Friday, November 30, 2012

NaBloPoMo wrap-up

I am wrapping up my month of daily blogging with this post. I have to say, there are definitely posts that made it up this month that would not be posted in any other month.  Sometimes they turned out okay in the end. My venting post the other day seemed to strike a chord for a few commenters, some of whom haven't posted comments before.  The secret to daily blogging seems to be to lower your standards quite a bit.

I also enjoyed experimenting with different kinds of posts. I did everything from a lipstick review to photo posts to short book recommendations. Some seemed to be hits, and some were not.

Unlike Debbi, who has been blogging daily for more than a year, I don't always feel like I have something to say. I like to think about posts for a while and make them a little longer.  Judging from the responses I got, though, not every post has to be a long, writerly musing.

My main purpose with the blog is to have fun and have a place to write for an audience. I feel like it accomplishes those goals, especially when I hear back from someone who liked a post or who has a question or comment to add. I expect to keep playing with it and posting frequently, if not daily.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sick

On Monday I did a 20-minute yoga video. That's the last exercise I did this week -- I have had congestion in my chest, and just carrying laundry down to the basement had me a little winded today.  I have to admit that once I realized I really was getting sick, I felt relieved because I had really not wanted to work out, and I had been feeling guilty.

My days don't feel right without a nice, sweaty workout to get me started. I feel a little lost. Still, I want to get over this bug soon, so I'm not pushing it.

My post yesterday was about feeling frustrated by this, coupled with my gain this week, and how easy it is to regain weight that took weeks to lose. I was just venting. I have no intention of "giving up," whatever that would mean.  What is there to give up?

I am looking forward to feeling better so I can get back to my normal workouts. The semester is almost over, and I'm going to be glad for a little break.  I feel like I have a lot of thinking to do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The basic problem

I want to lose weight and get out of debt...

...but I want what I want when I want it.

Also, both goals will take time and patience to achieve, if I ever can. So sometimes it just doesn't feel worth the sacrifice for a distant, potentially unreachable goal. I do well for a while, and then I get tired. And then all the progress slips away in a day or a week.

(Just in case anyone out there still thinks it's an issue of knowledge or general laziness.)


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The trouble with SuperBetter

I have a lot of nice things to say about this lifestyle game, but there is one problem: It's not that much fun.

It was fun at first, as I learned to play and set up my own challenges and goals, but there is nothing new to discover. Everyone who is a video game fan knows that the exciting thing is seeing what waits at the next level, and the next, but leveling up in SuperBetter doesn't change much.  You can win badges, but you are still looking at the same old screen, with the same music for feedback when you complete a task. There aren't even stats to show when you are completing a lot of tasks and when you have fallen off.

Maybe it's more fun when you engage more allies, but though I met one great ally, I never connected with anyone else in the game.

Has anyone out there found a way to make this more fun? It's getting kind of boring, and if something isn't fun, it's not really a game.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: November 26 EDITED

Original post:

I can't say I'm surprised by today's weigh-in. I don't have a lot to say today, just hoping to move forward with better focus and better results.




Kind of a cop-out post, no?

I am definitely not happy that the scale showed such a big gain over the last two weeks. It is so much easier to gain weight than to lose it.

However, this week was not without its successes and I can't let them go uncelebrated just because of a bummer of a weigh-in. I got into the pool and practiced my flip turns. I raced yesterday without worrying (too much) about how I looked in my swimsuit. I got outside and played with my nephew on Thanksgiving instead of getting into a torrid relationship with the bread basket. I enjoyed my time with my family but also appreciated my ordinary days.

Okay. I feel better. My meals for today are logged. I did a short yoga workout this morning with Rodney Yee. Life goes on.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Workouts, November 19-25

Another bad tracking week. Once I start not tracking, I just keep not tracking. So here's my commitment for the coming week -- I will start back up from where I am and not wait for a new week if I've gotten off-track.

I was really glad that I practiced my flip turns on Tuesday, because tonight we had a race day at swim practice. I didn't know it was coming but even the little bit of extra practice definitely helped. I "competed" in every race except the butterfly: 100 free, 50 backstroke, 50 breastroke, and 50 freestyle.  We had a warmup before, and a cooldown between each race and at the end of class. I didn't really pay attention to my times or even how I placed most of the time. Our coach wrote the times down and I'm hoping he will send them out. I know that in most races I was not last. And I started off the blocks, just for the practice of doing that. I felt really great afterward.

Workouts:

Monday: 45-minute yoga and 20 minutes walking
Tuesday: 40 minutes of swimming (flip turns practice)
Wednesday: 40 minutes of Spin class
Thursday: 45-minute intense Spin class
Friday: 40 minutes of walking
Saturday: Pilates Circuit, 30 minutes walking
Sunday: Swim Race Day (see above) and 20 minutes of walking

I don't know what the scale will look like tomorrow, but I am not very hopeful. This week's eating was not so great.  Back on track next week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekend plans

Just bought the final book in the Matched trilogy. I'm about 1/4 in and I love it so far.



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Friday, November 23, 2012

Hooray, an ordinary day!

I think I like ordinary days -- especially non-work ordinary days -- better than holidays. I like seeing my family, but holidays tend to be chaotic, especially when my sister brings her horse-sized dog along. I feel like I don't really get to talk or listen to anyone well in all the buzz and craziness. On occasions like Christmas, there is all the added pressure of gifts on top of everything else.

I especially don't love the food chaos. In my family, as I have said before, dinner is always late, and there is food all around. Half the time I end up picking beforehand, and eating a regular meal on an already-full stomach, plus dessert. I wish I had better self-control. I saw this image on Facebook yesterday and it describes these occasions perfectly:




Yesterday I got outside with my nephew before dinner and then helped with some of the final cooking, so I "only" had a small handful of M&Ms before dinner. Still, at our 2:00 lunch, I managed to eat so much, or at least the wrong kinds of foods, so that I did not want anything for the rest of the day and my belly was uncomfortably bloated. I wonder if it was partly because I was crawling around on the floor with my nephew playing Legos, and my waistband was fitted enough to push into my stomach. when I think about what I ate, it was too much but not so much that it should have made me feel so terrible. Maybe the hardcore Spin workout threw my system off?

I am happy to have a quiet day to recover, eat normal amounts of food, and get some exercise.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

HRM follies

In my Spin class today, I wore my heart rate monitor, as I usually do. But the strap had apparently loosened up in my bag, because I was getting readings of 0, then 225, then 159, then 28, etc.

As much as I told myself to just ignore the numbers, I couldn't stop looking and fiddling with the strap. I tried covering the numbers with a towel. I even, briefly, tried putting the towel over my face, but that elicited concern from the other riders.

Finally, I unfastened the strap and tried to drop it, but ended up tossing it in what seemed to be an overly-dramatic gesture.

It was a tough workout, but I felt fine. Funny how this technology can sometimes just get in the way of listening to ourselves.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tomorrow's workout

I had my pick of workout options: a swim, a Turkey Trot 5K, and a Spin workout. Toledo has a strong endurance sports community.

I chose Spin. At the very least, I'll have exercise under control tomorrow.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flip turns

I realize that a lot of my continued frustration with swim class has to do with my turns. I am not sure I ever knew how to do them properly, but lately they have been worse and worse. Sharing a lane with other people doesn't help, because I have a fear of kicking off the wall right into another swimmer.

If you have ever assembled furniture from IKEA, you know that sometimes you think you have your project done and you realize that you have pieces left over.  You have two choices -- live with your wobbly bookcase, or break it down and start over.  That's what I need to do with my turns.

Today when I did a swim workout on my own, I brought one of my coach's workouts with me but my main focus was on turns. I did 45 minutes after watching the video linked above, trying to do my turns right. I did pretty well, but sometimes I did the turn too early and didn't get a good kick off the wall, and sometimes I got water up my nose.  Getting better at something often requires being willing to do it worse for a while.  I think I made some progress today, but I'll have to keep practicing.  It felt great when I actually got a few right toward the end of my workout.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: November 19



That is a seriously low blow, scale. I weighed in today at 0.8 pounds more than I did when I started in October.

I had Chinese food for dinner last night so I am hoping that at least part may be water weight. I have not been doing well with the meal planning or tracking (Chinese food for dinner the night before a weigh-in, for example) and this is not unexpected. I have been feeling pessimistic since last week about my ability to lose and maybe it became a self-fulfilling prophecy this week.

Successes: I went to swim last night even though I really, really, really did not want to. I have been making more of an effort to dress nicely for work and social events and people have been noticing.

Opportunities for improvement: Tracking. Planning. Getting my fruits, vegetables, and water in. Eliminating the takeout-because-I-didn't-plan meals. More than that, being kind to myself. I need to stop kicking myself for getting out of shape from my Supercool Triathlete Days years ago. I was working on my dissertation and then I worked a job where I commuted 2 hours a day and traveled about 20% of the time. There were reasons. Dwelling on that is only making it harder for me to get closer to my goals. Besides, even then I had moments of feeling Not Good Enough. I'm pretty good at bringing that mindset along with me no matter what the circumstances.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Workouts, November 12-18

My workouts were pretty good, but I'm still worried about a potential gain. I didn't do well tracking my food this week. I just need to force myself to do it right before or right after every meal.

I discovered tonight that when I'm feeling frustrated that I can't keep up with the other swimmers in my lane, anything my coach says is just going to register as an annoyance. I know he is only trying to help. I am a bad sport when I'm tired and getting behind.  And yes, I know now, as I sit here tired and removed from the situation, that some of these women have been swimming since they were kids and are just better, and others practice more than I do. I did get in an extra swim workout this week, and maybe I can use these to perfect my flip turns, which really slow me down right now.

Workouts:

Monday: Walk/run workout, 15 minutes running/20 minutes of walking
Tuesday: Swam 50 minutes
Wednesday: Spin class, 45 minutes
Thursday: Off
Friday: Walk/run workout, 18 minutes of running and about 20 of walking
Saturday: Pilates Circuit
Sunday: Masters' swim group, 1 hour

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Audible Recommendation: The Spectrum



Because of my family history, I like Dr. Ornish's advice about lifestyle changes to prevent disease. It's not just the strict plan he's famous for, but a discussion of how our choices can help us stay healthy.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

"Know Your Numbers" screening

The Women's Center at a local university had a heart disease screening day. This is something I care about because one of my aunts dropped dead of a heart attack at 46. My dad had his first heart attack at 46. His father had his first heart attack at 46. I'm 42.

I have talked to doctors about this and they have reassured me that it is more lifestyle than genetics. I have gotten the usual screenings and everything is always fine. My doctor offered to put me on statins but since my cholesterol has never been high, I declined. I did agree to a daily low-dose aspirin.

My screenings today were great too. My blood pressure was high when I first got in, but I had walked quickly on my way in and when the nurse took it again after a few minutes it was closer to my usual readings, 119/76.

My cholesterol was 148, with an HDL of 72. It has always been fine.

I didn't know they would take a blood sugar reading so I had eaten before leaving for the screening. The nurse said that my reading of 112 was normal considering that.

I exercise regularly, try to eat healthfully. I don't smoke and rarely drink. I try to manage stress. I am working on losing weight, or trying, at least.

I'm motivated by more than just fitting into my skinny jeans -- staving off the family legacy of diabetes and heart disease is a big motivator for me.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Productive day

Today was a five-star day for work, but I didn't work out and I didn't log any of my food. Is it just me, or is it impossible to get everything together at once?

I am feeling good about what I accomplished, even though I had put one task off way too long before getting to it tonight.

Sorry for the short post -- thank NoBloPoMo for the fact that I posted at all.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Audible recommendation: Year of Wonders

I heard about Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks on the Diane Rhem Show last week and had to get it. It's a work of historical fiction based on a real 17th century village that quarantined itself when the plague broke out so that they would not endanger others.

It's a fascinating story, beautifully written and narrated. I highly recommend it, especially in this season of gratitude.



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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Motivation

Vickie is right, of course, that the swim story is partly about ego. But I think it's more than that.

I'm teaching a unit on emotional intelligence in my class. "Emotion" and "motivate" come from the same Latin word for "to move." Emotions exist to move us. In this case, my feelings were a big flashing red arrow reminding me that if I want to be a better swimmer, I need to swim more.

I checked out pool schedules at my nearby YMCAs and decided to try swimming on Tuesdays. Today I did an easy 50-minute swim, but next time I will bring one of the workouts my coach sends us each week so I can have a clearer plan for what to do.

I miss feeling like a triathlete even more than I miss looking like one. So maybe I need to work at training like one. Gradually, of course.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: November 12

Oof. It's so much easier to gain than to lose.  I expected a gain today, and I got it, much more than I thought. Yesterday was not a great food day, and as I said, I haven't been tracking very well this week.  Still, there is no way that all of that is real weight -- some is definitely water. There's nothing to do but move forward and hope that it will be off next week if I follow my plan.

I definitely had an "I don't care" week, which makes no sense since I do care. I felt very disappointed on Tuesday when so many of the things I tried on didn't look good on me, bravado post aside.

Successes: I really like doing two Spin workouts in the middle of the week. It feels great. I also got myself to swim yesterday when I was very tempted to skip.

Opportunities for improvement: I need to be more consistent with tracking, because I let the food slide too much when I stop recording it.  I don't know how I can keep telling myself it's too much trouble when it obviously works.  I also need to find my positive attitude, which went missing somewhere.  I have to expect this process will have ups and downs, and not take the bad days so personally.


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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Workouts, November 5-11

I had a terrible tracking week. I wasn't very consistent with tracking food or exercise.

I was feeling good Friday and Saturday with my new clothes, but I let today's swim workout get me down. I was sharing a lane with someone much faster than me.  I like her a lot, she's really nice, but when she told me "not to worry about keeping up," I tried to push myself harder to catch up with her, and I never did, even skipping my breaks.

I know that it's silly to feel like I have to compete in a training workout. But I'm already the biggest woman there, and I don't like to feel slow too.  I really wish I was fitter and faster.

If I want to get better, I have to put in the time. I need to get a second swim workout in my schedule, at the minimum. The woman I swam with today swims 3 days a week, and I only swim on Sundays. Instead of letting this bad workout get me down, I should let it motivate me to train smarter.

Here are my workouts for the week:

Monday: Yoga class
Tuesday: No workout
Wednesday: 40-minute Spin class
Thursday: 50-minute Spin class
Friday: Shopping (not really a workout), 20-minute walk
Saturday: Pilates Circuit, 35-minute walk
Sunday: 20-minute walk, 1-hour swim


Friday, November 09, 2012

Shopping report

I must be doing a good job of dressing thinner, or the saleswoman at Ann Taylor was trying to butter me up. I asked for a top, and she said she'd look, asking what size, "6, 8?" I am not sure the last time I ever wore a 6, maybe 8th grade, and I last fit into an 8 thirty pounds ago. It was really strange to see her reaction when I said 12 or 14, which is what made me think she really believed me.  I was wearing a longer cardigan with a silk shell and my favorite pair of jeans.  I shop at AT enough to know my size range. When she brought me a medium, it went on, but I would never wear something so tight in public.  So either I fooled her, or she really wanted to make a sale. I discovered that the peplum tops that looked so cute in the ads does not look so cute on me.

I didn't find anything there, but I did get a few basic pieces and a couple of fun ones. I got some basic but flattering Levis.  I got a pair of black jeans in a thinner fabric that I might be able to tuck into boots.  I bought a teal skirt and a black top to wear with it.  I also bought a couple more pairs of tights, and another long cardigan since I am wearing my navy one so often.

It's amazing how different I feel now that I'm regularly wearing makeup and perfume, taking the time do do something with my hair and put together an outfit. I might be the only one who cares, but I care a lot.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The trouble with measurements

street market finds
Photo by musicisentropy
When I weighed in on Monday, I also took my measurements.  I don't know how many times I've heard the dieting advice to take measurements and not just go by the scale.

The results, though, were a mixed bag, showing no clear trend. My chest measurement was down two inches, but my waist and thigh measurements were the same. My calf and upper arm measurements were both one inch larger. My hips were supposedly two inches larger and my neck a half an inch smaller.  

I don't trust the accuracy of any of these measurements. I think that the real issue is that although I'm down about three pounds, my body size hasn't changed enough to be larger than the margin of error for measuring myself. There are a lot of decisions to make when I measure my own body, like how tight to pull the tape, where exactly to measure, and whether to suck in my my stomach. If I make those decisions differently, and haven't written them down somewhere, the measurements are worthless. Even moving the tape up or down a fraction of an inch could change it completely.

I think I'm just going to abandon the idea of measurements. They might be a good idea for someone who has a lot of weight to lose and is making dramatic changes month to month, but they aren't going to tell me enough of value to make it worth the trouble. 

There is no such thing as an objective measurement -- everything has its own potential for error and manipulation. Overall, if my lifestyle is on track, my weight loss will be too. I'm feeling good about my process and watching for ways to improve it.  One of these is to let go of the things that aren't working. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thoughts on getting older

Karen's post today about her upcoming fiftieth birthday struck a chord with me:
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed my birthday and embrace each new age with a sense of hope and optimism, but with 50, there’s also a sense of urgency and…whoa!!…I’ve not felt before. Note that I didn’t say that the hope and optimism are gone…it’s just that urgency and whoa!! has been added to the mix. And that’s okay. Bring it!
 A sense of urgency and whoa! is pretty much how I'm feeling too, although I don't have a landmark birthday coming up. I will be turning 42 in December, which is divisible by 2, 3, 6, and 7. Not 5.

In my thirties, I had the delusion if I lived clean and took care of my skin, I could somehow be the one person who got to avoid aging. Now when I go to Ulta, the salespeople recommend products with names like "Wrinkle revenge." I think I still look pretty good, but I'm starting to see some lines around my eyes, and I'm starting to feel bad about my neck. Not too bad, but wishing it was the way it used to be when I ignored it. My hair has been going gray for years, so I color it. As I told a friend, "I spend a lot of money just trying to look normal." That goes double for my Sephora addiction.

All of this results in a sense of urgency, as if I might not have endless years to continue futzing around before I start finding myself.  It makes it clear that anything I really want to do, I should probably start doing.

Most of all it makes me want to take care of myself and appreciate the way I look and feel now, and keep moving steadily toward my goals.

Don't forget to stop by Karen's blog and wish her a happy birthday.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

My solution to the style problem

I got a couple of good comments on my review of The Truth About Style, and I realize that it sounds a little more extreme than reality to suggest that I'm not buying new clothes until I hit my weight goal. I have bought some pieces, and I've realized lately that the big problem is not that I don't have enough clothes, but that I don't have the right ones.
The solution is to stop shopping the way I have been shopping. That means, no more browsing the clearance rack and buying more of the same stuff that I already have just because it's my size and on sale. That is such a dumb trap, and I keep falling into it over and over. Doing this means that I end up with a bunch of stuff I don't really like and don't need.
The purchases I love and use most are the ones where I target something I need to complete an outfit or something I want to fit in with a trend I like. Then I go buy that item, whether it's on sale or not.  I bought a bright tangerine cardigan at J.Crew this way and it's one of my most-worn items.  Even though it's far from a neutral, it seems to work with everything. If I had bought a sweater I liked less just because it was on sale, I am sure I wouldn't have worn it as much. Or if I didn't, I wouldn't feel as happy in it.

In that spirit, Friday I bought a pair of great black boots. I have been wanting low-heeled black leather boots for years. They don't really go on sale, because they are a classic. About three years ago, I bought high-heeled fake leather boots instead, because they were on sale. Every time I have worn them, they hurt my feet.  Stupid. Something that looks good on me in the store and is on sale is not at all a good deal if I can't actually wear it.
What I love about these boots is the detail. I had originally chosen a different pair to try on, but the salesman brought these too and I like that they are unique. Now I need a few great dark skirts that I can wear with tights.
It's amazing how hard it is to go against the "It's on sale" demon and it's corollary, "Only suckers pay full-price." The reality is that I wear a size 10 shoe and a size 14 in clothes right now (sometimes 12).  Stores usually only get one or two of each item in my size, especially since the recession. If I wait for a sale, I'm going to be left with only choices that other people my size didn't like, probably for good reasons. You know what's left in these sizes on the clearance rack? High-heeled shoes, because women who wear size 10 tend to be tall.  Shoes that pinch or rub or are ugly. Clothes that look great on thin women but not so much on women my size.  Items that fit strangely.  Ugly colors. I usually skip over that stuff, but I do tend to buy things I don't love. Yet another t-shirt. More sweaters that aren't quite the right length.  Jeans that go on and zip but don't do much for me. Buying this stuff is a big message that I don't deserve better. And I do deserve better.
I need to keep reminding myself, "fewer but better clothes." I don't need a lot of things, I just need the things I really love, want and need to replace the ones that just sort-of work.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: November 5

I'm not going to give the whole history each week like I have been doing -- you can see that on my last weigh-in.

This week I weighed in at 182.8 pounds, which is 0.8 down from last week and 3 pounds total since October 1. I'm very happy with my progress so far -- for the first time in forever, I'm making consistent steps in the right direction.

I'm not sure I deserved a loss this week, but I'll take it. It was a week with a lot of ups and downs, and I fell off the wagon with tracking quite a few times. This week is a chance to do better.

Successes: I did Spinning on Wednesday and Thursday and I felt a sort of pleasant buzz all day Thursday and Friday, as if everything were humming right along in the right direction. I think trying to get a Spin class in at least twice a week could make a difference.

Opportunities for improvement: I need to do the things that help me to succeed, like tracking my food and checking in with SuperBetter. I also need to remember how bad overeating makes me feel -- not just the fullness, but the hangover I get from food that's too rich or too sugary.  I went to a super-fancy restaurant Saturday and it seemed like the food was dripping in cream -- delicious but I still feel a little off from it.

I'm not feeling great this morning. I'm going to go to yoga anyway, and see if some relaxation and breathing will help. I'm also going to focus on staying hydrated today.  I have to teach tomorrow night, so I need to struggle through the best I can and get a lot of work done today.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

This week's workouts: October 29-November 4

I am not feeling well tonight -- achy, tired, headache.  My friend had the flu recently, but I had my flu shot so it shouldn't be that. I did  have a late night last night but I only had one drink. I'm not sure what's wrong but I am feeling terrible. Sadly, I'm just sort of wondering what that will do to my weigh-in (and measurements) tomorrow.

Anyway, back to the workouts:

Monday: Yoga class, which still feels challenging. I'm going to try to make it tomorrow if I'm feeling better.

Tuesday: Nothing, really. I did some straightening up around the house, but no workout.

Wednesday: 45-minute Spin class. This one is pretty empty, so I might try to make this my second Spin class instead of Friday.

Thursday: 45-minute Spin class with my favorite instructor. It was a challenging workout. Also went for a 20-minute walk in the evening.

Friday: Completely off. Had thought about doing some walking and/or running but I got busy with other things and didn't do it.

Saturday: Pilates Circuit class, one of my favorite workouts of the week.

Sunday: Walked 30 minutes in the park. No swimming tonight since I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

It's funny, on Thursday I was feeling like I had so much momentum and that this weight-loss thing was finally feeling easier. Now I feel discouraged. Both feelings are an overreaction -- I should expect ups and downs.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

My goodie bag from Debbie

I'm all ready for election night now! Mokey had to inspect the contents.



























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Friday, November 02, 2012

Date night look

Back on the Dark Side -- but I borrowed Joan's lipstick.




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Thursday, November 01, 2012

NaBloPoMo: I'm in

NaBloPoMo November 2012I already posted today, but I just remembered that today is the start of NaBloPoMo. I am signed up, as are 737 other bloggers, to blog daily in November, and BlogHer still has signup available until November 5.

I probably won't use the writing prompts, unless I get desperate. I find that it can get very dull if every blog I read is posting on the same topic, especially one that they don't find particularly interesting. The prompt for today, "What is your favorite quotation and why," for example, leaves me completely cold. I'd have to go searching for a quotation and then find something clever to say about why. It would be dull for me to write and dull for you to read.  Someone who has a much-loved famous quotation probably has something interesting to say about that, but I don't, so I gave you a lipstick review instead.

I have been trying to blog daily anyway, figuring that the best way to keep people coming to my blog is to keep the content fresh.  This will just be one more incentive, especially since there are prizes involved. Sound like fun? It's not too late to join.


Review: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick

When I decided I wanted to be Joan Harris (or Holloway) from Mad Men for Halloween, I knew I would need three things: A girdle, a terrific red wig, and a great red lipstick. I was terribly disappointed in my girdle, from Spanx, a half-slip in Ultra Slimming, which decided to creep up around my waist and strangle me every ten minutes.  My red wig was amazing, thanks to the help of a saleswoman at Costume Holiday House who helped me pick one out and even styled it for me for free. I had a red lipstick already, but from my past experience with it, I wasn't excited about wearing it again. It smeared on my teeth, got all over my face, and tended to disappear fairly fast, leaving me with ugly stained edges and pale lips. I knew I wanted a long-wearing formula, but there are dozens to choose from, so I did some sleuthing online.

I decided to try Revlon ColorStay on the recommendation of this review. I liked the idea of a one-step process rather than a color stain and a gloss.  The women on Mad Men all have matte lips, not shiny ones. It turns out I did not end up with the product described but rather a new product, just introduced.  It is not even featured on Revlon's (terrible) official website yet. I saw it on display at my Rite Aid store, with lots of colors to choose from.  I read an interview with Christina Hendricks that said Joan's lips are actually coral, not red, so I chose a shade called Couture that was about halfway between red and coral.

The lipstick goes on smoothly and stays put.  I kept checking it because I didn't trust it. It lasted through kisses, drinks, and even through eating an order of fries (I indulged a little).  It didn't even leave a mark on my martini glass.  I reapplied it about three hours in just because I felt like I should, even though the color hadn't budged or faded. I put on some chapstick, because my lips felt dry, and it didn't take the lipstick off.  When I washed my face before bed, it was still there.  When I woke up the next morning, my lips were still a little pink, though not looking so great anymore. I used an eye makeup remover pad to get rid of the remaining color.

I would definitely wear this on a normal day, not just as a costume. It looked good and didn't make a mess. The only downside is that my lips felt very dry.  It might be better in the summer than in the winter, because it would look terrible on chapped lips. Still, it will be great for any time I want a dramatic look. I would also try one of the other shades for special occasions when I didn't want to have to fuss with reapplying lipstick.

I have to say, it was fun getting all glammed up last night. I even tried to put on false eyelashes (total fail) and wore some dramatic dark liner.  I might start trying to bring a little bit of Joan's style into my look now and then.

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