Monday, May 31, 2010

Tainted Love

I just had to write a post about this, as I have so many thoughts and opinions about it I can barely contain them. The reason for my mental overload is the following email that I received from the dating site OKCupid this morning that stated the following:

"We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid's most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you'd like to know.
How can we say this with confidence? We've tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people's reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver. Your new elite status comes with one important privilege: You will now see more attractive people in your match results.This new status won't affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You'll be shown to more attractive people in their match results. Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn't just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see."

I had read in the newspaper recently about OkCupid's new "rating system", but I never imagined I'd get such a message. At first I was surprised and a little bit flattered that I was considered to be part of the "good looking" tier on a dating website - nice boost to the self-esteem. However, this pride was tempered with discomfort once I considered the rather alarming fact that this website "ranks" people based on their inate attractiveness, and in a way gives them an advantage (or not) in finding a mate. In my opinion, there is something very wrong about that, and by the time I got to the end of the email and read "go ask an ugly friend and see", my pride of inclusion had dwindled down into a feeling of shame and disgust.

For one, what place does a dating site have to rank users and base their experience on how attractive they are? Isn't a dating site supposed to be democratic, open to anyone who wants to upload their information and/or pay the money (if it is a paying site, which OKCupid is NOT) and who has the desire to find a date? Maybe I'm being idealistic here, but essentially isn't it supposed to act as an open forum for people to pursue whomever they choose for whatever purpose they prefer (within reason of course)? There is nothing democratic and open about giving "better looking" people "better" matches and grouping users in different wings as if they are 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers on the Titanic. As you can read above, they even describe me as now having "elite status", which is an automatic class distinction right there.

Second of all, who died and made OkCupid the Master of Determing Attractiveness? Attractiveness is a completely subjective thing - one person may think I'm incredibly ugly, while another may think I'm incredibly hot. They say they figure out who fits in this "elite" group by tracking "click-thrus on your photo" and analyzing "other people's reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver", but is this really a good measure of how attractive I am to these other people? I suppose the 2nd one could sort of be analyzed in this way, but I don't see how "click-thrus" on my photo proves that someone finds me attractive. Someone could click thru to my photos and go "blech, no thanks" and move on. How do they know?

Plus, they say that my matches will now be "more attractive" and I'll be shown "more attractive people in match results". But again, who determines that these people are more attractive than other non-elite members? How do they know that I will find these matches more attractive? The fact is, they don't, and I'm willing to bet my matches from now on will look pretty much the same, meaning I'm pretty sure I'll find the same number of them attractive as I would have before my "upgrade".

Besides the subjectivity of attractiveness, I think we can all agree (however corny it sounds) that looks are NOT everything. Sometimes the people that are not considered conventionally "attractive" are the most interesting, smart, accomplished people around and, frankly, some of the more attractive people are vacuous, immature and self-absorbed (I say sometimes, mind, I'm not trying to pigeon-hole anyone).

And don't get me wrong, you of course have to be physically attracted to someone in order to have a relationship with them, but I feel this is something that can develop over time, and it isn't the MOST important thing. I wouldn't even consider myself conventionally "attractive" - sometimes I would just love to be taller, or 40 lbs thinner or not have such chubby cheeks or such a wierd nose - but I also want to be seen as more than my looks, and would like a partner who is more than looks as well.

Online dating is already hard enough between people rejecting you before they even know you, the sites serving as a breeding ground (no pun intended) for people cruising for one-night stands or for anti-social/agoraphobic wierdos, and the ease with which potential dates can "embellish" their profiles and/or avoid commitment to any one person. But now the sites themselves are sitting up on high horses and proclaiming who deserves to have a good mate and who doesn't? And for no real reason other than because they can? Way to make things even harder and more complicated for us weary daters, OkCupid (and I didn't even think that was possible to achieve. Congrats and cue eye roll).

I'm not going to lie to you, I got a twinge of hope when I read that I would now start to be shown "more attractive matches" (let's be honest here, even though looks aren't the most important thing, it's usually the first thing that attracts you to a person, and when you're online you really only have looks to go on to start). But soon all these questions and concerns started to pop up in my mind and this point became moot. I suppose I respect the fact the OkCupid is trying to be innovative, and is looking ways to improve matches for its users (and really when a site is free, you can't necessarily demand the same level of service and decorum that a pay-site like eHarmony does), but I just don't think it's their place to determine who is a match for me and who isn't (um, hello, I'm a big girl and can make my own decisions, thanks).

I think what digusts me most of all about this message, is the statement that "suddenly, the world is your oyster" - implying that finding an "attractive match" and being considered an "attractive match" yourself gives your life meaning and possibility - totally out of nowhere you are someone and you mean something! On the other hand it implies that your "ugly friends" are not entitled to have such meaning and possibility in their lives - they are 3rd class people, and as such only deserve 3rd class treatment and experiences. No one's worth should be based on their physical attractiveness. This root of bigotry in our society is one on which crises such as eating disorders, reality television, suicide, and mental health issues grow.

I've tried every popular dating website out there - Plenty of Fish, LavaLife, eHarmony, OkCupid (of course) - and I've found good and bad experiences with all of them. Overall, I haven't had a terrible experience and have met some nice guys (or "attractive matches" I guess you could call them). But I've also never met anyone who stuck. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing (the be-all, end-all of my life is certainly NOT finding a mate; I have a great life on my own), however it does get very old and demeaning after a while and I'm at the point where I wonder why I'm still doing it.

Segregating people based on criteria over which (for the most part) they have no control, and which really has no bearing in whether they will find a match in any case is appalling. This only serves to perpetuate and nurture qualities of arrogance and insecurity, depending on the person in question. How about perpetuating and nurturing an environment of non-judgment, acceptance, and individual preference? Dating is hard - how about you make it EASIER for us, OkCupid, not harder? That is, after all, your job. You seem to have forgotten that so consider this a friendly reminder to keep in mind next time you want to "improve" our experience.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Alive (in case anyone was wondering)

Well, it's been a while since I've posted! As you can imagine from this, the past couple of weeks have been really busy - away for work a few times plus planning/executing my best friend's bachelorette party - so posting has just been like LAST on the priority list. I have to make sure I don't do this often though because I found once I broke the routine I also started to lose the drive to blog. Well, not entirely, but my motivation definitely went down, and only in a week! That's how it is with me for most things - I have to make it routine in order for me to stick with it; once it's routine, I've got it down, but it's making it routine that's the tough thing.

Anyway, yadda yadda yadda. Back to the usual (sort of) schedule now. Though I'm sort of torn about what to write about - I feel I've sort of lost the focus of this blog since I started doing my Motivation Monday posts, and the occasional Mama Kat's writer's workshops and Curious Tuesdays - I started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts and opinions, and as a way to practice writing, in more of an essay-style format. But it's sort of become an amalgam of frivolous posts borrowed from others and with no real "content" (NOT knocking blogs that have a more "fun", everyday life focus, I think to each his own, but it's just not really what I had in mind for mine, at least not for ALL posts). I just feel I need to re-focus.

Actually I feel I need to re-focus my entire life right about now to be honest. I'm at a very contemplative time in my life right now for several reasons: I'm still not at ALL happy with how I look - my diet and exercise plan has gone completely out the window. The past couple of weeks with travelling and just plain stress I've eaten nothing but crappy food and haven't been exercising as much as I should. I'm back up to 170 lbs, which I can't say I'm surprised about, but certainly not happy. I'm going to get right back on the horse again because that's what I do but it's with a heavy heart. All I could think of looking at the bachelorette photos was how fat I look, as sad as that is.

I've just had a lot going on this month, and a lot of worries so I've been doing a lot of thinking and trying to figure some things out. Maybe once I do that I'll get back on the diet bandwagon with more gusto, but I just can only seem to manage so much motivation right now. Well, I do feel I'm doing a good job of appearing motivated, sometimes SO good that I even convince myself briefly that I really am feeling upbeat, but when it comes right down to it underneath I'm just not feeling it; my mind is otherwise preoccupied with many decisions.

I don't mean to get all boo-hoo, poor me but I'm just venting - sending my thoughts out into the void, if you will. If for no reason than to get them out of my head! Speaking of getting them out of my head, I bought a journal today - yes, apparently they make them with real paper that you can write on with a thing called a pen; cool, eh? - because I thought maybe writing down what's on my mind, and just ideas I have randomly might help me order my thoughts a little, not to mention record any writing ideas I have and provide inspiration. A way to bring order to my brain in a way. We'll see if I actually stick with it considering my track record with other things, but we'll see!

I'd be curious to hear from anyone reading this who keeps a journal and your thoughts on it - do you find it helpful? How often do you write? What kinds of things do you write? Do you have a formula, or are your notes very random and disorderly?

I highly doubt anyone's reading this anyway since it's such a downer, but regardless, I'm glad to say I'm back to blogging! I'm confident I'll have some more upbeat things to discuss in coming days, once I figure some things out. For now, Happy Weekend (well, what's left of it)!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Curious Tuesday: Crushes, guilty pleasures and sentimentality - oh my!

*This is being posted late bc I was interrupted mid-write yesterday. Just pretend it's Tuesday*
This is my second try at Gala Darling's Curious Tuesday. I think these "meme" things are way overdone (I don't want to be one of those bloggers who revolves all of her blog content around them either) but her questions are always lots of fun and get you thinking about past fun memories and such. I tend to be always looking ahead and focusing on moving forward, so it's nice to look behind me sometimes and remember not just the bad stuff, but the goofy things!

1. Who is your #1 crush? I'm so embarassed to say this, but I've had a crush on Kevin Spacey for years. I just love his voice and he's not conventionally sexy, but there's something oddly sexy about him at the same time. I remember when I was like 16, he came to Halifax (my city - Nova Scotia) to film "The Shipping News" and the papers would report where he went everyday. I seriously went to some of those places later just because he had been there and I got this wierd sense of excitement from it. Don't judge me! At least I didn't stalk him while he was here! Though that would have been really fun...too bad I was such a wimp. I harbour this secret hope that I'll meet him someday (dear god, I'm a loser lol). Aside from this craziness, I am quite in love with Nutty (my kitty-witty).

2. Have you ever tried online dating? How did it go? Any tips? Oh lord, I could write a book on this (a really bitter one), so let's just keep it short - yes, I've tried it (on and off for a few years in fact), it hasn't gone that great (never had much of a relationship materialize from it), and my main tip is to have no expectations. It's easy to have a great deal of expectation placed on meeting someone, but if you do that you're just setting yourself up. I'm really not a fan of online dating anymore and personally don't understand how people find actual normal relationship on there, so I'll just leave it at that!

3. Are you sentimental? Do you keep the things other people give you? I definitely keep things, I'm a huge packrat, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly sentimental. I find I'm either really sentimental about an item or I'm not at all and won't think twice about getting rid of it. There's really no gray area there. This is a tough question to answer though because I'm not really sure what the answer is! lol. I guess the answer is it depends on the item, where and who it came from. In general though, I have lots of stuff and tend to keep things.

4. As a child, what were your primary interests? I was a quiet kid and when not outside playing with my friends (yes, kids used to play outside back then and GASP we didn't have computers and ipods and cell phones so we had to make our own amusement - making up games, playing dress-up, building forts with the entire contents of my mom's linen closet, hide-and-seek, etc. Wow, we had fun) I was usually in my basement creating something - I was always either drawing or painting or making some kind of craft. As I got older I moved into making fashion drawings and more graphic designs. I had a wild imagination and sometimes I miss that - I still have a bit of that creativity but the spark is gone and that makes me sad. It's on my LIST to try and bring that spark back into my life.

5. What are your top 3 guilty pleasures? Coffee (must have one in the morning or I'm like a zombie!), chocolate and sweets in general (I can't resist anything sweet, it's my downfall), and shopping (I don't shop as much as I used to but I find I either buy nothing or a whole load of stuff - again, no middle ground - but my main shopping vice is clothes; well, clothes and purses and shoes. This is what I spend most of my money on, aside from rent of course!)

Now you try!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Motivation Mondays #5: Two steps forward, one step back

Needless to say I'm not as excited to write this week's weight-loss update as I was last week. I didn't lose anymore weight this week, and frankly didn't do well at all in the eating/exercising department.

I was on the road for two days for work, and anyone who travels for work knows how freakin hard it is to eat right in those types of situations. Usually, there are not many meal options (usually fast food) and you're sitting for long periods of time.

In addition to the travelling, I also had a job interview on Tuesday afternoon, which was very nervewracking and had me in a tense ball of nerves for pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday. I think I did pretty well, but it was intimidating and there are a few questions I'm not sure I answered well. Who ever really knows with these things, though, ya know? You just do your best and hope to god your best was better than everyone else's (though chances are it wasn't). I also had last minute prep for my best friend's bridal shower, and for a hike on Saturday morning/afternoon. Busy was the word of the week, so dieting and exercising was not first and foremost on my mind. When I wasn't working on all the above activities, I was flagged out on the couch or crawling into bed zombie-like.

It was one of my co-workers' last days on Friday, so we all went out for a greasy Chinese food lunch plus had ice cream cake after (I couldn't resist it and ate a piece that was way too large). The group hike does give me some points, especially since the park ended up being full of tall ladder-like stairways that we climbed (one rather large one I went down then back UP, plus I went down two other good sized ones, not to mention a couple of rather steep hills in between). We hiked for about 1.5-2 hours so it was a good workout. However, the fish-and-chip lunch afterwards probably replaced all of the calories I had previously burned off. And I felt like I was going to have a heart attack after reaching the top of the larger stairway, and my legs have been extremely sore the whole weekend. Not good - clearly need to work on cardio!!

After we got back from the hike around 3pm, I came back to my moms and did prep for the shower for the rest of the day, so I was totally exhausted by the time I got home at around 9pm (I had gotten up at 6:30am to meet everyone for 9am). Then Sunday was the actual shower, which meant running around setting up and decorating all morning, running around taking photos, cleaning and setting food up during the event, and running around and cleaning afterwards. To say it was a busy weekend is a slight understatement.

This may sound like a lot of exercise, but it really wasn't enough to burn calories (esp since I had a couple of pieces of custard-filled cake in there plus some pasta casserole). I really didn't expect to get on the scale and see any difference today because I KNEW I didn't lose anything because I didn't feel it.

Though honestly I haven't really felt the weight loss yet at all, and looking at the photos from the hike on Saturday morning, I am still not happy with my shape. I still feel like I look like a blimp in photos, to be honest. So, I'm back to being frustrated. I'm not going to give up, but I just wish I would notice more of a difference, you know?

Fitting exercise into my schedule (enough to actually burn calories anyway) continues to be hard. I talked to a friend who is signing up for a twice-weekly class, and I'm thinking I need to do something similar. If I have a class to go to that I've paid money for, I think that will be more motivating than just leaving the "fitting in" of exercise to me in my "spare time" (obviously that has worked out swimmingly so far *rolls eyes*). I'll look and see what I can find. I'd like to do something fun and energetic like Zumba or kick-boxing or something, but as usual I'm worried about cost. I've been totally broke all week. I can't even get groceries until I get paid on Friday and have to settle for leftovers until then. How sad is that? (being in a wedding party is an expensive endeavour, I'm realizing).

I've pretty much stopped following Weight Watchers altogether, so maybe I should start recording my food again. Urgh, it's just such a nuisance though, and I hate to sound like a baby but I have so many other things on my mind this week I can't be bothered. Plus, I KNOW I can stick to eating right without the points system, it's just a matter of MAKING myself do it. Frankly, I let myself go a little bit this week because I was happy about reaching the 5lb mark; I got complacent and that's how you end up putting weight back on.

Anyway, this week I'm away again for work so I imagine more fast food will be in the picture, but I'm going to at least try to make an effort to order healthier food, i.e. sandwiches/salads instead of fried or sugary stuff, smaller portions, drink lots of water. I doubt I'll get much exercise in again. This weekend is a 3-day one, however, so it will be a good chance to get out for a long hike again or take a class or something. I actually took today off work because I wasn't feeling so hot when I got up, but after I rested I got a TON of stuff done around the apartment that I've put off for WEEKS, and that feels really good. So, I can't be too hard on myself.

Alas, this is the life of a woman struggling with weight loss - two steps forward, one step back. Hopefully this week will involve the former.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Making a List, Checking It Twice

I sound like a broken record lately but I've been really busy this week and haven't had time to post. I haven't even had time to keep up with my Blog Roll! I'm so behind in what everyone's doing! lol.

I wanted to discuss something that I'm working on, in conjunction with this blog, that I haven't really explained before.

Those of you that have visited this here blog might have noticed my little list I keep in the right-hand column, entitled "30 B4 30". We've all heard of bucket lists, and this is sort of like that, but I got the original idea from Sandy B and her Birthday List.

I think we all have at least mental lists of things we would like to accomplish "someday", and I think most of us fail to ever accomplish even half of those things - mostly because these lists often STAY in our heads, and that "someday" always stays on our lips. This is certainly an issue I have, but reading up on Sandy's list and her reasoning behind the project reminded me that putting something in writing right in front of your face not only holds you more accountable, but also makes your goals seem more "real" and tangible - they are within closer reach than you realize!

I just started this list about 3 months ago and in that time have not had the pleasure to cross anything off. This has been frustrating - I worry that, since I'm not good at finishing things, I'll never get complete this list in time. Sure, I'm only 25 so I've got almost 5 years to get them all done, but it's also a fact that some of the things on my list are complicated and will take much more planning (and money!) than others.

BUT! I'm happy to say that, as of Sunday, I can now CROSS THE FIRST THING OFF MY LIST!! It's a small thing on the grand scheme, but for me it's a big thing as it's something I've never done before. Which one, you ask?! Behold:

#11 Ask a guy out

Yes, that's right. How sad is that, that I've never done this in my entire life? When you think about it, it seems like such a simple, everyday thing in theory; but in practice it's much more nervewracking than that for most people. And I think for me it's even more nervewracking than it is for the average person.

If you knew me in real life from way back, you would understand why this is on my list. I was always a shy person by nature - don't get me wrong I always had friends, and guys liked me, but in groups and with people I didnt know I was really shy, and the guys that liked me tended to be of the dorky, unpopular variety. I was particularly shy around guys, however. I never grew up with guys around (my dad hasn't been in my life since I was 15 and also thanks to this dysfunctionality, I developed a deep distrust for men in addition to the mere shyness) so I never had guy friends. I was always quiet, got good marks, and didn't have a big rack or long legs so I wasn't exactly a heartbreaker.

Now, I am 120 times more confident than I used to be, and now consider myself a social person. However, that shyness is still there under the surface and it still comes out when I'm in a large group or with people I don't know, depending on the situation. But it's something I'm always working on. Being shy was never something I liked about myself, and STILL don't like, so I'm always trying to work against it.

SO, needless to say asking a guy out is a big step for me in many ways. I won't go into every little detail but he's a friend of a friend that I met at a party said friend threw about a month ago. I thought he was cute and nice at the time but didn't think much about because I was seeing someone then. However, since that time the guy I was seeing has left the picture and I noticed party-guy on Facebook last week, remembered my initial attraction, added him as a friend, and sent him a (dorky) message on there asking him out! Aaaaand the important thing is that we went out last night! And had a good time! Whaddya know.

Ok, so I asked him out through a facebook message and not in person, but it's still a big step for me! I was proud of myself that I took the chance. Even if he had said no, I wouldn't have been completely heartbroken because I'm proud. I'm slowly realizing I need to take more chances in life, not be so afraid of the outcome so I consider this to be a point for me to put towards that high score. Kim: 1, Shyness: 0

Even if things aren't being crossed off right and left, there are usually a few things on my list that I am currently working on, or looking forward to working on in the near future. These currently include: #6, #17, #20 and #25.

I will likely add/delete items over time, as I'm known to be finicky and I may realize a goal I want to accomplish that I wasn't aware of before. Also, some of the things on my list are silly while some are impossible, and many of the things on my list involve travel/trips. But that's the fun thing about dreams - they can be as crazy or as tame as you want, some of the smallest, silliest things can be the most rewarding, and variety is the spice of life! Besides, if I really want to challenge myself with this list, it makes no sense to put all ordinary-ish things on it!

This list isn't something I expect to transform my entire life or anything or something I'm going to revolve this entire blog around, or something I'm going to bawl for days over not accomplishing. It's merely a way to push myself into being more adventurous and go for those things I've always dreamed of going for. What's the fun in talking about doing things when you can actually DO them?

Make your own list! Turn those "somedays" into "todays" and "tomorrows"! Or, heck, maybe even "yesterdays"!

Do you have a similar List? What are the big things on it? What do you think of this phenomenon?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Motivation Mondays #4: The first 5lb mark!

I've reached what I would call the first official milestone of my weight loss - the first 5 lbs! It's a small milestone in the grand scheme of things (especially since I want to lose about 40lbs overall - 5 times what I've lost thus far) but it's an important one all the same. I'm starting my 4th week, which means I've been losing 1 lb a week fairly consistently - well, actually I only lost 0.5 of a lb the first week, so technically that means I've lost more than 4 lbs in only 2 weeks! I feel this is a healthy rate, but also fast enough that I'm staying motivated. I'm hoping since the ball is now rolling, weight will start to come off faster in coming weeks.

I didn't exercise as regularly as I would like last week but I didn't do TOO too bad. I went for about a 45-60 minute walk in the park with my friend on Tuesday after work and did an hour of yoga on Friday, plus a few small walks here and there. But I also went out for supper Tuesday night (pasta), Friday night (fried fish and sweet potato fries, eek), and Sunday (stuffed fish and veggies, but a large amount of pita bread plus some dessert, double eek). However, in between this eating out, I did quite well - I didn't eat a lot and didn't eat any junk food. It's a good thing because I probably would have gained otherwise! Damn you, Mother's Day and friend's birthday!!

Still struggling with fitting exercise into my schedule regularly (ugh). My plan to get off the bus at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way to the office has been foiled by our stupid city workers who have had the walkway on the highway overpass (which I HAVE to walk over, no other way to go on foot) closed for the past week! So, I've had to take my usual route and that means no extra walking for me. Thanks alot, HRM. However, I do still have the option to get off at a later stop and walk from there, which is a different route, but the same difference in the end.

And this week is going to be even more tricky - I am going to the gym today at lunch (or else!) because it's too rainy/cold for a walk, but tomorrow I'm not going to be in because I have a job interview @ 1pm, then am driving to Yarmouth (about 4 hours) with a colleague for a work thing all day Wednesday, then another of these sessions back in Dartmouth all day Thursday. So, pretty much no exercise for me Wed or Thurs and a lot of sitting. However, I plan on taking my gym stuff to Yarmouth and heading to the hotel gym Tuesday night, so that will at least be something. I must try to get for a walk Friday after work to get another bit of exercise in, plus it's my co-worker's last day and we're going out for chinese food, plus having cake (triple eek!!). I guess I will try and make myelf order something small for lunch and forgoe cake, but we'll see how the rest of the week goes.

Good news about Saturday is that I'm going for a hike in Truro (about 1 hr from Halifax) with a group, so that will be great exercise! Not sure how long the hike will be but probably a couple of hours (stay away rain!!). So, this will certainly up the cardio quotient for the week! Fitting regular, sustained exercise into my schedule, however, continues to be my biggest challenge.

Another note - I've actually stopped recording my food every day. I found doing it for 2 weeks got me into the groove and I didn't really feel it was necessary anymore. I probably should be doing it, but I don't find writing it down makes me better at sticking with it at this point. I know what I'm NOT supposed to eat, it's just a matter of NOT eating it. For anyone starting out using the WW method though, I would recommend that you write your food down for at least the first couple of weeks as I did find it helpful to SEE what I was eating in a tangible way and to get me into the habit of eating right. Everyone's experience is different, I'm just sharing mine, but I just decided this wasn't something I really needed to do. Honestly, I found it to be more of a nuisance than anything after doing it for a couple of weeks. I still have the list of foods, so I can look up points values if I want to eat someting and I'm not sure if I should.

I'm sort of "gung-ho" about doing really well this week because I went for a fitting for my MOH dress on Saturday and the top is still a bit too tight. So frustrating. I really need to lose 5 lbs for it to feel comfortable (there is no more material to let out on the sides) so that's my next short-term goal - lose 5lbs by the wedding June 5th. I really hate to sound vain but it's not just about looking nice, it's about comfort. I don't want to feel sucked in all day and have to sit funny. I don't want to worry about my dress at all if I can help it; I want to umm, you know, ENJOY the wedding?! If I can do this, I will be really proud of myself because that means I'll be at the 10lb mark!

So, life keeps trucking along! Considering I have a job interview tomorrow, and my friend's bridal shower Sunday (plus planning the bachelorette for the end of the month, all with an extreme lack of funds) perhaps I will drop a couple of lbs thanks to stress! Nothing like your stomach eating itself to drop pounds hah.

Wish me luck for reaching the NEXT 5lb mark! How are your weight loss goals going? Have you reached a milestone this week?

Starting weight: 173lbs
Current weight: 167.4lbs
Weight lost to date: 5.6lbs

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Will Gladly Bow Down to CandyBear's Cuteness

This is a quick post (wow, three posts in 3 days from me, that's a record!) acknowledging my very first blog award!

It comes from Melissa at Who Says I Can't, and it's the Sweet Blog award. Observe:

I AM CANDYBEAR. BOW DOWN TO MY CUTENESS
ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAAAAIIIIR *Melissa added this caption (which is obviously where my bizarre blog title comes from) but I just thought it was hilarious so I'm keeping it :) And on a not entirely unrelated note, is her blog header not the coolest ever?! IT IS so check it out!

This is so exciting - my first blog award! I'm so humbled (you like me!! you really like me!!). You put this stuff out there on the interwebs every week and are not really sure if it means anything to anyone, or if anyone is even reading (apart from occasional comments). I mean, the blog is for me and I'm going to write what I want and what makes me happy, regardless of others when it comes right down to it, but it's still wonderful to know that others enjoy your writing and think it's worth recognizing.

Anyway, enough with the long-windedness (though that IS my signature). It's now my duty to pay this lovely award forward as follows:
*give this award to 10 sweet and friendly bloggers,
*make a post about the award including the picture and mention the person who gave it to you,
*put the award on your blog (CHECK!), and
*let your nominated 10 know you've awarded them by leaving a comment!
 
I follow so many great bloggers that it will be hard to pick 10, but here goes! All of these blogs are very sweet and friendly, but also funny, insightful, stylish, smart and have some of the most interesting posts that I have nabbed great tips and information from! In no particular order:
1. Bree @ Simply Girly
2. Stephanie @ The Mrs
3. Katie @ Special Snowflakes
4. Kimberly @ East Coast by Choice
5. Paige @ Life is a Phoenix
6. Mama Kat @ Mama's Losing It
7. Allison @ My Quarter-Life Crisis
8. Amy @ Rainy Saturday
9. Carly @ Radio Carly aaaaaaand.....
10. Chantal @ Writer Abroad
 
My work here is done - chosen 10, go forth and Blog Awardeth as I have! Pass the love along!
 
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go print off the above bear badge and have it plaqued because I'm a humongous nerd who never wins anything!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Curious Tuesday: What am I NOT excited about?!

I don't normally post this often (off-schedule!! egads!!), but I thought it would be a fun diversion to take part in Gala Darling's Curious Tuesday this week. The questions are really fun, get you thinking and teach you little, wierd factoids about fellow members of the blogosphere. (By the way, don't you love the picture?! I googled "curious" and this is the first one that came up! Loved Curious George when I was younger...you'd think that stuff would go out of style over the years, but the books are still everywhere, and I even saw a Curious George STORE in Boston!).

Anyway, onto the important stuff...

Curious Tuesday 002
1. What are you most excited for RIGHT NOW? Dinner tonight at an italian restaurant, going out for dinner/dancing for my best friend's bday on Friday night (it's been SOOOO long since I've been out dancing!!), getting a new cell phone (whenever I get around to it), Mother's Day this weekend (and yet another dinner out, mmm), my best friend's wedding and bachelorette party...
Wow, I'm excited about a lot of stuff right now!

2. Who is your style icon? What inspires your look? Wow this is a toughie. I think I'm like anyone in that I'm inspired by many things. I'm actually really inspired by all of the style bloggers I follow - Selective Potential, Idee Geniale, Second Skin, Delightfully Tacky, Young, Fat & Fabulous, etc etc. They all are into unique, quirky, fun but also comfortable pieces that aren't expensive and so I love seeing how they put things together. I actually never thrift shop, but these girls find such interesting finds, I'm thinking about taking it up. The blog world is so great too in that you can see REAL regular girls looking stylish and beautiful, in every shape and size, and in an every day, natural way, not in the airbrushed-to-hell, head-to-toe designer kinda way that magazines present. However, I am inspired by magazines in terms of styling as well, particularly ones like Lucky and Worn that have a more artistic, personal approach to style. I wish I could mix and match and layer with panache to look like every girl in the pages of Lucky!

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you invite? Beethoven, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Jimi Hendrix, any of the bloggers mentioned above, Roger Ebert, Zooey Deschanel (I think we would be great friends, if only we could meet in person!), Robin Williams, Jane Goodall...I could go on and on...


4. What did you dress up as for your first Halloween? Can't remember my first costume but I think I was a cat. Cats are still my favourite thing ever. I've had some awesome costumes because my mom used to make them all for us! Mermaid and Cruella DeVil are two that stand out in my mind.


5. What are you improving? My health - I'm onto week 3 of dieting and I've lost 3 lbs so far. I'm 110% committed to losing weight and feeling better about myself. I've neglected this area of my life for too long and I'm tired of feeling fat and self-conscious. It's still early but I'm feeling good, I know I can stick with this. I'm trying to work on being more patient - with life, with myself, with others, letting things happen more on their own, not rushing; I'm also trying to work on being more appreciative of others, taking things less seriously and personally, and generally being more confident - if I have something to say just speak up and say it! This is tough, but something I'm always trying to work on.


What about you? Are you as curious this Tuesday as I am?.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Motivation Mondays #3: Finally some progress

Well, starting Week 3 of the lifestyle change, and it feels like Week 10. I think I mentioned something like that last week, about this process seeming to take a while. It's like there's some kind of dieting time continuum that one enters and time multiplies or something equally psychedelic (is that how you spell psychedelic? Considering I'm pretty sure it's not a real word, I'm going to assume I can spell it however I want).

Anyway, the good news is I lost 2 lbs last week! I'm not really sure how that happened because the two days I was out of town for work (Wed and Thurs) I totally ate crap like fries and a chicken caesar wrap, potato chips, candy and a bagel with cream cheese. And I hardly excercised at all and I'm mad at myself for it. I walked briefly on the treadmill at the hotel gym on Wed night, but I was pretty tired so could only manage 10 minutes. I did do a few little 10-15 min walks here and there towards the end of the week - to a coffee shop for a date and home Fri night, then to my tailor's house Saturday morning for my dress fitting (see previous post), home, then from parking to the movie theatre Sat night (on a side note, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a wicked movie! Would definitely recommend you see it if you don't mind subtitles. They are planning to release a Hollywood version in 2012).

I'm very proud of Sunday - I went for a 40 minute (brisk) walk and did some housework, as well as walked to and from the grocery store later (trucking home a dang heavy bag of food, I might add! It's only about a block away, but still!). Not only that but I made a new batch of veggie soup (really easy - basically chicken broth and a bag of frozen veggies, slow cook for 2-3 hrs - and pretty much no calories, so I take it for lunch every day - sounds really boring but it tastes good and is easy), AND gave a Weight Watchers recipe a try - Mama Mia Veggie Pie. It makes 6 servings and each one is only 3 points, so it's a great dinner option (especially for someone like me who lives alone and doesn't have a big appetite - dinner's covered the whole week!).

Yes, it's true - not only did I cook TWO things AT ONCE, but they turned out edible! For those of you that don't know me, I should say that I hate cooking and I'm not very good at it, so this is a big deal for me. I also tried tofu for the first time, and must say it's not bad.

I have not had a piece of bread since I started this diet challenge! Alas, I have had a couple of bagels, but a couple won't hurt me. Just have to make sure it's a once per week thing (and I used to have one every morning for breakfast, so this is progress!).

There are a couple of hurtles I can already see coming this week - out for dinner tomorrow night at an Italian restaurant (read: pasta, pasta, pasta...and bread) but I think my mom and I are going to get a healthy appetizer (salad or something) and split an entree to keep the calorie count down. Also, Friday night I'm going to dinner and out dancing with my two best buds for one of their bdays, so I have visions of sweet potato fries and alcoholic drinks dancing in my head. Honestly I'm not going to fret too much over Friday night - I'll let myself indulge and have a good time. It's been so long since we've gone out dancing and it's a fun occasion. At least I know it's coming and can try my best to be good the rest of the week!

I'm finding more and more that food isn't my issue though, it's actually excercise and fitting that in! I always thought it was the complete opposite, but I'm having real trouble fitting activity in, at least enough to equal the recommended amount for weight loss (30 mins per day). My friend and I are going for a walk in a local park tomorrow after work, so that should be an hour or so, plus I need to try and either do the gym or a walk at lunch on Wed and Thurs. I'm supposed to get a call about a job interview, however, so it depends on when that is. Need to kick myself in the butt in this regard.

One thing that I think will help this is two of my friends started a Facebook group called The League and the three of us invited our prospective friends to join. We are aiming to plan group events each month throughout the spring/summer (and hopefully beyond!) to get outside, meet new people, and see some of the fun and interesting things our province/region has to offer! Our first planned outing is a hike at Duncan's Cove, and I for one can't wait! I'm also planning on joining the Chebucto Hiking Club, which only costs like $10 for a whole year's membership, and they plan 2-3 hikes a month of differing difficulty and location. I'm hoping this will be another great way to get outside, meet new people, and get some exercise! I'm really excited for these new developments, and I'm slowly learning not to be so hard on myself if I slip here and there. It's all a part of the journey.

I'm obviously really excited that I lost 2 lbs too! Haven't really noticed results in how I look yet, but I definitely feel better - have more energy and don't feel bloated/fat so much so that's great! Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments, by the way! It feels great to have people out there cheering you on, or sharing their own frustrations. Please keep sharing your experiences and tips - any feedback is welcome.

Until next week!

Starting weight: 173lbs
Current weight: 170.8lbs
Weight lost to date: Approx. 2.5 lbs

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Say a Little Prayer for You

Wow, I've been slacking with the blogging this week. I have an excuse though - I was in New Brunswick for work all day Wednesday and Thursday and Friday was crazy busy between dropping stuff at work, taking the rental car back, blah blah blah. Went on another "so-so" date last night and wondered why I keep putting myself through meeting guys from these dating websites when none of them ever seem to go anywhere and tell myself to quit it and just sit back and let myself meet someone "organically" except don't really want to when it comes right down to it because then I figure I'll be alone a really long time. Ya know, the usual.

Anyway, time to get back into it! I've had a good weekend so far - had a meeting today about my best friend's bachelorette party, which is 4 weeks from today (man, where the eff does the time go?! Seriously, someone needs to find where it goes, fill up a ginormous truck and bring it back to me!). Not sure if I've mentioned it before but my best friend is getting married on June 5th and I'm her Maid of Honour and as such am responsible for planning the shower and stagette (ok, who uses the term 'stagette' and who says 'bachelorette'? I use both interchangeably but some have looked at me like an alien when I use the former so I don't think it's as common - is that what the British use? Just curious if anyone else says 'stagette').

I'm really excited because I think Nicole and Brad are a great couple, and even though she's young (24 next week) she's mature and level-headed. They have been together for 5 years, and because she was in school full-time out of the city, and he was in the military, they have been long-distance for a huge chunk of that time. I honestly don't know how they deal with being apart for such long periods of time. I could never do it! They are definitely committed and are one of those couples that's going to last (and I'm her best friend, so if I didn't think he was good for her, I would say so! Ya feel me, ladies??).

Nicole and I have been friends since we were 5-6 years old and grew up across the street from each other, so it's so wierd to see her getting married, and becoming a teacher - things we've talked about doing someday for, like, forever! I love her to bits. Though when I say love, I mean in a purely platonic way. But if I were a lesbian I would totally tap that...

What?

Anyhoo......

Seriously though, I can't wait. Though this wedding is rather bittersweet for me, both because she will be moving to Alberta within two days of the wedding so I have no idea when I'll see her again, and also because helping plan a wedding does (on some level) serve to remind you that you AREN'T getting married, and are in fact, ALONE. I mean I'm not one of those that sits at home and cries into her Cheetos about being single and stays at home every night wearing sweats and talking to her cat - I have a very busy, happy and fulfilling life without a man. Plus, in the words of Jamie Foxx, I can "buy my own bottles", thank you very much. But let's be honest here, the only real purpose that weddings serve for single people are to remind them that they are, in fact, single. I'm not looking forward to Nicole's grandmothers/great aunts asking me "how my love life is" and giving my sympathetic looks when I answer something to the affect of "I don't have one at the moment" as if they are looking down at a helpless little puppy shivering in the rain on the sidewalk. You poor thing; don't worry you will find someone someday too. Mm hm, yeah. Because, of course, there's something wrong with me if I don't. It doesn't help that I'm about a year and a half OLDER than Nicole is.

But I'm not bitter.

Seriously though, I can't wait....
I already said that didn't I?

Really though, I can't. It's going to be a great wedding, and I'm really proud to be in her wedding party and to be able to share her special day so close to her. Plus, I know the reception is going to be one rocking, East-Coast, drunken party (with an extra side of drunkenness) and who wouldn't be looking forward to that?! ALSO, since it's my best friend's wedding, I have complete artistic license to pull a Rupert Everett at the rehearsal dinner:



"Someday I knew it would end up like this...like some glittering Rock Hudson, Doris Day extravaganza". Haha, oh Rupert, how I love you. Perhaps he will show up unexpectedly at the reception just to surprise me?! Rupert, are you listening?!

Anyway, plans are mostly in place for the shower and bachelorette, plus I took my dress in for my first fitting today (had to have it taken out at the sides...depressing) so it's really starting to feel real. I can't BELIEVE it's only like 6 weeks away! We've been talking about it for 3 years and it seemed so far off, and now it's like, here! I really wonder where the time goes - I know I said that already too, but it's because I REALLY REALLY wonder it!

In other news, I'm on the job hunt yet again since my contract is up in June. Have a job interview this coming week for a job I really want, so fingers crossed. I also bought some hair dye that I'm going to try out today. Observe:


It's not really the best photo, but you get the idea. It's "medium golden mahogany brown", which is quite the mixture. I had been itching to dye my hair auburn for a while, and finally did in February, but it turned out darker and less red than I was hoping. This one has a bit more red in it, so I'm hoping it will be more what I was going for. Hey, as long as I don't come out looking like barney, I'm cool. I really should be cleaning, but I'm going to do this instead, just because I'm feeling productive.

Going to see Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tonight - hoping it's good! I've heard the story is kinda brutal in spots (including a brutal rape scene?!) but also heard good reviews. My dating habits would suggest that I'm a masochist, so perhaps this will be just my kind of movie!

Happy Weekend, all!