body image


On the bus this morning on my way to work a woman standing down the aisle from me caught my eye – tall, blond hair neatly pulled back in a pony, pencil skirt, good boots, funky swing jacket, fun scarf – she looked great, pulled together, good.  “love her style” I thought to myself  “would like to look like that”

and that’s when it hit me – I used to BE that girl – put together, chic, well-groomed, fashionable, confident

30 or so pounds and several life-crisis ago, that is

well crap, it’s time to go back to being THAT girl

I have a closet full of fantastic clothes – great jackets, funky skirts, chic pants, cute tops – but all 2 or 3 sizes too small – this must change

Lately I have taken to wearing my lulu pants or jeans to work with a sweater or hoodie and my Chucks.  On the one hand, SO LUCKY I can dress like that at the office.  On the other, it has allowed me to become lazy and complacent and not make any effort in getting dressed in the morning.  I have become LAZY.  And COMPLACENT.  My mother would most definitely not approve.

I mean who cares, right? No one is going to see me, what does it matter?

Oh, it matters.  Believe me, IT MATTERS! I need to make that effort again, care about what I put on before heading out the door.  Be the girl people look at and say “wow, she looks GREAT!  what style!” I was that girl and will be again. Soon. I figure by the end of April I can get my act together, drop 2 sizes and be right back in my kicky skirts and flirty tops, feeling good about being ME.

Show the world the best version of me and then the sky’s the limit – there will be no stopping what this girl can do!

will keep you posted . . .

*the fact that the episode of Beauty Call that I filmed a few months ago wherein they (and Whitney Port!) called me FAT (I am a size 12 to 14) in at least 18 different ways on national television has NOTHING to do with this!

So am freshly back from taping the second half, the “reveal” portion of  my episode of Beauty Call – and FUN!  I was actually more nervous about this portion, oddly enough, than I was about the part where I had to be on camera in my underwear.  Because what if it doesn’t fit? Um, hi, BODY ISSUES!!!

At least I know naked fits …

Can you imagine if I got there and NOTHING they bought fit me?  And they were all like “She is so fat how can we be expected to dress THAT??!!”

Well that of course did not happen, though the first dress didn’t fit – same old story, didn’t zip up across the boobs.  Ladies, if you think you want big boobs?  Trust me, you do not.

And it fit, the second outfit did anyway which is kinda good because I really didn’t like the shoes that they got for the first outfit and the bag that came with this one?  TO. DIE.

Love the dress, the shoes are amazing, the bag is wonderful and a funky bangle just for fun. I am totally impressed that they were able to outfit me without even having met me and for it to have worked so well.  Really, really well.

I don’t know if I can say too much about it, though they didn’t tell me I had to keep it a secret or anything.  The same camera and production crew were there and the lovely make-up artiste as well, thank GOD.  really?  I want her to come home with me and “do” my face every day.  LOVE!

It was kind of an odd experience, though a positive one.  I will be very interested to see it all together when the episode airs.  I didn’t have a lot of interaction with the 2 hosts of the show, though I think when it airs it will look as though we did, I think.  Having all of those cameras on me was VERY unnerving and I hope it turns out ok, and that I smiled enough and kept my tummy tucked in enough and stood up straight enough and all that.

Definitively OUT of my comfort zone and that was a goal. Also?  the bag , the bag THE BAG!!!

I will let you all know when it airs (and maybe post a photo of the outfit)

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The bag - wish you could feel it - soooooo soft!

 

 

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the bag, open - love love! LOVE it

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the bracelet - not something I would have picked but that's kind of the point - and I love it!

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stones are close to the same colour as the dress - goes really well and adds an "edge" to the outfit

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The dress! Love it so much - hard to tell from the picture, but it is a wonderful rich green colour - perfect for the holidays!

 

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the details of this dress are so pretty - and flattering! kind of like "Spanx" in dress form, but really, really pretty

 

 

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions – personally I think they are stupid and do not stick.  However, this year I made a promise to myself to try things that scare me and that get me out of my comfort-zone.

Going on national television in my undies counts I think, right?

Last week I told you how I got a call from Anna & Kristina’s Beauty Call and that I had been selected to appear on this new make-over show.  Well the first part, the SCARY part, was filmed on Tuesday – and while scary, it was not terrible.

I arrived on set not really sure what to expect other than the fact that at some point I would be in front of a camera in not a lot of clothes.  The “studio” is in an old office building bordering on Yaletown and has been staged to look like a girls’ dressing room on one side, complete with vanity full of make-up and accessories and a fashion designer’s studio on the other – drafting tables, bulletin boards with sketches, magazine cut-outs, etc.  BTW, LOVED the two arm chairs in the dressing room side – think they would notice if I snuck them out??

anyway …

First off the make-up artist worked her magic and made me look human. Honestly, I want her to live with me and do that every day – it didn’t look like I was really wearing any and looked like me but WAY better.  LOVED!

The show’s stylist (and forgive me right now but for the life of me the only name of anyone I met that day that I can remember was the lovely PA, Plum) brought me to the bathroom – in the HALLWAY! oh, the glamour of television –  to do measurements (!!!!) and give me my outfit for the shoot – the afore mentioned bandeau top and boy-shorts.  Not as terrible as I thought and I have found my new favourite undies –  Jockey bamboo boy-shorts! Honestly, so comfy and soft and THEY DON”T RIDE UP AT ALL!!  Of course I got to keep the pair that I wore that day (duh) and have since gone out and bought myself 6 pair.  They are THAT good.

anyway, carrying on …

Then it came to my turn to be on camera – GAH!  Oh, and have I mentioned that the camera crew were all men??!!  But professionals, I guess, and used to this so whatever … on to the mat I stepped, in front of a full length mirror and answered questions fed to me by the segment director. The questions were pretty mundane:  name, age, occupation, then came WEIGHT!  and MEASUREMENTS!  and then the crux of the matter – what is my fashion/wardrobe dilemma (too much black, too conservative, a little boring) and what did I hope the girls could help me with (to be a bit more fashion forward, adventurous).  I guess this lasted about 10 minutes but it seemed like FOREVER!

When it was over I got back into my own clothes and met with the second director and camera crew for the outside “before” shots.  This consisted mainly of me walking back and forth on the side walk by Victory Park which is right across from the where the studio is.  If you are at all familiar with Vancouver you will know that the people who hang out in Victory Park are mainly addicts and homeless people.

Walking back and forth being followed by a camera crew caused quite a stir!  I tried to act all natural and like I do this all the time but really?  AWKWARD!  AT one point they had me sitting on a bench, texting, looking natural (!!!) – I sent the following text to my sister “they are filming me texting you so when you see this on tv that is what I am doing – HA!”.  People were staring at us and after it was over a few came up to me and were all like “are you an actress?”.

um, no

And so it ended and I survived and it wasn’t terrible. The big “reveal” is being shot next week and I can’t wait to see what they pick!

You know those “reality” shows where the person goes on, unhappy with themselves or their house or their wardrobe or whatever?  like TLC’s “What Not to Wear” or Britain’s Trinny & Suzanna??  Well Canada’s W Network is launching their own version, hosted by Anna & Kristina of  Shopping Bag and Grocery Bag fame called Beauty Call, and I applied.

And got on.

The first shoot is this coming Tuesday – and I have to appear on camera wearing a black bandeau top and black boy-shorts.

Half naked.

ON CAMERA.

For NATIONAL TELEVISION.

I guess it’s too late to start with the sit-ups … I wonder if I could request a full bar on my ryder???

UPDATE:  I did it today and it was scary but not terrible!  The (ALL MALE!!) camera crew were great and the production team really made me feel comfortable.  I said that this year I was going to do stuff that scared me and took me out of my comfort zone.  This totally qualifies!!  Can’t wait to see what they pick out for me!!  stay tunes …

taking a leap of faith here …

One of my favourite daily reads, Heather Hunter of “This Fish Needs a Bicycle” fame wrote this post about this post.  Quite something, no?

I was then reminded of a post of my own from 2 years or so ago.

The last year or so has been rather, for lack of a better word, tumultuous for me.  The on-again/off-again cycle ended rather dramatically with me winding up with a new puppy.  Have I mentioned that it was on the eve of my starting a new career?? And on that front, I have survived aggressive internal sabotage and come out on top. Not to mention the wee company I work for surviving the topsy-turvy world of the stock market. We are still here –  yeah us!

More recently my mother’s illness pretty much consumed my emotional resources and most of my time and energy.  But if I can take anything positive away from that experience, and I like to think that there is A LOT of things positive to be taken away from it, then it is this: do not wait for things to happen.

So in taking a page from Ms. Hunter, here’s an updated version of that post I wrote VERY tongue in cheek two years ago, though this time not so tongue in cheek.

To:  Potential Suitor(s)

From:  Me

Me, a single, 39 41 year old never been married and doesn’t want kids EVER woman, who may or may not have some serious control issues.  I live alone with quite possibly the world’s cutest and best golden retriever named Maggie, though she does have a somewhat irritating habit of throwing up randomly, and oftentimes on the bed, and she thinks that rolling in dead stuff is pretty much the best. thing. ever. Our new addition, Scout, is equally adorable in a rough-and-tumble kind of way, absolutely one of a kind. They take priority over EVERYTHING.  And there is no arguing that point, so don’t bother.  I maintain that I am a morning person, but don’t bother talking to me for the first 2 or 3 hours of the morning because I will not respond in a caring and positive manner (sadly, still very, very true).  You have been warned.  Food and I have an interesting relationship and there is rarely anything other than condiments in my fridge at any given moment (I Have changed a bit in that regard and try to maintain a somewhat stocked fridge.  Oh, hell, who am I kidding – even the condiments are not a sure bet!!).  Except for the $30 worth of olives from the WholeFoods olive bar (check!), or the 3 bottles of wine (and double check!)– I love to cook and am really, really good at it, but I also have to completely rationalize each and every morsel that goes into my mouth, hence the complicated relationship.  (Therapy has been wonderful) Again, you have been warned. For obvious reasons the section about meeting my mother and her eagerness to plan a wedding  is now no longer relevant.  That said, my father is indeed a lovely, wonderful man and is very direct with his questions.  Do not be afraid.  If you read more than the sports section, enjoy good beer, wine and whiskey (and bring same with you) and golf, you are pretty much a sure thing. Oh, but I do have fabulous hair (blond now, not brown) and shoes for every occasion imaginable, and even some for the non-imaginable (the collection has diminished, see Scout, above), and I have been told that I am fun at parties, though I don’t know if this is a good thing or if it is because I can do some incredibly stupid but apparently amusing things, but whatever, and? I can totally teach you the Hustle in under 5 minutes and am the undisputed champ of useless 80’s movie and music trivia.

If this sounds at all appealing …  (good therapist was found – maybe I should ask for a refund??) applications are currently being accepted.

Cheers!

Am I  pissed that she lost all that weight?  absolutely not – I think it’s fabulous.  What I am pissed about is how they are promoting it and the unrealistic image she is portraying while posing in a bikini.  Hey, she looks GREAT! but at what cost?  and to what end? as far as I can tell all it serves to do is propagate the unattainable and unrealistic (not to mention completely unhealthy) body image that Hollywood and the media force upon us.

Like most women I know, and don’t know for that matter, I have struggled with my weight pretty much all my life.  I have been WAY up and WAY down, neither healthy, and right now I am pretty much where I should be but of course am still not completely happy with it.  I lead an active life but think I should be more active.  I eat well 95% of the time, but then go through spurts, like right now coincidentally, where a 250 calorie bag of baked pretzels dipped in almost no calorie Dijon mustard makes a perfectly acceptable meal of the day.  Yeah, I know, SOOOOO healthy, right?

I had a mini melt-down the other day, thankfully in the privacy of my own bedroom, brought on I suspect by watching an interview with the aforementioned Ms. Bertinelli, tuning in to the Biggest Loser (a show I actually enjoy and think for the most part promotes a healthy attitude and approach to weight loss),  and the fast-approaching spring/summer season.  Ms. Bertinelli admitted to dropping her caloric intake to 1,200 for several weeks prior to the bikini shot.  Well of course she did?  If I knew I was going to be photographed in a bikini for millions of people to see you had better believe that I would pretty much stop eating and start working-out 6 hours a day for at LEAST a month. 

But then what? What happens when you go back to real life? What happens when you HAVE  a real life, with a real job and real responsibilities?  Most of us don’t have 6 hours a day to dedicate to working out.  Most of us don’t have a weight-loss company PAYING us to promote them thus enabling us to have those 6 hours a day to work out.

Which brings me to my next “issue” – the whole weight-loss company thing.  Jennifer Lancaster made this point over and over in her book “Such a Pretty Fat” (which I LOVED, by the way – READ IT!).  Sure, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers work great IF YOU EAT THEIR PRE-PACKAGED FOOD.  But then what?  Are you stuck eating that crap forever??  Because, yuck. And so not healthy – it’s all processed and full of stuff you can’t pronounce and so contrary to that other dietary trend we are being inundated by – the 100 mile thing (but that’s a whole other topic for a whole other entry). And they don’t emphasize (or even mention in some cases) that exercise is the key.

This is a point that The Biggest Loser makes over and over again – change your life, change the way you eat, change the way you move.  Sure the contestants on the show have the luxury of being on a ranch with some fabulous trainers and the ability to work out 24/7 should they so choose.  But it’s not a permanent situation and they, for the most part, leave the ranch with a new approach to how they live their lives.  They are shown healthy alternatives to their favourite snacks.  They are encouraged to MOVE.  Their lives and lifestyles change – they are not dependant on a series of pre-packaged “meals”.

But this isn’t about extolling the virtues if a reality television show.  It’s about why I am pissed at Valeri Bertinelli.  You look great, I’ve already said that, and you do.  Really, you do.  But how will you look in 6 months?  Probably still great, but likely not “posing in a bikini on the cover of a national magazine” great because how could you? unless, of course, you continue on your 1,200 calorie a day regime which is setting such a great example for all the real women and impressionable young girls out there.  Does being thin and bikini ready make you a better person? Because that’s the message that’s being sent.  thin=better, happier, worthier

Here’s the thing – I love food.  I love reading about it, watching about it (bad grammar, I know), talking about it, preparing it, and eating it.  Life would be pretty damn boring if I was restricted to 1,200 calories a day for life.  (also, I would be ridiculously thin and that’s just not such a great look on anyone over 35 – hello, a little fat does wonders for the wrinkles) Food for me is a social activity and one that I am not willing to give up.  The moving thing?  I do that – sometimes more than others but on average I am way more active than apparently 90% of the general population.  I have 2 dogs that require lots of exercise and that translates into 2 45-minute walks a day during the week (including HILLS – I live in the mountains) and a 2 to 3 hour hike on Saturdays and Sundays.  Plus other stuff.  So yeah, I am active.

I also know that I feel better a little “lighter” and I am in a better mood when I am eating healthier and when my favourite clothes fit. But I really don’t need the, admittedly mostly self-inflicted, pressure of having to be bikini-ready or risk being shunned or marginalised.

So Ms. Bertinelli and those of your ilk, I am pissed at you (but you do look great!).

 

BOOK

My father has written a book.  A real honest-to-goodness book and it is amazing!!

Lots of people say they are going to write a book but few ever actually do it.  And he has and I am so proud of him.  When it arrived last week I burst into tears.  Was not expecting that visceral a reaction, but there you have it; I cried. 

He has had 10 copies printed for various people, myself included, to read and give him feedback.  I am in very good company – among others, he has a professional editor, a reviewer for the Globe & Mail, and 2 professors.  So far the reviews have been unanimous – a great story!

It is an historical fiction novel, loosely based on our family history – from Ireland to Montreal.  VERY loosely based.  As I was reading it at times I forgot that it was my father who had written it, and thought that that was a very good thing indeed.  But then his voice would come booming through or a story that I had heard in my childhood was woven into the tale, or a character was just so familiar, a lot like ME, in fact.

In the next few weeks my dad is going to give his book a final revision, taking in all comments and suggestions from his readers and then set about getting himself an agent to shop it around to publishers.  How amazing will it be when it gets published??

and then gets on the NYT Best Sellers list.  And then gets optioned to be made in to a film.  And Colin Firth gets cast.  And it is a HUGE success.  And gets nominated for an Oscar.  And wins.

Is it too early to start looking for a red carpet-worthy dress??

MOVIE

I saw Mama Mia this weekend and smiled my way through it.  A work of cinematic genius it is not, but fun?  Absolutely!!  Abba music just makes me happy and I seriously want to go to Greece and splash around in the beautiful blue water.  The Firth factor didn’t hurt, either … 

Navel Gazing

I try not to do too much of this but sometimes it just can’t be avoided.  I was out for dinner a few weeks ago to celebrate a good friend’s 50th birthday.  There were 8 of us, all women, ranging in age from 40 (me) to 54 (birthday girl’s sister).  Some married, some not, some in between.  3 of the women – married, well-off, seemingly happy, drank white wine and ate nothing more than a few edamame.  So THAT’S how they maintain their size zero figures!!  (there is WAY too much brie and french fries in this world to be enjoyed for me to get on board with that plan) Also, not so happy.  One of them, a real estate agent, married for 20 years with 2 children, 3 houses, and a closet full of designer clothes, has been sleeping with a new boy every week for the past year or so because she is “bored”.  She is now contemplating leaving her husband.

Another of them, divorced, 2 kids, great job, has morphed into the stereotypical “cougar” and was absolutely on the prowl.  She was one of the non-eaters and I have to say that once a woman reaches a certain age a little bit of weight in the face is not a bad thing.

Another of the women went on and on and on about money – how much she has, how much her husband makes, what their neighbours have, what they buy, what they will buy, what they want to buy, etc.  GROSS

(and she left early and only left $40 on the bill – guess who covered it?  yep, that’s right, ME!  the poorest in the group) 

I did have a good time – the birthday girl is a dear friend and a lovely and genuine oman and not like these others I have mentioned.  There were also other dear friends there whom I really enjoy and who are “real” people.

I got home that evening and just felt sad; a mite depressed actualy. But then spent some time seriously examining my own life and came to the happy realisation that I am happy.  My life is good and I don’t really have any major complaints.

Sure I would like to have more money, nicer clothes, more shoes, better jewelry, a bigger apartment – hell, my own house!  To be thinner and prettier would be great, too.  Also, I would like to have a wonderful man to come home to.  I would love to be in love again and to have someone to share things with. But still, I am happy now.  I have a very good life and excellent friends and 2 amazing dogs and a beautiful little niece.

So maybe on the surface those women look as though they have it dialed.  But do they?  nope

and my own life? pretty darn good

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