Let’s Talk Loose metallic eyeshadow pigments…

Growing up there are many things that i was taught. I was taught that when filing my nails I should always file in one direction so as not to weaken the nails as I filed them. I was taught that in addition to soothing irritating rashes from nettles and other stinging plants, witch hazel made a really good toner. I was taught to replace my mascaras after a maximum of six months to avoid the possibility of an eye infection from potential mod growth.

In the myriad list of things large and small that were taught to me dealing with glitter eyeshadow wasn’t one of them. I’m sure it was about somewhere when i was younger but it wasn’t in the list of things I was taught and not something anyone in my family really used. If it was referred to it was probably in the realm of stage makeup and not everyday wear.

There is just something fascinatingly attractive about loose glitter eyeshadows. They aren’t an everyday sort of thing and I think because of that, bringing out the individual glass pot of glitter shadow whether it is from Hourglass or Lottie London, makes the makeup preparation feel like something special. Or perhaps that is just me.

Perhaps you are an old hand at applying loose pigment glitter shadows, if so, feel free to skip this post. If like me you like playing around with the glitter shadows but often make a mess, perhaps what I learned can help you out.

I’ve found that a dry shadow brush when applying loose glitter pigments just makes a mess. It really doesn’t matter which brand you try, the application will be patchy and you will end up with more glitter on your cheeks and down the side of the nose than anything else.

Spraying the shadow brush with Setting spray does tend to help. It makes the shadow fly about less because of the moisture and will adhere to the lid in a much more cohesive manner. The problem can be thr bristles. First off the loose shadow wants to stick to the bristles. And if you have chosen the wrong brush then the glitter can end up in places where you don’t want it. If using a brush then choose one where the bristles are tapered in instead of flat or bushy as those bushy bristles especially will scatter the loose pigment in places where you might not want it. Spray the brush first and then dip it into the pigment before applying.

using a lid primer or a concealer on the eyelids prior can help it stick, but don’t forget a setting spray after you apply it. Be sure to use a setting spray that doesn’t irritate your eyes.

Sometimes the hands are your best tools. I generally fins that applying the loose pigments with a fingertip makes the pigment go exactly where I want it to. Then I spray it to make sure it sticks. However my finger is often bigger than I want when applying the shadow and it can look a bit messy.

Enter the cotton swab. It gives you the same rounded end as your finger tip but is much smaller. To use I spray it down with setting spray and dip it into the pigment before applying. Because the cotton tip is a solid bit of cotton, there are no bristles to spray pigment anywhere but what you put it. You can apply even pressure during application and if you spray down the clean end with setting spray, you can clean up any fallen flecks of pigment with little to no hassle. Taking out the loose flecks means there is less pigment that can fall to your cheeks or slide down the sides of your nose.

Will there still be fall out? Possibly. some loose pigments do work better than others but eventually all of them will fall. By applying a base coat, whether of concealer or lid primer, using setting spray on the cotton swab and cleaning up the loose flecks and then spraying it down with setting spray when your look is complete, you can have better control and lessen the amount that falls throughout your wear time.

I’m sure that trained makeup artists have their own way of doing things (and it is probably better) but for those of you who are like me, an amateur enthusiast who just likes playing around, I hope you find this useful. After all, professional or not, we all deserve to sparkle.

Let’s talk reusable…

For a while now I have been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce. Some of it has taken only a bare minimum of thought. Packing boxes shredded and added to the garden compost or to lay under garden beds to prevent weeds from poking through. Refillable water bottles. I have to say as I do like carbonated water, my Soda Stream has been fantastic for this. I use the Soda Stream to make the bubbles and dispense it into an actual glass to drink instead of actually drinking from the Soda Stream bottle which causes that bottle to last a bit longer as well. To be honest I just use the carbonated water, I haven’t tried any of their actual flavors although I keep meaning to. I might put that on my list next time we reorder tanks.

However, while I lower the level of disposable water bottles and for the most part contain the trash from most of my subscription boxes, my bathroom does produce a lot of waste. I have been working to combat that. While I adore the ease of makeup wipes (well the good ones anyway) I have stopped using them.. Occasionally I will get a pack in a subscription box, and i can’t lie, they are usually a treat. They really are quite convenient. However, I have stopped purchasing them individually.

Instead I use my Makeup Eraser, they come in all shapes and sizes. I generally have one that has no makeup on it that I use for general touch ups (both wet and dry) and I use another Makeup Eraser to take off the makeup. At the end of the week I will use the one I kept clean to remove that day’s makeup and then chuck everything into the wash. I really want to get a set of the smaller seven packs of makeup erasers so that I can start each day with a fresh one, but the system I am currently using works really well.

The next item that I have been working on eliminating are the disposable cotton rounds. I use quite a few of them in a day. I’ve tried several different types of rounds but none of them worked quite right to replace the rounds for me until I received the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes in a Look Fantastic box. I recently (as in arrived yesterday) received another set in a Birchbox so I now have six to rotate around. I’ll probably still order a full set of six ($20 on Birchbox – I can’t find the small Swipes anywhere else. The makeup removing cloths are everywhere, but not the Swipes)

So why do I like the Magnitone Wipe out Swipes?

The first is the size. You can see in the photo the size of the Magnitone Swipes compared to other replaceable rounds that I have tried. The Magnitone rounds are the same size as a normal cotton round, while the other reusable wipes are much larger. Now I know that sounds strange, but bigger isn’t always better. The larger rounds are a bit too large to use for things like toner (my primary use for the cotton rounds) They roll up when used and just aren’t as easy because they are too large. At the same time, they are too small to remove makeup. The larger rounds are just an awkward to use size and if I am going to replace the rounds I needed something that worked as well.

The Magnitone Swipes are the same size as the cotton rounds. So that starts off as a plus. They are very soft on the skin. My one issue with them is that they can be a little too absorbent. I have found with things like toner, putting the product on the cloth just means you have to use a little more product. At the moment I am using a spray toner So it isn’t an issue, I spray my face and use the round to pat it in and make sure there is no excess. With Essences, the other item I generally use rounds to apply, I’ve actually stopped using any rounds and dispensed the essence into my hand then applied it to my face. I’ve just found that any essence absorbed is too much. it doesn’t matter if it is a reusable round or not, I just use my hands so that if anything else absorbs the essence products it is my hands and not some sort of cloth.

In general the most difficult thing I have found about switching to reusable products like the Magnitone Swipes and Makeup Erasers is finding a place to put the used ones. I just keep a small plastic container under the sink and drop the used ones in along with my washcloths which I change out during the week as well. I find that it gives the washcloths and used rounds and Makeup Erasers a place to live and to dry out.

The drying is the big issue. I didn’t want to add the wet cloth to my laundry basket. In the plastic bin they can dry out together and not cause musty moldy sorts of issues. I just need to remember to add it to the laundry when I am ready to wash. I will say that while the set that just arrived is new, I have been using and washing the Magnitone Rounds I have for over a month now (they came in February) and they have come out of the general wash looking as clean as new and with no wear showing at this point. I’m sure there will come one wash too many and they will need to be replaced, but for the moment, they are holding up quite well.

There are a multitude of reusable products out there that can help you cut down on waste. These are some of the ones that really work the best for me. I clearly haven’t tried all of the products out there and will no doubt try more, but this is what works for me right now. I’m sure you will find what works for you. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to anyone who is trying to use more reusable products in their bathroom routine it is to find a designated landing spot for the used reusable items to stay between use and washing. when the reusable pads came in just added them to the jar where I was keeping cotton rounds and didn’t think about it until I had a pile of used rounds and nowhere to put them. For a while I wasn’t using them simply because I didn’t like piling them up behind the fawcett and didn’t want to ut damp cloth in the laundry basket. Having that designated spot to put them really helps incorporate the reusable rounds into a process. Once you have a process it can become routine. Routines become habits and before you know it, reusable is the way you live.

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Three Easy Make Ahead Valentine’s Day Desserts

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like sweets for you and your sweetie.  Here are three deserts that you can make, pop into the fridge and forget about until after the big Valentine’s dinner.

  • No Fail Stupid Easy Caramel Sauce
  • Quick Fruit Tarts
  • Chocolate Mousse

The No Fail Stupid Easy Caramel Sauce

I know you’ve heard horror stories about the difficulties of making caramel, but this quick caramel sauce is easy to make, requires only five ingredients and can be used in a variety of ways from topping ice cream, drizzling over freshly sliced fruit, to topping chocolate cake and pairing with shortbread cookies.  The hardest part is leaving it alone to set up before putting it to use.


 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

Measure out all of your ingredients before you start and place them within easy reach of the stove as this goes pretty fast. 

  • Put the stick of butter in a medium sauce pan. 
  • Set the burner on medium low heat and let the butter melt. 
  • When the butter has melted add the sugar and stir for two minutes.  It will be mostly combined but you may see a little ring of butter around the outside, that’s okay.
  • After two minutes add the cream and stir gently but constantly for two minutes.  At first they won’t look like they are mixing but by the end of the two minutes they should be melding into one sauce. 
  • After two minutes take the caramel off of the heat and add in the vanilla and salt, stir until it is incorporated and pour into a clean glass container. (it will look very liquid-y but it thickens as it cools.
  • Let cool on the counter. When cool, put the lid on the jar and put it into the fridge overnight.  It will thicken as it chills, but never really go solid.
  • Drizzle over anything your heart desires.
Sauce in a jar: and yes it is a reused sliced jalapeno jar well cleaned

Technically the sauce will keep about a month in the fridge, but we’ve never had a jar that managed to stick around for more than a week. While this is the basic recipe, you can play around with flavors.  Any flavors you want to mix into your caramel would go in at the stage where you take it off the heat and add the vanilla and salt. I like you add a pinch of cardamom sometimes.  Occasionally I will add a pinch of cayenne to make a spicy sweet treat.  The above recipe is just the basic one, feel free to play with it and make it your own.

Quick Fruit Tarts


baked tart shell: cooled before filling

Tart shells (you can use store bought pie crust cut into smaller rounds, premade tart shells from the freezer section of your own favorite pie dough recipe)

¾ cup granulated (caster) sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

3 oz box of jello in the fruit flavor of your choice

Fruit of your choice (I went with raspberry for this one)

Whipped cream for topping (you can buy the can or whip up some cream fresh at home as is your preference)

jello cornstarch mix
  • Prebake your tart shells as per the directions and let cool.  For me that meant docking the bottom (poke it with a fork to prevent bubbles), cover with parchment paper, fill the shell with pie weights or beans and then bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  • In a sauce pan add your cornstarch and sugar.  Mix with a fork and then set it on medium heat.  Add your water and stir constantly until it comes to a boil.  After it comes to a boil keep stirring for two more minutes or until the slurry starts to thicken.
  • Once it starts to thicken take it off the heat and pour in the jello packet of your choice.  Stir to incorporate it all and then put it in the fridge for 20 minutes (It will thicken in the fridge but not go solid.)
  • Put fruit into your cooled tart shells.
  • Pour the jello mixture over the fruit in the tart shells.  In mine the raspberries were taller than the shell so they stood up more.  Your look will depend on what fruit you use.
  • Put into the fridge and let sit over night to set fully.
  • When you take them out, top with whipped cream and serve.
tart before chilling in the fridge.

I like this because you can alter it based on what fruit you have on hand.  You can also mix and match flavors.  Kiwi slices and strawberry jello work well.  You can also doctor the jello with some zest if you would like to punch up the flavor.  I tend to use a tsp of zest in the fruit flavor (orange zest for orange jello, lemon zest for lemon jello), the combinations are dependent on your palette.  My babydoll loves raspberries so I went with that. Oh and as a fun aside, these tarts freeze really well.  I freeze them on a tray and once frozen wrap each in plastic and put into a larger bag. It is a great way to use up extra fruit when it is in season.

Chocolate Mousse

This is the full recipe below. It makes on large trifle or four decadently large deserts or eight regular deserts. Think about how much you need before you make it and scale it appropriately. This recipe takes well to scaling. And even though it requires three bowls, it is a fairly simple recipe. Just measure your ingredients out before you start, remember to get three separate bowls (one for heating chocolate, one for mixing egg whites and one for mixing cream) and take your time folding things together.


1 2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp kosher salt

4 egg whites

½ cup castor sugar

6 oz dark chocolate chips

egg whites are ready when the mixer leaves marks that don’t go away or you can turn the bowl upside down without spillage.
  • Melt chocolate and let cool slightly.  I like to do this in the microwave.  I put the chips in a microwave safe bowl, heat on high for fifteen seconds, stir, heat, stir and heat until they are completely melted.  Always stir between each fifteen second heating as it distributes the heat through instead of leaving you with one hot spot.  If you don’t stir it can easily burn.
  • Put your heavy cream, vanilla and salt into a bowl.  Whip it until stiff peaks form. Set it to the side.
  • In another, larger bowl take your four egg whites, whip them to soft peaks. When they are at soft peaks, add in your sugar and whip into stiff peaks.
  • Slowly fold your chocolate into the egg whites. It is okay if it looks a little marbled.
  • Once the chocolate is in your egg whites, fold your whipped cream into the chocolate egg whites.  It is okay if it isn’t perfectly uniform in color.  You don’t want to knock out all the air you added by whipping the whites and cream. It tends to deflate less than other recipes because both the cream and whites have air so you start with double the air for your mousse.
  • When as combined you want, spoon into serving dishes and move to the fridge for anywhere from two hours to overnight.  If leaving overnight, cover with plastic wrap.  If only leaving a few hours you don’t need to cover it.
mixed together

This recipe makes four large and super decadent deserts or eight regular sized deserts. It can easily be cut in half or even in fourths depending on who you are serving and how large you want your deserts to be.  I left the measurements as the full sized recipe so they matched the photographs.  While some will be eaten here, we needed extra so I made the full batch. It is a very scalable recipe and rather forgiving if you are still learning your folding technique.

Top off with whip cream and chocolate shavings and you have a truly decadent desert. You can also play around with this one as well, adding a Tablespoon of instant coffee crystals to make it mocha flavored. I like replacing the vanilla with ginger syrup.  I have also filled the serving glasses half way and added a layer of raspberry coulis before topping them off with more mousse. 

Again the recipe above is the basic one and you can easily play around with it to suit your palette.  Just try not to add too much liquid and add your flavorings to the cream instead of the egg whites or wait until the mouse is formed and just layer it with other flavors using the chocolate as the base.

These three desserts are favorites around my house and my favorite part is that they not only can be made early, but they mostly require you to make them early.  I love that they can be made ahead of time and stashed away in the fridge while I concentrate on other things. It is one less thing to worry about as the last second and they all taste great.

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Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #51: Changing things up

For the past year I have been posting various tips and tricks as well as just random things I’ve learned as I work on a healthier me.  I enjoy sharing these weight loss journey sign posts with you.  I hope you find some of them helpful or at least momentarily amusing.

At this point, most of the lessons I am learning seemed to be the same lessons merely repackaged. It’s as though the universe realizes that I am slightly dense some times and need to have things pounded into my head. While I’m still learning and may come across new tips to share with you, I will not be posting this segment each week anymore.  It’s not gone for good. When something occurs that is worth mentioning, I’ll bring it back, it just won’t be a regular weekly post. 

I haven’t decided on a weekly thing to take its place yet (and I’m open to suggestions and if there is anything you want to see here on a regular basis let me know.) So for now I will just be posting my regular style of reviews on Wednesdays.

For my last regularly scheduled tip post, I’m going to post the top five things I’ve learned in the past year.

  1. Buy a pack of plain undershirts and socks with the reinforced toes to work out in.  Working out is a sweaty business and these clothes are going to take a beating. Rather than ruin your everyday socks and t-shirts, pick up an inexpensive pack that you can blitz clean with repeated washings and not worry over.  When they get too worn out from too much sweat and too many washings, relegate them to gardening gear or the rag bin and pick up another package. I actually recommend Hanes as they are not terribly expensive and can take quite a lengthy beating before they need to be replaced.  I tend to get the men’s v-neck ones as they are a little roomier and I don’t like the collar pressing on my neck as I work out.
  2. Patience. You didn’t put on all the weight overnight and you aren’t going to take it off overnight.  You also aren’t going to go from couch potato to winner of an Iron Man style competition in one gym session either. It is better to do consistent small workouts rather than destroying yourself on one big one and giving up for another couple of months. Losing a lot of weight is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t give up just because you can’t do everything now. Ease yourself in and build up to the level you want.
  3. This is about you.  Even if you work out with a friend and have the encouragement of thousands, it all comes down to you. This matters in several ways.  First it sometimes feels a little selfish to carve out time just for you to work out.  That’s okay.  This is one instance where you can be selfish.  In fact, you need to be a little selfish. This is your time, not a time to help someone else. You are helping you with something no one else can do for you. Secondly, just because other people start a work out in one place, doesn’t mean that’s where you start out.  This is about you and your body, not someone else’s regime. When I started, my knees weren’t happy about lowering me to the floor to do crunches and other floor exercises.  Because of this I used the bed as my flat surface. (I put a towel down first) Some of the movements didn’t work on the cushier surface, but many of them did.  I concentrated on doing those until I lost enough weight that my knees didn’t ache so badly and I was able to move to the floor and add in the movements I couldn’t do on the bed. I know I probably looked ridiculous. While not something I’d seen on a workout video, it worked for me.  Find what works for you, even if it looks silly to others.  This is about you.
  4. Understand that setbacks will appear and that your journey will more than likely not always be smooth sailing.  You may have an extra piece of birthday cake one week because eating it was the best way to stop yourself from saying something you might regret. Friends may visit and insist on a taking you out for a big Italian meal at their favorite restaurant in town.  You may get a bad sunburn on your legs and not be able to walk for two weeks.  A pandemic may shut down your gym and force you to establish a new routine. Life has a funny way of throwing things at you. You need to accept that things happen and then some weeks, a loss might not be possible.  Some weeks you may even gain.  The important bit is to move past the set back and keep going.  Sure, you didn’t need that extra piece of cake, but you didn’t call out your great uncle when he insisted that Elvis pompadour style wig he wears is his real hair. You let that 96 year old think he’s fooled everyone into believing he has a thick head of jet black hair. You get Karma points for that, even if you did gain half a pound in butter cream frosting alone that week and get a stomach cramp from all the extra sugar. Although seriously, I think that wig is part of an Elvis Impersonator costume. It is quite something to behold. But I digress.
  5. Treat yourself with kindness and respect.  Weight loss journey or not, I think this is something we all tend to forget every now and then. I know that I am my own worst critic.  And truth be told, I have said somethings to myself about myself that I wouldn’t even dream of uttering about any other human on the planet. Even if I absolutely despised them.  Yet I am occasionally guilty of saying these things to myself. I’m trying to get better and treat myself with more respect and kindness, because I know I am worth it.  I know you are worth it too.

So there you have it the tip five (ish) biggest lessons I’ve learned this past year. I’m sure I’ll learn more before my journey is done and when I do, you’ll be the first to know.  For now, I’m going to work with what I’ve got and keep trying to move forward.

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Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #50: Effective Tools

Sometimes the right tools can make all of the difference

For anyone following along with my path towards a healthier me, you’ve probably noticed that my diet consists of monitoring portion sizes rather than banning foods all together from my world. This I of course paired with exercise. It is a slow process, at times to me it seems glacial, but it is sustainable.

I enjoy my food. I enjoy the crisp tang of a tart apple as I bite into it. I love the funk of a good cheese and I am fairly certain heaven smells like freshly baked bread. I am positive a slice from a fresh bread still warm from the oven spread with good butter melting in and maybe a drizzle of honey over the top is what they hand you once you pass St. Pete’s entry quiz. Conversely, I’m certain that hell smells like really good bread that you never get to eat. Maybe they pump the scent in from heaven’s ventilation system.

Regardless (now that I have given all of the mechanical engineers out there something to ponder in their spare time), I knew banning foods all together from my life was not going to be a pretense I could maintain. There are certain foods I don’t have all that often. Sure, that I can handle. After all some foods aren’t meant to be eaten every day. If you have cake every day what is the point of a birthday cake? But if you only have cake once in a blue moon than anytime it is served, cake itself makes the day an event.

Seriously, try it. Don’t have cake for a while and then out of the blue (and because when you went to get carrots at the grocery the only bag they had was a fifteen pound bag and once you got the giant bag home it was simply too many carrots not to do something with as they sat there accusingly until you agreed to make carrot cake) make a carrot cake. Every person passing through the kitchen will either ask you what the occasion is or assume they forgot something and sneak off to check their calendars. Because if you only have cake once in a while, when it arrives, it is an event.

Oddly enough this post is not about cake. I was just distracted. I blame the carrots.

I am far more likely to be taken down by savory than by sweet. Cheese in fact is one of my biggest weaknesses. While I can make camembert and stilton (along with their vast cornucopia of cohorts) occasional things, it is the everyday cheddar that has the ability to take me down. While I do treat the crumbly traditional cheddar with the same respect that I afford stilton, the big block of cheddar we get at the grocery store is designated for sandwiches and snacking.

I don’t know if you’ve looked but cheddar tends to be around 100 calories per ounce. And an ounce is not very much when you are talking about cheddar. It is very easy to go over that amount without realizing it. And when your system relies heavily on knowing how many calories you are consuming, it can be maddening. Enter the above two tools. One is a cheese slicer.

If you don’t have one, check the side of your box grater. There is usually a side with the slicer blades on it. I find this super handy for hard cheese like cheddar, especially if I am portioning it out. Sometime in the afternoon cheese and crackers sounds like a good snack. The slicer enables me to get thinner slices than I can manage with a regular knife (without slicing my fingers off in the process). The thinner slices give me the taste I want but not the mass. The slices my particularly effective tool produces (which I think is pretty standard) are the same as the parmesan shavings you see in fancy salads. One slice across a cracker is all that is needed for a snack.

The second tool is the smaller cutting board. Under normal circumstances it is terribly small and tends to look a bit decorative. Do not try carving a Sunday roast upon it. The results will not be pretty. However It is perfect for cheese. First of all for my snack I can place three crackers side by side across it’s length and that is a portion size according to the box. Add the cheese and I have my afternoon snack. It also helps make a small portion of cheese (or anything really) look larger than it is. Especially if you use the board to dress it up. Place the cheese on one side, fan out the crackers, maybe add a small bundle of grapes (not too many as you don’t want them to roll off or crowd the cheese, and maybe add a few olives.

The small board limits the amount you can place on it, and if you arrange things in a lovely manner instead of lumping them on the board, you fit even less. The hidden tool in this tip is the aesthetically pleasing presentation. Cooking shows may like to claim you eat with your eyes first, but quite frankly I think I eat with my nose first, then the eyes. Luckily scents can’t be electronically transmitted with the broadcast.

Secondary or not, the arrangement can help limit the portion size and is a fabulous tool.

I know some of you are thinking, Mimsy, that’s great but I don’t like cheese. My weakness is doughnuts. No problem. One doughnut won’t kill you. It’s the box that will take you down. So take one doughnut (not everyday of course, just once in a while). Place it on your pretty little board, or tray or whatever else you are using, then add a glass of your beverage. Use a low wide glass so it takes up a lot of real estate on your board and keep the amount of liquid low so it doesn’t over balance and spill while you carry you tray to the table (and so you don’t drink more calories than you eat).

That’s one of the reasons I kept the board empty in the photo. It may not make it an exciting picture, but it presents a blank canvas. For me, the weakness is cheese so I use a tool that helps me limit how much I take from the block and use a self contained place to arrange it nicely. Whatever your weaknesses are, I’m sure there are ways to do the same with them. It may require a little bit of thought at first but after a little while, reaching for the tools when you want to eat a certain type of food becomes habit. And that is really the goal here. To create better, healthier habits. This way you can still enjoy what it is you enjoy, just in a better way.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Top #49: Patience

It is often said that there is nothing new under the sun. Willow bark becomes repackaged as aspirin and Taxis become ubers. While I don’t always agree with the nothing new, I have to say this week has been one where I have been destined to relearn one of the first lessons I had when I first decided to lose weight.


When I first decide that I was finished playing around with the idea of losing weight and actually decided to actively pursue it as a goal (my decision based more on not wanting my knees to give out on me than any desire to look good in a bikini), Patience was the first lesson I had to learn.

I wanted to run but could only make it once around the block walking before my body hurt too much to continue. I wanted to be able to lift large weights without a thought but found my arms shaking with the little baby weights. I wanted to keep pace with the slim athletic folks who make the work out videos but struggled to make it through one round.

Most of all, I wanted all of the excess weight to slide right off my body leaving me svelte and healthy with no aches in knees of feet.

The truth, as I’m sure all of you know, is that the weight didn’t all one day decided to pile on my bones. It wasn’t all going to leave in a single day, or even a single week.

Logically I knew that. I understood it. But the constant barrage of miracle weight loss advertisements somehow wormed its way into my brain. I do a lot of my shopping on line. For long stretches of time I lived in remote areas where it was my best option if I wanted any sort of variety in my purchases.I also moved around a lot and ended up picking up favorites from different locals that were not available once I moved. As my weight increased, I also found a better selection in my size range on line. My largest size was 3X, thankfully a size I have left behind and actually cleared out of my closet. Most stores don’t carry a lot of clothes in 3X.

But the internet does.

However there are lovely little computer programs all over the world wide web and I very quickly found that once you start ordering clothes in a size 3X on line, the commercials that get flashed your way tend to lean into the miracle diet lane. The most sensible tend to promise things like fat flushing and a 10 lbs loss in a week.

I knew I wasn’t going to take any pills or potions but concentrate on creating a healthy, sustainable program for me to lose weight and set myself up for a sustainably healthy future. I was looking long term and permanant, not quick fix.

But it is hard chipping away slowly at the mass with the diet and exercise hammer and chisel when you see the pneumonic jackhammer of the quick fix flashing at you everytime you go online. Even with the suspicion of overblown claims and possible unpleasant side effects, they tested my patience.

For the most part, I have gotten past it.

To be honest the high boasts of many of the pills and tinctures kind of scare me out of using them anyway. I can’t think of anything that works that dramatically as being good for me. I will admit I have a strange fascination with the sort of neoprene looking sweat vests. You know the ones where you slip on a rubber lined band around your middle so you sweat more and lose weight fast. I don’t know why they fascinate me, but they sort of do. I suspect if I tried them then I would end up passed out under the summer sun from dehydration more than anything else, but still they draw me in.

For now, they too are relatively easy to ignore.

But now I am learning the same lesson of patience in a different format.

While my body is healing from my burn, parts have been slower to heal than others, mostly because they took more damage. My feet were particularly hard hit. While I can walk around the house and stand without pain, the joint where my ankle meets my foot is still raw and the rounded knob of ankle bone on the inside of my foot took a particularly hard beating from the sun.

Given that I could stand and walk around the house without pain I thought to myself, maybe a quick walk around the block just to see if I can. So I pulled on socks and shoes. I took three steps and then hobbled back to the bed to take the shoes and socks off. The angry red of the abraded flesh screamed all sorts of subverbal obscenities at me. So I am still not walking. I am doing some work with my weights and I am doing crunches and other basic exercises that don’t rely on me walking. They are helping me burn off some of my antsy energy, even if they don’t burn a high amount of calories.

And again I find myself remembering the lesson of patience. Rushing to walk before my feet are healed enough will cause more damage and a greater delay in getting back into my calorie burning walks. Taking the time now, helps me in the long run.

While I don’t always agree that there is nothing new under the sun, at this point in time it seems I am destined to relearn the same lesson I thought I mastered. weight loss, like many other goals in life, requires patience in order to achieve.


Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip # 47: Nails

A selection from the stash in my drawer of Nail polishes

Like most everyone these days, my baby and I have been sticking close to home.  While we are both still working during the day, albeit in different parts of the house, and finding chores to do around the house on weekends, our evenings have predominantly turned into movie nights.

While there are all sorts of streaming sites from Netflix to the free site that our local library hosts, we also have a load of DVDs in our own personal library.  We have been going through old black and white horror movies and forgotten favorites as well as newer releases.  Two I can highly recommend (if you haven’t seen them) are The Imposters with Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci and Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. They are both very much worth watching and among my all time favorites. I think The Imposters might be on VUDU, I’m sure Auntie Mame is in several locations. Just look for the one with the delightful Ms. Russell, in my opinion it is light years better than the remake with Lucille Ball. Admittedly I may not be in the majority with that opinion, so feel free to disagree.This weekend, we are starting in on the Wonder Woman box set I got for Christmas and hadn’t gotten around to watching yet.

I’m certain I will be singing the theme song in my head for days to come.

It is quiet and nice and something we can do in pajama pants. Plus the good comedy and bad horror are a nice break from reality before we toddle off to bed.

It helps cut down on the stress related nightmares. (Who would have thought that was Bella Lugosi and Robert Englund’s strong suit?)

The problem is the snacks. Something about television or movies and snacking just go hand in hand.  I’m pretty sure it started when the movie theaters started showing dancing concession snacks and drinks at the beginning of films, long, long ago. You know before I was born and dinosours walked the earth and attended drive-ins. It continued through the theaters and migrated to television. While I am doing pretty good monitoring my calories, one night of snacking can easily torpedo my entire plan.

My solution is to do something with my hands so I don’t snack. Or at least limit how much I can snack. 

I’d like to tell you I knit or crochet or something productive.  I really would.  But the truth is my hands cramp up after a few minutes of knitting, making me feel like I have earned a treat, thus actually promoting snacking, and despite the effort my grandmother took to teach me, my crocheting is horrible. 

It’s not like I was ever good and then just fell out of practice. I was a crochet disaster from the start. My strength is in turning skeins of yarn into balls for others to turn into objects, not in creating them myself.   

Oddly enough I am pretty good at all of the other preliminaries.  I worked for a living history museum a long time ago. It turns out, I can sheer a sheep, card the wool, spin it on a spinning wheel and dye it using all sorts of natural dyes I cook up from plants. I’m actually really good at cooking up the dyes.  Just don’t ask me to make anything with the yarn created and we are all fine.

I am apparently the supply side not the production. At least where winter wear is concerned.

But I digress.

So given that I don’t own a spinning wheel, or any sheep for that matter, I opt for a different course.  I have been painting my nails.  Mostly I’ve been using clear gloss.  The Sally Hansen Maximum Growth has been my favorite for a while.  I alternate between painting my fingernails and my toenails.

With my hands I alternate between the clear gloss with growth proponents and color.  Monday I take off whatever got obliterated by my weekend work in the garden and apply a clear gloss.  Tuesday I paint a solid color on the toenails.  Wednesday I add a layer of color over the clear gloss and Thursday I add a glitter coat over the solid color on the toes. Friday, the fingers get some glitter.

Discounts & Sales at SallyBeauty.com!

This way I’m not killing my nails with nail polish remover every night.  I’m just adding layers.  And I have to say, I still get a rush when I paint my toenails.  For the longest time I didn’t paint them, mostly because I couldn’t reach them.  Now I can and after each coat on my toes, I wiggle them with delight.  And my baby laughs at me for it. I’ll admit as we are sitting on the couch and I wiggle my toes in the air as they dry, it is kind of funny.

The rotation of colors is also letting me clear out some of my nail polish.  I have a nail polish drawer in my dressing table and I tend to only grab the polish stashed at the front on a routine basis.  Rotating the bottles lets me use them all.  I’m also finding some that have dried up and are no longer usable. 

To these I bid a fond adieu and relinquish them from service. I’ve actually cleared out a lot of space. Also I get to see what colors I have and which I lack, so I can make a list for smart purchasing instead of saying ‘ohh pretty’.  That line is why I have several bottles of the same colors. So now I have a plan for branching out and I’ve avoided snacking.  That, in my book, is a double win.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #46: A little extra care

Now I know, the phrase self-care has been batted around more often lately as everyone tries to cope with an unusually high stress level. While I am the first to admit that my destressing calming Face Mask time has increased as of late and all of the candles featuring calming scents are rapidly being burned away, this is slightly different.

Despite the lack of the gym, I am trying to still get as much exercise as possible. While some is done in the house with the yoga mat, a lot of my exercise time is outside these days. Not as much as I like because of the recent rains, but it is April and I have to admit, March and April are always pretty wet months where I live. And truthfully if they aren’t then in the fall we run the risk of wildfires, so even if I chafe at them now, there is a point to them.

It does mean that on the days I can go to the walking trail without needing the use of waders, I spend a little extra time outside. While the temperatures are still cool, the sun is bright and the air is fresh. When fish aren’t raining down from the sky at least. While the fresh air is fine, the sun is what gets me.

In the summer when it is hot enough to melt your bones, sunscreen is easy to remember. It is not so easy to remember now. I’m starting the spf layers though and advise you to to the same.

The difficulty is that I usually ease myself into spending more time outside than I do in the winter. In the winter I stay in doors and I use the gym. Then the rains come and go. Once I’m reasonably sure the rains are ended, I start shifting to walking outside. Usually this is the last of the frosts so I can start planting the seedlings out as well so garden time increases. As the heat increases, the walks become either earlier or later in the day to avoid the harshest of the burning sun. Then I reverse the process in the autumn.

There was no slow edging into outside time this year. And while my seedlings are still crowding my little bookshelf sized greenhouse with occasional forays out into the sun for hardening, I am finding little garden chores to do outside so I can spend just a little more time outside of the house. Add to this the increased (and lengthy) handwashings and much of my skin has taken a bit of a beating as of late.

This, in case you are wondering, is where the little extra care comes in. This is the time to treat yourself to that fancy container of hand cream you have stashed away while you use up the larger more everyday tub. I have a tendency to put the nicer, more expensive, stuff away for later and take it out when I am going out and want to feel special. Then I use the more everyday stuff (which is still pretty good, just not as good as the one I’ve held in reserve.)

This is the time for the reserve.

This is the time to use that special occasion hand cream, body lotion, hair mask, shampoo and body scrub that you hold back using on the regular (if you are anything like me). I’m not advocating that you go out and buy a whole bunch of super expensive ‘fancy’ (as my babydoll would say) things you wouldn’t normally buy. I’m just saying that now is the time to take some of the reserve out of the closet. Use that hair mask that makes your hair shine, maybe even dab on a bit of the scent you only wear to special dinners out (even if dinner is a less than glamorous affair).

But especially take care of your skin.

Pamper it.

Firstly, because you deserve the pampering, I know you do. Secondly, because your skin might need the little extra tlc right now. Using some of your reserve products might make you a little more conscious of how much lotion your poor over washed hands really need right now. That anti-bacterial soap may kill a bunch of germs but paired with hand sanitizer it does a doozie of a number on your skin and dry cracked skin is not what you need right now.

Protect the skin barrier so it can protect you.

Third, because stashing those products away right now does no one any good, but might help you out. Seriously, it might be helpful. Personally I am very scent oriented. Applying products that carry the scent I normally associate with special times can help make even a normal day feel special. It’s less aromatherapy and more aroma trickery.

But it is trickery for a good cause.

A little mental pick me up when monotony and stress get you down.

You may have noticed that along side my tube of lux hand cream in the above photo, there is my hydrating lip balm and lip scrub. When I apply sunscreen, I use a spray sunscreen and I always curl my lips into my mouth when I apply it. I think because when I was a child I hated the sunscreen on my lips. I remember it tasting awful, so I have a permanent reaction.

It is important to remember that the summer sun can dry your lips out as much as the winter wind, so I try to remember to apply lip balm before going out and to use a lip scrub on a regular basis. (just be careful not to over scrub). I am actually almost at the end of my lip balm supply so I reopened my Jersey Shore Cosmetics Lip balm subscription in order to restock. My first package comes at the beginning of May (I’ll post it when it comes with all of the details, especially since it has been a while), so I just have to get this last peppermint lip balm to last until then. I really like the subscription and it does give me a discount, but its one I keep for a few months, then realize I have a stockpile of lip balms, so I cancel until I work through the pile and then reopen it again. I just left it a little too long this year as it slipped my mind.

Hence the final peppermint,

So in a rather meandering way, that is my tip for this week. Be aware of the changes and take a little extra care with yourself. Use things that take care of your body, even if you are still trying to sweat that body down to a smaller size and maybe break out some of those special products you hold in reserve. Because you are most definitely worth it.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #46: Why Bother?

a new pair of shoes and moving forward one step at a time

I had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day and it really stuck with me. We’ll call my friend Jane for the sake of this post and to respect her privacy. She and I have very similar weight issues, i.e. far too much of it and no actual underlying health issues that aren’t weight related (like joint pain from feet being asked to carry too much weight). I think I started in about two lbs heavier than she was, but as I was 246 that put her at 244. For the past year we have both been inching along with our weight loss.

We were also meeting up once every week or so for moral support (and because our gym schedules happened to allign). I haven’t actually seen her since February at this point though.

When I spoke to her a few nights back she said that she wasn’t going to bother even thinking about her weight until the world returned to something more stable. Her argument was, quite simply, Why bother? Why bother focusing on weight loss when there are so many more important things to focus on right now? She even went so far as to put her scale in the cupboard.

I didn’t argue with her as weight and its loss are both very personal things that need to be dealt with individually, but I thought about what she said. I thought about it a lot.

And I have to say I disagree.

First off, I would like to say that, you should still pay attention to what is going on in the world. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to help you, although holing up like a hibernating bear might. Like most people I am following the news. However, there comes a point where paying too much attention is likely to drive me mad and having something other than the outside world to pay attention to has helped me tremendously.

While I am always thrilled when the scale shows me a lower number, and every weight loss no matter how small is celebrated by a happy dance, my goal at this time is merely not to gain weight. My weekly step on the scale is more of a monitoring process and part of my weekly routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to lose weight, but I am more forgiving with myself than usual.

I find routines very important. Its why I started doing the weekly weigh in to begin with. I wanted a consitent day and time to step onto the scale to monitor my progress, lack of progress or even set backs. It keeps me honest and because I am sharing it with you, accountable.

Maintaining that routine makes me feel a bit more normal. In addition, at this point in my world because my weight loss plan involves monitoring my caloric intake and my exercising I sort of know how many calories I need to consume each day. With several week’s worth of groceries on hand, monitoring my weight each week actually helps me avoid some of my stress eating. Even if I only see my baby and no one else, I am still accountable to the scale each week. If I gain a bunch of weight, it probably means I am stress eating and need to stop.

If only so we don’t run out of groceries.

Being able to monitor the groceries also provides a level of comfort for me. Which is why I still have as healthy a meal plan as I can create at this point in time without constantly running out to the store for fresh veg and relying on a lot of frozen and dried produce from the freezer. Also much of that came from last year’s garden and needs to be cleared out as this year’s garden gets underway.

So the clearing out is actually a productive thing.

Adding workouts to my schedule despite not having access to the gym not only lets me build in breaks to my day, it also helps me relieve stress by focusing on just the way my body moves instead of following numerical progressions across the face of the globe. It not only keeps me active, which most doctors agree is a good thing, but I am doing exercises that force me to focus on my breathing.

During the exercise, whether I am following along with a Youtube yoga or five pound weight video or following along with the Planet Fitness Facebook page (my most common sources for videos) or walking around the neighborhood to stretch my legs in the sunshine between the rainstorms, there is my breath.

Steady in and steady out.

Not only does the action calm me, but as I don’t have any problems with the breathing in and out, I am also reassured that I am still healthy. I am reminded that I am fine.

No matter what news story I just finished watching.

While I respect my friend Jane and her decision not to even think about her weight or the scale for a while, for me, I believe there is ample reason to still bother monitoring my weight, even if it isn’t strictly to help with loss, and to maintain my workout routine, even if it isn’t completely for exercise.

I still focus on the outside world, but spending a little time focusing on myself actually helps me maintain a good balance so that I can deal with events without being overwhelmed. I know this isn’t technically speaking any sort of dieting tip, but I wanted to state why I am continuing with these posts the way they are. Hopefully you find the posts an enjoyable break from what’s going on in your life.

As for me, (and the lead photo for this post) my current pair of sneakers wore out and I just received their replacement. Actually my baby doll ordered the replacement based on a previous order. I was going to test out a different shoe this time around, but I forgot to tell him I was going to order them, so I have these.

I actually checked my chart and it was this time last year that I started monitoring my mileage on the shoes to see how many miles I got out of them before they were replaced. At that time I was alternating between the gym and the walking trail. At the moment, I am exclusively walking in the neighborhood and the walking trail. I think it just might be an interesting contrast to see how long this pair lasts compared to the others.

And yes that is another thing for me to keep track of, another item to add to my routine. I am by nature a list maker and I find this soothing. Hopefully you find it entertaining. So I will record this set of shoes for their mileage and compare it to last year. Then I’ll branch out to a different pair of shoes. maybe Reebok or Adidas next time instead of New Balance. We’ll see, for now the important thing is to just keep moving, one step at a time.

Weight Loss Regime Survival Tip #45: Obnoxious Heels

The pink crushed velvet heels too high for everyday use but somehow I can’t part with them. Who knew they’d be a weight loss tool?

At the moment more people are working from home than ever before. Other people, while not working from home, are nevertheless staying within their homes in an effort to help avoid spreading contamination.  I, and everyone else I’m certain, appreciates it.  At least I believe they do. 

I didn’t take a poll or anything, but I’ll let the statement stand.

If you are at home, working or not, you may find that within very easy reach of the place you’ve settled for the day is the kitchen, pantry, and the stockpile of snacks and other tasty treats you picked up to see you through the next month or so.

Maybe it’s the Easter candy you bought early calling you or the extra bag of chips you’ve stashed away for when you REALLY need a snack whispering that time is NOW. 

Perhaps you’ve been stress baking and there is now a very lovely carrot cake sitting under a cloche in your kitchen because you figured playing with your cake decorating tips would relax you and the last time you went to the store they didn’t have small bags of carrots so you picked up the one ten pound bag of carrots they had and then found yourself giving into your love of carrot cake just because others were mocking the vast amount of carrots now lurking in your kitchen.

As an example.

I’m just saying temptations lurk. 

And when you are working at home, they aren’t too hard to find.  It was one of my downfalls when I started working from home.  Drifting through the kitchen for a cup of coffee and adding a cookie or bowl of pretzels or handful of whatever, was one of the things that helped add to my weight in the first place. And it was one of the first habits I had to change when I decided to lose weight.  While I have shared with you my lipstick trick (no snacking with sticky lips) one thing I haven’t shared, it the obnoxious heels trick.

Now, I will say, that most of my shoes are fairly sensible. I have the sneakers for working out, I have the shoes I use to run errands and the shoes I use for meetings.  I have the all purpose black pumps I can wear all day long on the few days I need to dress up for an entire day and I have some more decorative heels for social events and dinners out for when my baby and I have our nights on the town.

But lurking in the back of my closet, I have a couple of pairs of obnoxious heels.

You know the kind I mean. 

They were bought for a time when girl’s night out with me and my single friends was a routine affair. You know, the shoes that look gorgeous on the shelf, make your legs look fantastic, and make you feel sexy for about an hour before they turn into hard points of pain causing you to drink until your feet go numb and to very strategically choose which song you really want to try dancing to.

Most of them left my closet before my weight started to increase as life settled into more steady rhythms and girl’s night out shifted from dancing in a club to either lunch or dinner out at a nice restaurant. And became fewer and further between. Club wear in general disappeared as most everyone showed up in what they wore to the office that day.

And while there have been many clothing purges, there are still a couple of pairs of obnoxious heels, lurking because I just can’t get rid of them. They are too high to wear for long periods of time, at least at my current weight and probably still after if I’m completely honest, but I just can’t part with them. They just look so pretty.

So now, they get a chance to earn their place. 

When I know there is something that I will find hard to resist, like the aforementioned carrot cake, my far too high heels come out of the closet to help me out.  That’s right. If I have a video conference I may look nice from the waist up, if not, I’m wearing some form of t-shirt. Below the desk I usually have pajama or yoga pants on, depending on what was clean in the drawer when I dressed for the day. I learned early on that even if I wear pajama pants while I work I have to put on a fresh pair when I get up otherwise I feel like I haven’t started my day.

But with those pants, I will often have an obnoxious pair of heels strapped to my feet.  While I generally feel good about them when I am going to and from the desk to get my morning coffee, by the time my coffee is done, I am pretty much over walking in them. At that point I remember that these are the shoes that require gin and vermouth to wear for any length of time and that a martini is not a good idea at ten in the morning.

Especially if you still want to get things done with your day.

At that point there becomes very little that can tempt me to get up from my desk chair and walk the length of the house to the kitchen. My booty stays glued to the chair and the extra calories stay in the kitchen.  Oddly enough I also find myself being super productive on those days too. I tend to focus on whatever task I’ve set myself so that I ignore my feet. So if you are having a hard time settling into working from home, this might be a productivity tip for you rather than an anti-snacking method.

And if nothing else, it gives you a reason to wear those pretty, yet super impractical heels you just can’t manage to part with, yet know aren’t really feasible in your daily life. Who knows, perhaps they’ll even match your pajama pants.

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