12.16.2014

Blogging and Boob Band Aids










Dress and Ring: Lotus, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Necklaces: TJ Maxx

This is what I wore to a friend's Christmas party on Friday night.

Do I have this dress in 3 colors? Why yes. Yes I do. Thank you, Lotus.

Overkill? Perhaps.

I have it in black, hot pink, and in this burgundy color. And when I recently cleared my closet of about 1/3 of it's contents, not one of these dresses made it into the "toss" basket. To me... it's just about perfect. It's free flowing, but fitted enough to not look like a dowdy, shapeless paper bag. It's sexy, but because it's not tight it doesn't cross over into street walker/hooker status. The dress doesn't really wrinkle so you can easily pack it in a suitcase, or... say... leave it overnight in a pile on the floor next to your bed and then hang it back up in your closet the next morning (after giving it the sniff test of course) like I did. And my favorite part... you can eat and drink (to excess if you'd like) in it and be completely comfortable. The only downside... you can't really wear a bra with it, so I wouldn't recommend making any sudden moves. Although,  I can now (with confidence) recommend Target's brand of pasties.

There's a sentence I never thought I'd ever say or write.

Yup... pasties. Nipple covers. Necessary for times like this. They did the job, but man did I feel scandalous putting them on??? I guess I don't really think of pasties as being utilitarian. I think of them as being glittery or with tassels hanging from them. You know, stripper style. Think... Janet Jackson at the Superbowl, or Rhianna and Nicki Minaj pretty much every time they appear in public. Not these though... these were pasties for normal women. They were the color of a Band-Aid. And I am sure we can all agree that nothing screams sexy like flesh colored nipple stickers in the shape of Gerber daisies.

Switching gears... 

Do you guys believe in signs? Well, I have been thinking a lot lately of not doing this blog anymore. I started it a few years ago (3+) as a place for the rest of us. I've said it before, but most blogs I saw were hosted by 20 something, size 2 women with seemingly endless amounts of disposable income who live in glamorous big cities and get real photographers to take their pictures. I am not that. I was (and am) in my 30's. I shop at Target and (sometimes still) Forever 21. I gain weight, lose weight, swear, and don't endorse products. I don't really care about getting a HUGE following (of people who stop by mainly so they can criticize you) and I have no interest in making money off of this blog by advertising shit I don't really care about or use. I re-wear the same clothes quite a bit, and because I have to balance taking these pictures and writing with going to work, school and teaching Pilates... I take my own pictures (normally in the same spot everyday... snoozefest... I know).  I love blogging, but I started wondering... "is this getting boring to my readers"? I mean, you've seen pretty much everything in my closet by now. I guess I just haven't been feeling particularly inspired lately, ya know?

Then... this morning a friend of mine from High School chimed in via Facebook. I had changed my profile picture and (as you may or may not know) when you do that Facebook announces it to the world... attention... attention...  "Melissa has changed her profile picture." Like you care. Well, my friend from HS saw it, liked it, and then commented. She said some really nice, sweet things and then said... " ... and I love reading your blog and seeing your pictures. Don't ever stop."

I'm not sure if that was a "sign" or not, but it hit me like one. It was as if the question I had been pondering was being answered. So... thank you, Nicolette. For your compliment and supportive comments. I needed them today.

Now... if next time you want to throw in some winning lotto numbers, I would be eternally grateful. Although... if I won the lotto I'd probably hire a chef and a trainer... get a slamming body... buy expensive clothes... travel the world... and turn into one of those unrelatable rich bitches I talked about earlier. Ugh. The struggle.


12.10.2014

Less is More








Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt: Lotus, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Hamsa Necklace: Marshalls, Druzy Stone Necklace: Celene Stones Custom (email Krista for get yours 15% off - celenestones@gmail.com)
I've been feeling this overwhelming pull to purge lately.

Not as in puke up my dinner purge, but as in get rid of a lot of shit, purge. Over the past few weeks I have cleaned out our junk drawer, fridge, pantry, and a few overcrowded kitchen cabinets. Then... the big daddy. I went into my closet and got rid of a at least one-third of the clothes in there. Next I tackled my drawers full of costume jewelry. Three-quarters of it, gone... just like that.  It felt amazing. I'm realizing that with certain things... the more you have... the less you appreciate what you have.

If you were to walk into our house you'd never think I hoarded anything, but (like most people) I tend to keep too much stuff for too long and it ends up in closets, drawers, or small piles on the top of my dresser. Clutter makes me crazy. It makes me feel like the house is dirty and like my life is unorganized. It almost makes me feel like I am suffocating. It's amazing how much better I feel after I get rid of things.

I've decided that 2015 is going to be the year I invest more into what truly serves me as opposed to just accumulating stuff. I'm going to start working on this by simply using up what I have. Little things like the 20 tubes of lipstick and gloss that are hanging around my bathroom, purse, and car... using up shampoo/conditioner, body wash, hairspray, and eyeliner before buying more. I hoard toiletries. Half of that shit is full of chemicals and expired anyway. It's time to go. And cleaning products. I never finish them before I buy more. Or food. I let stuff go bad. How wasteful. I'm going to be more conscious from now on about only buying what I know I "need"  and making sure  I am almost out of something before going to buy more.

The happier you are with yourself, the less shit you need anyway. The rush you get from a new outfit is nice, but if you hate the body you're putting it on you're going to be constantly shopping for shit to make you temporarily feel good.  The hottest people I've ever met look best in a pair of jeans and a white v-neck t shirt. That goes for men and women. If you like the way you look, the less you have to do to adorn yourself. Right? Buying shit does not make a bad day suddenly good. The rush from purchasing fades and many times you're left with guilt. It will not make a boyfriend/girlfriend appear... it does not fix broken friendships or marriages... it does not heal you, or your child, or your parents from sickness or disability.. it will not make you look 15lbs lighter... make your job suck less... or make people more interested in you. Your kids won't love you more or fight less if you shower them with stuff. Maybe you already knew this. Maybe you are one of those people who already live simply. But, if you're not.... now may be a good time to start.

For me... it is time. Time to use less, buy less, accumulate less, consume less, and spend less. It would service us all more if we spent time actually working on whatever void we are subconsciously using all of that stuff to fill. I'm not a psychologist, but it doesn't take one for me to realize what I have been doing all of these years. I've got body image issues... for days. I know that's what a lot of my problem is. I would buy, buy, buy... new clothes, shoes, jewelry, stuff for the house, make-up, etc. to make me feel like I look better. In hopes that if I felt like I looked better, I would magically feel better. More confident. Happier. It was easier to spend time and money shopping for an outfit that made me look 10 lbs lighter than put in the work to actually be 10 lbs lighter. I would rather buy overpriced skincare/facials, etc to make my skin look brighter, clearer, and younger than take the time (and use the will power) to buy, prepare, and eat food that truly nourishes me from the inside out. The inside, out. That is the trick.

Too many of us are trying to feel better from the outside in. We buy, decorate, dress up, and adorn ourselves with things in hopes that we will feel better on the inside. It does not work that way. You have to work inside first then it will manifest on the outside. Now... I'm not saying I no longer love clothes, shoes, lipstick, and a good self-tanner... I'm just saying that I don't find true happiness in any of them so it's time to spend less time and resources on them.

Do what feeds your soul. Spend time with people, not money on them. Move your body more. Push it. Make it uncomfortable. Make yourself proud. Read more from a book than from a news feed. Eat real food so you look better without Instagram filters. Spend time learning, creating, and growing. Appreciate what you have. Use up what you have. Collect more experiences and less things.

This realization doesn't mean I'm going to do a complete overhaul of my entire life overnight... leave the country, move to Tibet, live with monks and fall off of the grid. It just means that I am going to ask myself before I buy, consume, or spend... "does this serve me from the inside out"? And... if the answer is no, maybe... just maybe...  I don't need it after all.











12.08.2014

Nights you can't remember with people you won't forget...








Shirt and Pants: Lotus, Shoes: Aldo, Watch: Michael Kors, Bracelets: Alex & Ani and Celene Stones (email Krista at celenestones@gmail.com for 15% off your custom bangle or necklace... or both!)

What up, what up!???!?!?! I hope everyone had a nice weekend.

As far as I could tell by scrolling through social media it looked like this was a big weekend for holiday decorating. I love seeing pictures of everyone's trees, dimly lit living rooms, stockings and mantles. Makes me feel festive and happy. 

I had a great weekend. I had more fun than I have had in a loooong time on Friday night. The manfriend and I went out to celebrate one of our best friend's birthdays. (This is what I wore Friday during the day and later that night). What was supposed to be a pretty low key night out at a restaurant/bar turned into a dance party of epic proportions. The bar we were at has a DJ come on at 10:30pm. The first song he played was a BANGER. 1990's hip hop. My favorite. I looked over at him and back at my friends like WHHHHAAAATTTT?!!?!?!?  I almost couldn't believe it. It was the SAME DJ who used to spin at the bar we all used to go out to together... wait for it... t...t...t...ten years ago. YUP. A decade ago. In 2004 I used to go out with this same group of friends every weekend to the same spot (Phil's Tavern) and THIS was our DJ. One by one we all got up from the table and turned a dining room into a dance floor. We stood for 3 and half hours and danced. I don't think I sat back down one time. It was friggin' incredible. We were singing, dancing, laughing, requesting our favorite old school hits, and reminiscing about the "back in the day". By the end of the night my feet were killing me... my lipstick had worn off hours before... my hair had kinked in all sorts of unattractive ways from sweating... my throat hurt from singing every Jay-Z song from 1996 to 2014... and I had to get up in 4.5 hours, but I could NOT have cared less. I was so damn happy. Hideous and sore, but really happy.

It was an awesome night and the next day, when I thought about it some more, I realized how fortunate I really am.  I moved to Charlotte 11 years ago with no friends and here I was a decade later with some of the same ones I first met having an absolute BLAST; making more memories.

We are a motley crew from different parts of the country, our ages span over a 15-20 year difference, we have totally different jobs from white collar to blue collar, our tastes in just about everything from sports to music to clothes could not be further from one another. We are black, white, and almost every mix in between. We are democrats, republicans, and anti-establishment. Some of us are religious, while others are not. We have enough similarities to bind us and enough differences to challenge each other. We have been together through a lot. People getting married, divorcing, having babies, raising teenagers, breaking up, making up, fighting with each other, not talking, tension, and resolution. We have gone weeks or months without seeing each other, people have moved, lost jobs, taken on second and third jobs, and gone through the trials and tribulations of life. But somehow, we always make it back to one another. And right when it feels like it's been ages since we all hung out, we have a night like Friday. A night that was not planned and could never be duplicated.

We know each other. Love each other. The good, the bad, the ugly, and after 10 years... we are more like family than friends really. The family you choose... your "FRAMILY".









12.04.2014

Blue.... 42










Jacket: Lotus (15% off online - coupon code MODA), Skirt: Scout & Mollys, Shirt: Old, Shoes: Aldo, Watch: Michael Kors, Bracelets: Alex & Ani

I have broad shoulders... so why I thought accentuating them with these enormous, puffy sleeves was a good idea is beyond me.

I got this shirt 8 years ago. I loved it then and I must have thought it looked fairly good  because I wore it ALL of the time. Like, every picture that was taken of me 2006-2007 I was in this  damn shirt. I realized today that I was wrong. It does not look good on me and it probably never did. It is time. Time to part ways with it. I mean... dear lawd... I look like I am wearing football pads. I should have just embraced it I guess and walked around randomly screaming... "BLUE... 42.... HIKE" or come up to people, real close to their ear and said " I don't want... yer life" (my favorite line from a football movie, Varsity Blues, and said in my best Texas accent). But I didn't do any of that. I was in the concrete jungle all day, just walking around looking like a damn Division 1 draft pick.

Ah well. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Besides looking like a linebacker though, today was a really good day. You ever have those days that seem very normal, but when you think back on them you realize they were a bit above average?

I didn't do anything special today. Commute, work, blog, and later I'll instruct bootcamp and teach Pilates... but it was just nice. I didn't fight terrible traffic. I didn't want to murder anyone at work. I randomly bumped into my best friend uptown today got a big squeeze from her and a few quick giggles. I met up with an old co-worker and friend and had coffee (well there was no coffee involved actually... basically we were just loitering) and had a great time catching up with him. It turned into an awesome conversation about many things, including... wait for it... feminism.

He said... "Yeah... I saw my wife reading your blog not too long ago so I looked at it, but the first line was something about being a hard core feminist so I stopped reading." He was all like... " I didn't know you were a feminist?" But with this face like... "Oh... I didn't know you had highly contagious leprosy?" I was like, "Uh... yeah dude. I am. I'm a real extremist... I think that men and women should like... you know, be paid equally for equal work and I think it's crazy that little girls are brain washed by Disney movies (among 100,000 other things) to believe that they should have little waists, doe eyes, long hair, wear pretty dresses and compete with other women who are jealous of them and want to hurt them, that they are victims and that their happily ever after starts when "prince charming" comes to save them. Come on, man. It's insane and it's perpetuated EVERYWHERE." We talked for a few more minutes about it and you could see the light bulbs going off in his head. He was all like... "Wow, I actually never thought about any of that." I said... "Yeah, put yourself in your daughter's shoes" (he has 2 young ones). Think about the messages they receive, what they read, watch, are taught... it's insane. It's a totally different world out there for girls." We talked about it for quite a while and when I was off my soap box he looked at me like... ****<<MIND BLOWN>>>****  I was glad that when I stopped to take a breath he was still with me. That could have gone either way.

But, hey, if he didn't want to listen and ended up running away I guess I could have always ran after him and tackled him to the ground. Put these damn shoulders to good use.<<BOOM>>

12.02.2014

Fat Pants and Mashed Potatoes











Jeans and "love" Necklace: Lotus (15% off online with Code: MODA), Jacket & Necklace: Vestique, Boots: Nine West, Shirt: Marshalls

Well Hello There. Long time no “see”.

I have been in straight up hibernation mode. 



Thanksgiving got the best of me this year. Holy Hell. I ate, drank, and donned only pants with elastic waistbands for 4 days straight. The few times  I did leave the house I went out in leggings or yoga pants. I could have vomited at the thought of a pair of skinny jeans. I was so gluttonous that I had to give myself a stern talking to on Sunday: “Okay. Enough. This is the last day of this madness. You are getting back on the wagon tomorrow!" But first… muuuust finiiiish off  this bottle of red wine (I mean... it's already open), this vat of mashed potatoes, and oh yeah…. every last bite of those cinnamon and sugar soaked baked apples with real whipped cream.” It was bad. Worse than bad. I went to sleep every night with a horrible stomach ache, and like a true addict, woke up and did it all over again the next day.


Out of curiosity (and a propensity towards masochism) I jumped on the scale Monday morning (I know what you're thinking... "what the fuk is wrong with you???"). I did it juuuust to see what it would reflect after 4 days of carelessness. And there it was… no worse than I expected. Up 5 lbs. In 4 mother effin days. True story. Ahh well. I know, I know... the scale sucks. It changes with what you have eaten, how much water you have or have not drank, salt intake, that time of the month, etc. I know it's not a perfect gauge, but it is interesting to hop on now and then to see what you're working with. And I'll tell ya what... it is time. Time to get back on my grind. Here's what's going down this week... lots of homemade fruit/veggie juice, tea, and plant food for yours truly.

I enjoyed every minute of those 4 days though (except when I was doubled over with stomach cramps of course). I cooked food for people that I love, shared wine and late night laughs with house guests, played with the sweet kids that were visiting us, and I sat my fat, happy ass on the couch for most of an entire afternoon watching HGTV. I even caught up on some sorely needed sleep. I let the coffee table get dusty and full of fingerprints…  the rugs went unvaccumed… and the crockpot sat on the counter for 2 days. I tried to put my OCD on the back burner and chill the eff out. Normally sitting still not doing anything at all makes me antsy and uncomfortable, but apparently all you have to do to combat the urge to move is eat yourself into a coma. Which I did. Over and over again for the better part of 96 hours. It was like a vacation from life right there in the middle of my living room and let me tell ya… IT.WAS.AWESOME. 


But… now I’m back to reality. Pants with waistbands, shoes with heels, food without Crisco, a clean house, and lots and lots of Pilates. I’ll tell you what my 4 days off the rails did for me though. It made me appreciate the heck out of my normal, healthier lifestyle. A life without wine headaches, intense stomach aches, sleeplessness (I don’t sleep well when I am really full), and perma-bloat. I also noticed that no matter how good the food was, it was a distant memory right after it was finished. It didn’t make me nearly as “happy” as I thought it was going to. It made me sick though. It did do that.  Really sick, and for a lot longer than it made me feel good. When we eat sugar, fat, and salt they release a chemical from our brains called dopamine. Dopamine makes us VERY happy, feel comforted, and puts us in a good mood (momentarily at least). There is a reason you crave sugar, salt, and/or fat when you are sad and not carrots. You want that dopamine fix. Carrots never got anyone through a breakup.

So if (like me) you are looking to get back on the proverbial wagon this week … here are a few of my tips for detoxing.

  1. Dandelion Root Tea- get it from the store in the tea section. It comes in regular tea bags (buy organic if you can). You can brew it hot or cold. It has a sour taste, but it is a great diuretic and it will help with the bloat you may still be combating.
  2. Lots of water. Duh.
  3. Up your intake of raw veggies. They are like a broom sweeping out the crap on your insides.
  4. Move. Find something you like doing and do it for 45-60 minutes 4-5 times this week.
  5. Cut out or limit your intake of processed foods. If it has a commercial or a fancy package… don’t eat it. Ever seen a commercial for broccoli? Me either.
  6. Don’t starve yourself. Your body will hold on to the weight you have if it feels like it’s being starved. Fill your belly with good, real food and leave the rest alone.
  7. Make or find some fresh fruit/veggie juice (not crap from the store that says 100% juice… they lie). When you drink fresh juice, the nutrients from those fruits and veggies hit your bloodstream in 15 seconds. The body does not  have to work through anything else to get to them. It’s like a bullet of goodness to your bloodstream.
  8. Get rid of the leftovers. It is time. Throw them out, or give them to someone who has no interest in detoxing.
  9. This may sound extreme, but it’s a good tip for anyone who is triggered by sight. DVR your favorite TV shows so you can fast forward through the commercials. Have you ever sat back and taken notice of how much we are bombarded with images of food accompanied by catchy, upbeat jingles?  Images of fast food, junk food, sugary and/or salty snacks are everywhere. Oh, and Pinterest. Stay off of it for a few days. When you return your newsfeed will be full of workout “pins” and all of the recipe pins from the last month fall to the bottom. 
  10. No High Fructose Corn Syrup - Fructose interferes with the creation of a hormone called leptin. Leptin signals to the brain when the body is full and it is not necessary to eat more. Our brains are hard-wired to keep us from starving by encouraging snacking until leptin tells us to quit. High-fructose corn syrup keeps us snacking on all products made with it. That shit is the devil. Truly evil. 
Alrighty… that’s all I got. Happy detoxing, Mamacitas!