Friday, June 26, 2009

Teacher Clothes

I'm so glad I don't look like any of the professors I've had. I'm probably too young to know any better, though. 

Top and Skirt: New York and Co.
Shoes, Bracelet, and Necklace: Vintage, thrifted

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

B&Lu, I love you.

Remember when I drooled over some pretty clothes? Well, I ordered some pretty clothes. And guess what? B&Lu lived up to my every expectation.

I got these things:Layla Dress, $58

Raquel Dress, $59
(I thought about returning this dress, as it's too sexy to teach in, and I don't ever go anywhere worthy of such a nice dress. But I think I'll keep it. I feel sexy in it, so someone needs to invite me to a wedding or something, pronto.)

(See? Told you I have a nice butt.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Motivation #2: That Damn White Dress

You knew it'd come back to this, right? I'm getting married, and I want to wear a wedding dress. But finding a wedding dress isn't like finding any other dress (and even finding any other dress isn't exactly a fun process).

I tried on wedding dresses for the first time a few days ago. I can't post all the pictures, because Dustin reads this blog, and has asked not to see any dress I might wear, but here is how most of the dresses were attached to my body as I was trying them on:
Hello, back fat! I'd forgotten you were there.

That's not even a size 6 sample dress. I went to David's Bridal, where they try to carry a range of sizes for their sample gowns. That dress is a European size 14 (which really, is more like a 12 US, but still). That dress zipped up about 2 inches before it had to be held up with clothespins. Beneath the clothespins is a boned long-line bra, and beneath that was a control slip. You'd think with all that extra control, a size 14 dress wouldn't have needed all the extra clothespins.

Now listen, I recognize the pitfalls in making one of my motivations an article of clothing. Even if that article of clothing is my wedding dress. (Or perhaps *especially* if that article of clothing is my wedding gowns. I'm conflicted when it comes to the supposed importance of the dress...)

But still, I would *really* like to be able to try on wedding gowns that aren't held together in a way MacGyver would respect. And when I look at my wedding pictures, I don't want to be thinking "Man, I really should have done more dumbbell rows," or "Wow, I guess those weekly fast food runs really do show up." I want to be thinking about how beautiful I feel, and how much I love Dustin.

After this day of dress shopping, I didn't feel excited. I felt depressed and upset with myself because I'd let myself forget what's important to me: not so much a dress, as starting my marriage off as a healthy and thriving woman. When I go back for another dress search, sure, there may be clothespins holding the dress in place (I'm not expecting miracles here), but I want to feel as if I've done everything in my power to be that healthy and thriving woman I want and need to be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Recipe--Tomato Spinach Feta Pasta

I have a friend named Suzanne. Suzanne is my friend for many reasons: she's smart as a whip, we have the same tastes in clothes and music, and she utters phrases like "I'll cut a bitch," and "Bitch, be for real" with great frequency. But most of all, she's a great cook.

When she gave me this recipe, it cemented our friendship, and I vowed to never let her go. There's no good name for this, but it takes about 15 minutes to make, refrigerates well, is super healthy as long as you don't overdo it with the pasta (use whole grain, or at least whole wheat), and cleanup's a snap (only 2 pans, nothing sticky or burned).

You'll need (for 1 lunch or 2 sides):

  • Olive Oil (enough to saute garlic)
  • 1/2-1 tsp minced garlic (if you're too cool for the stuff in the jar, 1-2 cloves, minced)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped OR a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ~1 cup baby spinach (more if you really, really like spinach)
  • 4 oz. whole grain pasta
  • a couple of ounces of feta cheese, crumbled (I use approx. 2 oz because I love the feta)
  • Some upbeat jazz music; flamenco will work nicely, too.
  1. Put your water on to boil. Don't wait to do this or the timing won't come out magically.
  2. In olive oil, saute your garlic.
  3. When garlic is golden brown, throw in tomatoes. Let sit just a minute or so.
  4. Add in chicken broth. Let it cook down for a few minutes. Your water should be boiling now, so go ahead and throw in your pasta.
  5. When the pasta is almost ready (your tomatoes should be soft, but not mushy); add in spinach, small handfuls at a time.
  6. Stir constantly. The aim here is to let the spinach wilt, but just a little.
  7. Drain pasta; toss with spinach/tomato mixture (you may also want to drain the broth).
  8. Sprinkle with feta; serve. This is great both hot and cold, and it's totally good the next day (but not the third...not that it will make it to the third day).
See? Delicious.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fat Fashion

This is a great article. If you're at all interested in fashion, and the problems that women face if they're not a size 6, it's an interesting piece. Shame on you, NYT, for being so patently out of it.

From, original blog found here.

New York Times' Flubs "Plus Size" Fashion Story

I knew not to be too excited about this article about plus size fashion when the accompanying picture was a young woman in a frozen food aisle. In the words of Seth Meyer and Amy Poehler, REALLY, NEW YORK TIMES?! You publish a story on "big girls" who--what a shock!--are interested in looking cute, and then promptly choose to lead the whole thing off with an image that insinuates that they're favorite hang spot is the supermarket. Really?!

The piece details all the different clothing stores that have recently started plus size fashion lines, including Top Shop, Forever 21, and H&M (subsequently dropped for reasons unknown). There's a market, it turns out, for women above a size 10 to buy clothing. Who would have thunk it?

A few really annoying things...most of these lines are still only available online, which suggests that a) the stores don't want "big girls" shopping it up in store or b) the stores assume that "big girls" don't want to have a shopping experience like everyone else, that they're oh-so-ashamed. Either way, it's insulting. (I know the stores claim they just don't have room for all their merchandise, but I call bullshit on that).

Annie Maribona, the founder and part owner of Fat Fancy, a new boutique in Portland, Oregon, told the Times: "When you're fat you stand out anyway. It's really important to go all the way and do something fun or even outrageous with your clothes."

Um, I'm all for anyone of any size doing something fun or even outrageous with their style, but this sort of makes it sound like bigger girls have to present as freak shows in order to adhere to the public's expectation. It's fine if a larger woman likes to dress in "outrageous" colors or styles--more power to her--but she shouldn't feel like she has to "go all the way" unless it's authentic to her tastes and personality.

Thank goodness Maribona redeems herself in the short snippet on fat acceptance:

More than tokenism, such fashion and media tactics seem born of a conviction that larger young women have become more self-accepting. "They are inclined to show off the parts of their bodies they love," said Ms. Sack, the Chicago retailer. Pushing the trend is a broad movement of fat acceptance among academics, anti-bias activists and some psychologists. "It's important to reclaim 'fat' as a descriptive, as even something positive," argued Ms. Maribona of Fat Fancy.

But of course they follow that right up with the requisite fat shaming expert:
But others point to serious health consequences of being overweight. Andrea Marks, a specialist in adolescent medicine in Manhattan, suspects that "the vast majority of overweight girls are not so happy."

Sigh. Why is an article about the clothing industry finally recognizing that larger women can be fashion-forward including a doctor dooming them to unhappiness? Would an article about a new kind of bar that men love to go to also include an expert reminding them that alcohol consumption leads to health consequences and increased risk of depression? No.

Why can't we live in a world where there is no need to segregate larger sizes of clothing as if they were specialized when really they are average or not far from it? Why are larger women talked about as if they are a different species of human being, as if it is surprising that they'd like to look good or find clothing that fits them in the stores near their homes?

For real information about fashion-forward styles for larger women, check out:
Young, Fat, and Fabulous
Manolo for the Big Girl
Frocks and Frou Frou
The Rotund
Joy Nash

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weekly Meal Plan

I'm slowly getting back on top of my diet again. And by diet, I mean what I'm eating, not a "diet." I hate "diets," but love a healthy diet.

I read Jillian Michael's "Master Your Metabolism" when I was at my parent's house for summer break, and while it didn't open my eyes to a new way of living, it was a good refresher, and a great inspiration for me to stop poisoning my body with junk.

So this week, my goals are to eat whole foods, organic whenever possible, and drink lots of water. I'll also try to stick to Jillian's "schedule" as closely as possible--basically, eat breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner spaced 4 hours apart. Jillian also recommended not eating carbs after your afternoon snack, so I'll try that, too (but i LOVE my carbs, so we'll see if I feel like I'm starving myself...).

My breakfasts will look like this:

  • 2 eggs and 1 cup oatmeal (both organic, eggs free range)
  • 6 oz Fage greek strained yogurt + 2 oz Laughing Cow cheese and 1 cup berries (berries probably not organic, but locally grown and purchased at the farmer's market)
My lunches look like this:
  • Leftovers from dinner. Hey, I'm cooking for 1 over here.
My afternoon snack will look like this:
  • 1/2 cup hummus and unlimited carrot sticks (both organic)
  • 1 oz cheese (I have Laughing Cow Swiss and LC Babybel) and unlimited blueberries or one apple (fruit purchased at the farmer's market, but probably not organic)
  • 1 cup yogurt + fruit combo above
And my dinners, oh my dinners:
  • Fat Bridesmaid's Fajitas and Salad (Organic Baby Spinach)
  • Oven BBQ'd Chicken and Stir Fried Veggies (not organic, but bought at the farmer's market)
  • Zesty Herb Chicken and Suzanne's Spinach/Tomato/Feta Pasta (yeah, I know it's carbs. I said I'd try)
  • Roasted Garlic Chicken and Green Bean Amande
  • Pasta Primavera with Shrimp (carbs here again, but 2 dinners a week with carbs is SUCH an improvement for me)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I only wish my bad things would come in threes...

Today has be an Alexandrian Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Allow me to explain:

As all bad days start, Aunt Flo came to visit today. At least she didn't ruin my entire vacation.

I woke up early to load up the rest of my bags before I got on the road for Oxford (after visiting my family and fiance in Augusta for two weeks). The 'rest of my bags' includes two 1-year old tabbies, Blondie and Brownie. Now, I've travelled with B&B several times, and have never had a problem with them. But today, they decided to be finicky. On the way to Dustin's job to say goodbye one last time, Blondie barfs. Twice. Apparently, cats have gallon sized stomachs. Dustin cleaned out their kennel for me (bless his saintly heart), and I tearfully said goodbye. 

This is bad thing #3. It might be December before I get to see Dustin again, and after some bad news from his professor (they changed the time for the last class he needs), we may have to wait until May (instead of December) for him to graduate. And even if all this hadn't been running through my mind, saying goodbye sucks on its own merit. 

Bad Thing #4: I'm crying, on the way to meet my mom at our exit (we caravanned today) when, lo and behold, Blondie exhibits another gastrointestinal display and poops in his kennel. (Seriously, how in the world could he have anything left in his system?) This damn cat interrupted my few cathartic minutes of crying with the stink of cat poo. 

Going through Alabama, Mom and I stop for lunch at a Wendy's. After our meal, I decide take care of Aunt Flo before getting on the road again. There was no toilet paper in the restroom. Normally, in a case like this, I'd be uncouth and just dash into the men's restroom (I can't tell you how many men I've surprised exiting their restrooms--can I get arrested for this?), but a Wendy's employee caught me exiting the women's room, and asked if it was out of tissue. He said he was going to go get some, and would be back soon. So I wait. And wait. I would've just grabbed a handful of napkins, but 1) that might have clogged their toilet, and 2) there's no way in hell I'm letting this Wendy's employee think I went to the restroom with no toilet paper. Ah, vanity.  10 minutes later, the Wendy's bringer of toilet paper still hasn't shown, so I decide to walk over to the Captain D's and pee there. 

I HATE Captain D's. I've never seen a particularly clean one, and they (of course) ALWAYS smell of old fish. But Captain D's is the closest thing to a toilet I see, so I go. And wouldn't you know it? Their restroom is actually pretty clean. Except. Except someone was apparently out of toilet paper, and used napkins to wipe. Which of course clogged the toilet. (Wasn't this the very situation I was trying to avoid back at Wendy's??) At this point, Aunt Flo is getting ready to bust the dams, as it were, and I'm desperate. So I do the only thing I can do. I grab the closest thing to a plunger I see (a scary looking toilet brush), and plunge away. Mission accomplished (and one of the few occasions in which I wash my hand before AND after I pee). 

The rest of the drive home went well, unless you count it being a 9 hour drive. Across Alabama and Mississippi. Yeah. Not even the cows are interested in their surroundings. I make it to Oxford, and with a huge sigh of relief, pull into my complex. The SECOND I pull in, my other cat, Brownie, starts the tell-tale heaving. Sure enough, she barfs. After being fine ALL DAY LONG. And so as not to be shown up, Blondie barfs, too, just for good measure. But of course it was just bile this time, as there's no way he could have had ANYTHING in his stomach after the morning's pyrotechnics....

I unload everything, and run to the restroom for myself, where I discover that, guess what? I'm completely out of toilet paper. My plant-sitters have been wiping their asses with Kleenex. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sizes Don't Matter

I'm not gonna lie, the number on the tag can get to me. Not as much as it used to, but I still cringe when I have to put on a pair of 16s when I thought I was a 14. I vowed to never by an XXL at Target ever again.

But it's when I walk out of a store with tags as varied as these that I'm reminded the number on the tag isn't nearly as important as how my body moves (or can't move).

(Hells yes, I shop at K-Mart. Suck it.)

The thing is, I don't wear ANY of those sizes. Not an 18, not a large, and CERTAINLY not a medium. I typically wear a 14 pant, and XL shirt. I mean, my top is larger than my bottom, which makes the Medium shirt and 18 skirt even more weird.

I almost got a little mad at myself when I couldn't slip the size 14 skirt above my thighs. I was so happy to have to go down two sizes to the medium top. But no matter what emotions are connected with the number on the tag, I have to realize that in reality, my body hasn't magically changed based on whatever size I'm wearing. The size 18 skirt doesn't make me any fatter than I am, and the Medium shirt really doesn't make me smaller. (How even more serendipitous that I bought the shirt and skirt to match.) I'm taking this as my reminder to listen to my body rather than my clothes. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pardon This Interruption for the Prettiest Clothes EVER!

Growing up, my mom complained constantly about the lack of cute clothes available for plus sized women. She'd dig through racks filled with things like this:

(Sorry if you have this top.)

Admittedly, the range of clothing for plus sized people has gotten a WHOLE lot better, but I still have a lot of complaints for stores that refuse to make clothing above a size XL (or in some cases, a large, or 12). And often, when companies design for sizes larger than XL/16s, they often don't do it very well. (Old Navy? If you're going to expand the width of the bust for sizes above a Medium, be sure to adjust the height, too.)

But complaints aside, I just found an AMAZING website. Now, I haven't actually ordered anything from this website yet, but I have such hopes. 

Meet b & lu. Their clothes remind me of the things I'd find at ModCloth or  some other super cute online boutiques, but unlike these others, they only sell sizes 14 and above. I could easily spend too much money here, but that being said, they are fairly affordable (not Old Navy prices, but a great place for 'special' clothes). 

I want these:

Can you imagine my ass in this? Okay, don't actually try to imagine my ass in this, but let me tell you, I have a GREAT butt. And it would look so good in this. Throw your hair in some victory rolls, some red, red lipstick, and some great high heels. Perfection.

Oh, and this top. I LOVE this top. How cute would this be with a pair of dark wash jeans or a pencil skirt? I'm convinced my 102 class would be so much more intelligent if I were wearing this top. (Maybe not, but I'd sure feel classy.)

And this dress! It's on sale for $24. I might have to order this dress. Bank of America, be here for me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Motivation No. 1: My Husband (To-Be)

(Missed my first post back? It's all about finding my motivation again. Read it here.)

Because saying it a thousand times already clearly isn't enough, I'm getting married next November. To this man:
Dustin is my motivation to be a healthy person. I don't want to put him through sleep apnea, hormonal conditions, breast cancer, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and all the other health risks that are associated with obesity. (And Dustin? I don't want you to put me through those, either.)

Dustin and I have a vision for our life together. We're both teachers (or will be; he graduates this December!), and we want to be good teachers, passionate teachers, teachers who have energy to give their students and still have some left over for each other at the end of the day. We want to travel, travel like crazy. It's heard to walk all over London and hike Machu Pichu even if we're just overweight and out of shape, but harder still if we have heart conditions or cancer or godknowswhatelse.

We want a big kitchen and a pool and a house with lots of windows. I guess we could have those things hooked up to oxygen machines and getting around with a hover-round, but why would we want to? We'd enjoy our home together much more if we have good whole foods to cook, the bodies to enjoy a summer (skinny) dip, and the peace of mind to still see hope beyond our windows.

We don't want to have children, but we want to be great aunts and uncles, who are able to spoil our brothers' kids and return them home dirty and with new toys. We want to be fit enough to take them to amusement parks and small enough to fit in the roller coaster seats.

Dustin and I want to live long enough to be perfectly senile together. We want to live long enough to drive each other absolutely crazy, but before we're able to do that, we've got to lose our weight, improve our eating and exercise habits, and combat our combined family histories of heart disease and diabetes.

When I'm making bad choices, Dustin is the person that's in my mind, shaking his finger and reminding me to do a little bit better. He's the person that makes 50 years from now a reality (in 50 years, I'll be 74, and if I don't have purple hair and a badass tattoo I'm going to be so pissed at myself). He's the reason I want to make changes now.

Finding the Source of Motivation

Wow, I've been gone a long time. You forgive me, right?

Clearly, I've gotten off track. I've had (I'm having?) what you'd call motivational issues. It always amazes me how I can look at my body, feel my body, carry around my body and know I'm unhealthy, and yet have no desire to change anything. 

Over the past few months, I've pretty much erased any progress I'd made. It disgusts me, but at the same time, I know it will do absolutely no good telling myself I've failed. I don't need to continue this self-destructive cycle. 

I need to break it. Make improvements. Get right back on the ole' bandwagon and try again. 

Here's the thing: I'm not sure how I want to approach this. I've thought about joining Weight Watchers. I've thought about following Jillian's "plan" she puts forth in "Master Your Metabolism." I've thought about counting calories and macronutrients on I've thought about joining a gym. I've thought about doing workout DVDs and my WiiFit. 

But I've tried all these things before, and always, I stop trying after a few months. I don't want to hit rock bottom before I finally make a permanent change, but I can't seem to muster up enough motivation to stick with a program, no matter what kind of program it is. I guess it doesn't make sense to think of "motivation" as a mystical gift I'll wake up with one day. In fact, I've got a sneaking suspicion my "motivation" is something I'll have to work for, scrounge for under the couch cushions of my mind and body. 

Some people use their kids, their spouses, the threat of cancer or heart disease, or a big, amazing goal to reach as their motivation. What's yours? (Maybe it will help me find mine.)