Throwing back, moving forward

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#TBT

It seems fitting that New Year’s Eve is a Thursday and the perfect time to “throwback” and reflect. This picture was taken well over 10 years ago (almost thirteen to be specific) and while on the surface it may seem like a great throwback, it actually makes me feel a bit sad and  as it turns out, it was one of the motivating reasons I began penning my novel.

Looking at my size 4 body and luxurious long curly hair, you might think I was sitting on top of the world – the fact is, this picture was taken at a time when my self esteem was at its lowest . At the time it was taken, I was dating a guy who looked at this picture and said, “Not bad. If you could tone up your tummy and work on those triceps, then you’d be really sexy.” With my state of mind being what it was at the time of us dating, I actually believed him.

Just ten more pounds and you’ll be sexy, just grow your hair a bit longer, and then you’ll be hot, paint your nails, wear more makeup, lighten your skin and the world will be your oyster..it’s all BULLSHIT. And it took me a long time to figure out why none of those things are what makes a person sexy or attractive and even longer to really believe it.

I’m in no way blaming him solely for the slashes to my self-esteem and for reducing my value to what one sees on the surface (though I did have fun exacting a small bit of personal revenge  on him in my novel). Magazine covers of North American models and Hollywood actresses did plenty of damage as well. There were no short, brown-skinned, bespectacled girls on the covers that I could relate to and as a result, I tried too hard to be something far out of the realm of my reach. The South Asian cultural pressure to be thin and light skinned (like I had much say in the latter) also took a toll on me. It was the two pressures combined that led me to believe that because I didn’t measure up on either side, I was doomed to a life of spinsterhood with nothing more than buckets of empty wax jars, broken tweezers and Spanx to keep me company for the rest of my life and constantly serve as a reminder of how I failed to measure up. But in the end, I am the one responsible for how I filtered those pressures and how I managed my own expectations.

Now the New Year is upon us, and with it, come resolutions and promises to ourselves to do better, exercise more, eat properly etc. While I agree that after a holiday of serious imbibing and decadence some damage control may be necessary, I no longer resolve to strive for cover model status  and societal (or ignorant, self-absorbed, narcissistic, assholey boyfriend’s ideals – but I’m not bitter or anything 🙂 ) measurements of what an ideal body looks like. I am where I want to be and I am happy with the way I look because I know the most important work to be done starts from the inside, not just the outside.
Many years later, I look at this picture and I know that what makes a person sexy isn’t their size, their clothes, their skin tone or their youth, it is their attitude, their beliefs, their brain, their kindness and so much more. So make your resolutions if you must, stick to your new way of eating and exercising if that is what makes you feel better but know that it won’t be the scale that will tell you that you’re hot it’s the look of approval you give yourself when you stare back at your own image in the mirror and you truly love and adore what you see.

So  let’s “throwback” a beverage, of whatever you love, and toast the incoming New Year as I wish you all a happy, healthy, loving, sweet, sexy, prosperous and spiritually uplifting 2016 – and above all, one filled with personal acceptance and self-love.

#Interview with @JasmineAziz of Sex & Samosas.

This truly made my day! Thank you so much!!!

Lit World Interviews

Not long ago I met an author, one of the best I’ve come across in a one on one way ever, through another great author Dan McNeil. I’ve read and reviewed her book, and you can read the review on LWI by clicking here. What did I say? Read it, but I warn you, if you know my normal reviews and ratings…you will be shocked. Her name is Jasmine Aziz. Her book is:

Jasmine Aziz Sex and Samosas Book Cover

First of all, I think people would like to know how in the world you got into the world of selling vibrators. I think that is somewhat important regarding your book. And in addition, how did you get out of doing that?

Well it isn’t exactly something your Guidance Counsellor in school tells you that you were born to do so no one was more surprised than me when I ended up doing door-to-door dildo sales…

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#Book #Review by @RonovanWrites of Sex and Samosas by Author @JasmineAziz

What a wonderful review of my novel! Ronovan really understands the heart of my book. A review like this is not only gratifying but also validating because he understands the soul behind the story.

#grateful #bookreview

Lit World Interviews

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  • Title: Sex and SamosasSex and Samosas book cover by Author Jasmine Aziz
  • Author: Jasmine Aziz
  • File Size: 541 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0987735705
  • Publisher: Shubblie Publications (March 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085TJWQ6
  • ISBN-10: 0987735705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987735706
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy (Some might say Erotica but the way Ms. Aziz handles the subject, you just don’t get that from it.)

How did I happen to end up reading this book?

I’m not certain what I was expecting when I began reading Sex and Samosas by Jasmine Aziz. I didn’t read any other reviews or even a book description beforehand nor have I since. I had no preconceived ideas about what it was about, except it had the word sex in it and I was cautious. Having read an article about the author, I only knew I…

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Jasmine Aziz, March’s Ottawa-Woman

The pleasure of the shoot was mine!

Ursz(ula) Muntean

I’ve been slacking with my posts on this blog for a long time now. As a result there is a lot of photography work that I will be catching up on posting. Starting with my favorite shots from the shoot with Jasmine Aziz, an Ottawa based author that I photographed back in February for the March issue of the Ottawa Woman Journal. (I had the first photo in mind for the cover but sadly the publisher had a different vision.) Like all the woman I meet through Ottawa-Woman, Jasmin is lovely, very witty and she has a fascinating life story. While you may not be able to pick up a hard copy of the issue in which she talks about her journey you can read it here. She also published her first book, “Sex And Samosas”, which you can pick up here.

Od dłuższego czasu zawalam sprawe z…

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Keep your eyes open when you kiss a boy.

Selena Robins, Author

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In Italian culture, the month of May is dedicated to mom’s everywhere. Let’s go with that. Why one day? Let’s make May the Mother Month.

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Remembering two beautiful women I was privileged to call Mother.

My Mom and Mom-in-Law

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In the short time that my mom held my hand, her teachings have always stayed with me, even when it was tough to smile in the face of some of life’s challenges, something she taught me—a sense of humor is the best gift you give to yourself and others.

Main thing my mom taught me was to treat others even better than I expect to be treated.

She taught me by example to be kind, sensitive, charitable, classy, embrace the arts, and to always have tomato sauce in the freezer and plenty of pasta on hand in case unexpected visitors show up at dinner time.

You know the saying, “You’ve now…

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Read This First: What is a Middle Class Gypsy?

Middle Class Gypsies

For starters, let me just tell you that I call myself a middle class gypsy because I work a 9-5 office job, and I also live in a Bigfoot camper trailer. I suppose my entire life’s philosophy boils down to that one definition, but I think it’s important to understand how I got here, what I believe in, and what I want people to ultimately take away from this blog.

Growing up, I was a bookworm. An intellectual, a kid who loved school to the point of starting homework clubs for my friends. I loved learning, I was curious, I was sharp, and I was determined. But the older I became, the more that curiosity and passion for learning began to take their own form outside of the classroom. Starting around the 6th grade, I started to resent school because I felt that I wasn’t learning or growing there, that I…

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Waxing philosophical – The art of unnatural naturalness

I was born with so much hair on my head that the nurses used to argue about who would get to braid it. The only problem was that my thick mane wasn’t limited to my little head, it continued down my face from my forehead right to my one solid eyebrow. Initially, my relatives said that I was “lucky” to have so much of my face covered in hair but the fact is, for me, it never felt lucky. It marked a lifelong  fight with my follicles that would shape and then reshape my relationship with what is considered conventional beauty.

When I was in my late teens and visiting with family in India, I was getting tired of the constant pressure to consider finding a mate so I decided I would let my facial hair grow out in the hopes that it would alleviate the incessant nagging. Maybe, if they thought I was a boy, I foolishly reasoned with myself, they’d leave me alone.

The unibrow and mini moustache that first grew in wasn’t enough to dissuade the proposals. Once the soul patch and then full goatee took over I was constantly being asked to go to the “salon” and get myself threaded or waxed. One Aunty looked over at me during a wedding ceremony and whispered in my ear, “Darling, don’t be having all this hairy schmairy on your face. Go get it waxed, na? You don’t want to be single forever.”

“What does that matter?” I said. “I’m a natural woman and body hair is natural.”

“You can be natural after marriage. Right now you are looking like a teenage boy in heat.”

What did it matter? Why was it okay for every other Indian man on the street to sport a moustache, but not okay for me to enjoy a little peach fuzz over my lips? Why is excessive body hair acceptable in some cultures but reviled in others? What really is the motivation for hair removal? To beat the heat? To be aerodynamic? To be attractive?

For me, I acquiesced and removed the ‘stache when I found enough crumbs to make a cake on the edges of what threatened to become handlebar extensions. Sure, I might be exaggerating a bit, but the fact is, by virtue of my heritage, I have always been covered in more hair than what I see on the majority of my Western friends and I have struggled with ways of trying to control and make peace with it.

It was in my early twenties that I firmly took charge of my body hair and started waxing, shaving, plucking and threading everything from facial hair to my leg and arm hair.

Finally, by my mid-thirties, I felt like I was in better control and that I was redefining my personal sense of sexy keeping just enough hair everywhere I felt it needed to be. That is until Lamby brought up the subject of pubic hair and how sexy he thought it was for a woman to have no hair there at all.

“Why would I do that?” I asked. “It doesn’t seem natural, plus it sounds painful.”

“Well, if you’re scared…” I could tell from his expression that he didn’t think I would do it and that he was challenging me more for his own personal amusement than for my benefit.

It wasn’t until after I left him that I decided, strictly out of an ill placed desire to stick it to him and prove that I was indeed brave enough to try it, that I endured my first Brazilian wax.

Many people ask me how much of “Sex & Samosas” was based on my own life and I can honestly say that my protagonist Leena goes through a very similar first time experience.

Here’s an excerpt from my novel when Leena, along with her best friend Mahjong, has her first wax done by an esthetician named Hannah who works out of the basement of her suburban house.

Hannah took a wooden stick dripping with wax in her hand and gently touched the tip to her exposed wrist above her gloved fingers. She pressed it against the mound of flesh on my pubic bone and slowly scraped it down the edge toward my thighs. The gooey wax was more comforting than I thought it would be. The feeling was so warm and soothing it started to relax me.

I began to settle into the paper covering on the table. The smell of the wax made me think of more tropical climes. It wasn’t hard to imagine the paper on the table was a hammock on the beach, the sun beating its lovely warmth down on my tinted skin where the wax was spread.

Hannah started to make idle chatter with Mahjong asking her about her clothing shop and how business was going when the muslin strip of cloth came down to cover the wax.

The cotton felt warm on my skin. I thought I could smell suntan lotion. I waited patiently for my rum to be delivered. I perked my ears up to hear what Mahjong was getting ready to say about her spring line when suddenly my island retreat exploded under volcanic ash and hellfire.

There are no words really to describe what ran through my mind next: hatred, evil, murder. My first instinct, being the primate animal that I am, was to take my fist and ram it down Hannah’s smiling head knocking every one of her big teeth to the back of her throat. She held up the wax strip in the air, long lines of my curly black hair suspended from it like released prisoners waving their wiggly arms. I clenched my fists as if to punch her. The only thing that stopped me from doing so was the ear-piercing wail heard throughout the room.

“Aaaah!!! Son of a bitch!” I screamed. “Don’t touch me ever again!”

My cry was followed by an equally deafening silence and then after a short pause, the roaring laughter of both Hannah and Mahjong.

“That hurts!” I whined. “I’m bleeding! I know it!”

“Calm down, darling,” Hannah said, stifling a smile.

As I tried to rise up from the table to run for the door, she pushed me back and with one hand applied more wax to the next small strip beside the first. I’m not sure how that little woman managed to do it, but before I could come to my senses or even get half way into an upright position she was yanking off the second strip and I was begging for mercy again.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I cussed. “I can’t take it! I’m bleeding! I have to be!”

“You are not bleeding, darling,” Hannah continued. “What doesn’t kill you makes you –”

I cut her off and barked: “Stronger? You better not say that! Don’t feed me that crap! What doesn’t kill you makes you lame! I’m lame!”

“Actually,” she said holding back a laugh, “I was going to say what doesn’t kill you makes me a winter house in the Keys.”

Mahjong tried to muffle her own laughter and smacked Hannah on her behind.waxy book cover

I was unaware of anything else. I wished the pain would take me to that sickly sweet dark place where I would pass out from it and wake up in the hospital on the road to recovery a large bag of morphine already dripping directly into my veins.

“I mean it!” I said. “I’m done! Stop it! For God’s sake!”

“You know my other Indian clients aren’t nearly as delicate as you. I am just trying to get you to relax, especially now that the worst part is coming.” Hannah spread more wax between my legs.

“The mound,” Mahjong said knowingly.

“Yes, love, the mound. But really the worst is over.”

I heard her say the words but they meant nothing to me as she ripped another strip from the other side between my legs.

Perhaps Hannah was sent by the devil. Or perhaps she was the devil. How much would the papers pay, I wondered, to find out that I had discovered the cavern of Satan where you could be tortured and get a pedicure at the same time?

It wasn’t of course until much later that I realized no amount of body hair on me or off me defines what is sexy. Sexy comes from the feeling inside – from that connection to myself that exudes confidence no matter what my facial hair is doing.

So as spring rounds the corner and you consider removing your surplus of winter body hair, know that this fuzzy friend feels all your follicular frustrations and thinks you’re beautiful exactly the way you are.

Crotchless panties – the “hole” story…

Back when I used to sell vibrators, a large part of my product line was also lingerie. When I first started I would lug a heavy clothing rack, neatly arrange all the lace pieces on it and espouse the wonder of the fabrics, the price and the overall cute factor. I was repeatedly told the same thing: “What’s the point Jasmine? You spend $80 on something and it ends up on the floor in two minutes.”

That’s a tough point to argue. “But it’s on sale…and you’ll look so pretty,” only got me so far. And then I did a party for some real life models. I mean the kind that tower over you, have flawless features and look like they may fall over if a strong wind were to blow through the room. They had the very bodies that pose in the pieces of lace and chiffon on magazine covers. So when the lingerie was presented, I was excited to be able to sell them frilly things that would look stunning on them.

“I’d feel self-conscious in that,” one said.

“I don’t want to pay that much for something that will end up on the floor,” another said.

“I’m too fat for that,” was the last comment I heard.

“Are you girls kidding me? You’ll look gorgeous in these! If I had your bodies, I would grocery shop naked!” They either avoided making eye contact with me or fumbled with their penis pencils. Yes, I gave them penis pencils…for dick-tation of course 🙂

I realized there was no point in appealing to them as the sexual goddesses I could see they were when none of them seemed to feel the same way about themselves. I took out the crotchless panties and proceeded to tell them the five reasons every woman should have a pair in her drawer (some pun intended).

Reason one: Sure, you could spend hundreds on a sexy outfit and it will end up on the floor. These are under $20 and they STAY ON!crotchless panties one

Reason two: If you are having sex with a man, never underestimate how visual they can be. These panties look stunning on and fluff up your lady bits into a visual feast he can focus on.

Reason three: And if your partner is a man, let’s face it, he may crotchless fourhave no clue what he’s doing down there. With these panties on, you can guide him by keeping it really simple and telling him to “stay inside the lines”.

Reason four: Having the panties on is an incredible experience because half your mind thinks you are wearing clothes, but the other half thinks you are naked. It’s a great way to trick your biggest sex organ: your brain – into relaxing into the sensuality of the experience and allowing yourself to feel less inhibited if you think you are still partially clothed.

Reason five: If you’re having a bad day, and let’s face it, we all have those, put on a skirt, wear your crotchless panties and go grocery shopping. The feel of the breeze against your skin combined with the mixed signals your brain will give you thinking you are both naked and dressed in the local Farm Boy will ensure that you spend your time smiling and not focusing on your sorrows. Sure, you may go home with a lot more frozen food than you intended – that frosty draft up your skirt can be a real turn on – but it will totally be worth it!

That night almost every one of those models left with a pair of these panties. Several of them emailed me later to tell me that they had engaged in some of the best sex of their lives while wearing them because they felt so relaxed and natural. And one statuesque beauty in particular crotchless panties threewho told me that she had to wear a t-shirt every time she had sex said she finally ditched the jersey, wore the panties and had her first orgasm. Those are the kinds of moments that made that job one of the best I ever had.

And you don’t need Valentine’s Day as an excuse to wear these panties. Wear them at your high school reunion. You won’t care that your old school rival Jenny has a million dollar home, franchised her business, three children all in medical school and four cars in her driveway. You’ll be standing by the open doors of the gymnasium relishing every brisk breeze that wafts up your skirt and smiling like you’ve won the lottery.

Wear them to your next birthday party. Not happy about the clock advancing across your face, time ravaging your skin and gravity pulling on things that were once perky? Then slap on the panties, fluff up your business and raise a glass to embracing your shape and aging with grace.

Wear them whenever you want to seduce your brain. Because quite simply, if you aren’t seducing it, how can you expect anyone else to?

So why not take a trip down to Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium or visit their online store and pick yourself out a pair of crotchless panties?

I promise you, it’s a “hole” other adventure just waiting to happen…

batman slap

Going bananas for the “Magic Banana”

Product review for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

It’s January. Turn on the television, look at your Facebook feed or scroll through Twitter and you will be bombarded by ads promising weight loss. As I sit and stare at the button on my pants that looks like it is straining to break free from its thread and shoot across the room, I think to myself, “Gee, I best get back to the gym too”.

But let me offer this suggestion for exercise while others are commending the benefits of strength training, yoga and Pilates: Kegel muscle exercises. All you need for this is one “Magic Banana” and the desire to improve the pelvic floor of your vagina. Why, you might ask, would you want to do strength training for these muscles? Well, because as a woman there is a chance that after having a baby or just simply by virtue of your body getting older, these muscles become relaxed and loose needing toning. One minute you’re laughing at something, the next thing you’re peeing at the same time and trust me – it isn’t that funny.

If you’re wondering how to isolate the muscle, the next time you pee (er, urinate), stop the flow a few seconds in, start again, then stop. Your neighbour in the next stall might think you have bladder issues or are waiting for them to leave before you unleash your 7-11 slushie, but that will give you an idea of what the muscle feels like when it is contracting.

You can choose to do these contractions just about anywhere – at a bus stop, in the car, at your desk at work, sitting across from your in-laws at Sunday dinner or while you are standing at the sink doing your dishes (yes, I don’t have a dishwasher). The recommended time is 10 – 15 contractions three to four times a day. But if you’re like me, you’ll forget after the first session and become distracted by fourteen zillion other things that you need to do in one day and suddenly you aren’t getting in enough repetitions to really make a difference. But what if there was a “toy” that could help you with the excercise? What if there was something that you could insert into the vagina and squeeze like a tension ball training your muscles to contract on it? Well it does exist!

Exercising with the “Magic Banana” will not only improve the strength of the pelvic floor but also allow you to control the muscle at will giving you complete and utter power over your pelvis. And though it may look ridiculous to you at first, and slightly daunting, it is an item that will change the way you exercise this muscle and potentially vastly improve your sex life!

Allow me to paint a picture for you of what can happen if you take the time to properly excercise and strengthen this muscle…

I had been with Lamby for just over a year. He took a job in Mississauga so our previously long distance relationship from Ottawa to Montreal turned into a longer relationship Ottawa to Toronto. I had been selling vibrators for almost a year and started to use one of the beaded toys to help me isolate the Kegel muscles around it and improve my control. Consider it my crude substitute for the brilliance that would become the “Magic Banana”.

Lamby and I had spent a month apart. In that time, along with using the toy, I would exercise the muscle while sitting at a table writing recaps for my sales or while I sorted my vibrator bags and opened new stock. I felt as tight and in control as I had heard the pretty girls who took ballet were when I was in University. It was the stuff of legends.

We decided to meet half way in Kingston at the Days Inn to rekindle our love. Feeling particularly playful, I said to the nice man James at the front desk, “I just paid $50 for this guy here. I’m not from around these parts so can you tell me if that is a fair price?” To Lamby’s credit, he simply smiled quietly and waited for James’ reaction as I did.

“Excuse me, ma’am?”

“I said I paid $50 for him. I’m not sure if that was a good price.” James looked from me to Lamby and then back at me again. His expression looked at once nervous, scared and skeptical. He quickly handed me our room key and pointed me in the direction of the back lot where we could park without saying another word.

Lamby laughed in the parking lot. “I don’t think James understood your sense of humour”. It was those moments, when he let bananaramame be myself and seemed to really enjoy my sense of humour, that I liked him best. Later in the room, while we were having sex I decided to work my strong new muscles to the sheer delight and orgasmic joy of both of us. The sex was so intense and incredible that I screamed louder than air raid siren and hooted like my sports team had just won the big game.

A half hour later we were in the shower together the phone started to ring. “Who could be calling us?” I asked him. “I don’t know anyone here, do you?” he asked. He exited the shower while I tried to listen over the down pouring of water. As I towelled off he came into the bathroom, his chest puffed up like a peacock.

“Who was it on the phone?”

“It was James,” he said, his smile wider than any other time I had ever seen it. “He called to see if everything was okay in here.”

“You mean he heard me screaming?”

“Yup!” Lamby said with pride. “I made my woman scream so loud that they could hear her all the way at the front desk!”

I was mortified for hours! I contemplated every way I could to get out of the hotel without anyone seeing us until I finally came to the resolution that we were two consenting adults and that we hadn’t done anything wrong. So what if I was a bit loud? It was some of the best sex I had ever had and I had worked hard for a month on the muscle that helped me improve the experience. I earned every one of those throaty moans and orgasmic yelps of bliss.

At the restaurant the server came over, handed us our menus and then asked if we wanted anything to drink. I rubbed my throat and said, “As a matter of fact, I am a bit parched” to which he replied, “I’ll bet you are” and gave me the strangest look. It wasn’t until I saw him chatting with James from the front desk that I realized we were the talk of the hotel. Lamby sat back when he made the same realization, his chest puffed up and proud again while I slunk so low in the booth that I almost fell off the bench.

And this kind of improvement was done before I even knew about the “Magic Banana”! It just goes to show the magnitude of the results that can happen when you properly exercise and strengthen this muscle. When this muscle is strong, some women experience more intense orgasms due to increased blood flow to the area. Their partners will also enjoy the internal massage they receive on their penis and self-play will also be enhanced as increased control can be applied to any vibrator or dildo.

The “Magic Banana” makes the workout easy and allows you to focus your attention on expanding and contracting around the loop just as you would a resistance band for regular strength training. Use a good water based lubricant when you insert the toy and be sure to clean it with sex toy cleaner and let it air dry before your next use.

The other MAJOR advantage to this toy is that it stimulates the G-spot (oh yes, it does exist!)! If you’re wondering where that spot is, simply insert your finger into the vagina and crook it towards the outside wall (below the belly button) and then motion as though you were saying, “Come here, come here”. Don’t actually say “Come here, come here” because someone walking by might here you and interrupt you while you are sexploring 😉 At first, stimulating this area will make you feel as though you are going to pee, but once you get past that feeling, you will slip into a wonderous stratosphere above that sensation that is the direct road to the kind of orgasm that will have you smiling – and possibly changing the sheets – all day long!

The “Magic Banana” can be gently twirled inside the vaginal cavity so that it brushes over the G-spot – a super lovely freaky feeling – and if you feel adventurous, you can add clitoral stimulation at the same time to ensure a greater chance of a soak-sational sensation!

This may not seem on the surface like the most fun of all the toys one can own in a sex trunk, but it is one that will not only improve the quality of your sex life but will also improve your sexual health. Pick up the “Magic Banana” at Wicked Wanda‘s and start your New Year’s resolution for improved health and wellness with an exercise you can’t do in the gym – unless they are SUPER progressive – but one that will give you benefits for years and year to cum. Er, come.book and banana

It isn’t a banana, that’s for sure. Is it magic? I don’t know about that. One thing’s for sure though, if you use the “Magic Banana”, the next time you have a big laugh, you won’t pee yourself too. And I don’t know about you, but I find that….very ap-peel-ing.