To all the foods I’ve loved before…

I’m on a diet.

No, scratch that, not a diet. I’ve changed my lifestyle.

Shit. That sounds worse. As if I’ve deserted my children and taken up residence in some hippy-dippy commune where we eat nothing but lentils and couscous and spend our hours doing Bikram yoga and chanting praise in honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…

…ooooh, spaghetti! I miss spaghetti. Large portions of it smothered in something cheesy. With mushrooms. And cheese.

But, I eat very little pasta anymore. Very little of anything, if you ask me. For Christmas dinner, I prepared a beautiful Lobster Bisque, with lots of cream, nearly-caramelized sweet Vidalia onions and huge chunks of lobster tail. A tiny bit of French sea salt cut some of the sweetness and it was topped with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a pinch of nutmeg.

I got about a teaspoon full.

And the turkey? It turned out beautifully this year, all juicy and tender, with a brilliant rub that made the skin crisp and fragrant. I ate a mouthful. No crispy skin. And the mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and cream cheese smashed into them were a masterpiece, I tell you. Not that I ate much of them. I think I have a cavity that is larger than the portion of them I took.

Oh, and don’t forget New Year’s Eve! Gin and tonic is a lovely drink and I really, really like to imbibe them. They are especially lovely when combined with a nice Valium on a flight to London, I’ve discovered. But, Gin and diet tonic? Well, it tastes so bad that I really didn’t need a second one. Or to finish the first, for that matter. I did discover that black-eyed peas, those most iconic of luck-bringing legumes, weren’t too bad for the weight-loss plan. However, the leftover ham and broth that I simmered them in shot that right in the foot. I got a tablespoon or so of them. Skipped the cheesecake and ate a handful of blackberries instead. Happy New Year!

And forget hours sitting on my big ol’ bum watching television. Except for the obsessive viewing of my Alma Mater’s basketball games (we’re in the Top 10!!), I haven’t seen much television since I embarked on this little endeavor. (Okay, I did take a time-out for the season three premiere of Sherlock, so sue me.) After dinner, I trek upstairs to the playroom/exercise room and either put an old scratched Britney Spears CD in, sneak Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz away from the teenager, or I drag in the computer and find an old movie to watch. I spend so much time on the exercise bike that the lady parts no longer get sore from the hard, unforgiving seat. In fact, I think I might be having some kind of illegal, immoral relationship with that bike at this point. At least it’s probably illegal in Kansas. That notwithstanding, I’ve discovered James Bond flicks starring Daniel Craig to be especially uplifting for my workouts. I don’t know if it’s his rugged good looks and ripped abs or the frenetic pace of the movies, to be honest. I have confessed before that I love movies where shit blows up, so, 007 does it for me. Star Trek films are the old standby – and I’m showing what a dinosaur I am by admitting that I still have most of them on VHS. So, it’s either First Contact or Into Darkness on DVD when I tire of Bond. Seriously, I must go buy Wrath of Khan on DVD soon.

As one of my friends recently said: “Khan > all other Star Trek movies.”

Yep. And I think Khan’s …um… fit physique would be inspirational. His pecs in that film are larger than my own breasts…

But I digress. Don’t let me talk about things like Star Trek and Doctor Who – you know better, dear friends! This post is about the journey I’m on. A new life I’m attempting to form. A new, healthier body and mind and soul.

Aw, fuck it. Truth is, I want to wear skinny jeans again. With stilettos. And a shirt that isn’t crafted to disguise a muffin top from the world. Or, maybe even a mini skirt for my next birthday. What can I say? I’m shallow. I know my blood pressure, cholesterol and all that other stuff will be better when I’m thinner. I damn well know that I’ll feel better when I have to climb more than a flight of stairs at a time, if I lose some weight. I’ll be able to keep up with the girls more. Maybe go two-steppin’ again with the Man of the House. Maybe even develop the stamina to learn yoga – a goal of mine for some time.

But it all pales in the shining light reflecting off those size four Hudson skinny jeans hanging on the closet door. They are beautiful. Oh, yes, I bought them. At 180 pounds, they seemed to taunt me and were very cruel. Going to bed was like being back in junior high, only it was a pair of jeans doing the bullying.

Today, after losing more than 30 pounds during the holiday season (yes, applaud all you like, thank you, thank you, despite all the chocolate and the cookies in my home, thank you, thank you!), they taunt a little less and seem to be saying “go ahead! Buy the shoes! You’re gonna make it!”

So, 30 pounds down, 20 to go.

As I said. I sure miss food. But I like what I see in the mirror even more than Lobster, steak, or a good Chicken Curry. So, I’ll carry on with the bird portions for now and continue my almost-intimate relationship with the exercise bike. Because for some reason, this time, it’s working. And working well. And crazily fast, too.

So, if you’ll excuse me. I need to do some online shopping. There’s a pair of jeans in my bedroom that must have some stilettos to go with them.

I wonder if Zappos has rush orders?


Closet confessions



It’s a daunting task. One that I should theoretically take on every year. Try as I might, I can’t avoid it.

The culling of the closet.
I confess it’s painful. I have a fairly deep and personal relationship with each pair of shoes and every handbag. But spring is nearly here and Bergdorf’s is sending me daily reminders that to be chic and cool this season, I must buy their new clothes. Or at least toss out those pieces that are hopelessly out of date. So, one day this month, my closet and bedroom turned into a killing field. Here are a few of the guidelines, that back in my working days, I used to try to keep my wardrobe current, classic and chic. Nowadays, it’s just an attempt to keep my wardrobe appropriate for my lifestyle – a work-from-home, mommy and blogger.

If it needs fixed, toss it out.
I can talk about fixing that hem or taking in that waist — but it’s never going to happen. I put them in a pile and chuck them at least once a year. Shoes too. Are you really going to take those old Payless shoes in to be repaired? I never did.  Then why are you sitting on them? Replace them with a quality pair that will instead last for years.

I’m not going to lose that last five pounds.
“Get over it,” I repeatedly tell myself. But I do tend to hold on to that pair of size four jeans or the really pretty cocktail dress with the really short skirt — even though I can’t get them on nowadays. Maybe after a really bad stomach virus, but how often to you luck out like that? If it doesn’t fit you must … well, quit. Toss it or pass it on. Your skinny girlfriends with no children who have wasted their waistlines will love you for it.

If it’s for work, is it chic and classic?
“Elegance is refusal,” Coco Chanel once said. Now, I’m no Coco, but I’m slowly learning that trends have no place in the workplace and, as I move into a full-time gig as an educator -that is doubly true. Trade the leggings for a slim pencil skirt, the oversized plaid shirt for a crisp white button-down with French cuffs. And while I didn’t follow ALL of his rules, I did use Tim Gunn’s book “A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style” to help me out this time around with my full-on closet reconstruction. Just don’t tell the “Project Runway” star that I kept more than a few holey college sweatshirts. Which brings me to…

Casual clothes revamp
Admit it, because I will — years out of college and you’re still wearing your Greek letters or college tees. Usually with some ratty yoga pants. And yes, even though you do feel bad about it, you do wear the combo out in public. But, if you’re like me, you are bound to run into a work colleague, vendor, peer or (worse) your boss while you’re out running errands looking like Britney Spears on a bad day. I love the words of wisdom from the UK’s Trinny and Susannah on their Web site: “Details make all the difference. A chic outfit will be completely degraded by chipped nail varnish.” I think it applies here. As a part of the 2011 cull, I tossed out all but one pair of sweats and yoga pants, now I HAVE to buy nice ones. I’m sure the folks at the Gucci Dillons at Central and Rock will appreciate it. (By the way check out Trinny and Susannah’s feature article:

Make sure it works
For me, this is a tough one. I love unusual pieces, I think it’s the “creative” part of my personality. The funky pink skirt with Indian embroidery and mirrors, the abstract print top in bright colors, the acid green floral shoes. It’s much easier to get dressed in the morning if you have a great selection of neutrals (blacks, grays, ivorys, camels, navys, for example) to start with. I’m not there yet, but the closet clean out did give me room to add in at least two new suits. The skirt and the top stayed, but I’m happy to report that the acid green shoes found their way to the DAV.

Speaking of that — where to donate
One woman’s closet clean out is another’s treasure. Make sure you take your (decent and clean) unused items to the DAV, the AmVets or to a Junior League Thrift shop. You might help build the wardrobe of someone a bit less fortunate — and we can all use the good karma, right?

MMM – Media Alert Monday: Polyvore

Heard on NPR this morning: allows Web fashionistas to express style; change fashion is the link. The actual radio broadcast was very interesting, worth a listen to the announcer talking about the metrics that this Web site can grab from its users and how fashion designers (once a rather unruly group that did not like to be told how to design) are starting to listen.

Very interesting report that shows a very important connection between two arenas you may never have expected!

Click on over and check it out. Definitely give this one a listen and then make your own Polyvore fashion collage. My first attempt is below, featuring designs from some of my favorites – old fave DVF and new favorite Issa (neither of which I can afford, by the way). I think I’ll have to visit this site often – they even have interior design options.

P.S. Check out the ads that you drag in with your image – very clever. I wonder what percentage Net-a-porter and others pay for their click-throughs? Good site all around for Web professionals to follow. Wish I’d thought of that!

I think I should title this image: “Mom can dream, right?”

569 EUR –
Ballet dress »

Christian Louboutin Patent Pump
$595 –
Patent leather shoes »

Mulberry bags BLACK
914 GBP –
Oversized bags »