with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: fitness

Things a mom thinks about at 2:25 a.m., five hours before she’s supposed to work out

by SweetMidlife
bed

Scene of the 2:30-something mind crime.

 

This is Leslie. It is 2:25 a.m. As the great Wanda Sykes once said, women’s brains are so full of tasks and thoughts and things we have to do that we can’t get to sleep because even the minute stuff like not being able to remember the name of a teacher we haven’t seen in 30 years just won’t leave us alone. This is happening to me right now. Here is the dumb, deep and sleep-depriving stuff in my head right now. I wish it was not in my brain, because I would like to go to bed now.

You certainly don’t want them in your head, too. But here you are – I have too much on the brain to be charitable at this point,. You understand, of course. You’re awake, too. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?

THINGS I AM THINKING ABOUT AT 2:25 a.m. INSTEAD OF SLEEPING

– “Why am I awake?

– “It has taken me four hours to get through this two-hour finale of ‘Secrets and Lies.’ I wonder if anyone watches this but me, Michael Ealy is fine. I’ve almost grown attached to Juliette Lewis’ character, and she’s kind of awful. i hope they don’t cancel this. They always cancel the shows I get attached to. Dang. Now I’m worried about ‘Blackish.’ Please don’t cancel ‘Blackish,’ Jesus.”

“Jesus doesn’t cancel TV shows, right? He’s busy, right?”

“I finally finished that assignment for work I should have done before I feel asleep. Win for me? Does procrastination count as a win? Whatever. Taking it. TAKING THIS WIN.”

“I am super hungry. I didn’t eat enough last night,. Didn’t I leave some veggie chili in the bowl? I wonder if it;’s in the fridge. Did I put it in the fridge? I wonder if it’s still good if I didn’t put it in the fridge? Or did I leave it on the counter? It’s got light sour cream on it. Is that real dairy? I wouldn’t get that sick, right?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t eat counter chili.”

“I love ‘The Affair’ even if I don’t like any of these horrible people. They’re awful. But they have great apartments. Great kitchens. I like my kitchen. It has chili on the counter.”

“I really ought to get off the stick and get a hotel for Disney this weekend. I canceled the one I had because I am convinced there is a cheaper one out there. Hotwire is an addiction and I need to get help. But…the…deals! There are deals out there and I shall find them. They are the Precious and I am Black Smeagol.”

“I am still so hungry. If I eat right now I can’t weigh myself this morning because it won’t be the real weight. Then again I had hash browns and bourbon for lunch so I probably tanked that thing already. I should eat.”

“I have to sleep, man. I have to work out at 7:15, and if I don’t leave on time the kid will wake up and I’ll have to take him, too, and that running stroller and him together weigh like 70 pounds and he’s a weight wearing an Afro, At least he holds the phone up so I can hear the Andy Grammar song he’s playing. He’s a little DJ.”

“I need to figure out how to make more money. Like, now. I should read that book my friend Kim had me buy about platforms, that I never read, thus I am sitting here at…what…2:47 a.m. now wondering how to get a platform to make money. She’s always right. And she’s got a platform. I bet she’s not asleep either.”

“Maybe I’ll write on that blog I never write on. That’s a platform.”

‘I wonder if that chili’s still down there.”


NBC’s “Strong”: Why my trainer and I wouldn’t win the show but are winning, anyway

by SweetMidlife

 

Not on a TV near you. But still rocking.

Not on a TV near you. But still rocking.

I am Leslie, and I watch too much TV, which is OK because sometimes it’s for work and the other times it’s so I catch up on my “Murder She Wrote” game and I refuse to be judged by you or anyone about that, OK? I WILL NOT BE JUDGED.

So one of the things that happens with all this TV, particularly if I’m too lazy to find the remote and bleep-bloop the commercials, is that I have to actually watch the commercials, which is why during “The Voice” a while back I caught word of “Strong,” which is what “The Biggest Loser” might be if every contestant had their own trainer, no one was really fat, the trainers had to compete physically right with their clients, and they all had to do a modified version of “American Ninja Gladiator Habitrail Thunderdome.” And somehow Sylvester Stallone was involved.

This looks intriguing, not only because I am over “The Biggest Loser” and its head games on people who probably need therapy more than they need to be shamed about “only” losing 5 pounds a week, and because the dynamics of the male trainers and female clients reminds me some of that between myself and my trainer, Victor Ayala. We’re not on the show, and I can’t see us jumping off scaffolding tethered to each other on a giant bungee cord, because Leslie does not do that. Also, I have no interest in being tired and sweaty on camera. I don’t even like being tired and sweaty at Walgreen’s on the way home.

But Victor and I do, at least, have that same connection that the pairs on “Strong” seem to have, with all the emotional connection and breakthroughs and whatnot, even if we’re not being paid big NBC dollars for our efforts. We’ve worked together off and on for about a decade, most intensely in the last several months, since the death of my husband Scott, who also worked with Victor.  We don’t have a network contract or the pull of the camera, but we do have that bond established by friendship and that time he looked me up and down and said “I swear to God, you’re doing this right this time, because I’m telling people I train you and if you don’t get in shape it’s on me.”

And that made sense to me, so I’m 13 pounds, a dress size and a half, and some inches down. I’m not sure why NBC went with the male/female dynamic – there doesn’t seem to be a romantic element to the pairings, but I can tell you n that at least in my experience, I work better with a guy trainer in general, and Victor specifically. I had a female trainer once, years ago, and as much as I liked her I couldn’t help comparing myself to her, even though we were a decade apart and completely different body types and fitness levels. I looked at her and thought “Why can’t I be a cute little blonde with no body fat?” I mean, I did not really want to be a cute little blonde, because I’m very happy being a black woman with blond highlights. But that’s the female fit body I saw every week, and it kinda messed with my head, even though I (temporarily) lost the weight.

I am not competitive with Victor, because I cannot compete with a man who ran a marathon in the South Florida heat in a sweatshirt, long fatigues and a weighted pack on his back. I can only hope to learn from him, when he’s yelling at me to not punk out on my stair runs, or sneaking up on my on the stair climber and saying “Why are you only on Level 6?” Or when he’s out of town and texting my workouts to me in sadistic bursts – “Do 1000 crunches. And then run two more miles. And I wanna see pictures when you’re done so I can tell if you’re actually sweating.”

He crazy. But our bond is about history, a shared loss, professional respect and a deep friendship where you need the other one to do well. For Victor, that’s pushing me to be the best, healthiest Leslie I can be, and for me, that’s not wasting his time and reputation. I don’t know if that’s something Sly Stallone would put on TV. But if there’s no bungees involved, we’d consider it.

 

 

 


Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Random New Year’s Questions

by SweetMidlife

Happy New Year’s Eve!! This has been a year. both really good and really bad at the same time Yes. Lots of both. Ans since this is the time of year where people do a lot of reflcting about the year past, and also because y’all seemed to like last week’s post where Lynne and Leslie asked each random Christmas-themed questions, and also because it is fun when we riff off of each other, here are random questions (and hopefully answers) about New Year’s, and years both old and new.

Yo, Leslie, you up next.

Leslie smiling with her awesome hair.

Leslie smiling with her awesome hair.

Lynne asks: “What did you think I would say at this moment? I totally watched a Hallmark-type movie with Candace Cameron-Bure and the guy who played the replacement Todd Manning on “One Life To Live”, and they were at a dance with a band who was trying to be Billy Vera and the Beaters. And that has nothing to do with the New Year, but that came to me. What is the best Hallmark movie you watched this year? And also, weren’t Billy Vera and the Beaters good?

Leslie responds: Yes, Billy Vera and them were amazing or at least that song was. That final chorus where he’s all “If I..I-ei-ei-ei-ei-ei-ei…if I could just ho-oh-oh-hold you…a-ga-yaaan” my hands are up like “Preach your truth, man! You PREACH YOUR TRUTH TO THE SKY!”

As for the Hallmark movie, I’m gonna go with “A Royal Christmas” with Jane Seymour because she’s a royal with a huge snob complex trying to thwart her son’s relationship with an American commoner, and she’s so initially evil that you kinda chuckle. Jane came to play, people.

Lynne asks: “Are you doing resolutions this year? If so, are they long-term or short-term? And how many involve seeing Lionel Richie sing in Vegas?

Leslie responds: All of them. Because everyone you meet is jamming in the street. Tell me they’re not.

Lynne asks: “If you could book any act you wanted to at your dream version of ‘Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve’, who would it be?” 

Leslie responds: 1986 Crowded House. Janelle Monae. Darlene Love singing about Christmas even though Christmas is over because she is Darlene Love and what are you gonna say to her?

Lynne asks: “What is your favorite New Year’s themed-movie? Is it ‘New Year’s Day’? I know what mine is but you didn’t ask me this question. And Jon Bon Jovi did look good in that movie. ‘New Year’s Day’. Not the other movie I was talking about because I haven’t told you what it is. 

Leslie responds: I hated that “New Year’s Day” left poor Halle Berry sad and scared for her husband over in the war, just like stupid “Love, Actually,” a thing I hate, lets the middle aged women be alone and cheated on while happiness is for 20-somethings. Screw you, movie. This is not what this question was about so I will answer that it’s “When Harry Met Sally,” the same thing you picked. For that reason.

Lynne asks: “Okay, I realize that I do need to tell you what the other movie I am thinking of was. It was “When Harry Met Sally”, and I decided to tell you because it is about old friends, as Sally says, and that is what you and your beloved Scott were. Sigh. And Scott was Jewish like Billy Crystal and you have big hair like Meg Ryan. So this isn’t a question, but yes, you used to be black Molly Ringwald because of how you dressed in high school, and now you are really black Meg Ryan. Feelings on this?

Leslie responds: I am both. I am also the eye in the sky, looking at you. I can read your mind. And you should be ashamed of yourself.

 OK Lynne…here you go. Cause I’m Les and there ain’t nobody like my body, yes I’m somebody…Oh, we aren’t doing Salt N Pepa lyrics? No? Here you go.

About to go on a date with my husband where I checked my phone maybe twice but really that was too much.

Lynne about to go on a date with her husband where she checked her phone maybe twice but really that was too much. 

Leslie asks: “Here comes the jackpot question in advance…what are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve? Which is tonight?”

Lynne answers: We are making fish subs and then finding a way to watch the early fireworks in our town without being all the way downtown. Because old and crowds and get off of my lawn. But it will be nice.

Leslie asks: “I’m stealing from Billy Crystal, like all good writers, but what the heck is Auld Lang Syne about? Feel free to make stuff up.”

Lynne answers: It means to forget those old people and stop bring them to mind because they were maybe suspect. But wait, maybe I am somebody’s old acquaintance they they are trying to forget. If I am, then sorry. I don’t know what it means. But whatever, sorry, old acquaintances.

Leslie asks: “Have you ever noticed that Father Time, in some pictures, looks like the Grim Reaper? And given the year we had, should we be concerned?”

Lynne answers: We should be concerned. Dang. But you know that time won’t give me time, right? Or a Filet O’ Fish without cheese. Because you have to wait extra for those.

Leslie asks: “What are your resolutions, dude?”

Lynne answers: Hmm. To have big goals, but to remember daily why I have them. And decide sometimes that it is okay to set them daily, but also remember that I have the power to do stuff or not. Sometimes goals change, and they should sometimes because maybe you weren’t thinking right when you set it. But I would love to have the theater I am starting up and running and performing for the children by the spring. And I resolve to have more dates with my kid and husband where I look at my phone not at all.

Leslie asks: “Tell me about a resolution that you broke and aren’t sorry for breaking?”

Well, I said that a few years back I was getting back to my wedding weight, and I got instead to the weight you are at when you eat a lot of wedding cake. No really, I am not where I resolved to be weight-wise, but I have lost some weight, and I am making steady, healthy progress. I was trying to be a weight that I thought I would be happy at because I was trying to get to the feeling I had when I was that weight. I don’t ever need to be that size again, but if I get there, I will by working hard, but not by setting a mindset that I can’t keep up with. I know me. I am getting to where I need to be by paying attention to what I eat and moving more and not killing myself. Healthy, hopefully, in all ways. But I will still eat cheese. That is happening. Because happy.

 

 


I am not a fat girl, or The Fitness Benefits of A Large Man Yelling At You

by SweetMidlife
leslie and victor

This is my friend. He loves me enough to yell when I am mean to me. This is a good friend.

 

“You have to cut that mess out!”

I am running up the steps of a fancy outdoor mall, on the ascent of my second of five trips up and back. And there is large, black-clad man standing at the top, his eyes wide, arms above his head in emphasis. He is serious. He is not playing.

And I’m not gonna lie – It freaks me out a little. But because Victor is my friend, and my trainer, and I am paying for him to make me run up and down the steps, I keep toward him, admittedly wobbly because we’ve been at this for a few minutes and stairs hurt, and because I know I need whatever is coming. I can’t even breath right now, so I can’t muster more than a half-nod and a huffed “OK.”

What Victor is mad at me about – and what I should be mad at me about –  is my self-deprecating tendency to call myself fat. Or old. Or something. And it is true that I am…more robust that I was when we met, back 25 pounds ago when I even thought I had weight to lose then, and that I am like ten years older, but isn’t that a gift to be. I do it because I keep remembering what I used to look like, what my knee used to feel like, how easy this used to be or at least how easy my self-deprecation tells me it used to be (NOTE: This was never ever easy, even when I was all relatively hot and stuff.)

I also admit, when the stairs are done and we are taking a nice recovery walk, that I do that as a way to say I’m fat first before anyone can say it first. I know it’s messed up.

So does Victor.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME???”

Nope.

“THAT’S MESSED UP! STOP DOING THAT! YOU’RE A GODDESS! DON’T YOU EVER EVER LET SOMEBODY ELSE’S STANDARDS DO THAT TO YOU! ARE YOU CRAZY?”

Apparently, yeah. I’m not alone, either, the people – probably mostly women – who think they can motivate themselves to change by bullying themselves, not in a “Girl, you better do this” tough love way, but the way an actual bully who hates you and wishes you harm would do. Like you’re worthless. Like you suck.

I do not suck. I am worth being out here on these steps so early in the morning, watching my mother wheel my kid at a leisurely pace around the square in a non-sweaty fashion. Those people make me worth it. If I am not worth being healthy, being happy, why am I here? And what makes me think that if I find reasons to hate myself at this weight that I won’t find more reasons to keep slagging myself?

So I’m done. I don’t need to pretend that this body is my ideal because it ain’t. But I can tell myself that it is strong enough to get me up the steps, that it physically carries another human being to bed when he’s sleepy and kicky and weird, that it calms him when he is scared and cranky and ready to cause mischief. That it is worthy because it is mine.

Thanks Victor. I got it. And if I lose it, feel free to yell. I can take it.


Today’s gym hero: A smart workout wiz in jorts saves the day

by SweetMidlife
See my smile? It's because of that guy.

See my smile? It’s because of that guy.

As a workout warrior, I am sometimes annoyed by random people who do not appear to be trainers coming by to give me advice. That’s a combination of my ego – I might look like a beginner because of my non-svelteness, but don’t like being reminded of that – and just wondering why the over-zealous are clocking my workout when they oughta be checking their own.

But my 20-second interaction with a man I will call Mr. Jorts, at the downtown outpost of my gym this morning, made me feel better about humanity and potentially saved me some knee pain. I was pedaling pretty fast on the exercise bike, which I usually don’t get on but I was reading something awesome on my phone and, you know, I got to sit and all. I looked up and there was a gentleman, probably my age, standing next to me with a sweetly authoritative but non-pushy look on his face. He was built like a wrestler from the 80s, meaning that he was obviously fit, but not steroid gym rat crazy cut, like the modern guys. (He even had a resemblance to a young Rowdy Roddy Piper, who happened to have been my favorite back in the day.)

Also, he was wearing jean shorts, also known as jorts, popularized by yet another wrestler,  John Cena, because apparently my life has a wrestling theme today. Anyway. Mr. Jorts smiled at me and said “Hey, you don’t want to over-extend your knee because if you keep doing that you’re gonna have some joint problems.” I didn’t mention that I’m an overweight runner and former Crossfit-er, so the Joint Pain ship done sailed, but I thanked him.

But he did one better, reaching down and lifting the lever that slid the seat one segment closer.

“See?” he said. “That’ll be easier.”

Nervy? Sure. But nice, because he was just trying to help. And my ego and knee thank him. Sometimes if we shut up long enough to accept help, good things happen and your knee feels better and maybe you can get some more of this cheese weight off.

 


I Wish Salad Didn’t Make Me Sad: Eating Better

by SweetMidlife

Happy Saturday! Lynne here.

Leslie and I write a lot about our quests to be healthier and such. We have both had our buff days, where we ran a lot, and now life and age and kids and pie have contributed to us not being buff so much. And it’s more than just how we look: we know that extra weight can contribute to all kinds of health issues, like heart problems (which run in our family), and to diabetes. I was actually diagnosed as being pre-diabetic 5 years ago, and with changing the way I eat, and with working out a heck of a lot, I lost weight, and my numbers went down!

So, 5 years later, I now weigh 10 pounds more than I did at the scary time, and although I haven’t been told that I am facing diabetes again, I can’t play around anymore. I am working on what I eat, in both how much I eat, and stopping when I am no longer hungry, but also WHAT I eat. I have been trying to mindfully eat, but what you are getting full on cake, then that’s no good. I am working on moderation, and in really wanting to up my veggie and fruit consumption, and I have been eating some delicious things. Sometimes this takes time, so an easy option would be a nice bagged salad.

Except that salad makes me sad.

I have had yummy salads in my day. And yes, some of those were packed with creamy, fatty, and candied things, and I can’t do that everyday. But candied things are delicious. And I am sorry, but sometimes regularly-billed salad makes me want to order something fried in retaliation.

I know that this sounds silly. And it’s a mind thing, too. But you remember in the early 90’s when everyone was into baked chicken breast because it was healthy? Then after your 100th chicken breast, you wanted to run for KFC? That is how I feel about salads. When I am looking at a menu for something to order, salads just seem, well, restrictive. And not fun when compared to something with cheese on it.  I guess I have developed a mental block. And even when I buy bagged greens for my family, I probably get through one serving of them before I have had enough, and the bag sits there waiting for my husband to come home. So sad. Sad lonely bagged salad.

We’re both sad, I guess.

But I guess this is okay. Salad is not chasing me down and forcing me to eat it. Which would be weird. And I am not being docked on fitness points. I guess it is good to admit that I am not so into it, which is good because it forces me to expand my horizons, because I can’t not eat my fair share of veggies anymore.

So we’re cool, salad.

20150627_122816

Any of you have go to veggie side dishes? Please share!

 


Revisiting the “Abs Diet,” spaghetti squash, and hopefully my abs

by SweetMidlife
Here we go again!

Here we go again!

This is Leslie, and I’ve been writing about my attempts at good health, weight loss and general prolonged fabulousness for, well, ever. Things have started to turn around, with a brief budging on the scale and some changes in flabbiness in some areas. The workouts have been more consistent, and that helps, but the biggest key to weight loss is what you eat. That sucks, because I would much rather work out three hours a day and still eat pecan pie every night than never have pecan pie. Or pecans. Or pie. I love you, pie.

But I also love not being fat, and it is to that end that I have been trying to stick to eating well. I’ve done everything – Weight Watchers, clean eating, calorie counting and, off and on, Men’s Health’s “The Abs Diet,” which I had amazing success with about, like 8 or so years ago. I think I read about it in “Women’s Health,” and I took to it, because even though it has the word “diet” in it, it’s really more like a lifestyle, but with enough rules to keep my honest. I do better with some rules, because if not the pie takes over.

I admit that when I had the most success with the Abs Diet, I was still running hardcore, working out five or six days a week, and was also in my 30s before the Bad Metabolism set it. And I wasn’t a regular cocktail reviewer, didn’t share food and a home with a husband and a toddler, and just seemed to have more time to plan meals and do stuff. But I broke out the book the other day and realized that a lot of it is in keeping with how I’ve been trying to eat – whole grains, lots of veggies, lean fish and meats, the avoidance of processed stuff.

But, again, there’s rules and a cute little acronym, which tells you of the foods you should focus on, eating at least two of them in each meal and one in each snack. So I ordered the 2012 version, the “New Abs Diet For Women,” plus a cookbook I am still waiting for. It’s basically like the first one, but with some updated testimonies and more women-centric info.

So it goes like this…

Almonds and other nuts

Beans and legumes

Spinach and other green veggies

Dairy (low fat or fat free)

Instant oatmeal

Eggs

Turkey and other lean meats

Peanut butter

Olive oil

Whole grain breads and cereal

Extra-protein (whey) powder

Raspberries and other berries

There are things on this list I always fudged, since I don’t eat turkey or meat, and used lean cuts of fish and tofu for that “T,” and I like real oatmeal instead of the instant stuff and it seems that was only there for the “I.” And now that I’ve been trying to eat clean, I would rather not do protein powder, preferring instead to do ricotta cheese, which is listed as a substitute. If I can do it naturally, I would rather do it.

photo (40)

Since Mondays are a good day to start things, I started today, with a yogurt parfait (two Power foods, although the toddler who lives here ate half of it), then the end of some Israeli couscous with nuts, avocado and greens in a miso broth with tofu (three Power foods) and half a spaghetti squash with olive oil, Hoppin’ John and avocado with cheese (three Power foods). We haven’t gotten to dinner yet but I hope not to fall to ruin. Much.

 


Last week I ate less crap, moved more and lost weight. Whaaat?

by SweetMidlife

It's working! Let's celebrate with fries. Or...not.

You know how insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Ladies and gentleman – Welcome to the way I’ve been trying to lose weight over the last year. (Spoiler alert: Still fat.)

But for the first time in a long time, I got on the scale yesterday and the weight was three pounds lower than the week before, because…and this will shock you all – I worked out more and ate less garbage. Craziness.

The last time that I consistently lost weight – not just inches  but actual numbers on the scale – was more than a year ago during the beginning of my clean eating journey. I was strict about not eating anything processed, and working out at least four times a week, and it showed. Then my life got crazy, courtesy of a tiny person who came to live with us, and any extra energy I had went into clothing, feeding, diapering, cleaning and then re-diapering that person. Making my own tomato soup and getting up for 6 a.m. spin class?

Ha ha shut up.

Last summer and fall I had some luck moving the fat deposits, if not the scale, with Crossfit and a return to running. But I was still admittedly eating like crap. I would start out healthy for two days, only to have to eat something dripping in fried for work (I write about food and drinking and such) and then keep crapping it in. My Crossfit coach noticed my inch loss but encouraged me to start keeping food diaries again. I was afraid this was an attempt to get me to eat Paleo, a style of eating that I cannot as a non-regular eater of meat adhere to. Also I didn’t want them to see how often I have wine (every night) and yell at me.

So I kept spending the money on an expensive gym and either not go as much as I should, or going but then thwarting any progress with the eating. And it’s no surprise that I didn’t make any real progress losing weight. I’ve been doing this dance since I was a teenager, in one form or the other, and it’s harder every. Single. Year. You get older, more tired. Your metabolism sits on the couch and refuses to stop eating cheese. Your schedule has more work, more people, more stuff in it, equaling more reasons just not to be careful.

Then what changed? Last week I started at Crossfit again, and, like the dummy veil was lifted, thought “Maybe it’s time to put my resolve where my mouth and the things that go into it is.” So back on MyFitnessPal.com I went, where I found two close friends, one up north and one in Miami, making such great progress, not just with weight loss but with their exercise. They are killing it, y’all, and that made me so excited for them, because both are moms with big jobs and husbands and such. I wanted in on that club.

So I just went back to the club I was already in, writing stuff down and making myself go to the gym. Tuesday, when I got on the scale and it went down, I was mad for it taking this long. There’s nothing to it but to do it, as the Washington Senators sang in “Damn Yankees.”

Here’s me doing in. Took me long enough.


What to Wear: A Stitch Fix Update or I actually bought some clothes!

by SweetMidlife

striped dress

This is Leslie, and this is me, Spanxless, in a fitting dress. And I only slightly look like the anaconda that ate Jon Voight.

This striped dress came in my second Stitch Fix box yesterday, and I admit to being dubious, especially since only liking one necklace last time and having such great luck actually picking things out last week at Runway Consignment. But the gamble remains the same – last week I had more luck with stuff that was chosen for me, and even though the Stitch folks don’t know me, I was willing to give them a try again.

stitch paper

This box was actually more successful – I’m not sure if the stylists are checking my Pinterest boards, one of which I set up to give them hints of what I like, as was suggested (Cross-promotion is magic!), but it was pretty close.

I liked the necklace you see above but not enough for $28. The pants were great, but I just didn’t feel like spending $78 on them. Great pants are hard to come by so I sort of regret that, but I am convinced that now that I’m familiar with this brand, Liverpool, I can find them cheaper elsewhere. I may be wrong.

There was a devastatingly soft heather zippy cardigan in the box, and I am always drawn to slouchy heather. But I live in Florida, it’s heavy and I don’t need a statement piece of fleece here. If it’s too nice to wear to the gym, I can’t wear it all the time – very seasonal for a season we don’t get. And the slouchy neck top was cute but not special.

However, the dress up top was special. I knew it from the moment I opened the box, and I couldn’t wait to try it on. I was working at the time at home and made myself wait until I finished to play in the box. When I did it was the first thing I threw on, and while it wasn’t great without Spanx, those elastic wonders made it look perfect. The above photo is this morning, au natural, because I wanted to see what it would look like. Not bad. But I’m packing the Spanx in the gym bag. #nocommando

So that’s me for this week. I think I’m gonna keep this for a while and see what happens. What are YOU wearing?


Fabulous ’15! Five resolutions you can keep!

by SweetMidlife
It's a blank slate. You might as well fill it well.

It’s a blank slate. You might as well fill it well.

 

Leslie here! I greet you on this fine New Year’s Day from the Sweet Midlife’s southern headquarters, over a green smoothie and an episode from Season 4 of “The Wire.” My husband is sitting on the couch next to me under an afghan knitted by my Great-Aunt Martha. Many of those details figure into my New Year’s Resolutions…stop rolling your eyes. Yes, yes, I like you have been super stoked about all the stuff I was gonna do on Jan. 1, involving diet, exercise, job, you name it.

And Jan. 27 I, like you, was like “Screw it. Ice cream and couches rule.”

My sister wrote recently about her resolution to be more loving, and that’s an amazing thing to promise. That’s certainly on my list, but here are five more things I think I can stick to. For real. Stop side-eyeing me. You haven’t read them yet!

1) Be specific about my health goals while being realistic and non-sadistic. That rhymes. Almost like a Johnnie Cochran situation. But there are no gloves to fit into this one, just a middle-aged woman trying to fit into the clothes she was trying to be too skinny to fit into last year (and ain’t that a pip?). Last year I had a very mapped-out goal, to dive into a clean eating program, to work out a specific amount of time, and lose a specific amount of weight. This worked out quite well until a kid came to live with us in March, and to paraphrase Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody have time for making tomato soup from scratch. I beat myself up for my failure to fit my previous resolve into our new life, and got fatter for it. This year, I have decided to be proactive about my eating and working out and not use my fatigue as an excuse, because either I’m gonna do it or I’m not. Won’t get done for me. But I also refuse to use a timeline, and to beat myself up if that arbitrary deadline doesn’t pan out. Instead it’s day by day – I’ve got this smoothie, already told the guys at the gym they’ll see me today, and am going to hit my ab work the minute I get finished typing this. If we get lunch I get a salad or something not fried. I keep that up. I feel good about it. I go to bed and don’t tie my self worth into the choices I made. And then start over tomorrow.

Let's do this! Sweaty and set on change!

Let’s do this! Sweaty and set on change!

2) Call my grandmother more: And my aunties and my uncles, and my goddaughter and cousins and all the people I wonder about but don’t always pick up a phone and talk to.

3) Write everything down – I am not the most organized person in the world (understatement understatement understatement) and making myself write stuff down – my grocery list, the errands I have to run, my blogging and work interview schedule my work out goals – keeps me honest and accountable and not slapping myself in the forehead and going “Acck! I was supposed to blah blah blah!”

4) Finish what I started – meaning the novel I’ve been hovering around for three years in various incarnations. This year. For real. Been too long.

5) Be better to my skin: My consistent skin care regimen for the last 43 years, between a Grand Canyon’s worth of products, has basically been “Black don’t crack.” (Ahem) But my family’s excellent genes don’t mean I shouldn’t wear sunscreen, or daily wash my face with….something, and drink lots of water. I need to not be the first woman in my family to look her age.

I think these are all do-able. Sometimes stuff is hard, the stuff we need to do to survive. But it doesn’t have to be awful, or unpleasant. Let’s do it! Who’s with me?


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