Aerobics has come a long way since Olivia Newton-John bleated, "Let's get physical!" in leg warmers and a terry headband, and Linda Rogers-Jojola has helped reshape this former fitness craze. Using a combination of step aerobics, resistance training, kickboxing and Pilates, Linda helps sculpt a healthy, functional and (hopefully) attractive body for each member of her class. (And no, you don't need to join the club to participate.) With a seemingly endless amount of energy, she motivates students without the artificial amplification or drill-sergeant mentality typical of many aerobics instructors. Linda knows bodies, and she spends a good part of every day sharing that knowledge: When she isn't teaching classes at Phoenix Suns Athletic Club or Estrella Mountain Ranch, she's sweating through her regular spot as fitness advisor on Fox 10 News.

Need more proof that aerobics is good for you? Just look at Linda. We thought she was our age, only to discover that her children are our age.

Reading the labels on philosophy cosmetic/skin care products is like browsing the self-help aisle at Barnes & Noble. Moisturizer is "hope in a jar," eye cream is "eye believe," exfoliator is "help me" or "the great awakening" -- because "sometimes your skin needs a wake-up call."

Created by a Phoenix aesthetician, philosophy has been a hit in high-end department stores across the country; skin care experts dig the products. The company entered a new age this summer with the opening of its first store -- on Mill Avenue. Now Mill Rats and sorority chicks can cruise the aisles, contemplating "message in a bottle" (shower gel), "the supernatural fingerpaints" (glittery makeup) and "be somebody" (body lotion).

Self-help? Try "shelf-help."

If aerobics are too low-impact for you, and the mere thought of yoga-induced bliss puts you to sleep, you were born to do Pilates.

This fast-growing fitness trend, pronounced "pul-LAH-teez," increases strength and flexibility while developing an athlete's awareness of one's center (abs, back and butt). Using specially designed machines, LaPierre (whose New York accent perfectly complements her unique, no-nonsense approach) can lead you through an infinite number of exercises, all designed to put your flabby abs -- as well as some other muscles you never knew you had -- firmly back in place.

LaPierre maintains that Pilates is for everyone, regardless of their physical condition, and anyone reluctant to join group fitness classes should take heart: Pilates is performed on a private or semi-private basis. You'll appreciate LaPierre's candor, not to mention her workout's effect on your love handles.

Your mind and body are in perfect balance; you've attained a harmony you never knew existed; you're sweating like a pig, and your head is shoved between your legs.

Yes, you're at the Yoga Institute, where trained instructors lead you through 27 different postures in a room heated to a balmy 110 degrees. This is Bikram's yoga, and may well be the most challenging workout you've ever had. The Institute's instructors are knowledgeable, friendly, informative, and well aware of everyone's limitations ("You can mess with the gods, but don't mess with your knees" is their mantra).

Grab a few towels and a big jug of water, and prepare yourself for 90 minutes of sweating, grunting, contorting, and the most exhilarating feeling any ground-based legal activity can possibly offer.

A dreary corner of our retro bachelor pad benefited from a trip to this ultracool memorabilia superstore, which we found piled high with outlandish lamps. We resisted a '70s salad-oil rain lamp, a fabulous '50s floor model, and a light-up Lucite tiki god, opting instead for a pair of honest-to-gosh vintage lava lamps and a plastic tree with illuminated foliage.

Shoppers looking for a less illuminating experience, meanwhile, will take a shine to Go Kat Go's extensive inventory of faboo furnishings, keen kitsch and groovy garb.

Remember that incident back in the '80s, when some yahoo was killed when a giant cactus he'd been shooting at toppled over, crushing him to death? We do, and had the cactus survived, we would have been the first to give it a prickly high-five.

What happened to that cactus, we don't know, but we hope it found a loving home with the folks at Spur Cross Gallery. For more than 17 years now, the gallery's owners have been scavenging fallen saguaros and making them into beautiful art. (Don't try this yourself! It is illegal to take saguaros, living or dead, from the desert without a permit, and no permits have been issued since 1991.)

It's impossible not to be touched by the grandeur of these once-green giants, now stripped to skeletons of wood bleached gray, white and yellow. They soar from the top of the Gallery's roof, lounge against its fences, and decorate its cool interior.

Some are small and smooth, made into wall sconces. Some are medium size, and hollowed out to be fitted with a light bulb inside. The largest -- hundreds of years old -- are untouched, their gnarled bases formed like melted candles, their tall arms still reaching for the sky.

Such beauty doesn't come cheap. Plan on shelling out $200 for smaller specimens and as much as $8,000 for the gallery's tallest cactus, a 20-footer. (In the interest of botanical discretion, we'll refrain from making any jokes about "sticker price.")

A teenager dragged us here one day, hoping to shock us with the crazy fashions stocked at Spine. Now, she's mortified to find that it's one of our favorite places for funk-alicious, one-of-a-kind threads. We're not allowed to meet her friends anymore.

These gently worn items are from -- or inspired by -- the '50s, '60s and '70s. The most modern thing we've found here is an Angry Beavers shirt, but it sure looks retro, with its bowling shirt cut, red lapels and ultra crisp starched fabric.

Spine is the place to go for sequined sweaters, fringe vests and torridly floral bell-bottoms. It's also the place for glittery garb on a small budget.

Readers' Choice for Best Secondhand Store: Buffalo Exchange

Every few weeks, Tarnished Treasures' owners hit the road to comb estate sales and confer with junk dealers all over the country, returning to restock their collection of the highest quality, most original used furniture, hardware and knickknacks in the Valley. The beat-up look is in, and interior designers -- as well as boutique owners -- line up at the door when a new shipment arrives.

Recent trips to Tarnished Treasures have yielded a perfectly preserved set of deco armchairs and couch, hand-painted armoires, enormous Mary Tyler Moore-esque letters of the alphabet and, for the more adventurous decorator, long, skinny, low metal folding tables with patterns punched in the top -- used to cool corpses in the 1920s.

Call ahead because hours change weekly. And happy hunting!

You've seen those folks who do balloon animals at fairs or restaurants to keep the kids happy? Elaine Klein is a novice, yet a virtuoso. Unlike most twisters whose inflated rubber repertoires are limited to air-filled poodles and squeaky sombreros, Elaine interviews kids (or adults) before pulling something out of her . . . imagination.

The lady knows how to work a room. While visiting a Scottsdale restaurant recently, we witnessed a 12-year-old birthday girl modeling one of Elaine's breathtaking creations -- a four-foot-tall hot pink balloon showgirl headdress that matched her outfit.

And this fantastic elastic haberdasher has another specialty: Playing off VeggieTales, a popular Christian video series, Elaine will entertain at private birthday parties with balloon-themed fun centering on such characters as Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato and Junior Asparagus.

We mean it in the best possible way when we say: MissElaineous, you really blow!

Pop Culture Classics doesn't specialize in sports memorabilia. It's an equal-opportunity kitsch paradise, with mint-condition pop esoterica like Doctor Who comic books, UNICEF Barbie dolls, Superman costumes, Chewbacca masks and even a KISS makeup kit that includes autographed stamps of approval from Gene Simmons and Co.

But the shop's sports section makes up in quality -- or, at the very least, weirdness -- what it lacks in sheer volume. In addition to a smart collection of sports cards, you'll find sealed boxes of Jake's Flakes (Jake Plummer's premature stab at cereal immortality), Frosted Mini-Wheats celebrating Grant Hill, and a whacked-out array of action figures, from David Cone to Charles Barkley to soccer legend Diego Maradona.

If you buy the right combination of Hall of Fame action figures, you can even set up your own dream batting match-up. Recommended choice: Rogers Hornsby facing the hard-throwing -- and hard-drinking -- Grover Cleveland Alexander. Miniature whiskey flask not included.

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