30 Things I Love Right Now

  
  1. Listening to the rain fall. 2. Being warm and dry in my house. 3. Bass fishing tournaments. 4. Adele’s “Hello” on repeat. 5. Visits from old friends. 6. Making plans with new friends. 7. Cheerios. 8. “The Big Bang Theory.” 9. Reading “Secrets of a Charmed Life.” 10. Catching up with my parents. 11. Football season. 12. Driving big trucks. 13. Driving my new, teeny-tiny Honda Civic. 14. New leopard print flats by Dr. Scholls. 15. Preparing for Thanksgiving. 16. Preparing for Christmas. 17. Friends who keep you accountable. 18. Friends who inspire you with their running goals — and exceeding them! 19. Clementines. 20. See Jane Write founder Javacia’s daily Periscopes. 21. Cuddling. 22. Reading “Big Magic.” 23. White wine. 24. Macklemore’s new song. 25. SnapChats that make you laugh. 26. Cheap Old Navy rain boots. 27. Pictures of my niece. 28. Goals. 29. #bloglikecrazy. 

Weight Watchers: Just Call It A Comeback

OK, I know those aren’t LL’s real lyrics, it’s a play on words people! Because it definitely is a comeback for me.

About three weeks ago I decided I needed more structure when it comes to my eating habits — I needed to knock out some bad habits and reestablish better ones. I was using MyFitnessPal to track calories … sometimes. But I didn’t feel like I was being rigid enough with myself. I wasn’t measuring, I was eating too many meals out, and I just wasn’t seeing any progress in terms of movement on the scale.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my philosophy when it comes to weight loss. It’s definitely NOT all about the numbers on the scale. My friend Cyndi wrote a very poignant post about this yesterday. Sometimes the scale doesn’t matter at all and for our own health, we need to step away from it.

You know that I have found that when I’m exercising regularly and eating pretty well, I am so happy about the way I feel, that the scale doesn’t really matter to me at all.

But a few weeks ago I really needed to face the truth that my weight had been stuck to the same 5-pound range for a couple of years, and that stagnation wasn’t make me happy … and I was worried that number would slowly start to creep up.

So enter Weight Watchers! It’s a program I’ve been on before (a few times) and I trust it’s structure while still allowing me some freedom.

The way it works for me now is I have 39 points to eat each day, plus 49 points to use throughout the week at my discretion.

I used the app on my phone to track what I eat, and it’s fairly easy! The app includes a bar code scanner so I can easily record some foods, and I started using my measuring cups and food scale more often now so I can estimate other foods more accurately.

This is my blank page for today. As you can see, it syncs with my FitBit tracker, too!

This is my blank page for today. As you can see, it syncs with my FitBit tracker, too!

There’s still some estimation going on, especially when I go out to eat, but I try not to eat all of the extra points we get, so if I underestimate on occasion, it tends to work out.

In fact, I’ve lost weight every week so far!

weight loss

It looks like I skipped a weigh-in there, though I swear I didn’t! Strange!

Funny side story: My scale at home started out at the same place as the Weight Watchers scale. Now my scale at home says I’m 7 pounds down … this one 3.6. I’m trying to just not weigh myself at home anymore and go with the WW scale only. Funny how they’re different but started out the same!

I have found that the trick for me is to not eat all of those extra points, as I stated above, but also not to eat back all of my activity points. Now, I do eat some of those, and that’s how the program is supposed to work. It has allowed me to grab a burger with my husband or enjoy Mexican food with my girlfriends from work. That freedom is what I like about the Weight Watchers plan.

But the results are still there. At first I was a little discouraged not to drop, say, 5 pounds the first week. But I know that I wasn’t eating too horribly before this, so a dramatic change probably wasn’t in the cards.

To see the scale go down consistently for three weeks in a row, though, that is a dramatic change for me!

I’m happy with the progress so far, and I will keep you up to date. My focus is still to eat in a balanced way while exercising regularly and drinking lots of water. And not getting down when the week inevitably comes that I don’t lose weight — that’s another goal. I want to keep a healthy body image at the core of what I’m doing, and not beat myself up.

I was so proud of my dear friend Sherri for posting about her growing body positivity, and I want to keep that feeling at the front of all I try to do for myself.

Look for some meal and snack updates on Instagram, and please share any ideas with me that you have, too!

Fashion Friday: Travel In Style

I may lose a few fans for saying this, but please, please don’t look this disheveled when you travel.

I love Mila, but her fabulous bag doesn’t make up for those sweats!

OK, I get it, you’re comfortable. When you’re dashing to the airport, waiting to board your flight, and then crammed into the tin can like teens at the front row of a Justin Bieber concert, I’m sure you don’t care much about your appearance.

But with a little effort, you can still be comfortable when traveling, look stylish and, dare I say it, presentable.

Because seriously. We’ve all seen people looking pretty sad at airports. Wearing slippers. Pajama pants. Did they even bother to brush their hair? I hope they brushed their teeth!

Here’s what I wore on Tuesday returning home from a family trip to upstate N.Y. I had a one-hour drive to the airport, then a 2-hour flight, a 2-hour layover, another 2-hour flight. By the time I got home, my hair was in a ponytail, my earrings discarded in my bag, but I still looked presentable, yes?

travel clothesPeplum top {similar here} | capris pants from Lane Bryant | shoes from Macy’s

The point is, you can take basics that look put together and still have an outfit that gets you through your travels. Here are a few tips:

1. Wear pants that aren’t too tight. You’ll probably feel bloated from air travel anyway, so skinny jeans that cut off your circulation will just get on your nerves. A long skirt is also a good choice for travel.

2. Dress in layers. I tend to get warm on flights, and then freezing! So I start out with short sleeves, and I bring a cardigan or wrap with me, even in 90-degree weather.

3. Stylish shoes can be comfortable. Funky sneakers are a great choice. These sandals I’m wearing are Easy Spirit, so the arch support is helpful and the wedge isn’t too high.

Here are a few more necessities to keep on you while traveling:

wallet with ID, credit cards & boarding passes | powder compact for quick touch-ups | hand lotion to combat dry skin from awful public bathroom soap | nail file — I hate breaking a nail on the go! | lip balm to combat dry lips | wrap or cardigan | Dramamine for motion sickness

Not pictured: cellphone | iPad or Kindle | phone charger | bottled water purchased after security or empty water bottle to fill at water fountain | tissues | gum or chewy candy for landing

It helps to have a nice-size tote to carry your goodies in so you can either also carry on a suitcase or have less to carry if you check your bag. And a wallet that doubles as a clutch is a great idea! (As are thin cross-body bags you can easily stuff in your suitcase for when needed on your trip.)

Now next time I see you at the airport, I hope you’ll be comfy and stylish!

30 Things I Love Right Now

This week See Jane Write founder Javacia gave us a writing prompt that is a fun way to learn what other bloggers are into at this moment — and I wanted to join in the fun! Here are 30 things that I’m loving now: 1) All The Light We Cannot See — I can’t put it down! | 2) Trying paddle boarding for the first time. paddle board 3) The color coral. | 4) “Shotgun Rider” by Tim McGraw. | 5) Losing weight again thanks to rejoining Weight Watchers. (More details to come!) | 6) Eggs. Especially scrambled eggs with salsa. | 7) My new shoes from Macy’s. shoes 8) Sh’bam dance class at Gold’s Gym. | 9) Rose gold jewelry. It may not be trendy anymore, but I’m still in love. | 10) Reruns of “The Big Bang Theory.” | 11) Amy Schumer. | 12) Comic book movies. | 13) Freshly washed sheets. | 14) My niece’s smile. | 15) Laughing Cow cheese. | 16) Getting a reprieve from the Alabama heat while visiting family in upstate NY. | 17) Crossing things off my to-do list. | 18) Making to-do lists. | 19) Making a hair appointment for the first time in six months. | 20) Swimming laps. This new-to-me workout will stick! | 21) Late-night talks with my sister. | 22) Daily texts with my husband. | 23) Editing other writers’ words. | 24) Red pens. | 25)  Nivea In-Shower Lotion. | 26) Trying to kayak for the first time. | 27) Fishing. fishing 28) Pedicures. | 29) Bathing suit selfies. | 30) Learning that I don’t need to be embarrassed to show myself in a bathing suit!swimsuit

Channeling Amy Schumer’s Boldness

I’ve heard a lot of talk recently that some women feel part of the reason why women are encouraged to be thin is so that they are “diminished.” As Amy Schumer said in her recent interview in Glamour Magazine: “For women, we’re taught to eat less until we disappear. And trained to believe that if you don’t look like everyone else, then you’re unlovable.” Man, that’s harsh.

via Glamour.com

via Glamour.com

But sadly, so true. Growing up, I always felt I stood out as the chubby one. I shrank myself behind prettier, thinner friends, letting them shine in the spotlight because I didn’t think I was supposed to do so. I didn’t date much at all, honestly believing that guys wouldn’t be interested in me because of my size.

It took time, way too long, in fact, for me to realize that I am allowed to shine. I am lovable, no matter what I weigh. I had kind, supportive people in my life who helped show me that. And I learned a lot just by growing into my own skin and accepting myself for who I am.

It’s still a work in progress, don’t get me wrong. I am not always fearless or full of confidence, that’s for sure. In the past five or six years, working on my health has helped me become more confident. And it is not because I am trying to shrink myself or fade into the background. It’s not to succumb to society’s narrow definition of what is beautiful.

Instead I am finding strength in my own physical and mental strength. I am finding it in the motivation to work out, the energy I get from eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water. I feel good when I can handle a hard spinning class or run 3 miles.

Working on my health has helped me feel good about myself, but strong women like Amy, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and many others have also helped me learn how I want to present myself to the world. I’m learning that you have to want to work on these things for yourself, not to meet someone else’s standards.

Getting healthy or maintaining your health isn’t about size. At least not for me. And it’s certainly not about being small so that I’m not a burden on anyone — God forbid my presence is a nuisance simply by being a woman and being a plus-size woman at that. To that, I emphatically say: Fuck you! (Amy inspires me to curse, too.)

Being comfortable in my own skin is all about me. It’s all about being the person I want to be for my husband, my family, my friends, and myself. And there’s a lot of boldness in recognizing that!

Alabama Bloganistas: Let’s Talk!

Bloganista-defined

I am very excited because in a little more than one week I will have the opportunity to gather with an amazing group of women to gab about blogging — my favorite subject next to what inspiring outfit Beyonce recently wore!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in Manhattan on July 2 in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. That structured bag, though!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. Love how her heels mimic the trim of the dress. And that structured bag, though!

Just like Beyonce puts in hours training for a tour, anyone interested in blogging needs to put in some time learning the ins and outs of the blogging biz. The See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design is the perfect place to do so.

mini con graphic

The Mini-Con will be Aug. 1 at the Vestavia Hills Public Library from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Lunch, snacks and more are included with your ticket (buy your ticket here!), and you will hear from a variety of bloggers, including myself! I will speak on the “Blog Like A Boss” panel about addressing body image issues in addition to fashion and fitness and how my professional experience has helped my blog, and vice versa!

To get us pumped up for the Mini-Con, Javacia, the founder of See Jane Write, is hosting a mixer at Collage Designer Consignment in Vestavia from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, July 23. The event is free, but please register here. And get more details about the special offerings for the night here! I plan to be there by 6 p.m., so I hope you will introduce yourself — I know I plan to try on some clothes, too, so let’s shop!

If you’re a blogger in Alabama, I can’t express how valuable last year’s Mini-Con was for me — learning more about blogging but also making wonderful contacts with inspiring women. I hope you can join us on Aug. 1!

Romping Around At Old Navy

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time then you know one of my favorite places to shop is Old Navy. This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way, I just happen to love their clothes!

And I especially love their good deals.

Last week I bought my first romper, and I am in love. It’s a lightweight fabric, which is perfect for summer in Alabama, and while it definitely shows off more of my shoulders than I usually do, I feel comfortable in it. I especially love it paired with a short-sleeve cardi, to deal with the air-conditioning!  
 This romper is a size XXL and while it’s a little loose, I felt more comfortable in it than something more form-fitting.
I also found this peplum blouse in the clearance area and snatched it up immediately. Admittedly, I have far too many black-and-white blouses in my wardrobe, but they come in so handy. You can pair them with any color, with skirts, capris, jeans, etc. Paired with a brightly colored necklace, you can dress this blouse up for work or make it casual on the weekend.  Here are a couple items I did not purchase, but I really loved!

This dress is so sweet. I love the blue-and-white color palette — it’s so airy and beachy. The cut of this dress is super-flattering for any body shape. This is the XXL size, and I think it fit like a glove. I may go back and grab it soon! It could easily pair with a cardi or a jean jacket come fall.  I also loved this printed T with the cool cutout in the back. Little details like this can take a casual shirt for weekends up a notch and express a little something extra. This shirt comes in the opposite coloring, too — predominately black with white accents.

 Here’s another item I left at the store that I am still thinking about: soft pants. I’ve been coveting a pair of palazzo pants since last summer and these are very similar to the ones I had found at TJ Maxx and then sadly didn’t buy. My issue is: what do I wear with these? A plain T-shirt seems too casual — I’d feel like I’m wearing pajamas! So a structured shirt seems logical … but what? Any ideas? There’s still a sale at Old Navy going on, so I hope you find something you’d like to have to spice up your summer wardrobe!

What’s your go-to store for budget-friendly clothes?