top of your hip bone to the inside of your knee), psoas major and his little brother the iliacus (they snuggle inside the dish of your pelvis and connect your spine to your femur). These three guys are firm but squishy, so put the bar on them and not on the ungoddly nerve nest of pain on the inside of your thigh. You’ll find that if you balance with your legs in parallel you will feel the bar press into your hip flexor friends and you will be joyous and gay and the sun will shine on you, but if you rotate your legs into turn out you will mash on all the angry nerve bundles and they will hurt your feelings.

Put the bar here:


This photo is also from except I drew on it with my skills of an artist.

Step 2:

Fold into your pike, butthole to the sky. Take time here to find where your grip is best on your thighs (for me it’s about an inch and a half above my knees: I grab the tendons), and how hard your have to pull your thighs to your chest and your chest to your thighs to get your elbows to connect with the bar (really fragging hard). Once you’re set, start bending and straightening your legs while all the rest of your body parts remain static and feel yourself rotate. Straighten the legs as you reach the top of your swing, trying to straighten them closer and closer to the ropes every time like so:

Step 3:

The first complete rotation will most likely happen when your legs have straightened at about a 45 degree angle through the ropes, or at about 11 o’clock on the video, if you consider the ropes to be 12 o’clock. The ideal place for the legs to straighten is at 9 o’clock. This allows your shoulders and the majority of your body weight to be at 12 o’clock, so the “anti-torque” (see Dat Dorque) is a minimal as possible. You’ll notice that in the following video my legs straighten lower, at around 8 o’clock and they are kind of lazy-straight with sorta bent knees. That is because I was on a free-standing training apparatus for German wheel at the Madison Circus Space (which is super cool and you should visit the fine folks there!) and you guys, it a little wobbly and I got scurrrrrd!!! I didn’t want to really throw into each rotation, so by straightening my legs at a lower position I was able to keep my angular velocity lower and reduce the amount of force in the horizontal direction, which is what would make the apparatus tip over (hypothetically).

Step 4:

Once you know where the momentum comes from, you can start the skill from a belly balance/hip balance/bird on the bar and REALLY get some speed. Try to make each rotation FASTER than the one before it!


It’s What’s For Dinner, Yo

Confession time, ya’ll. I want to eat all the food 100% of the time forever and ever and ever: I can binge on leafy greens. So what’s a volume eater like me to do if she wants to also be a skinny strong lady so she can do sweet tricks?? Eat a veritable shit ton of vegetables, that’s what!!! Not only are they good for you, nutrient dense, and calorically sparse, but they will make your poops AMAZING. I don’t mean to brag over here, but three times a day, Bristol fours EVERY TIME.


“But Charlie, there’re only so many veggies I can chew in a day! Also, I hate them. Also, I hate you.”

Hold the phone, friend! I am about to teach you how to eat delicious veggies THAT DON’T TASTE LIKE VEGGIES, WHAAAAAAT??? Today, we make gahd dahm BEEF STROGANOFF.

You can make this thing over the course of several days, so don’t freak out if it seems like a long recipe. Most of the stuff you can just throw in your crock pot and forget about. By the way, I cook in volume once a week, so this recipe serves one person for an entire week, or 7 people one time. Don’t be afraid of the quantity: it freezes super well.

Step 1:

Make some collageny bone broth! Get some grass-fed marrow bones and maybe a knuckle bone from a farmer friend and put them in your crock pot with water. Forget about the bones until your house smells like beefy deliciousness. take out the bones, pick the meat off there, and put the broth in the fridge. Skim the fat off there once it’s chilled. If your bones were good, it should look like weird savory jello.

Step 2:

Put a couple heads of cauliflower in your steamer and steam those guys! You don’t have to cut it apart, even: huck the whole thing in! While that’s happening, peel an eggplant and food process it up with a pound of grass fed beef. Make sure it mixes super well: it should look like a big glorp of slightly weird colored beef rather than ground beef with eggplant hunks in it. COOK THAT SHIT. Throw in some salt, a hunk of thyme sprigs, a sage… branch?, and two rosemary speary things. Also, put in a bunch of onion. I used a big red globe onion because I thought it was funny that it was so big.


Step 3:

While the beef is cooking, get like, 6 lbs of mushrooms and food process them into smaller mushrooms. Put them into the crock pot that has the bone broth in it and get that goin while you’re doing everything else. Also, maybe throw a spaghetti squash in the oven.

Step 4:

Fish out the herbs, then pour the mushroomy broth into the beef! Cook until almost all of the liquid is gone. While you’re cooking it down, puree the cauliflower.



Step 5:

Mix the cauliflower into the beefy goodness!




Step 6:

Take the spaghetti squash out and scrape the noodlies onto  a plate. Cover with the beefy goodness and you have crazy delicious, mostly veggie, totally dairy and grain free beef stroganoff that does NOT taste like a plate full of yucky vegetables. It’s like magic, you guys!



Dat Torque

Hip circles are punks, you guys. Your trapeze bar/lyra wants to crush your hip bones and eat all the skin on your forearms if you even get around the bar at all. If you do, it will try to rip all your clothes off. Next post I’ll give you a progression, but first let’s look at what’s happening in most people’s dead zone: that point at which you get two or three progressively slower rotations and not a single one past that.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, particularly the one about controlling forward rotations, you know that rotating like a stick makes you go faster and rotating like a lever (or a stick with a joint in the middle. Or a broken stick.) makes you go slower. In a hip circle, you’re moving your weight off center from the point you’re rotating around so you can whip it to generate momentum and go faster. Lookit!

boldsymbol tau = mathbf{r}times mathbf{F},!

Don’t freak out. Imma say some physics stuff, but it’ll be fine, I super swear.

So imagine one of those three pronged spinnie gates at the entrance to the subway. You know, these:


If you walk up to one and hit it with your hand like BAP, it spins because it’s glued on (or whatever) to the post. It does not go flying across the room. You hitting the thing like BAP is a force, which goes in a straight line because that’s how a force, and hitting, works. The part of the force that causes the thingie to spin is the torque. If you hit the very end of the spinnie thing, farthest away from the post, it spins around waaay faster. That’s because there’s more torque. There’s more torque because you applied the force farther away, or at a greater radius away, from the post (the point around which the thing spins). So, torque equals radius times force. See how not scary that was?

Okay, now you’re the spinnie thing. First, let’s make it super simple to see what force and torque are doing. Imagine that we’re looking at you on the trapeze from the side. You are a very pretty pink line.


The force is just how hard you’re being pulled to the ground, which is your mass times gravity, WHICH is just your weight. The part of your weight that causes you to spin is the torque. Like if gravity came up to you and was all BAP on the back of your head. At this point you might be wondering where the other half of your body is. Don’t worry, I know you have legs! I’m just drawing the part of you that’s causing the torque. To start rotating, you need a lot of torque, so you either have to get heavier in like one second or get your weight as far away from the point you’re rotating around (the trapeze) as possible.

“What if I put my arms over my head?”

Faceless internet person, that would be genius!!


In the first half of the rotation (from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock), gravity is your friend and will help you get so much torque! As you start to come up though (from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock), gravity works against you, so it’s creating torque in the wrong direction! No!! How do you make torque small? You either have to get super light in like one second, or get your weight as CLOSE to the point you’re rotating around as possible.

“What if I curl into the tiniest of balls?”

Genius again, nameless stranger!!!


The anti torque is so small! Look how teeny his arrow is!

Keep the torque small from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock (stay in a ball shape).

And as soon as you’re into the second half of the rotation where gravity can help you again (from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock), get your weight as FAR AWAY from the axis of rotation as possible to make your torque super big again.5

Now that we have a basic idea of generally what should happen, let’s look a little more closely at what the upper body (dark pink line) and lower body (light pink line) are doing at various points. At the beginning the upper body can use gravity to increase torque, so the upper body should be as long as possible. The legs are long here because if they weren’t you’d fall off the bar (in a perfect system you’d make them really short or not have them).
1As the upper body reaches 6 o’clock, it gets as short as possible. 2The lower body also gets as short as possible until it reaches 12 o’clock to make the anti torque as small as you can.

“Hold the phone, Charlie! If there’s no torque but there IS anti torque, why don’t I fall backwards? You are saying the crazy things.”

That is true, very perceptive and somewhat precocious internet blog reader acrobat! The thing that keeps you going is your angular momentum. Don’t over think this part: momentum in a circle works just how you think it should: it’s the amount of oomph you have to keep going around. The anti torque will rob you of angular momentum (slow you down), but so long as your angular momentum is greater than the anti torque, you’re fine and you’ll keep spinning. See why it’s important to reduce anti torque as much as you can? 


Physicists are kind of wackadoodle calling angular momentum L, but most of them do good work and are relatively benign so we just let them have their ridiculous letter abbreviations.

As the lower body passes 12 o’clock, it gets as LONG as possible to generate the most torque. The upper body stays short because it’s still generating anti torque. 4See all the torque? The upper body can’t get very long when it passes 12 o’clock because you’re holding your legs, but it should be as long as possible. 5Rinse, repeat!
Now, let’s look at it with real humans! One of my students graciously agreed to let me use the following video stills for the side by sides in this post: thank you, Wren!! Starting position is super good: arms are extended  above the head (Wren’s shoulder flexibility is lovely, but mine leaves a bit to be desired…), legs are as close to horizontal as they can be with balance maintained.1

At first glance, you’d think that it would be an advantage to keep the body as straight as possible for as long as possible, because sticks spin faster than levers. That’s true, but only if the weight of the legs never rotates backwards. The knees are a good indicator of which direction the weight in the legs is actually going. In the top image, the knees are above horizontal (the blue line). That’s fine if they never dip back to the line. In the bottom image, the knees haven’t moved from their starting position at slightly below horizontal. 2

As the upper body dives forward, the arms drop. Remember the part where we want to make the upper body short as we near 6 o’clock? Dropping the arms does exactly that. Check out the knees in the upper panel: they’ve dropped down to the blue line. That means that there’s weight pulling the performer BACKWARDS even this early in the skill. 3Note the knees again. In the bottom panel they’re still in the same position even though the legs are starting to bend, while the knees in the upper panel are a bit lower still.  4Remember how you want to make yourself short from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock to reduce the torque in the wrong direction? Any weight you can throw in the direction you’re spinning will help counter that anti-torque by increasing your momentum. You can pick up a little extra momentum by keeping your legs straight then bending the knees really fast as your upper body nears 6 o’clock. 5You can see how fast the legs have bent by how blurry the feet are. Also, don’t forget about your giant 10 pound head! If you want to pull your weight in, chin to chest, ya’ll!!6Again, look at the blur of the feet to get an idea of speed. Also, note how active the arms are in the lower panel. They’re pulling the chest in to the knees as hard as possible.8As soon as the hips pass 12 o’clock gravity is on your side again, which means you want the lower body to be as long as possible. Many performers focus too much on the chest and straighten the legs too late. It’s about the butt, friends! Notice again how hard the arms are pulling on the legs in the bottom panel. If tension in the arms is maintained from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock, the weight is kept closer to the point you’re rotating around, which reduces anti torque, which helps you maintain momentum until gravity is on your side again. With even a little laxity in the arms, the upper body stretches out and momentum is lost. 9Legs stay straight all the way from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. In the upper panel, the legs haven’t yet straightened at 9 o’clock, which means there’s a lot of unharnessed torque! Also, as soon at the upper body passes 12 o’clock, it gets as long as possible, too. There’s only so much of that that’s possible when you’re holding onto your legs for dear life, so it comes in the form of elongated neck and elongation through the upper arms (elbows press down as chest reaches up). 10Here, the legs in the top panel have straightened just past 9 o’clock, but the neck is short, the upper arms are compressed rather than long, and the arms aren’t pulling the chest toward the thighs. In the lower panel there’s a slight increase in speed as the radius is as long as possible to create the largest torque. The speed is faster here than in the previous image (compare the blur in the face and hair). 11Emphasis on elongating the upper arm: pressing through the elbows and stretching the crown of the head outward.
12Emphasis on keeping very firm tension in the arms to keep the chest close to the legs.13Emphasis on neck lengthening.14As the legs near 6 o’clock and start to bend, the upper body is still well between 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. As such, the upper body should be stretching as long as possible for the biggest radius and the biggest torque. Note the difference in neck length and the difference in speed blurring between the upper and lower panels. 15If the previous steps have been done well, momentum is now working for you: the momentum of the upper body pushes the lower body up and tucking the feet in generates even a bit more momentum in the right direction. The arms are very active and the angle between the femurs and the spine is quite acute. 16Here’s a still from the top of the third rotation for both performers. This is generally the point at which the momentum from the initial drop has run out and all that’s left is the momentum you can generate on your own.


Now that you have an idea (beaten to death) of what physics is doing to ruin your fun/make you have all the fun, go play, video, and see if you can ID your tendencies. Now that your brain gets what’s supposed to happen, in the next post I’ll take you through a progression to get your body to freaking do it already!

T-Bone The Tumor

I disappeared for a while, my friends, and for that I am very sorry! I have a giant back log of sweet posts for ya’ll, which I’m going to start getting up here super asap. Before that craziness gets rolling though, I thought I’d let you know why I’ve abandoned you (if you don’t already know). I was super tumory, you guys!!! I had surgery at the end of July to kill the little shit, and now I’m working my strength back. While I was out, I made a mini series about the ordeal. I play all the humans and all the non-humans are sock puppets. Meet the characters!

The Cell!

The Cell

The Good DNA!
Good DNA

The Bad DNA!


The Baby Tumor!Baby Tumor

T-Bone The Tumor!TBone

The Patient!The Patient

The Doctor!The Doctor

Ratchet Nurse Ratchet!The Nurse

The Surgeon!The Surgeon

The Neurosurgeon!The Neurosurgeon

The Colorectal Surgeon!The Colorectal Surgeon

The Vascular Surgeon!Vascular Surgeon

The Gynocological Surgeon!Gynocological Surgoen

You can watch all 12 fully ridiculous episodes here!


Dear everyone,
Let’s talk about crotches.

My friend Anna recently asked me about ways to avoid upper thigh pinching in diaper wraps on chains (salto/dive roll/360), and I realized that what I was going to suggest to her applies to any maneuver where the apparatus comes between your legs. To describe most clearly I have drawn a picture, but do not worry: I have drawn it in a gentle, comforting pink. Additionally, all of the drawings is this post are gender-neutral, though we should take a moment to acknowledge the insight we get from our circus brothers when it comes to our delicates. What’s good for the gander is definitely good for the goose!
Starting off, consider the anatomy of the Downthere. The pubic symphysis is the cartilage connection between the two halves of the pelvis. It is covered by the triangly part of your thong or g string and sits above all of the down there of the Downthere. The gracillis is the long ropey muscle that runs along the inner thigh: it is often the muscle that people feel stretching the most when they are working center splits and pancakes (straddles). The Butt is the butt.

Now let’s look at the least painful placement for a single strand of fabric, trapeze bar, chain, or strap:
It should sit right in the hip joint between the insertion of the gracillis and the edge of the buttock and should come nowhere near the Tenders.

What happens though, when you’re performing a maneuver on a two-stranded apparatus that crosses in the crotch or you need to sit side-saddle on a trapeze or lyra? In this case, precision is key. Let’s take a look:
The cross happens in the small but slightly less tender region of the Tenders. The Bering Land Bridge of unmentionables. Place carefully in international soil and you’ll be fine.

Lastly, if Beringia is not an option (for example because the fabrics must cross after sitting up into the wrap as in the case of a double fallen angel/double waterfall/double scary dragon) and you have to shoot straight up the center, the aim is to avoid Canada at all costs and cross the fabrics as far into Russia as possible.
The key here is to CLENCH AS YOU’VE NEVER BEFORE CLENCHED before weighting the wrap. You do NOT want a fabric burned Russia.

Hope this helps. I love you all.

Operation Fridge Hand

I went to the hippie-dippie health food store to buy fixins for gluttony-resistant almond butter and came across something magical.

Apricot cyanide

I know what it says on the label, but I’d had them before so it’s not like I’m going to read it.

Apricot pips!!! If you are not aware, the pip is the little nut inside an apricot pit. They are what amaretto is made from and they taste just like it: bitter and sweet, and amazingly fragrant. These little wonders are lovely and amazing and after putting them in some of my not-almond-butter almond butter to make not-amaretto not-almond-butter almond butter, I sat down to have a snack.

The celery, as is its eternal place, was merely the vessel. Deliciously less-terrible for you not-almond butter was the glue, then coconut butter crumbled while cacao nibs danced on top and the whole thing was perfectly presented by a darling row of pip after pip after pip!

Apricot cyanide

Look at the little almondy lovelies!

2/3 of the way down the log, my mouth went numb. It happens sometimes with fresh pineapple, but was more pronounced with the pips, so I googled, realizing I was a little dizzy as well.

This is the amount of pips that are lethal to 50% of ladies my size:

Apricot cyanide

Apricot pips are lethal to humans because they contain cyanide and cyanide makes you die. That was an alarming discovery and that is not very many pips, so I tried to remember how many I’d eaten (as I said, they are delicious!). I figured about 15, and also figured I would be fine, dizziness and stomachache notwithstanding.

To the rescue came Bulletproof Coconut charcoal, not just for accidental poisonings! It’s also good for absorbing “flavenoids” from endogenous gas.

Apricot cyanide

In conclusion, try not to be a glutton like me, and understand that everything has a dose…


A Very Serious Discussion Of A Very Serious Food

Friends, we need to have a sit down. We need to talk about ants on a log. These whimsical, sunshiny sticks of crunchy delight and pure gooey joy metamorphosize into something very sinister indeed once we breech into adulthood. Let’s take it point by disappointing point.

1. Peanut butter is DELICIOUS.

2. Peanut butter is not that great for you. For one, because it’s a legume with a skooshy fake shell that grows underground where it’s warm and moist, it’s prone to mold and insect pressure, and because of THAT it’s usually doused in herba/fungi/insecticides, which also seep into the notnut itself because, as stated, skooshy fake shell.

Truer than you think, sir, truer than you think.

3. You guys, peanut butter is seriously not that great for you. Because it’s a legume and not a nut, it also has a lot of leptins in it (same with grains and beans, fyi). Leptins are the under-desk, sickly tan, ABC Fruit Stripe Gum of membrane proteins: they’re gooey and sticky and they MUST stick immediately to your sweet new khaki cargoes that your mom got you at Kohls last week because they finally went on sale after being totally in style for 2 years and she relented because the pockets are super practical for holding all your items… er, glycans. Long story short, they’re regulator molecules that can either turn the immune system way way up (autoimmune) or way way down (the cancer!).

This was google image #1 when I searched “sinister peanut”.

So what’s a health-conscious lady who just wants to eat adorable food with some freakin’ whimsy to do? Go to the hippy-dippy health food store and buy almond butter, that’s what.

Miss peanut butter.

Hate stirring the almond butter EVERY TIME.

Slowly adapt through overt indignation.

Develop a taste for almond butter.

PREFER almond butter.

Eat way to much almond butter.

So what’s a health-conscious lady who doesn’t want to become monstrously fat to do? Add a bulking agent, that’s what! Here’s whachodo:

1. Obtain some squash! I acquired a buttercup squash and this other one that was not a buttercup, but was… it was green.

2. Cook dem squash! Cut a hole in his head with STABBING, fill with water, put the anti-hole back in and bake on 350 until your kitchen smells like squash.

3. Skchloop out the squash and mix it together with pretty much the whole bag of almond flour (from the hippie-dippie store) and something like 1/2 jar of coconut butter. You will need a very big bowl for this. It will not fit in your 12 cup Cuisinart or Vitamix if those are things that you own (I do not own those things). Use a fork and burn off some of the pounds of almond butter you ate recently because look how many jars full of shame there were.

4. Get weird.

Apricot cyanide

I will fix my spelling tomarrow.

5. On left, the base not-almond butter has lavender blossoms and jasmine oil, the middle is grated ginger and dried hibiscus flowers that I’m pretty sure were supposed to be a tea, and the right is cocoa nibs and finely-chopped apricot pips. All freeze super well!

Just to point out, my solution was not in any way an attempt to throttle my gluttony (affectionately referred to as Operation Fridge Hand).

Bath Salts For When You’re Feeling Crazy

Friends, many of you already know how much better plunking yourself into a hot epsom salt bath can make your muscles feel, but I’m here today to talk to you about another reason to sit in warm salt water. How many of you lovelies experience emotional stress? Let’s take a moment to consider what scenarios might bring it about:

  • You feel an intense desire to scissor-shank a colleague after reading a snarky email he’s signed with an intentionally-punctuated “Thanks.”
  • An ache in your jaw makes you realize you’ve been clenching your teeth in a blood-rage death-bite because an entitled douche nozzle blew past 30 turn-waiting citizens in the merge lane and screamed in front of you right as you dutifully zippered onto the crawling 405
  • You feel a particularly delightful surge of white hot joy when, at the end of your 5th week of diligent practice of an exciting new skill, your first attempt and your 96th attempt are precisely identical

Believe it or not, each one of these scenarios may cause emotional stress! Assume that you have just experienced one of the above stressors: choose your favorite! Now, let’s see what happens in the body as a result. I wonder how the adrenals are doing!


Maybe not so good…stress2


Is emotional stress not so bad?





Christ on a cracker, it’s a pea soup river of catecholamines and corticosteroids!!!


The corticosteroids are dispatched to address the situation quickly and calmly.





Oh god, there are fatty acids EVERYWHERE


NMDA receptors is sluts for magnesium.



Fatty acids be HUNGRY!


Cold, NMDA. Real cold.


stress20They’re not cold, they’re just real dumb.


…which is unfortunate, because if they let TOO much calcium in without enough magnesium around to cock block, the neuronal mitochondria stop functioning and it makes the neuron super die.

Don’t worry friends, it doesn’t have to be this way. Enter a delightfully relaxing, super magnesiummy, and totally legit excuse for extended bathroom me-time: epsom salts!


Btw, if you’re wondering how much you should add to the bathwater and/or how much your body will absorb, here’s some things about that from some dudes who studied pee. If you don’t feel like reading their report, the main take away is that a 1% solution works fairly well: in a standard sized bathtub that’s about 2 1/2 cups of epsom salts. Buy them in a giant bag or box in the grocery store aisle with rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide; don’t spend $10 for a little jar of scented ones!

Also, here’s a bunch of other stuff I read that goes into way more detail than my snarky cartoons:

Magnesium in the Central Nervous System

Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency on the Enhancement of Stress Reactions; Preventative and Therapeutic Implications

Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences

Rapid Recovery from Depression Using Magnesium Treatment

Nitric Oxide Induces Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in Neuronal Cells



Get a Grip, Milkmaid Style

I was asked recently to discuss a bit about grip on fabric (I talked about grip on a horizontal bar previously in Get A Grip). This is how I approach grip on fabric, but if you have another genius way, please let us know!

First, identify your Robin Rood! Your Robin Hood is the webbing between your thumb and forefinger where you would place a bow if you were going to oo de lally oo de lally, etc. Let’s look at this cute cartoon smartguy.

Notice how his wrist is cocked a little off-center from straight so that his Robin Hood lines up with his forearm. (By the way, this is a very strong wrist position and it comes back when you put stress on the hands in wrist locks or on straps.) Here’s another view of the same wrist position, but this time irl:

See the cocked wrist? Now that you know where your Robin Hood is, seat the fabric in your Robin Hood. Make sure that it’s bundled together and there is equal tension on every part. Many people find that if you slide the hand down from above the fabric bundles together nicely:


Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger as tightly around the fabric as tightly as you can. For reference, this grip is exactly the same way you go about milking a cow. First, pinch the teat off with the thumb and forefinger to keep the milk from passing back into the udder:

It is literally the same motion. Pinch the teat. Pinch it.

Next, piano each finger around the teat, maintaining the seal made by the thumb and forefinger.


Remember that you are squeezing milk out: don’t let your forefinger and thumb loosen their grip at the top or you will not get any milk today.4

At this point, all of your fingers should be firmly wrapped around the teat. Take this opportunity to replace your thumb to make sure that the grip is as tight as possible.5

Some people grip with the thumb overlaying the first finger, which is fine.6

I find it more comfortable to place the thumb in between the forefinger and the second finger.

7Repeat with each hand every time you grip the fabric, and as a happy bonus, if you should find yourself in a crisis milking situation you will know how to handle it expertly.