Sunday, January 31, 2010

Freedom to be ourselves

A few things that I've read and heard in the past couple of days have made me think about this.  I hated my teens ... it was a really rough time in my life and consequently have forgotten most of it.  My 20's were mixed.  Partied a lot; dated a lot.  But my life felt a little empty.  And then it happened.  My sister was on Telepersonals.  I decided to join.  After meeting numerous guys and not making a real connection with any of them, I met Barry.  And my life was changed forever.
My 30's were fabulous ... got married, got on with my career, met some great people.  Had some financial challenges but they got worked out.  Moved back home with my folks ... Barry and I helped as much as we could ... lost my dad (boo) but lots of positive things.  Turning 30 was great ... 35 not so much ... I was halfway to 40.
Then I actually hit 40 and things have been turbulent.  Lots of good stuff; some bad.  But isn't that life?
I'm 6 days off my 45th birthday and I've been struggling with it a little.  That and my weight.  But I'm working on the weight issue.  The birthday issue ... not much I can do about that.
But what I have realized is that with maturity comes clarity.  And the attitude that this is my life and this is who I am and if you don't like it ... your loss.  I'm not trying to please others (at least not as much as I used to).  I prefer to be liked and well thought of.  I try to treat others as I want to be treated.  And for the most part, people appreciate that.  But we're not going to be liked by everyone and that's ok.
I had been trying to wait to get my hair done for another couple of weeks but Friday I had had it.  I called the salon and booked my appointment.  I have this amazing hair stylist.  he's not your typical hair stylist.  He's early 50's, hair mid-way down his back and looks like a rocker.  But he's married with 2 kids and loves his wife and he's an awesome human being.  And he made me gorgeous today.  I'm back to the very blond look.  |I'll post a pic tomorrow.
In Leah's post today, she talked about being herself.  Her style is totally different from mine.  But it works for her and I totally respect that.  Would I like to see her in colour?  Absolutely!  But that's irrelevant.  She is comfortable in her look and that's all that matters. 
I realized that I've finally gotten my wardrobe so it makes sense.  It's all pretty consistent ... it's a lot more cohesive than it was.  It has a lot of colour and pattern.  But that's me and I'm good with that.
Isn't it great that we can be ourselves?   There's less peer pressure to conform when you get in your 40's.  And fashion right now is so diverse.  It used to be minis or maxis.  Tight or baggy.  Ultra feminine or mannish.  But now, pretty much anything goes.  The important thing is to dress our own body type and figure out what our style is.  Never mind what the latest trend is.  What looks good on you and makes you feel great?  That's what you should be wearing!

"Life, the ultimate challenge, is not a race to the finish but rather a process of continued growth."

Friday, January 29, 2010

today

Today was interesting.

I started off with a great workout and then proceeded to get ready for work. I make espresso every morning after breakfast.  Barry has extremely sensitive hearing so when I need to grind some beans, I say "grinding" and he says "leaving" and either goes down the hall or down the stairs.

This morning was a little different.  I did something which caused Barry to make a smart assed remark to which I gave him one of my "looks" that pretty much equates to ... I'm not sure what ... you're being a brat????  Then I turned towards the breakfast bar and said "grinding", to which Barry, plate in hand, practically jumps, tries to figure out where to put the plate, leaves it on the counter, yelps "leaving" and runs downstairs.  At which time I burst into hysterical laughter.  Those who do not fully understand Barry's antics won't appreciate this but Tony, you will likely understand better than most.  Then he yells up "you weren't going to grind?.... you bitch!"  Which of course makes me laugh even harder.  So he runs back upstairs, gives me one of his "looks", calls me a witch, to which I say "payback's a bitch, eh?" and he's laughing the whole time.  Trust me, it was funnier in person ... I laughed my ass off.  I had no intention of grinding but it turns out I needed to anyway.

Work was crazy this morning and I was meeting someone for lunch.  She (yes, she) was my contact at my client and now works for one of our landlords.  small world.  Anyway, enroute to my lunch, I passed a couple of young black men (colour is irrelevant but kinda in this case), heard one of them say to the other "I'll facebook you later) and thought nothing of it.  A moment later, I hear, excuse me miss (at least it wasn't ma'am), those are some bad-ass pants you're wearing (they're my black leopard print jeans)


He ended up walking part way with me, introducing himself (Anton if I remember correctly), very polite, very nice and when he was leaving he said it was nice to meet me, hoped to see me again and to keep rockin' those pants.  I was wearing my sunglasses, so he asked if he could see my eyes.  I took them off and he looked at me and said "you're really pretty".  I said thank you, my husband thinks so too.  Do you remember Barry's chicken hat?  Anton was wearing a monkey hat.  Did I mention he was probably 20-22?  It was definitely flattering.

Then on the way back from lunch, I bumped into another guy I've met (Mark ... yet another black guy ... I'm not sure what it is, although I think black men tend to have fewer inhibitions than other men ... and I LOVE IT!) who asked me if I had my cellphone (gee, I wonder where THIS is going), I checked my coat and said, no, it looks like I left it in the office.  Big surprise, he said he was going to give me his number so we could get together.  I know, perfect opportunity to mention hubby.  I said I'd see him around.

Go figure.

Did I mention it was a whopping -15C?  I think that's around 15F for our American friends ...  But it was very sunny so that helped immensely.

Tomorrow we're off to renew my license and Barry's plates and Sunday I'm off to get my hair re-coloured and cut (shaped actually).

I've been awarded a couple of awards which I really most post.  See you all tomorrow!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

another outfit post ... I'm on a roll!

I am so in love with these shoes ... I had my eyes on them for about 6 months ... saved a bit on them and they are SO comfy!

I swear this looks better live than in the picture.  It's actually a faux wrap top.  I couldn't resist it.
I love this skirt, although one oddity ... it's made from stretch material ... and then they lined it with non-stretch material and without a slit.  Made it way too tight.  So I performed surgery and put a slit in the lining.  Although it doesn't need it.  *sigh*  But I still love it!



The 3 weeks away from working out definitely did some damage but I'm back heading in the right direction again.  Although it's hard to tell from this picture.... nutrition continues to be my weak spot.
But I refuse to give up ... and I realized this morning with amazing clarity that this is not a temporary thing, this getting fit.  This is a lifelife commitment and I feel so much better when I work out.  I missed Wednesday's workout 'cause I slept in too late.  Nutrition was horrible that day too.  Today was somewhat better.  It's the thing I need to work on most.


"The only way to truly “fail” is to stop trying."

And I refuse to fail ....

Night all ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

thank you Jennifer!

What a sweatheart!  Jennifer Fabulous from I know, right? has bestowed upon me another award.



Considering what she's been going through, I'm honoured that she would take the time to pass awards along.  But she's strong ... she'll be fine.

I simply don't know how I could possibly choose only bloggers to award.   I just hope you all know that you are very special to me.  I love to read what happening in your life and I so appreciate it when you take a moment to send me a comment.  I get them through my email so I make sure I don't miss any.  So if I'm remiss in acknowledging your comment, please know that I did receive it, I appreciate it very much and I think of you often.

I hope you're all having a great week ... and keep up the great, funny, inspiring, wonderful writing.

BTW - I've started including quotes that mean a lot to me.  I actually got them from a Body for Life calendar.  So here's today's quote, all of which are unknown authors, although I'm sure you've heard lots of them ...

"Attitudes are contagious … is yours worth catching?"

Caio!

Be careful what you wish for ...

OK ... so I've gotten a little harrassment (lovingly of course) to hurry up and do an outfit post.  Although I dress well every day for work, almost all my shoes are there and without the shoes, there's definitely something missing.

So yesterday I brought home one of my favourite pair ...




I guess to get the whole picture ...




This is me at the end of the day ... I'd love to do this in the a.m. BEFORE the craziness of the day, but I guess (I hope) it's better than nothing ...


And of course by the end of the day I'm a little silly ...


I'm just not sure about this one ...


the shoes are from Shoe Company, the skirt and top and jacket from Reitmans

and this is just a little non-outfit bonus.  We have a barstool in our kitchen with a cup of latte (how appropriate ... for those who know of Barry's obsession with latte) .... that casts this shadow at a certain point in the morning ... courtesy of my fav photographer....




and yes, that's a shadow.  pretty cool.

Anyway, I promise I will continue to do outfit posts.  Actually, tomorrow's outfit should be pretty good.  and yes, I already have it picked out.

Night all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm blocked ....

Today was a little rough.  For some reason, I can't seem to put thoughts together.  So I thought I'd leave you all with one of the quotes I came across that I love.

"Iron cannot become steel until it ensures a lot of heat." author known

Given the day I had, this seems rather appropriate.

BTW -  we've started taking outfit photos which I'll post in the next couple of days.  I'll be back on my game tomorrow I'm sure.

Hope you're having a great day :)


Monday, January 25, 2010

Perspectives

"The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life." author unknown




We received word today that one of our consultants, who was visiting family in the Phillipines, died of a heart attack.  He was only in his 50's.  My heart goes out to his family.  I only hope that his wife and children (if any) were with him and not here.  I really don't know much about him ... only dealt with him a few times.

But this news had provoked a comment from one of my teammates.  She said "if you're born human, you're cursed".  She said humans are born to die.  I laughed.  I didn't mean to be flip or disrespectful.   Her statement simply caught me off guard and that's unfortunately how I react sometimes.  She got a little testy and was quite serious.  She's been going through, I don't know what the last few months.  Maybe it's perimenopause.  Maybe one of her family members if very sick.  I don't know.  I mean, we've worked together for 4 years now.  We've been through a LOT together.  I wish she would talk to me.  But her ramblings are getting challenging to follow.  I've asked her a few times if everything is ok; she says yes. 

Apparently she wasn't happy with her review or her bonus.  Hell, I was shocked we even GOT one.  Especially since we're an American owned company and 2009 was not kind to the real estate market, although commercial (that's what I'm in) fared somewhat better.  I just thrilled ... was it an awesome bonus ... of course not.  Will it help pay for some stuff?  Absolutely.  Hence my little shopping spree.  And I know, I know, I still have to post outfit pics.  Unfortunately living up here in the great white north we don't get a whole lotta sunshine.  It's pretty much dark when I leave and dark when I get back from work.  I promise .. this weekend.

But I digress (shocking I know)She asked me if I believe in Karma.  I suppose to some extent I do, in that what goes around comes around.  I think you get what you give.  Maybe not right away, but eventually things will catch up with you, good or bad.

My main philosophy though is, yes, we're born and eventually we're all gonna die.  But man, what's in between is what we make it.  We can choose to be fatalistic and to worry about the future, about stuff that may or may not happen (jobs, health, whatever) and be negative or you can choose to live life to its fullest.  To be the best possible you that you can be.  To be someone you want to know; someone you want in your life.

I'm perplexed her by attitude.  I don't understand.  Perhaps I didn't give her a chance to explain.  But she's become so dogmatic about things, so confrontational, I don't get it.  She's always been so nice.  She's been a lot of fun.  I miss my old teammate.  Of course I've changed a lot in the past year, but I know it's for the better.  I went through a LOT of crap for a couple of years.

But all I can do now is be me.  Happy, content, full of life and love and hope for the future, that things will get better all around for everyone.  Is there a lot of suffering in this world?  Of course.  Do I feel for these people?  Of course I do.  Would I make their lives better if I could?  You bet.  But I can't let things that I have no control over run (and ruin) my life.

Perhaps our consultant's death is a reminder to us to live life to its fullest.  To laugh and rejoice and to treat each other with love and respect.  I'm not sure what's gotten into me lately.  I have been SO emotional ... good and bad.  I teared up reading Jennifer's last comment (here I go just thinking about it); Barry's last post was awesome.  If you don't follow him and want to watch something joyous, click here.  And of course there's Haiti.  That makes me cry a lot when I watch footage. 

So I do what I can to make people's lives a little brighter.  You, my blogging friends, make my life a lot brighter.  I look forward to your posts and your comments. 

And Diane, great comment on my last post.  You are one of the classiest, most awesome people I've "met" in a long time.  You are my inspiration.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Changing the way we perceive ourselves.

"When there is a change in the shape of the body, there is a change in the disposition of the soul."  unknown

I was watching What Not to Wear on Friday.  The woman was a self-process stubborn tomboy.  She was turning 30, a jazz musician (singer) and a music teacher.  She looked more like one of the students than a teacher.  She looked more like a folk or even rock musician than jazz.

She had convinced herself she was a certain way.  She had 3 sisters who were girlie-girls and rebelled against being like them.  She had many pre-conceived ideas about what a "girlie-girl" was all about ... you know, hair, makeup, clothes that FIT and flatter.  Some women seem to think it's a waste of time or it somehow makes them more shallow.  Why should it?  It doesn't take any more time to put on a nice pair of pants and a flattering top and a fun pair of shoes than it does to throw on slouchy, ill-fitting clothes.  So maybe it takes 10 minutes to do your hair and 5 minutes for makeup.  You don't have to spend hours to make yourself look great.  And when you look great, you feel great.

When asked how she feels when a student shows up in jammies, she said she hated it.  When asked why, she said it looked like they didn't care.  And lightbulb went on.  Now, I realize this is reality TV and therefore questionable about the authenticity of the whole thing ... but the point was still made.

When she was sent shopping, she felt totally lost and alone and hated it.  She had spent most of her life being a tomboy, dressing in oversized clothes, sometimes menswear.  How was she supposed to know what to look for ... other than the rules of course but apparently they didn't sink in too much.

Once she had help and was told what looked good and what didn't, she realized that dresses are wonderful (I personally LOVE dresses ... talk about easy dressing) and that showing off her shape (she had an amazing shape, you just never saw it before) was a great thing.

I used to be a real girlie-girl, about 20 years or so ago.  I'm not sure when things changed, but I started to gain weight and the more weight I gained, the less I felt like presenting myself fashionably.  It's like I started to hate my body and the more I hated it, the less I wanted to be noticed.  Then the back trouble and consequently the lower, less fashionable shoes, so of course I didn't want to wear skirts or dresses.  And things spiralled downwards terribly.

I'm not sure what made me want to change ... I don't really remember.  I think I might have been having some health issues ... I was afraid of developing diabetes (it runs rampant in my family) or heart disease (another popular issue in my family) ... perhaps that's what actually got my rear in gear.  It took quite a while, but as I started to see changes, started being able to shop in regular stores again, started wearing makeup again and lightening my hair, and as my body got stronger, I was able to wear the fun shoes.  And now the girlie-girl is back.  About 20 years older, but so much better, so much more confident.  Life tends to do that.

And now I feel like I can take on the world!  I just hope that I can inspire those who are struggling.  Just know that you are worth taking care of; you are worth presenting your best self to the world, because as you do so, good things happen. 

So don't ever give up on yourself.  And I won't either. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

week #2

Week 2 of this challenge begins tomorrow.  Last week wasn't my best.  I worked out every day which was great, but nutrition ... not great ... not terrible, but I need to be a LOT more diligent.

My naturopath is supposed to swing by tomorrow night ... we'll see if he actually makes it.  If not, that's ok.

One thing that seemed to work for me was preparing a meal plan for the entire week ahead of time, which I'll do either tonight or tomorrow morning.  It's so much better when you know what food you need to get and what you're going to eat the following day.

I would encourage those of you who are trying to eat healthy, exercise, get into getter shape, that you do your best.  And if you falter, accept the fact that you are human, and endeavour to do better.   The fact that you are trying, that you are working on improving yourself is a step in the right direction.  So keep up the good work, and together we'll achieve our goals ...

Good night.

And the winner is ....

Jennifer Fabulous from I know right?!!!!!!  YAY JENNIFER!!!

Please check out Beauty by the Bead and let me know what your choice is.  Remember, it's up to a $30 value and if there isn't anything that strikes you, send me an email and let me know what you like.  I have a lot of her jewellery here so I might have something on hand.

Congrats Jennifer ... wear it well :)

For the rest of you ladies, thank you so much for entering and remember ... her stuff is for sale ... and you never know when I just might be doing another give-away :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

I don't get people sometimes ....

I went into our local drugstore this morning to pick up a couple of things.  There was a notice on the door and at the cash register that Interac (direct deposit from your bank account for those who may not have such a thing where you live ... I don't know how widespread it is around the world) and the credit card system was down and OMG you have to use cash.  And there's a bank machine right inside the drugstore.

When I went to pay for my purchases (with cash 'cause I actually paid attention), the cashier told me that people have been yelling at the cashiers and throwing things back at them across the counter.  OMG people, grow up.  One of the girls, quite young and shy, is actually on stress leave it's so bad.  Apparently this has been going on for about a week I think.  They're working diligently on it but it's the phone line that's the problem.  Not the cashier.

People never cease to amaze me how important they think they are.  Yes, we're all important human beings and everyone's busy but OMG, read the sign BEFORE you enter the store.  It's a big sign on the front door.  Kinda hard to miss it unless you've got your head up your butt. 

Can you tell this irks me?  I was a receptionist then secretary for 20 years so I know what it's like to get the brunt of people's anger when it has absolutely nothing to do with me.  And you know that, and you try to not let it get to you but sometimes it's hard.... YEESH!

But on a MUCH more positive note, I walked home from said drugstore, the sun was shining, the temperature was about freezing (celcius), a light breeze from the east and I was in HEAVEN!  It was like an early spring day.  When I got home (Barry was at work), I toured my gardens and realized that I have a LOT of work to do come March.  I'm really bad at tidying things up in the fall.  I hate the fall.  I just wish it didn't exist, although I'd take fall in a heartbeat over winter.  Although we have had probably the BEST winter (weather wise) that I can remember.  There was one year a few years ago that was really good but I think we've only had a total of about 2 or 3 inches all winter.  Last year we'd get that in FEET in a week or less.  it seemed like we were shovelling EVERY night.  I just hope that this summer is hot, fairly dry (too dry isn't good either) and not too humid (yeah, right ... we're talking about the Toronto area).  I even spent 10 minutes sitting on my deck, basking in the sunshine ... called Barry to share my experiences.  Oh yeah, the stitches came out fine and I was able to walk home but I've spent a good portion of the day with my leg up ... he injected a few veins with some solution to try to help them.




All in all it was a really good day, tomorrow I'm drawing the name for my giveaway winner and will post that by mid-day.  More work around the house for the rest of the weekend ... try to get done what I planned on doing today but couldn't.

Have an awesome weekend but we'll be chatting with you tomorrow.  Ciao!

It's Friday ... a long weekend for me ...

First of all, thanks again Tony for the Happy Award :)  I feel so privileged ...




Please note the link near the top left of this ... for those who don't know, my husband Barry is working on a project to connect bloggers worldwide.  We have a lot of followers in common but for those who don't follow him, I encourage you to check him out.  You can also link here to Life in Quotations.



A couple of weeks ago I had a vein in my right leg stripped ... THAT was fun.  But, oh happy day, the stitches are coming out TODAY!  YAY!  I've refrained from wearing skirts 'cause I didn't want the bandages showing.  Turns out they weren't very visible after all since I wore my new skirt yesterday.  You know, the one made of stretch material that is lined with regular lining, not the stretch lining.  And no slit.  Somebody wasn't thinking that day!  But for the most part it was ok.  Getting in and out of the car was a challenge.  Sitting was a tad uncomfortable, but oh well.  To boot, the stitches have become a little pink and uncomfortable so it's definitely time to get them out.

This week I was a total slug!  Other than my workouts, which were good but not anything to write home about.  Next week will be better.  I went to the chiro, got re-aligned and I'm not working out sore.  Consequently I have so much stuff around here to catch up on.  So I must bid you all adieu for now ... but I'll catch up with ya later!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fitness update

Oddly enough ... this is actually a fitness blog.  Lately I haven't been posting much on fitness ... probably mostly because I haven't been doing much.

So I managed to do 1 week of circuit training ... and decided enough was enough.  I don't love training that way ... barely like it.  But I LOVE strength training ... so if you find something you love to do and will commit to it and make it a priority, then by all means, stick with it.  I am.

In just 2 ab workouts I can already feel the damage being undone.  My abs are starting to tighten up again.  Thank God for muscle memory.  It's a wonderful thing.  At least I wasn't away from working out for too long ... I mean it was too long, but not so long that I couldn't get back into it.

Anyhoo ... it's my bedtime so I will you all adieu ... and we'll yackatcha later!

A successful shopping trip

So much to say ... so little time.  On a happy note ... my girlfriend Patricia took me shopping on Saturday.  And what a successful trip it was :)  A pair of black, grey and white pair of pointy-toe 3" stiletto heels, a black purse with gunmetal grey crocodile handles and trim, a grey and white pair of (moderately) low cut, fairly wide legged pants, a straight skirt with a little flounce at the bottom (same print as the pants), a blue, green and black draped, sleeveless top, a faux-wrap, black, blue, green, pink and purple top with a black cami and a pair of Spanx.  Then yesterday I popped into my local lingerie store and bought a red set and a nude bra.  OMG they're gorgeous!

So all in all ... I'm really happy.  I know I promised outfit pics ... I haven't forgotten ... part of my problem ... almost all my shoes are at work ... except for my new ones!

Stay tuned ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti

Yes, I seem to be on  a roll.

I am not sure why, but the devastation in Haiti has really affected me.  My respect for those who are on the front lines, helping those who have lost everything, is beyond anything I have experienced before.  The tsunami in Indonesia was devastating and yet it did not affect me as much.  This has actually made me want to go help.  Of course I know that will not happen.  But I will help any way that I can.

Every time I see footage, it makes me want to cry.  Maybe because these people have endured so much.  Maybe because they are in the same hemisphere as I am.  Maybe because the media has just done that good a job of making their plight come to life.  I do not know what it is ... all I know is that I wish there was something I could do other than donate money.

It has been so encouraging to see the world step up and help.  The millions that have been raised, the resources that have been allocated, even if they are not yet there, is amazing.  Who knows, maybe I am just getting to be more of a softie the older I get.

I truly  hope that none of you have been directly affected by this and lost loved ones.  I think maybe part of the effect has been the fact that our Governor General is from Haiti, from a town that has been devastated and that help is very hard to get to them.  Just after the quake, she was on TV, and although she tried valiantly to hide it, you could see how genuinely upset (talk about an understatement) she was.  It was the first time I think I have ever seen a politician with tears in their eyes.  Maybe that is part of why I have been so affected.

But I do hope that you will all join me in keeping those wonderful people in our thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

I've been awarded #2

Thanks so much to Jennifer Fabulous at I know, right? for awarding me the Happy Award!



The rules for this award are:
1. List 10 things that make you happy.

2. List 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

What makes me happy?
 
1.   Barry (of course)
2.   Cats (all three of them)
3.   Tiramisu
4.   Dancing
5.   Music
6.   Friends
7.   Sunrises and Sunsets
8.   Sunshine
9.   Babies smiles
10.  Shopping (not groceries ... almost anything else :))
 
And ten blogs that brighten my day to receive this award:


1.  Life in Quotations (hubbby for those who don't know)
2.  I know, right? (right back at ya babe!)
3.  Leah
4.  Make the World more Beautiful
5.  Nut in a Lifeshell
6.  Pursuit of Something Real
7.  Struggling to be Stylish
8   Synchronistic Catalyst
9.  Thunder from a Quiet Storm
10.  I am theWalrus

Everyone deserves this award because you all make me happy :)

I've been awarded #1



So thanks to my wonderful hubby who awarded me the Over the Top award

There are rules attached to the O.T.T. award so here goes. I have to answer in one word:


1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Your hair? messy

3. Your mother? deceased

4. Your father? deceased

5. Your favorite food? cottage roll (it's a type of ham)

6. Your dream last night?  no idea

7. Your favorite drink? Bailey's (not a copy ... the original)

8. Your dream/goal? fitness

9. What room are you in? theatre room

10. Your hobby? gardening

11. Your fear? aloneness

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? successful

13. Where were you last night? home

14. Something you aren't? arrogant

15. Muffins? Morning Glory

16. Wish list item? wealth

17. Where did you grow up? various places

18. Last thing you did? laundry

19. What are you wearing? jammies

20. Your TV? 56"

21. Your pets? cats

22. Your friends? awesome

23. Your life? amazing

24. Your mood? happy

25. Missing someone? always

26. Vehicle? Matrix

27. Something you're not wearing? bra

28. Your favorite store? Mateo (shoes and bags to die for)

29. Your favorite color? red

30. When was the last time you laughed? tonight

31. Last time you cried? tonight

32. Your best friend? Barry (my hubby)

33. One place that I go over and over? gym

34. One person who emails me regularly? Barry

35. Favorite place to eat? The Keg

I'd like to pass this award on to:

Jennifer Fabulous
Melanie's Randomness
Style Artisan
Cafe Fashionista
Here is What I Think
Ann Again and Again
Couture Carrie
Inspiration in Italy
Language is Wine on the Lips
Life After College

Sorry this took so long to post ... had a little challenge with linking.  And ambition.  But I'm back :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

YIKES!

I was preparing a post for tonight and realized what time it was and rather than rushing through it, I thought it best to wait until tomorrow when I'll actually have some time to figure out what I'm trying to do. 

Today was a good day though.  I wore a really nice long black skirt (almost to my ankles ... rather different from my usual attire) which I haven't been able to get into for the past 2 or 3 years and a yellow, black, white and tan coloured top.  The top is actually really nice except for one thing.  I bought it at Addition Elle 'cause they seem to be the only ones who make an empire waisted top that fits me properly because of the girls.  The problem is they seem to think that if you're plus size and big busted, your midriff/tummy area is going to be bigger than your bust.   I know there are woman who have that problem but they usually have smaller bustlines.  The back of my top was shorter than the front 'casue they built in the extra fabric to allow for a much bigger belly.  The top is starting to look a little worn anyway but it's just to darned pretty.

Ooo!  It looks like a girlfriend of mine and I are going shopping on Saturday for a bit.  Look our Spring (shoes).  I LOVE THEIR SHOES!!!!  And I think I might actually break down and buy a pair of Spanx.  I'm still not convinced.  My girlfriend did (I'm not sure about now) wear them and swears by them.  I'll try them on and see what I think.  I mean hell, if I can pay $180 for a bra, I think $50 for my lower half is ok.

You know, women really are all about illusion ... between the makeup, hair, undergarments, outer garments, shoes, jewellery, etc.  I sometimes wonder who we do all this for ... ourselves, men or other women.  I guess it depends on the day.

Anyway, I'm about to nod off so I shall bid you all adieu for tonight.  Stay tuned for the Story of Belle, coming to a computer near you in the next couple of days.  Yes, I'm tired.  Night, night.
:)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank you for your inspiration

First off, I'd like to thank Betty, Barry, Erika, Diane, Melanie, Heather Rose and MACA for your comments on my last post about getting back into the swing of things.  Melanie ... you can do it girl.  I had a problem with life getting in the way.  Then I started getting up stupid I know it's hard to get back into it.  But you can do it.   Erika ... stick with it girl ... it just takes a little (ok a lot) of effort and determination, but you can get back to feeling great. 

Today was a really good day.  I stayed on track with my nutrition, had a good workout, maintained a positive attitude (which I usually do anyway),  reviewed my goals, and just generally had a good day.  My only downfall was coffee.  I really want to cut the coffee (other than my morning espresso) out.  I just don't seem to be making a very good effort at it.  Plus I need the extra caffeine, although sometimes it's just habit.  Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

I'd also like to thank Jennifer Fabulous for a comment she made on my 200th post, asking what you consider beautiful.  Her answer was kindness in people towards each other.  I've been thinking about that a lot the past couple of days and wanted to thank her for inspiring a topic of conversation.

We get so busy in life, time pressures of  work, family, friends, groceries, cleaning, errands, etc. etc. etc.  It is so easy to forget the little "niceties" which really should be part of our days.  I say "thank you" when someone holds the door open ... man or woman ... and I usually look to check to see if someone is coming up behind me so I can hold the door open, even if it means it delays me a second or two.   And people are so surprised.  How sad is that?  How did we ever get to be such a rude society?  So unforgiving, forgetful, so full of ourselves.  Don't get me wrong ... I'm a LONG way from perfect.  But my parents raised me right and proper upbringing makes it really hard to be rude ... but there are days ....

Keeping in touch with friends and family ... by phone, not email.  One of the best/worst things that has come along is email.  Yeah, it's convenient but it's also so impersonal.  It's definitely better than nothing.  We have various friends and family that we keep talking about calling ... saying we have to go see them this summer ... hell, it's been 2 1/2 years since I saw my SISTER ... and she only lives about 3 hours or so away.  But summer it's traffic and winter it's weather and the excuses we can come up with to avoid doing something ... YEESH!

But isn't it great when you see someone help a stranger?  Hold a door, pick up something that someone dropped (I know a woman who ran halfway through the parking lot to return a glove I think it was to someone who dropped it and had an MP3 player on so didn't hear her calling him), let a car go ahead of them, all kinds of things we can do to show others kindness and respect.

I have really enjoyed meeting all of you.  Your posts and your comments have made me laugh, cry, be inspired, make me think a little deeper, exposed me to things I wouldn't have thought much about.  You are an amazing group of people and I just wanted to make sure you knew that you inspire me to be a better person, to still to my goals, to keep my promises (especially those self-promises I struggle with so much).

Thank you. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back into the swing of things

I forgot how hard it was to get back into the routine of workouts and eating proper portions.  I've only been away from my routine for 3 weeks but it feels like it's been 3 months.  But I've done one cardio session and one circuit training session (but only 1 circuit, it's usually 3).  I've cut back my portions, and eating 6 small meals a day.  I forgot how small real portion sizes are.  When you actually measure how much you're eating ... WOW!  But it's totally worth it. 

I usually wear my skirts just at or above my knees.  Well, I have a couple of bandages below my knee after the vein stripping so I'll probably be wearing pants more than skirts ... although I am rather limited 'cause I've only got 3 pairs of pants ... And 2 long skirts that will fit me now. 

I was watching How to Look Good Naked Canada this morning.  I must admit, I far prefer the Brit version with Gok.  He just has this wonderful way about him and totally makes the women feel at ease.  But it was so good to see the woman on the show this morning go from not wanting to look at her body, to finally accepting it for what it is, accepting that she has curves and she can still be sexy and beautiful.  It's so important for women to tape into their inner goddess and to feel great about themselves.  Doesn't mean they shouldn't want to improve on a good thing ... just that we should accept ourselves for who we are now, warts and all (so to speak) and realize that even if there's a little more of us to love, doesn't mean we aren't beautiful, sexy and desirable.

I gotta admit though, it's really tough being home (alone), having cut my food intake and not eating anything outside of what I've planned for.  Especially when I'm tired, which I have been all day.  Today was supposed to be a productive day since I lost a couple of days after my procedure.  But I didn't sleep well at all so between being tired and alone and hungry, it's all kinda conspiring against me.  But I am woman ... I am strong.  I will distract myself with something useful and get through today without blowing my nutrition plan.
I'm feeling a little pudgy ... but I know this is only temporary.

So onwards and upwards!  And good luck to all those who are working on their own improvements ... but remember to love yourself for who and where you are now ... and enjoy the process .... it's really quite enjoyable.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Story of Widget

Have you ever met anyone who just makes you smile when you look at them?  Ever had anyone in your life who accepts you for who you are and loves you unconditionally?  Who's warm, furry and the most adorable thing in the whole wide world?

Our lives were blessed 2 1/2 years ago.  I was on leave following surgery but I was able to move around.  We were at our vet's office when we met this tabby.  He was about 9 weeks old and THE most adorable thing I had ever seen.  Of course I was reluctant.  We already had 2 cats and they weren't getting along ... both females ... go figure.  I didn't think it was a good idea to through a kitten into the mix ... and a male to boot. 

But Barry was convincing, called him Widget (it was supposed to be a working title but it fit so well we kept it) and I was hooked.



This is Widget when we first brought him him.




Bell's first introduction to Widget.  He's in the cage.  He used to chase her and she'd run away.  But within 2 weeks they were curled up together.




They were so adorable together.  They don't do this too much anymore.  But they still both sleep with us; Belle's usually at Barry's feet and Widget is usually either on Barry's pillow or more likely in between us.




catching some rays ...



Widget with his buddy Dante.  They are very good buddies.  It often starts off with one licking the other, the second one joins in and then somebody decides they want it a little rougher and it turns into roughhousing.  Amazing how quiet they are though.  Hardly a peep.


Widget has the cutest habit.  I make latte every weekend.  He hops onto the bar stool in the kitchen and patiently waits until mommy has brewed the espresso and frothed the milk.  I scoop a little milk onto a finger, hold it up for him and he sits up on his haunches, balancing himself with one paw against my chest and licks my finger. 

I love all three of our cats but there is just something about this guy.  I think he reminds me a lot of Po, my second cat, who I had from 8 weeks to 17 years.  They both have/had so much personality.  I could go on and on about Widget but I think you get the picture. 

When Barry and I first started dating, he did not like cats at all.  Then he met Po (officially Polar Bear ... white cat, go figure ... aka Mr. Po) and within a very short period, he was their DaDa.  Now he's unbelievably hooked.  In fact, that's he's why we have Dante.  But that's another story.

I hope you all have a great week!  Do you have any pets? 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Obesity Epidemic

OMG!  I was watching a new episode of What Not to Wear last night.  Here's a very scary statistic for you.  Apparently 1/3 of the American population between the ages of 20 and 74 are obese.  As I look around, I don't think the Canadian population isn't too far behind.  That's just way too much and something really does need to be done about it.

Unfortunately targeting the individuals doesn't seem to work.  It seems the food industry are the ones who really have to start this.  There are way too many restaurants that serve portions that are so unbelievably distorted for not much money.  And instead of sharing a dinner, or taking some of it home, so many people eat what is on their plate.  After all, for many of us, that's what we were taught.  'cause there are starving children in Africa/China/whereever.  People seem to think that if they aren't getting a lot of food for their money, they're being ripped off.  Quite frankly, I'd rather pay more for less healthy food than a small amount of money for a huge portion of unhealthy, fatty crap.  Don't get me wrong, I love pizza (I prefer thin crust but Barry prefers thick),  burgers, etc.  And once in a while it's okay but so many people eat this stuff EVERY day!  And even if you don't gain weight from it, what's it doing to your heart, to your arteries?

We've become such a sedentary group.  We drive everywhere.  We're time crunched.  Fitness has taken a back seat to work, to family, to running the children to all kinds of activities, to social commitments, to shopping, housework, etc.  As women we tend to put everyone else ahead of ourselves.  We're so busy being the caregiver that we forget to care for ourselves.  Even if it's just taking stairs instead of elevators or escalators, getting out for a walk at lunch for 20 or 30 minutes.  Get off the bus a couple of stops before.  I'm sure you've heard it all before.  And if you're really desperate/crazy/determined, you can always get up an hour or so before you go to work to get a good workout in...even if it's 4:30 a.m.  hee hee

Of course this is all just my opinion.  As someone who has eaten lousy for years and not exercised regularly, I know how bad it can get.  I know how frustrating it is to want to change but just not be able to get your stuff together enough to do.  We all have our reasons for wanting to change or why we're not.  Hell, it took my mother's death before I finally got my act together.  She harassed me about my weight most of my life.  Maybe subconsciously I was rebelling ... stupid really ... I was only hurting myself.

But we have all our own stories.  I'd love to hear your story if you care to share.  And remember ... you are totally worth taking care of yourself ... making the most of your life.  I'm cheering for you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Look out world ...

Typical me, I don't post for a number of days and all of a sudden you can't shut me up!  I think I got so caught up in trying to come up with something significant for my 200th post, that I just got all jumbled up.  And work has been very busy so I think I've been using up all my brain power for the day. LOL

I was off work today 'cause I had to get a vericose vein stripped.  THAT was fun.  Barry took the day off to drive me there and back and he's been waiting on me hand and foot today.  I've had to keep my leg elevated as much as possible so Barry's has been my beck and call guy.  And done a fine job of it too.

I've been sitting here watching What Not to Wear and there were a couple of comments made by Clinton and Stacey.  The episode was a former ballerina who had lost confidence and gained some weight.  She wasn't that big, but in comparison too a ballerina's body, yes she was a little heavier.  My favourite comments were:

Clinton - "start looking at your body as this wonderful vessel that carries you through life that's strong and healthy rather than one that's just bringing you down ..."

Stacey - "you have to let go of whatever you were and allow yourself to become who you are"

I've been away from working out for 3 weeks and I'm really feeling it.  I was so sick over Christmas and New Year's that I wanted to give myself a week of easing back into it.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.  So Sunday is first day back at Circuit training ... I'll start off with one set of circuits, do 2 sets on Wed and 3 sets on Friday to get me back up to  speed.  And cardio and yoga on Sun/Tues/Thurs.  4 weeks of that and I should be doing much better.  Which is good 'cause my b-day's in 4 weeks, we're having our tiki party that day and I HAVE to look great in my purple dress for the following Saturday when Barry and I go out to celebrate both our b-days (his is the 25th) at a Zappacosta concert.  And of course proper nutrition is part of it too.  I confess it's been going downhill.  Very steep hill. So I'll give myself one more day to enjoy what I want and then I gotta kick it in high gear.  Cause I'm worth it.  We all are.

So please don't get down on yourself if you're not following your plan exactly.  Just recommit, make an honest effort and realize that you cannot change yesterday.  Only plan and execute tomorrow.

I've missed you guys so much!  I have been reading ... just not commenting too much but I'm baaaaack!!!

My 200th post!

As a way to celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I'd actually do a give-away.  In the interest of promoting beautiful people, the give-away is for something beautiful.  As many of you know, my sister makes handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewellery.   So the give-away is anything either from her site Beauty by the Bead, or something custom-made from Beauty by the Bead, with a value of $30 max.




Here are the rules:

1.  For one entry, leave me a comment on what you think is beautiful.  This could be a sunset, a dress from a favourite designer, a child, a painting, a poem; whatever makes you smile and feel great.

2.  For a second entry, become a follower.

3.  This is open to everyone.

4.  One name will be picked out of my very fashionable red hat by my hubby. 

5.  The give-away is open until Friday, January 22, 2010.  The name will be drawn on Saturday morning.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Getting back on track

First off, I need to response to a few comments ...

Diane, thank you for your lovely comment.  It's great to have a support network of women who understand.  This community has been fabulous for me ... it keeps me in touch with women of all ages ... all of whom keep me grounded.  And it's nice to not just be surrounded with the 20-something crowd, although I do love them dearly.

Erika, thanks for all your supportive comments.  Unfortunately back in those days I had been taking a hiatus from my fashionista days ... those days lasted more years than I care to remember ... but they are finally back..  The renos took a lot out of us ... but they were totally worth it ... stay tuned for more fun and frivolity ...

Betty, I left a message on your last post ... although I did post some of my "seen better days" photos, I restrained myself ... there's been so much material ... LOL 

In general, to everyone, thanks so much for your support.  I've been having a lot of fun the past several posts ... partly because my brain wasn't functioning like it normally does, and partly because I needed a break from the heavier stuff.  So onwards and upwards!
The last couple of weeks have felt like a month.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  I had been running so hard for so long, I really needed a break.  Not quite the way I ended up with one, but a break was necessary nevertheless. 

Without working out and not watching my nutrition all that much, I know I have some catching up to do.  But that's ok 'cause I feel ready to get back into it.  But I'm being smart and starting slowly.  I did about 10 minutes of light cardio this morning about 30 minutes of yoga. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.  I ended up awake for almost an hour in the night because of the infernal coughing.  I really hope this stops soon.  This week will consist of getting up at 4:30 a.m., doing progressively longer and much intense cardio sessions, ab workouts and yoga.  I'm getting a vein stripped on Friday so it'll be interesting to see how I feel.  The last one hurt a lot more than I anticipated.  Then I'll get back into circuit training 3 times per week, alternating with 3 days of cardio and have my one free day (Saturdays).  I'll likely do that for 4 weeks before getting back to strength training.  I need to shake up my workouts a little.

I was first introduced to circuit training by a personal trainer about 17 months ago.  He explained that circuit training works the body in a different way, and encourages longer, leaner muscle rather than strength training.  It's supposed to burn the fat faster because you do an exercise, do cardio for a minute, do an exercise, do cardio for a minute .... and it takes about an hour to get through the workout.  I'm usually drenched by the time I'm finished.  I'm not sure there was really that much difference ... but for me, I prefer strength training.  And being an avid gardener, it's important to be strong as well as flexible.  That's why I tend to do predominantly strength training (pyramiding) and shake it up with circuits.  Maybe it's a comfort thing.  I don't know.  But it seems to be working for me so if something works, why change it?

All I have to do now if figure out what I want to accomplish during my 4 week circuit training program and stick to the plan.  "Cause we all need to set goals.  It's really the best way of ensuring that things will get done.

I actually did that on Thursday morning, only it was just a "to do" list.  And it really helped to keep me focussed on what I wanted to accomplish before going back to work.  Speaking of which ... tomorrow already.  Oh well.  I work for 4 days, off 4 days, work 4 days and then I'm back to my regular routine.  And actually I have a goal of getting into a particular dress on February 13th.  I could probably do it now with some control top pantyhose but I would prefer to do it without them.  So that's my prize.  Wish me luck?

BTW - I can't remember whether I mentioned this or not.  I bought Barry a charcoal grey, fine-whale cordouroy blazer last week.  OMG!  It looks amazing on him.  I'll definitely have to take photos of him in it.  With black dress pants or dark jeans (which I still have to get for him), it'll look amazing.  And he has a few striped shirts that will really finish off the look.  I had been watching the price of it and got it for $50 cdn.  It was regular $130 so I was really happy.  They had 2 left, I tried the one on myself and of course I couldn't get it done up (the girls of course) but it fit me perfectly in the shoulders ... and it fit him to a T.

So good luck this week ... I wish you all the best for the start to a fabulous, stylish, creative new year!

Sandy

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What the fashionable renovator wears .... maybe not ...

As I was going through pictures from my last post, I came across a bunch of photos of me during the renovations.  I was laughing my ass off and just HAD to share them with you.  I hope you find them as amusing as I do ...


If anyone is drywalling a ceiling, this is the absolutely BEST tool you can rent.  It's a lift that makes drywalling ceilings a snap!  Well, maybe not a snap, but a heck of a lot easier.  There's actually a 4x8 foot sheet of drywall over my head, hence the hardhat.  All the fashionable drywallers are wearing them these days ...




The latest in gloves ....




So maybe not the most ladylike pose but I had put together so many freeking drawers by then, I was pooped!  Aren't those shorts just to die for!




Barry ... being silly, go figure ...



The best in cold weather gear .... it was BLOODY cold that day ... what a trooper!




What every good landscaper should be wearing ... notice the hat and gloves ...




mr gangsta insulator...




.... and the Mrs.



I was never so happy to rip something down as I was that trim under the window ... and did you notice the latest in great eyewear???



the latest in painting gear ...



This was actually my first meal cooked without a kitchen ... perhaps not the most flattering ... but all I had to cook with was a kettle, an electric frying pan and a microwave.  We were without running water for 5 months in the kitchen.  The upstairs bathtub became our sink.  Needless to say we ate out and ordered in A LOT.  But that's the topic for a whole other post ...

I hope you enjoyed the fashion show ... it's late and my sense of humour gets more warped the later it gets ... see you tomorrow!

Some of my favourite pictures ...

I was looking through photos that I have on my laptop and thought I'd share a few of my favourite ones with you ...



Belle and Widget ... Widget was probably 5 or 6 months old then.




THE CUTEST KITTEN EVER!



The Forsythia in full bloom ... kinda wild ... like me :)



I know, he doesn't look impressed ... but damn he's cute!


Our dining room ... and our philosophy





Barry built the fireplate mantle although you can't really see it .. the rest of the unit was from The Brick.


Our newly finished deck ... of one of good things about 2008

Even though I hate winter ... I thought this was an amazing picture.



This was the view from our cabin at The Domain of Killien in Haliburton, ON. 
We splurged for a weekend to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. 
It was wonderfully peaceful and relaxing.  Topic for a future post.


That's it for now ... future slideshows will follow at some point.  Although I must do a fashion post ... but not one you would expect.  Have an amazing weekend!

Friday, January 1, 2010

recommendation

There are some really fabulous writers (I can't imagine who ...) in our wonderful community.  One of my favourite writers is Louis from Pursuit of Something Real.  He only writes about once a week.  But man, his work is totally worth waiting for.  They are so thought provoking ... so insightful.  I highly recommend you check his blog.  I hope you enjoy his writing as much as I do.

another book review ... and happy new year

I am so excited!  I had ordered a copy of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and it arrived this morning.  We had a bunch of chill time today (after I did a bunch of cleaning/tidying/prepping) so I ended up reading the entire book.  I think he  has been the biggest influence on my sense of style.  He hasn't defined it; simply helped to rediscover it. Great way to end the year.

But I also want to give a shout out to the wonderful women that I follow.  Diane, I think you have actually been my best role model ... you are such an amazing example of how a woman with a little experience under her belt can still look stylish, current and absolutely amazing.

And to my younger friends, I really appreciate your support and encouragement.  It just confirms to me that I am on the right track.

Barry and I are watching Can't Hardly Wait with Jennifer Love Hewitt.  1998.  OMG!  and only 8 minutes to midnight here ... it's amazing how fast time flies.  I'm almost 45 but I still feel 30 max.  which is a good thing.

HEY IT'S OFFICIAL - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!  2010 HAS ARRIVED!

 Here's to our most amazing year yet ...