Books I Read: October

At first I really did think all I was going to get read this month was The Twelve, but then I got sick and it really upped my books read percentage.  So at least there’s that.

136. The Last Hundred Days 

Let’s see. This is one of those books that was incredibly well written, and it was about such an interesting time in history, but it just did not hold my attention and it took me FOREVER to read.  I don’t know, this book just felt smarter than me.

I’m glad I read it but I would never describe it as a page turner. I did have to write down these two quotes, which really struck me.
“The rustle of unseen activity was everywhere, like the scratching of insects in darkness. Kafka’s The Castle came to mind, a book I had no read but that fell into that category of literature that culture reads on your behalf and deposits somewhere inside you.”
“When I decided that we were learning about politics not in order to re-imagine the world but the opposite – to continue justifying why it was this way and could be no other – I changed to art history and spend my days touring galleries and reading catalogues.”
137. The Twelve.  Eh. I like The Passage better, but it did what it was supposed to do.  While I was reading it was ALL IN, but when it was over, it didn’t really stick with me.

138. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

This had a weird tone, again, like “Gone, Girl” and “Shine, Shine, Shine”, but it wasn’t as oppressive as those books for me.  It was fine, but I didn’t love it.  I think if you live in Seattle, though, you should probably be required to read it.

139. Monument 14

This was reasonably entertaining, but some of the logistics didn’t hang together.  It’s about a bunch of kids trapped in a giant big box store and how they survive in a sort of apocalypse  I just couldn’t get past the fact that they couldn’t use the running water but they cooked three meals a day that they allegedly cleaned up with wet wipes.  Yeah, no.

140. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.  You know how when you read about people’s dreams they aren’t interesting because there’s no connection to reality? That’s how this book was for me.  I wanted to love it, but it was too nebulous and random and wandering for me.

141. Tigers In Red Weather.  Ugh. I made it 5/6th’s of the way through this book and then I just wanted everyone to GET BENT and I quit.

Fifty Shades Freed. I couldn’t do it. The whole “Oh, no, I made my husband mad and I am in trouble” business gave me the stabby feelings.

142. Live By Night.  This is the first of the “big new fall/winter” books I think I’ve read and it bodes well.  I found it highly enjoyable.  If you like reading about the mob, you will enjoy this, I think. It’s violent, but it’s very entertaining.

143. The Cutting Season. Meh.  For a mystery, this was not at all terrifying.  I think there was too much telling and not enough showing.

Book of the Month? Live By Night.

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What I Wore This Week: I Don’t Even Remember

As Sir Topham Hatt would say, this week WAS A DISASTER.

So whatever, I’ve been sick as a dog, Erik has a terrible cold and a huge work deadline, Katie is going “through something” that necessitates never sleeping. Eli is so excited about Halloween that he about pees his pants every time we drive by a pumpkin.

Due to the aforementioned events. I mostly wore jeans and Mr. E’s North Face vest. I don’t really want to talk about it. My house is a disaster and I’ve got so much to do and I didn’t call my sister on her birthday and this time of year is literally where things kick into insane over the top high gear and it’s a really inconvenient time to be lying in bed feebly googling the symptoms of Meningitis.

Anyhoo.

During brief moments of not feeling like hot garbage, I did wear a few things.

 

{Ann Taylor Loft Tee, Ann Taylor Skirt, Target Belt, Seychelles Wedges}

This skirt obviously could stand to be ironed, but I was still really proud of myself for putting this together! It felt really cute, but casual enough to not be over the top, and the skirt was on the “Should I get rid of this?” pile, and now I love it, so I felt very pleased about that. And these shoes are the kind that somehow just make your feet look pretty? They’re not necessarily the most comfortable to talk in, but they just make my feet look so nice when they’re on that they make me happy anyway.

 

{Target sweater, Old Navy tee, AE jeans, Target booties}

Despite the look on my face, yes, it’s true, I finally finally found a pair of skinny jeans that do not make me want to light things on fire with the force of my rage! Yeah! I actually have always really like American Eagle jeans. I think they understand short girls with big kiesters. These jeans do need to be hemmed, but I can’t figure out where to them to.  Please advise – do I want them to be sort of ankle length, so that for example in this outfit you’d even see a bit of my leg between the bottom of the jeans and the top of the bootie? Do I want them to come down to the top of the shoe? I remain paralyzed with confusion.

Also, I know I said no more Target shoes, but I just could not bring myself to spend $100 plus dollars on a trend I feel very dubious about (the ankle bootie) but that I still wanted to try. These are actually really comfortable and are genuine leather, and cost only $24.99, so I figure what’s to lose. I feel like these will be very useful with skirts and tights this winter. If I wear them all the time, I can buy a more expensive pair next year if they wear out. If I never wear them, I learned my lesson for only $25.

 

 

What I Wore This Week: A Tale of Two Gold Belts

 

 

 

This week was fairly uninteresting because it got hot again which means I just wore all the same boring stuff I wore all summer long that we’ve all seen before. Also I slept on my neck funny one night and it just got worse and worse and now I can’t even turn my head, which believe it or not kind of put a damper in the whole “what should I wear” dilemma since I was more concerned with “can I drive without turning my head to the left ever” than I was with statement necklaces, or whatever.

 

{Downeast Basics skirt, Downeast Basics Tee, Target Necklace, Sole Society Shoes}

I wore this on Monday and on the way into K Town a lady stopped me and gestured to me and Eli and Katie said “The three of you look so cute together.”  So, win!

These shoes are so pretty I had to show you another picture of them up close because they don’t photograph very well.  I am not recommending them because 1. I don’t think they’re worth $50 which is what they would cost if you don’t have a $25 off coupon, which I did, and 2. They say “Free shipping both ways!’ on their web site, and then on the invoice in the box they say that if you return the shoes and want a credit back on your card, they charge a $7.95 restocking fee.  Which is SUPER SUPER SHADY and so I refuse to link to them. But they are very pretty shoes, I’ll give them that.

{J. Crew dress via Ebay, Target belts, J. Crew wedges}

I finally had my dress hemmed! I forced myself to take it to a real tailor and even though it was a bit more than I was expecting to pay for a hem ($25), she made me try it on and she measured and marked it all the way around from the floor to make sure the hem was straight, and she did a GREAT job. Look at that nice even hem, at the perfect leg spot! I am so  happy I didn’t attempt this myself, you would not believe the difference having it done correctly made in the way the dress looks.

I will be wearing this some Blathering event (but not with these shoes), I can’t tell you which event because I don’t know yet, but I need a vote on which gold belt to wear with it.  The first one (wider and a matte gold) is the one I thought I liked, but Mr. E said that the second one (skinnier and gold glitter) was FAR AND AWAY BETTER, so now I need you all to vote and tell me which one to keep and which one to return.

 

{Lands’ End Fit and Flare Dress, Eddie Bauer Outlet Cardigan, Franco Sarto Leopard Wedges}

I swear I get more compliments on this cardigan than almost any other piece of clothing I own, and it’s from Eddie Bauer, where I do not really ever shop. (I followed Erik in there this summer at the outlets). It literally just occured to me right now that maybe I should try to buy more sweaters from there, instead of shitty ones from Target.  Hmmmm.

Anyway. Gold belt A or B? Inquiring minds want to know.

What I Wore This Week: It’s Finally Fall

Remember when all my pictures were the same size? Wasn’t that fun? Then WordPress decided to just up and do away with that feature, so if anyone has any idea how to accomplish this now, please please let me know because it’s making me want to cut someone. I just want to import five pictures and have them all be the same size. Which I could do last week. And which I can’t now. And it’s making me stabby. Anyway.

{Denim jacket that was a gift and I have no idea where it’s from, Ann Taylor Loft shirt, Old Navy skirt (old), Lands’s End heels, Target necklace}

Ooooh, such a fun cute outfit. I really loved this. Especially because it just came out of nowhere, I just started piling stuff on and it worked. AND this is the skirt that I wore last in my Christmas card picture and I couldn’t zip it – I had to pull a sweater down tight over it to hide that fact. And now I can tuck a t-shirt into it! Also, the lovely Kate sent me a box of clothes that she didn’t want anymore. It was so nice but none of it fit,which was extremely depressing because she has great taste and it was all so cute, and now two of the jackets and one of the skirts fits and it’s very gratifying.

{Gap Outlet Sweater, Old Navy Denim Pencil Skirt, Anthropologie Earrings, Bandolino Boots}

Everyone should own a black crewneck sweater.  If you don’t have one, go buy one. This one has bows on the sleeves, and it’s seriously so cute. I love it. AND I finally figured out what to wear with this skirt! It was fairly useless this summer, and I was regretting the purchase, but it’s perfect for fall with boots and a sweater.  Awesome.

These boots were a birthday gift and they are my new favorite thing. So comfortable, but with a perfect amount of heel.  They are wide calf though, and although they fit really well at the top of my leg, they’re a little too big in the actual calf.  I think I could easily have them taken in by the cobbler but Erik claims no one will ever notice this and that if I catch someone staring at my leg that closely I should wonder seriously about their motives.

{Gap Dress, Target Mossimo Sweater, Bandolino Boots}

It’s actually kind of funny – I threw this dress on and lamented that I really had nothing to wear over it.  Later on that morning I was wandering through Target and I spotted this sweater which has actually caught my eye a few times over the last few weeks – normally I don’t like these sweaters because I feel like they spotlight the stomach region, but what could it hurt to try it on in an empty Target at 9 AM, right? And it was SO CUTE! I loved it, and it’s actually SUPER flattering (I think because it cinches in at the waist with buttons) AND I loved it with the dress, and normally I don’t EVER wear gray because I think it makes me look red, but they were out of black and I LOVED the grey. And I could think of about 80 things I could wear this with.

I really did wonder if I should buy a Target sweater because I find they do not wear well, but then I realized that for me, NO sweaters wear well.  They fade and get stretched out and gross looking after about a year, regardless of where I bought them and how much money I spent on them. I’m trying really hard to baby my clothes by not washing them too much, using cold water and special detergent, but I think for me sweaters will always be a little more of a disposable item, so I’m not going to feel too bad about buying cheap ones at Target.

And now I notice it also comes in blue online. Hmmmmm.

Anyway. That was a little lesson to me to keep trying things out and not to be afraid to break some rules.  This sweater was not a color I buy, not in a silhouette I go for, and it didn’t fit the uniform requirements, but I still love it and think it looks great with this outfit.

{Target Jacket (old), Old Navy Jeans, Franco Sarto Leopard Wedges}

Sometimes I get legitimately stressed at the thought that I almost didn’t buy this jacket because it’s so great. Seriously. This is one of my favorite things ever.  I highly recommend you get yourself a military style sweatshirt jacket thing.  It’s fabulous.

In this picture these jeans are a little mom ish in the downstairs – in person they didn’t read that way, I don’t think, and I REALLY loved this outfit.  Actually the jeans are a little too big and I will probably replace them with something nicer (I like the Gap Long and Lean jeans a lot, despite being neither Long nor Lean), but I go through jeans so fast, I’m not in rush to get rid of these.  Between constantly fluctuating weights and kids wiping god knows what on me all the time, I go through about three pairs of jeans a year anyway, I’d really prefer them to cost $30, rather than $300.

{Gap Blazer, Lands’ End Canvas Dress, Bandolino Boots}

This outfit might have been cuter in my head that on my actual person, but I’m cool with that. You can’t be afraid to try stuff out and see where it takes you, even if does sometimes make you look a little wide.  A little wide – that’s not the end of the world.

The World’s Slowest and Most Useless Diet: How To

So I feel kind of awkward writing this post because really, I am on the world’s slowest and least effective diet, and I probably should not be giving diet advice to anyone. However, I am also actually losing weight and not losing my mind at the same time for maybe the first time ever, so I thought maybe it could help someone if I talked about this? I don’t know.

I also feel weird talking about this because I am walking this weird semi line of fat acceptance.  I HATE the body shaming that goes on in this country. I hate that people assume that losing weight will solve all their problems. I hate that no one thinks you can be fat and also look nice. I hate that six year old girls come home from school calling themselves fat. I hate that I felt bad about myself at a size 4 and a size 6 and a size 16. I hate all of that.  I really do. But I also don’t know that I can call myself a fat acceptance blogger because the truth is that although I LOVE how I look now and I LOVE I feel about myself now, I also do not want to be really really fat. I just don’t. It makes it hard to shop. It would mean I would never get to wear the box of size 10 clothes I have in my garage. And I am pre diabetic and I don’t want to have to heave myself up off the couch or to wonder if I can go on a hike and I don’t want to be huffing and puffing after my kids.  I just don’t want that.

So like I said, I am straddling this weird line. Because this is the first time I have ever been able to lose weight without actively hating myself, and that feels like a really great achievement, but I had to get there by 1. accepting myself at a size 14 (because I thought I had no choice) and 2. figuring out what I needed to do to like myself at that size and 3. deciding that what I ate would be based on how it made me feel, rather than on whether or not I thought it would make me lose weight.

Anyway. The point of all this is that in about 8 months, I have lost 20 pounds.  And I know, that’s nothing! That’s really not a lot, and it’s very slow.  It’s not enough that anyone has noticed (actually, that’s not true, one very lovely lady did send me a lovely email), and it’s not enough that I can reliably wear a smaller size, although I can wear some things that I could not wear before, and my clothes all fit a lot better.  Oddly, aside from being thrilled at the fact that I could wear a jacket that I couldn’t get over my arms before, I really feel exactly the same about myself. So that’s good, I think.

Here is a comparison, so before and after. I can definitely tell the difference, but only in some pictures, and some of it is because I have learned a lot about what is flattering on my body type, but there is a difference, to me anyway.

So this is in May:

And this is today:

Anyway, it took a really long time for me to start losing weight, which was very frustrating, because I am the type of person who likes scientific results when I put in scientific efforts. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.  I tried Weight Watchers and wasn’t even eating all the points and I did not lose weight.  I tried running five times a week and didn’t lose weight. Nothing worked, so I gave up. (I did have my thyroid tested and it came up normal.)

So then I started feeling sick all the time.  I was forced to really pay attention to what was making me dry heave over the side of my bed every night, because that was basically the worst feeling in the entire world. And it got REALLY frustrating when I was eating SUCH a healthy diet and STILL not losing weight. REALLY REALLY frustrating. But what choice did I have?  I had none, really. So I continued on eating what made me feel good and trying to dress myself like I deserved to look good even at a size 14, and I learned to really love myself anyway.

And then, finally, finally finally, I started to lose weight.

So. Here’s what I do.  Here’s the secret to the World’s Longest Slowest Least Effective Diet:

– I do not eat dairy. This is not because I do not love dairy (YOGURT COME BACK TO ME) but because of the aforementioned dry heaving.  This is not a fad or something that I can just toss off when I don’t feel like it. This is the difference between me feeling great, and me holding a bucket in front of my face every night at 6 PM. So I do not eat dairy. (Although I can eat cheese, maybe, in small amounts, and I don’t really read ingredient labels.  If it’s bread with traces of milk in it, I just eat it. If it’s a scoop of ice cream, I don’t eat it.)

– I don’t drink very much.  So some SSRI’s are the kind that tell you that you should probably not drive a forklift while drinking and taking your SSRI’s? Like, please don’t sue us if you drink and do something stupid type of SSRI’s?  Then there are the kind that you REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY shouldn’t drink while you take them.  It turns out that mine is the second kind!  I could not figure out why I kept getting sick as a dog from martinis and gin and tonics and then woah! It turns out that P@xil can make ONE drink seem like FOUR! So I do’t really drink.  The good news is that I really don’t care about this nearly as much as I thought I would, because I’m not all stressed and anxious all the time and really wishing I could have tequila shots so I could just chill out.

-I try not to eat sugar.  When I first started my healthy eating thing, I really didn’t eat sugar at all because it gave me weird diabetic type heart palpitations.  Now it’s much better but I find I generally am not that interested in it anyway.  The things you can have with sugar but not dairy are mostly not that great, so it’s not a huge issue for me.

-I don’t go hungry.  When I was a size 4, I spent a GREAT PORTION of my afternoons, every day, really really hungry. I’d pound water and count out nuts seven at at time, but let’s be honest, I was hungry.  I am just not willing to go hungry anymore. It makes me really really crabby and it makes me nasty to my kids, and it’s not worth it to me. So if I’m hungry, I eat.

-I quit drinking Diet Coke. I am not kidding you, I think this is the NUMBER ONE thing that a person can do to eliminate weird sugar cravings. I quit drinking Diet Coke because it made me feel gross every time I drank it, but a few months into this project I noticed a HUGE difference in my incessant cravings for all kinds of junk food. I have now become someone who would rather eat carrots than cake, and I know that makes me sound like such a HUGE asshole, and I promise that’s not a humble brag and I am just as shocked and mystified by it as you are, and all I can figure out is that fake sugar is the devil, so I do not under any circumstances ever ingest it.

-I figured out what a really really yummy salad looked like to me (iceberg lettuce, spinach, carrot shreds, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, mandarin oranges and really fattening dressing) and I keep a giant bowl of it on hand all the time.  I LOVE salad. I do not love making it. If I have it ready to go, my mind automatically goes to it as something I can eat as a side with dinner while the rest of my family eats french fries.  And I have total permission (from myself) to eat whatever salad dressing I want on it.

-I have embraced fat.  I am no longer afraid of fat. (see fattening salad dressing, above).

-I do not count anything, ever. No calories, no grams, no cookies. I don’t do it.

-I get into food ruts, and I don’t make myself eat something for breakfast that I don’t want to eat. I know I should eat eggs for breakfast.  They fill you up for hours.  But I just am not going to make myself eat something I don’t want to eat. So sometimes I feel like eggs, and I eat those and a side of spinach and some melon or grapes and some tomatoes and it’s awesome. Other times I don’t want to even see an egg and I eat two toaster waffles and some turkey sausage.

-I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I don’t eat a lot of snacks. I might eat lunch at 2, it’s not a strict schedule, and I sometimes have an afternoon snack if I’m starving, but it’s just easier for me to eat a big meal until I’m actually full than to be nibbling at stuff all day. I don’t have time for snacking, quite frankly.

-I quit running. This one makes me sad, but seriously, hand to god, I didn’t start to lose weight until I quit running. I have no idea why, but I do know that I am honestly not that hungry  most days, now, and when I was running three miles four times a week, I was hungry every minute of the day. I could not stay out of the kitchen, and I could not lose weight.  It was too hot to run this summer anyway, and I am wondering if maybe now that it’s cooled off I could start walking or something, but for me, running was really prohibitive to weight loss. I would like to start it up again 20 pounds from now and see if it’s better then, but for now? No more running.

-I started shopping at Costco. Mostly what I buy at Costco is giant bags of vegetables and chicken.  I am so much less prone to buy a giant bag of junk food because it’s going to cost $15 and I’m going to have to eat a giant bag of it.  Those little bags of $4 treats at Trader Joes? DEADLY.  But a cart full of turkey sausage and apples and lettuce is just not as exciting to a food freak like me. I honestly believe that Trader Joes is really fattening, and so expensive, because you just can’t resist all the cute looking well packaged delicious gimmicks.  I try to stay out of there and stick to my boring Costco vegetables.

-I let myself eat whatever I want, but I try to make it vegetables when I can.  If I want to have some cheetos, I have some cheetos.  Life’s too short to never get to eat anything you want.  But if I can talk myself into a veggie hummus wrap at lunch time instead of a bean and cheese burrito, I try for that.

-I don’t eat fast food.  Ok. I love love love love McDonalds. I think a McDonalds french fry is one of the worlds’ most perfect things. But every single time I eat there, I am sick to my stomach afterwards for DAYS. It finally became not worth it, and I just try to have a few things around from Costco that I know I can throw in the oven if I am really not in the mood to cook.  And we go out to other places like sandwiches and sushi, but no McDonalds. Sob.

And I think that’s it! So there you go.  I am pretty sure I just made “Eat a Lot of Vegetables” into 2000 words, but what can you do? Long windedness. It’s one of my best talents.

What I Wore This Week: The Older Edition

{Banana Republic Skirt, Target Necklace, Target belt, Ann Taylor Loft Shirt}

I loved this outfit. I almost didn’t keep this skirt even though I really needed a nice a line navy skirt, but I’m so glad I did. I can see it with tons of things in my head. It’s really nice feeling.  And I love that I finally have white t shirts I can wear with dark bottoms, although I do wish I had a really chunky gold necklace.  Target has yet to deliver on that front.

(P.S. You do know that you should never ever ever buy anything full price at Banana Republic, right? They serve up coupon codes almost every Wednesday for 40% off full priced items. I would in NO UNIVERSE pay $80 for this skirt, but $40 something I can live with. )

{Banana Republic Outlet Dress, Target belt, Franco Sarto Wedges, Ebay Necklace}

I’m wondering if I should have paired the belt with tan shoes? Regardless, I love this dress so much. It’s so flattering and cute and comfy. This is the kind of thing I want to take to someone and have them copy.

{Gap dress via Holly, Ebay Necklace, Target Earrings, Forever 21 sunglasses}

This dress is a tidge too big, but it’s not awful. I love it so much I don’t care, but I might have it hemmed or taken in a bit if I can find a tailor I like. Holly had a blog sale the other day and I snatched this up as soon as I saw it because I LOVE it. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I almost wore it with a red necklace and red shoes, but today is my birthday, and if you can’t wear a giant aqua overplayed on the internet bubble necklace on your birthday I don’t know when you can.

I always buy my sunglasses at Forever 21, btw. Giant cheap sunglasses are a frugal fashionistas best friend.

 

Let’s Talk About My Hair

Ok, so I am growing out my hair, is the first thing.

My hair is very fine and I have masses of it, so what always happens when I grow it out is that the weight of all that hair starts dragging down the other hair.  If I keep it chin to shoulder ish length and cut in long ish layers, it’s got lots of nice body, but then I get bored with that hair cut and I decide that it’s lame mom hair and I grow it out, and then it gets all sad and limp and heavy and then I decide to cut it off, and the cycle continues.

Here’s where we’re at right now:

This is after blow drying it and putting some kind of alleged volumizing product in it. All the shampoos and conditioners (just on the ends!) I use also purport to volumize, but I’ve never noticed much of a difference shampoo wise.

This hair is not TERRIBLE, but mostly it’s just boring. It’s not GORGEOUS hair, you know?

Ideally, I’d have this person’s lovely lovely lovely hair. Isn’t that some nice hair?

Look how she pets it! That’s how you know it’s nice.

I guess in theory this hair is attainable, since I do have long brown straight ish hair.  Mine is obviously not that long, so I’ve got 1. Grow it out more on the list, but I’m wondering…is there other stuff I should be throwing at it? Should I be like, wrapping it up in some kind of curlyfying contraptions? Boofing it more with special creams? Emily tried to flat iron it at last year’s Blathering, and that just made it flatter. Flatter is not my goal.

So, what say you, hair goddesses of the internet?  Shiny, long, boofy, pretty Girlfriend of Vampires hair is the goal. Go!