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B-fit MKE's Angelina D'Amico.
B-fit MKE's Angelina D'Amico. (Photo: ExpertMarketingPro)

Grow a butt

It would seem that Sir Mix-a-Lot was ahead of the curve(s) when he confessed, "when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, I get sprung."

Follow fitness in the media, especially on social media like Instagram and it’s hard to miss the ubiquitous trend of exaggeratedly curvy female glutes. Think J.LO or Kim K. to the one rep max.

They have big butts and I cannot lie: the images make me do a double take. These swollen backsides have me wondering how this is achieved? How does a major muscle group so interconnected with adjoining body parts get such isolated growth? What are women doing to attain these protruding heinies while maintaining, "itty bitty waists?" My somewhat rhetorical question is answered by the abundance of the following hashtags: #growabutt, #shesquats, #humpday #waistoassratio  #buttpump.

Bodybuilders have become #bootybuilder (s) and fitness "athletes" are more like #assletes. They are wearing high cut booty shorts and sometimes less for locker room selfies that show off their assets. Forget about the front view: a side view or a back-to-the-camera-look-over-the–shoulder-pose emphasizes that humpty hump.

From a functional perspective, I have to wonder if intentionally overdeveloped glutes for aesthetic reasons affects performance. From an athletic standpoint powerful glutes mean powerful hips, which as long as flexibility is maintained improves performance, but I wonder if, when the natural proportions are tipped out of balance to the extreme, "junk in the trunk" could be a negative or risky aesthetic to squat for?

Not according to Milwaukee’s own BJ Gaddour, named one of Men’s Health Magazine’s 100 Fittest Men of All Time. Gaddour told me, "The glutes are a muscle group that can never get enough work, especially because of all the sitting we do all day which shuts your glutes down. All athletic movement is driven through the hips and they are also highly metabolic as our largest muscle group. Hit them 2-3 …

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"This fascination with naturalism has led me to discovering who I am. I am no longer lost."
"This fascination with naturalism has led me to discovering who I am. I am no longer lost." (Photo: Hayley Young)

Natural beauty found through "Lost"

This is what happens when someone who writes a blog "with a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends" binge watches the first season of "Lost." While everyone else is asks, "Are they all really dead?" or "Are those polar bears aliens?" I ponder how the stranded vagabonds maintain that perfectly beachy hair, why some are not leaner from the imposed foraged diet, how some still have silky legs and clean shaven underarms and where I can get a pair of those cargo pants?

Really, "Lost" has verified that if I was stranded on an island and could bring only one item, it would be a razor. But, in a bigger sense, "Lost" has stimulated my fantasies about a live-off-the-land, minimal footprint lifestyle – minus the homicidal supernatural threats and non-option of retreating back to civilization.

There is an undeniable "look" that coincides with the eco-living trend that has evolved over the past decade or so since "Lost" debuted. I’m intrigued with how choices for the comforts and luxuries of a more aesthetic vein fit in to this neo-hippie existence, since products still foster this minimalist ideal and often bolster natural beauty.

I’ve always been fascinated with beauty and health rituals, the products and fashions that go with them; it’s what motivated this blog at its inception back in 2009. Skin care, outfits, health food, natural remedies, cosmetics, fitness regimes and youth preserving contraptions – I love it all. But, lately – in the last year or so I’ve been making an effort to pare down my personal routine, to minimize product consumption and to continue to seek out the least toxic, most natural items. I’m consciously choosing the "Lost" beauty regime instead of being forced into it.

Part of what has flowed from this is that I wear much less makeup in my everyday life. I call it a "makeup cleanse." My instinct to go barefaced as much as possible has been echoed by the emergence of the 5:2 Skin Diet that encoura…

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Dapp Theory gigs at the Jazz estate on Friday night.
Dapp Theory gigs at the Jazz estate on Friday night.

Talking jazz with Andy Milne

Andy Milne is beyond just the leader, pianist /composer of the band Dapp Theory; jazz is his superpower. He has been described as a "superb pianist of undisguisedly jazz-rooted, Herbie Hancock-like fluency."

Milne’s prolific resume is not only impressive, but also a little daunting. Milne has gone where no man has gone before; he recently scored seven William Shatner-directed documentaries and in addition, he’s an accomplished educator and received several awards and commissions.

Dapp Theory’s music is intricate and engaging with multiple influences and thought provoking lyrics that make categorizing it a challenge. Their latest album, "Forward in All Directions," is a diverse collection of ten tracks that celebrates the band’s 15-year journey and Milne’s personal enthusiasm for his life’s multifaceted ambitions.

The band’s sax player, Aaron Kruziki is from Wisconsin, making their Milwaukee show on Friday, March 27 at The Jazz Estate a homecoming of sorts.

Milne generously imparts a Jazz 101 lesson, divulges details of his Shatner collaboration and praises MKE vegetarian culinary fare below.

Lindsay Garric: Andy, tell me everything you know about Jazz! (This is a serious question and kind of a "challenge.") You’re an educator, so if you had to welcome students to your own brand of Jazz 101 in a couple sentences, what would you say?

Andy Milne: Jazz is a musical art form/culture that strives to uphold the principles of a democratic society. Yes, there are stylistic markings associated with the music known as "jazz", however jazz is as much about its many styles as it is about the concepts. Improvisation, groove, swing, individuality, lyricism, exoticism, sincerity and polyphony can all be found in jazz music. It requires a liberated spirit to express it and it affords the listener the opportunity to liberate their spirit.

LG: I recently watched "Whiplash." Have you seen it? I don’t know why but, when I see young(er)(ish) people playing jazz I a…

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Sookie is who she is.
Sookie is who she is.

Can dogs suffer from mental illness?

This is a sensitive issue. My dog Sookie is not always "OK."

I often describe her as mentally ill. I admit this is more a term of endearment than a diagnosis from a professional. I do not say it in jest or with any disrespect to humans suffering with mental illness. I use the term to encapsulate Sookie’s behavioral challenges and people often giggle, but the popularity of "doggie Prozac," the emergence of pet behaviorists and even "psychologists," is evidence that pet mental health is a growing concern.

The question of weather a dog can actually be mentally ill is a controversial topic in veterinary medicine. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, "Mental illness is a condition that impacts a person’s thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis." Sub the word "dog" for "person" and this describes my Sookie’s inability to engage in what are considered "normal" daily activities like going on a peaceful walks or relating genially with other dogs.

Cohabitating with a mentally unstable 65-pound Boxer is not always easy, but it resulted from only the most loving intentions. We rescued Sookie from the SPCA in 2011. I was looking for a workout partner, a big dog to jog, hike and walk endlessly with. I wanted a buddy to provide some protection and "intimidation factor." I desired an animal to hang out with me in the house while I work, that I could take to the dog park and sit at pet friendly outdoor cafes with. I wanted to travel with the lucky canine we would adopt. I decided I would even let her sleep in our bed. I was ready for a new member of our family.

I spent hours on rescue organization web sites searching. Then, one night I saw a photo of Sookie pop up on the local SPCA website. I fell in love with her goofy face, her direct gaze into the camera, the markings that made her look like she was wearing terribly applied black eye liner and lipstick. I know. Looks are a totally ina…

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