Friday, May 28, 2010

The Plaid Dress

A few weeks ago, on a whim while shopping at a big box store, I bought a dress in a size 16/18 without trying it on because:
a) I thought it was cute and actually kind of trendy (not that I'd necessarily know).
b) I wanted to see if I could fit into it, and figured if I didn't now, I would eventually.
c) It was on sale for $9. People.

And now I have the perfect opportunity to wear it, since we're heading into a sun-filled San Francisco park tomorrow for a birthday party.

Except I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it.

Here's the thing: the dress? It fits. It's a little tight around the boobs (whatever, this will be the case no matter what size I am, I know this from experience), but it's got buttons all the way down, so I can just undo the top ones and wear a tank top under it.

The dress is red plaid (on-trend, right? plaids?) and a-lined, and cinched at the waist, all of which is good for my figure.

But wearing a dress that fits is weird.

For one thing, for the last several years, I've tended to wear loose-fitting everything. Where's my waist? Who knows! (Having giant boobs has its advantages when trying to disguise where -- and how large -- one's waist actually is.)

For another thing, fashion for the plus-sized, as I've discussed 90 billion times, is not like fashion for the rest of the world. You have a handful of stores to choose from, and within them, your goal is to find the thing that will make you look the least heinous.

Plus-sized clothing is about hiding the bad more than it's about accentuating the good. Sad but true.

So but back to the point.  I have this dress. It's just a dress. Yes, it's large (I'm just not quite a 14 yet, bitches), but it's not a plus-size-specific design. It's just a large size of a dress that is made for "normal-sized" people. Which means it's not designed to hide my body, it's just designed to look like a dress. On any body.

And so, when I wear it, I look like my size. And that's kind of scary.

Is this making any sense?

Of course, I always look my size. I know I'm not fooling anyone by wearing "flattering" tent-like outfits. But the thing with the bigger clothes is that I'm just kind of hiding the goods altogether. When you can't see where my waist is, you know it's there, you know it's not small, but you don't quite know how not-small it is.

Whereas in this dress, you do. You see. Oh, her waist is THERE. And it's precisely THAT not-small.

So it's hard. The more weight I lose, the more likely I am to wear form-fitting-ish clothing. Which in some ways means that the more weight I lose the bigger I'm willing to look. (At least while I'm in transition.)

Please tell me I'm making some sense.

Wearing this red plaid dress means owning my curvy, bubbly, size 16-ish body. It means full-out acknowledging that I am the size that I am, in a way that hiding in bigger clothes doesn't.

The challenge is that I'm tired of hiding my body in bigger clothes -- I'm ready to reveal my thinner, healthier body. Except uh, I don't HAVE my thinner, healthier body yet. I'm still working on it.

So this stupid dress is like, an emblem of how far I've come and of how far I still have to go. I want to wear it because of the former; I'm afraid to wear it because of the latter.

Weight loss is so much fun.

By the way, I'm down over 30 pounds now(!), thanks to Medifast, who is awesomely sponsoring me. As a reminder, you can get $50 off an order of $275 by using the code SHEWALKS...but the code expires THIS MONDAY, May 31. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Confessions Of An Exercise Hater

I have a confession.

I have written about this before, but every time I write it -- let alone every time I say it -- it falls on deaf or disbelieving ears. But here goes, because, you know, you guys haven't yelled at me in a while:

I do not like walking.

I know, I know. WHO doesn't like walking? That's just crazy. It's just...walking. 

Not liking walking is akin to telling people in California that you don't like avocados, which I don't, so essentially if there's ever a basic-tenets-of-health conversation around these parts and people find out I like neither avocados nor walking, they think I should sent to a lab. Or at least banished from the Bay Area.

But I don't.  I don't like walking.  I find it incredibly boring.  I do not take pleasure in the simplicity of being outside and breathing outside air.  I do not enjoy the incredibly slow burn of walking, even though I know it can melt away fat because it elevates your heart-rate just so.  Even with music, even with books on tape (mp3), I still don't like it.

Now. You do not need to barrage me with all the reasons that walking is beneficial to one's health. I'm a millionteen hundred pounds overweight and yet I am surprisingly well versed in all the things I could do to not be so.

Last year, when I was super pregnant and eager to have Eve join us on the outside, a great many of you insisted I go for walks every day.  I recognized this suggestion to be a good one, and yet I did not partake. Because I already hated walking enough.  I have never really enjoyed "going for a walk" in my life; when you add my being overweight, I enjoy it even less. When you add my being overweight AND being pregnant AND Napa being 90+ degrees, "take a long walk each day" may as well be a suggestion to set myself on fire.

My first question is: am I the only one who hates going for walks? I can't be, and yet I have never found solidarity on this point. Everyone -- including my husband -- thinks I'm nuts.

Next, I want you to know that I bring this up because I need to get back into exercising.  And since I don't like walking, I have to find other things to do.

Or, let's say this another way, so you don't think I'm under any delusions:

I don't really like exercising. 

I don't know where my deep-seated dislike comes from, but it's there. Does that mean I'm lazy? No. I would never, ever, ever in a scrillion years cop to being lazy. I'm not lazy. I am incredibly busy and industrious. I just don't use my busy industriousness physically.

Except, I know. I have to.

So...what to do?

For one thing, I know that the less I weigh, the easier it is to work out. So that's sort of motivational. (It's also sort of really sucky, though, because working out is hard for me right now. Granted, it's loads easier than it was 10, 20, and 30 pounds ago, but still. Sucky.)

(Also? Let me just state for the record: if you've never really been overweight, you have NO idea how awful "exercise" can be. I'm not using this as an excuse, I'm just saying that it's an extra impediment to being motivated.)

Anyway. The truth of the matter is that something's gotta give. I have to find something I can and will do with regularity, which means finding something I don't hate.

Walking is out.

I like swimming. But, sad though this is, the "old people soup" classes were extremely time-consuming and not intense enough. Granted, any exercise is better than no exercise, but water aerobics are just not my long-term solution.

I am also not in good enough shape to take a regular master swim class. I have the technical ability to swim at the master level. I do not have the physical stamina to do it yet, though.

I have never taken spin. Should I try this?

I tried to take a Zumba class a couple weeks ago, except when I got there, the class had been changed at the last-minute to be HIP HOP.  (Yes. Hip hop. I took a hip hop class. OMG. You can imagine THAT blog post is in the works.)

Will I like Zumba? Should I bother trying it?

I mean, I guess I can just do what I did in college: my own thing. I would just stick to myself and show up at random times and do random cardio and random weights and occasionally swim a few laps and that worked fine. I didn't feel the pressure of being in a class. I didn't have a routine. And I didn't get bored. I just got in, got it done, got out.

There is something to be said for hopping on an elliptical machine where I can listen to my music, look at a magazine and watch tv on silent mode, all while being able to spy on Eve in the childcare room.

You just can't do that while walking. And yeah, to the many of you are all, "But walking clears my mind!" I say, "That's what showers are for!"

So for those of you who hate working out: what do YOU do?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Mr. Darcy Giveaway! ooooOOOOOooooo!

You guys.

I almost never do giveaways on my blog because it's rare that I'm offered a giveaway that makes sense for "my readers." Some of you will remember when I was given the chance to give away a $600 bike? Yes? And that was fine and fun. But then also there was the time I gave away about $40 worth of booze just because I felt like it and GUESS which giveaway had more entries?

That is why I love you all so very much.

So! When A&E approached me asking if I wanted to give away a DVD prize pack (worth $100) that includes THE DIGITALLY RESTORED BBC PRIDE & PREJUDICE MINISERIES (that's the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, folks) I was like YES, YES I DO!

But maybe I stipulated that I needed one of the copies, too.

Yes, I own the old one.

Of course, there's more to this prize pack than just Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, but, well, priorities. Honestly, if you've never seen the whole mini-series, it's totally worth it. It's a great rainy-Sunday marathon.  In fact -- and no offense to Ang Lee, here -- once you've seen Jane Austen NOT shoved into an under-two-hour format, it's hard to go back.

I watch this mini-series from start to finish at least once a year. It's so well done, so well acted, so fun, I don't know. I just love it.

And it makes Colin Firth in Bridget Jones's Diary that much more hilarious and fantastic.

So um, okay. Here's the deal:

  1. Leave a comment below. You can say anything you want. Maybe you have some thoughts about Mr. Darcy in his wet shirt, for example. I dunno, I'm just thinking off the top of my head here.
  2. Please include your email address in the comment. This way I can contact you if you win, and theoretically you won't enter 900 million times.
  3. Please comment by Wednesday, May 26 at 5 p.m. PDT.
  4. I will choose a prize-pack winner at random. Yay!

The prize pack includes (details on each of these are below):
  • The Complete Season One of Rita Rocks 
  • The Complete Season One of Sherri (btw? I watched some of these and she is really funny!)
  • Movies:
    Girl Positive
    To be Fat Like Me
    The Two Mr. Kissels
    Racing for Time

So good luck! Enter! Enjoy! Wet shirts! (What?)

* * * * * * * * *

  • Color-enhanced and completely digitally restored from hi-def source materials for the first time on DVD
  • Anamorphic widescreen presentation
  • Featurettes; Lasting Impressions, An Impromptu Walkabout with Adrian Lukis and Lucy Briers; Turning Point; Uncovering the Technical Restoration Process
  • English subtitles

RITA ROCKS, the smash family comedy series from Lifetime, has just been released on DVD as a 3-disc set from A&E Home Entertainment.  In RITA ROCKS: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE, Nicole Sullivan (“MADtv”, “The King of Queens”, “Scrubs”) stars as Rita Clemens, an overworked wife, mother, and former lead singer of a Bangles cover band who has traded in a life of jam sessions and rock clubs for carpools and PTA meetings.

SHERRI: Actress, comedienne and co-host of ABC’s “The View,” Sherri Shepherd stars as Sherri Robinson, a single mother who juggles caring for her six-year-old son, Bo (Brandon Khalil), and working part-time as a paralegal, while still following her dream to become a full-time comedienne/ actress in SHERRI: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE.  The debut DVD release from this top-rated Lifetime series will be available April 27 on 3 discs featuring all 13 episodes and tons of bonus footage from A&E Home Entertainment!

To Be Fat Like Me:

Racing for Time:

The Two Mr. Kissels:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I should never write blog posts while under the influence, but oh well.

On Sunday morning, after a totally healthful breakfast, I ended up having some gall bladder pain. This has been going on for a little over a month now -- an attack about once a week, set off by absolutely nothing consistent. (Although eggs seem to be one of the culprits.)

The pain went from manageable to worse to really bad, so eventually I took some pain killers and decided to call my doctor first thing Monday morning to discuss options. Unfortunately, the pain continued overnight, so by 5 a.m. I was ready to go to the hospital.

I did. I took myself to the ER at 6 a.m., because I didn't want to wake Eve and wanted Ish to stay with her.

I don't have the strength or presence of mind to write about what a miserable experience it was, being in the ER by myself at 6 in the morning, but it was one of those times that unexpectedly shook me to my core. I felt sad and depressed and scared and defeated, like I had somehow let my family down.

Eventually I was visited by a surgeon. I told him I hadn't spoken to my primary care doctor about my gall bladder problems because they hadn't seemed like a medical emergency -- something I'd hoped I could remedy on my own. But after a nearly 24-hour long attack, I just wanted to have it out.

Of course, by that time (nearly 9 a.m.), my pain had subsided completely. They decided to schedule the operation for the next day. They gave me breakfast, I seemed okay, I went home.

The second I walked in the door, as if on cue, the pain came rushing back. I took some new pain killers and waited about an hour, but it still hurt like crazy. So we called the surgeon -- he had told us to -- and got surgery scheduled for later that day.

We were lucky enough to have a babysitter scheduled for that afternoon, so Ish was able to come with me. And at 3:30, we were back at the hospital waiting for my operation.

I went into the OR around 7 p.m. I was done about an hour later. I was sent home about an hour after that. Happy to go sleep in my own bed, but I was so drugged out and pained that I was awfully surprised they let me go.

The first night and morning were awful. The pain from the surgery itself didn't seem too bad at all. It was the pressure from the how the procedure works. I don't really understand it, but I know they blow air into you. And so all night and morning it felt like I was going to explode -- I took all kinds of drugs trying to ease the pain and nothing helped enough. But then, just like that, something shifted and the immense pressure went away.

I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon dozing and tweeting nonsense from my phone. I'd occasionally eat a cracker.

I tried to send a work email but I'm pretty sure I sent an email to an entire six-person distribution list that said only, "Hi."

I let myself wean off the pain meds in the latter part of the afternoon. I had toast and soup for dinner.  I fell asleep only lightly medicated by 10 p.m. and slept well.

This morning I woke up and hurt, but -- if this makes any sense -- it was a good hurt. I can feel pain from where the procedure took place, and it's ouchy. But it's NOTHING like the pain from the air pressure I had, and it's nothing like the pain from the gall bladder itself. It's manageable. I took half a dose of pain killers and decided to try to write this post.

Sitting up doesn't feel so great, and I'm sure this post has rambled and been awfully boring, but at least I'm documenting what's been going on here in the last few days, right? (Just humor me.)

Also you should know that the "air" is finding its way out of me in all sorts of ways that make Ish laugh. So there's that, too.

In other news, I have a fantastic giveaway I'll be doing as soon as I can officially think straight (let's hope tomorrow) and this cool new ask/answer conversation thingy (below) in the meantime.

And we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program? life? blogging? by this weekend. We hope.

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Washington Post Interview. I'm Not Even Kidding.

I realize this is last-minute, but it turns out that I'm going to be doing a live, online Q&A with John Kelly from the Washingon Post at 9 a.m. Pacific (that'd be 12 p.m. Eastern) today.

About Promtacular!

(Good thing I've devoted so, so, SO many hours of my life IMing with boys, because my typing skills greatly improved as a result.)

You can join us live here, though I'm pretty sure the link will remain live/static in perpetuity. Or until they get bored with a story about prom pictures and take it down. You know.

So, um, yeah.

Oh! I know! I'll make this seem like a legitimate blog entry (like a fancy journalist would write, perhaps?), here is a bit about Mr. John Kelly:

With special thanks to Amanda, who brought the site to John's attention in the first place. She is the one featured in our winning prom photo entry, here.

For what it's worth, and because it always makes me laugh, Amanda did not know that "FTW!" meant "for the win!" and not "fuck the what!"

I like hers better.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Growing Trend


Do you remember like, a handful of posts ago how I was making fun of the TERRIFYING ads on Facebook? And how they're ridiculous and until they stop being ridiculous I refuse to listen to people who say "advertising on Facebook doesn't work"?

Here's the newest ad in a series of things that make me LOL.

I just barely even know where to begin with this. (Oh, but let me try.)

We are supposed to believe this is a real News Report?  Ahahahahahahaa.

Those TVs in the background look less like a newsroom set-up and more like maybe this photo was taken at a Best Buy.

Also? This is a hard-hitting piece of journalism about...berries? BERRIES HAVE BEEN EXPOSED! With all the flashing colors and exclamation points you'd think that someone had found a sex tape of the raspberries doing unspeakable things. Or like, maybe the blackberries had sent some unbecoming texts to a Hooters waitress or something.

Oh, and speaking of Hooters waitresses. Exactly who -- or what -- are we supposed to think this "news reporter" is? When was the last time you saw a journalist on-air in a tank top? But even if we could get past her ridiculous outfit and spray-on tan and hair that, I guess, is supposed to look "professional"...'s her expression. Look how serious this poor Hooters waitress looks. Whatever it is that she's saying into the (still) camera looks like it's paining her. She is trying to empathize with us. She is trying to let us know that this shocking berry news is really shocking. Really, really shocking.

Mostly she just looks like she'd really like her check now.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weight-Loss Update: It's About Time!

Scroll down for reader discount. 

I started using Medifast on March 2.

As of May 2 (that's two months later, for those of you as math-challenged as I am), I'm down 25+ pounds.

Now. If you've been paying any kind of attention at all, you know that I have been very disciplined about adhering to the Medifast plan mostly.  But not entirely.

Because sometimes you have events to go to and sometimes those events involve non-diet pork. And sadly, I have not yet discovered Pinot Noir Zero.  So, you know. And then there are the other times when I've been out at restaurants or get-togethers and done my very, very best to eat a Medifast-approved "lean and green" meal, but it's really hard to trust what the restaurants put in stuff, and next thing you know you're all, okay, yes, this IS a "light" egg white omelet, except it seems to have made in three pounds of butter.

The key thing I've learned for my own sake and sanity is that when I do go "off plan," it's much better to find a way to not go crazy with carbs.  So I never indulge in sugar, ever.  Because -- and I've learned this the hard way -- if you knock yourself out of ketosis (and anyone who's done Atkins knows what I'm talking about here), it can take a good 3-4 days to get back on track. And those 3-4 days when you're sticking like glue to the plan and not losing weight? Those days are really, really hard.  Not just because you're not losing weight, but because your body is readjusting and that feels really energy-depleting. (Uh, not to mention mood altering.)

So now I have to ask myself if it's ever worth going through another tiresome, plateau-y transition period just so I can have a few beers and a dozen Saltine crackers. (I can't explain why THIS is what I chose to eat, but I did.  I mean, if I'm going to splurge, WHY NOT JUST HAVE A SLICE OF CAKE LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN? I don't know.)

But, so, and. I guess my bottom line here is this:

The first month on Medifast was an adjustment period.  I really had to focus on it in order to "get" it.  I had to figure out which foods I liked and how to make "lean and green" meals that I would really enjoy. I had to get used to having good days and bad, hungry days and energized days. I had to deal with having a week where I'd lose 5-7 pounds and then another week where I'd lose only 1 pound doing the exact same thing. I had to understand how my body reacts when I go off-plan, and had to come to grips with how hard it can be to get back on a track of steadily losing again.  The sad truth is that one day of splurging can, as I've complained about above, require a full week to recover.

The second month on Medifast was in some ways muuuuch easier. I was in a groove for sure, and following the plan was easy. That is, it was easy when my time was my own.  It just so happened, however, that in that second month I started working again. And trying to balance work obligations and deadlines and meetings AND A BABY was a lot harder and required a lot more of my attention than I expected. And then there were about ninety-eleven social engagements that cropped up from out of nowhere and visits from out-of-towners and then for EXTRA ADDED FUN, my gall bladder attacks started.

So the concept of being on Medifast was way easier in month two. The reality of life intervening, doing everything it could think of to thwart my "schedule," however, was challenging. I did a good job, ultimately, it just wasn't quite a by-the-book job.

And yet in my 9th week, I'm closing in on 30 pounds lost. 

Which is pretty great if you ask me.

Reminder: If you'd like to give Medifast a try, I'd love to hear about it. (Ms. KSham -- how's it going for you?) I am also offering a discount: Use code SHEWALKS to get $50 off an order of $275. (Offer is only good one-time and will expire on May 31.)

Also: The Medifast honey-mustard pretzel things are like crack sticks. 

Medifast is sponsoring my Medifast meals in exchange for my writing about my experiences with the program.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

If You Buy Wine We All Win!


So it's kind of a long story that no one is really interested in (mostly including myself) but please understand that I am on a mission of making MAGIC happen in terms of me and you and the social media and the wine.

Because come on. If there's anything that I'm about, it's me and you and the social media and the wine.

So for right now -- especially in time for Mother's Day -- The CleverGirls Collective has arranged for a special deal on wine.

Notable because:
1. It is actually a special deal, and not some deal that everyone on the whole internets gets.
2. It's a pretty amazing discount (nearly 30%)!
3. It is for GOOD wine.

And that #3? That is important, because if you have been reading me for more than 4 seconds, you know I would not lie to you about wine. I could not lie to you about wine.

Do you remember the time a wine company considered hiring me to be their blogger, where I would blog as their logo? And I thought it was a good opportunity except for the part where no one wants to read a blog post from a corporate logo? And then also I tasted the wine and it was not, shall we say, even a little bit good?

This is like the opposite of that time.

Now. About this wine.

I generally hate Chardonnays because I do not like my wine to taste like creamy butter. Or so oaky that it tastes like perfume. Or, God forbid, both. (Some people have bad tequila experiences. I had a bad, buttery Chardonnay experience. Yes, for real. See: I am from Connecticut.)

But I tasted THIS Chardonnay and I LOVED it. It is light, it is crisp, and it is PERFECT for summer. I am for serious.

So here's the deal:
  • The wine is 2009 Mira Luna, Tough Day Chardonnay, Sonoma Carneros, California
  • 91 points
  • Silver -- World Wine Championship
  • Retails for $17.99
  • If you order 3 or more bottles, you get FREE SHIPPING (which is basically like 30% off -- wine is a bear to ship!)
If you order by end-of-day tomorrow, Wednesday, May 5, wine will arrive in time for Mother's Day! Click here to order!

I hope you can (and want to) take advantage of this deal, and hope to have many more where this came from!

I am not being compensated for this post, but this promotion is part of a partnership between my company, CleverGirls Collective and this wine distributor.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Power Of Tiaras

If you're not following me on Twitter or friends with me on Facebook (and you know? I would totally understand if you weren't!), then I have probably seemed a little...absent? Quiet?  BORING?

It's just that since I joined up with the Clever Girls Collective a couple weeks ago, I will admit that my day-to-day life kind of went nutso. It's been great, but going from "not working" to "working" -- even just at home, even just part-time -- has required a new kind of juggling act I am only just beginning to figure out.

I've worked from home before, sure. I know how to make it work when I'm my only distraction. But, for example, I have never been on an important conference call before where I had to mute myself so I could change a poopy diaper. True story.

I've also quickly learned that just because you're sitting at your laptop doesn't mean you're actually working if you're also supposed to be watching the baby. Similarly, it doesn't mean you're actually paying attention to the baby if you're sitting at your laptop.

Meaning I've quickly learned how easy it is to feel entirely inept at being a parent AND at being a professional at the same time.


This weekend was really useful. First, I got to spend a whole 24+ hours "retreating" with the other Clever Girls, getting focus and clarity around what the next several months will look like for us.

[And, by the way? Stefania, Cat and Sheila are amazing.]

[Also: At my request, The Napa Valley Marriott sponsored and took great care of us. They were fantastic, which is why I approached them in the first place, and if you are ever looking for a non-gagillion dollars a night place to spend a night or two in Napa, I can't recommend them more highly.]

Then I got to blow off some steam.

While I was sequestered, Ben and Emily had decided to come up to Napa and spend the night on Saturday.  So by the time I got home to greet them, I was a bit dizzy-headed, sleep-deprived and unshowered.

Around 10 p.m. -- while laughing at my ridiculous hormone hair -- Ben joked that he was disappointed I hadn't gotten "spruced up" for him. Fueled by a few beers, I took this as a dare and disappeared upstairs.

I returned wearing the "spruciest" things I own: namely, a bridesmaid's dress and tiara.

Then we got Emily dressed up in a tutu and Dolly Parton wig that had her looking a lot less like a country singer and a lot more like Dee Snider.

Then we danced around and somehow managed not to wake up either of our babies.

Awesome! Until the weekend ended with my having another gall bladder* attack, taking a Vicodin and passing out cold at 8 p.m.

My weekend. Quite the adventure.

The point of all of this is to say that I think after a crazy few weeks and an intense weekend, I'm getting a grip on my life, schedule, priorities.

I've discovered (again) how easy it is to let "busy" knock blogging off my radar screen as a priority. But when I lift my head out of the busy for a few minutes, I remember (again) that blogging, writing, is my first love, and that doing something I love is important to maintaining my sanity. And identity.

So while I think I have a better sense of my work/life "schedule," I think I've also figured out a way to make sure blogging is part of that.

Oooh, and I think a blog redesign is coming, too.

But enough about me. How have YOU been? Did I miss anything?

Eve outside in her Pop-a-Tot

Baby Max, Up Close & Personal

P.S. Promtacular! is clean and working fine, and we're working -- once again -- on fixing it so that the RSS feed includes images.

*Yeah, I'm having gall bladder issues. My dad, mom, and sister have had theirs out, and I probably will, too. That's been adding to all the fun and excitement around here, though, lemme tell ya...