May 30, 2015

Stomachs, Am I Right?

(This armadillo has nothing to do with this post, but when I did a Google image search for "He can tell I ain't missin no meals" this was one of the top results and it made me lol. Hashtag: Nicki Minaj forever.)

I'm annoyed with my stomach right now. Not that it's ever been flat, but it's gotten pretty fluffy as of late. Most days, I don't put on real pants. I mean, I can go a whole week in only yoga pants and bike shorts. So when I put on my jeans and they're tight around the waist, I can't remember if that's just how they fit, or if I'm bigger.

I don't weigh myself often, but I weighed myself before my race two weeks ago and I was at my normal weight. I just weighed myself today and I'm up 5 lbs. The weight I'm not super worried about because it's from eating out and drinking every day of my birthday week, and I'll get that off in the long bike ride and brick I have to do today. But my stomach. Ugh, my stomach.

I'm not working out as hard as I used to, which is on purpose, but I don't think that's it. I think I'm eating too much. I'm actually doing okay working from home and filling the house with healthy snacks, lunches, etc. Now, if I would just eat that food instead of going out every day... Oh, pizza, you evil temptress.

I'm going to give myself a break for getting off track over my birthday and Memorial Day, but I'd like to see if I can get some of the air out of this spare tire. I made a Healthy Meal Ideas board on Pinterest. I pinned some lower calorie lunch options that I'm going to try this week. We'll see.

To be continued!

Also, for anyone who thought I had this under control and was all zen about my weight now - NOPE, still human!

Yours in armour,
The Blonde Armadillo

May 29, 2015

Birchbox Review: March

I love the actual box of the March Birchbox. So cute! They've really upped the game on their boxes lately. Here's what I got.

I don't blowout my hair, but I did recently just so I could use this product. I think it did something? It's hard to tell because my hair is so long. It smelled great and my hair was super soft. I'm a big fan of the amika brand in general, so I'm sure this is great. I LOVE their Nourishing Mask.

Wow, I guess this is the post where I confess to being a hippy. Y'all, I for real do not blow dry or style my hair. AT ALL. But I used this because A) I love the Beauty Protector brand, and B) I'm real into hair oils (see above hippy reference). This oil is great. It protects against UV rays and heat damage. I love the scent. If I didn't already own enough hair oil to carry me through to my golden years, I'd buy it.

Paula's Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster, $35

We all know how I feel about serums (thumbs down), but I like this product, and according to Birchbox, it's not a serum - it's a treatment to go along with your serum or moisturizer. I used it under my moisturizer twice a day and my face felt extra moisturized, but in a non greasy, pore-clogging way. I don't know if I'll buy this, but I would use it if I owned it.

Jelly Pong Pong GLOW GETTER Highlighter, $14

I was suspicious of this because it looks like nail polish, but when I finally used it, I loved it! A lot of reviewers don't like it because it's "glittery". No, it's not. At least it's not on my 39 year old face. On me, it's as described: pearlescent, giving a "subtle, luminous shimmer". I love it. I'm buying it! And in related news:

May 27, 2015

Race Recap: Cedars Of Lebanon Triathlon 2015

A few Saturdays ago, I competed in my 9th triathlon, my 1st since Ironman 70.3 Augusta. I did the Cedars Of Lebanon Triathlon, hosted by Team Magic. This was my 2nd ever triathlon back in 2013, which you can read about here. This race is always a sprint distance, but this year it was especially short, which I liked.

Photo credit:  Team Magic

Swim:  4:31
200 Yards (2:28 per 100/m pace)

Man, I really hate a pool swim. You can't get around people, you can't push off the wall, you have to swim under the ropes. Bleh. But I did okay. I definitely did better than what is now known as The Great Dog Paddle Of 2013.

T1:  4:14

This is the time it took me to get out of the pool, run to transition, put on my bike shoes, helmet, gloves, Garmin, sunglasses, etc. and run my bike out of transition and onto the bike course. My brain forgets that these transitions are part of the race, so I tend to loiter. I could be faster.

Photo credit:  Team Magic

Bike:  35:08
9.6 Miles (16.4 mph -- 03:40/mile pace)

This is the fastest I've ridden in a race, just barely beating my time from Mach Tenn last summer. And it felt fast. Nine miles seemed so short that I decided to just blow it out and if I died, I died. Unfortunately, it was pouring, so I slowed down on the turns to avoid crashing and scraping my face skin off. Also? So many people were riding in violation of USAT rules!!! I'd come flying around a corner and there would be people riding 2-3 abreast and I'd have to yell and slow down to get around them. This happened like 3 or 4 times. I was kind of losing my mind. And my voice.

Mile 1:  15.8 mph
Mile 2:  18.7 mph
Mile 3:  16.2 mph
Mile 4:  15.6 mph
Mile 5:  16.2 mph
Mile 6:  18.3 mph
Mile 7:  18.2 mph
Mile 8:  15.7 mph
Mile 9:  17.1 mph
Mile 9.6:  13.5 mph

T2:  1:47

In this transition, you walk your bike back to the rack, hang it, switch shoes, reset your Garmin and run out of transition onto the run course. At my peak, I do this in one minute. Meh.

Run:  20:20
2 Miles (10:10/mile pace)

I didn't exactly train for this race. I think I did one brick? Turns out, didn't matter! Thanks, muscle memory. I ran this stupid race faster than I run on my best day. Who knows?! Thanks, body!

Total Time:  1:06:01

Lessons Learned:

Lessons learned? I'll tell you what I learned. I, like Maverick, feel the need, the need for speed! That last part was said by Goose. In my head. But seriously, screw long distance. I'm on the sprint bus now and I'm going to ride it to the end of the line!

The women in my age group who beat me, finished at 52:00-55:00, which I'm not too far behind. I could have easily shaved 7 minutes off my time to come in at under an hour. Looks like someone needs to practice her transitions...

Looking Ahead:

I'm doing the Mach Tenn Triathlon on June 6. It's also a sprint distance race, but it's longer than Cedars. It's a 0.6 mile swim, 15 mile bike and 4 mile run. Last year, it took me about 2 hours. Last year it was hot as blazes and I almost heart-attacked out during the run. Hopefully that won't happen again. I also lost my front tooth in a sandwich last year, so I really hope that doesn't happen.

Cedars Of Lebanon Triathlon:
Swim:  4:31
T1:  4:14
Bike:  35:08
T2:  1:47
Run:  20:20
Total:  1:06:01
14th Age Group (35-39)

As always, thanks to Team Magic for putting on a great race! And thanks to John, Susi and Janet for standing in a monsoon for an hour to cheer me on!

May 12, 2015

Friday Night Fashion Crawl + NFA

Did you know Nashville is home to all kinds of fashion designers? It's true! And three of them opened their studios to the public on Friday. I met up with my friend Carolyn and we set off for what we called, Friday Night Fashion Crawl!

First up, we visited Jamie + The Jones, Shutters & Shuttles, and Ona Rex on Eugenia Avenue. These ladies host an Open Studio every Friday from 11am-6pm. I highly recommend you check them out. I was particularly smitten with this white denim box top.

Next we headed to midtown to visit Amanda Valentine. She opened up her studio to clear out vintage fabrics, jewelry findings and old tees. I bought one of said old tees for a steal at $15, and Carolyn scored a bolt of vintage fabric for $10!

I was so happy to finally meet Amanda! We share a lot of friends, but for whatever reason, our paths have never crossed. I watched her compete on Project Runway (twice) and LOVE her design aesthetic. My dream is to own one of her color-blocked maxi dresses, #shero.

We ended our night at Elizabeth Suzann, who hosted a warehouse party / sample sale at her studio on Cruzen Street. I've seen Elizabeth's stuff at Hey Rooster before, but to see it all together in her studio was really amazing. She had a full house. They said women were lined up down the street 30 minutes before they opened their doors!

I met and talked to Elizabeth, and told her how obsessed I am with THESE PANTS. She validated my obsession and convinced me to buy them, and told me what size to order and how to style them. Purchase imminent.

These weren't private, coveted invitations. All three of these events were open to the public. We knew about them from the designers' Instagram accounts. Instagram, people; it's the future.

A HUGE part of what makes it possible for these designers to work in Nashville is the Nashville Fashion Alliance. NFA is a non-profit dedicated to building a sustainable fashion industry in Nashville. Nashville is home to over 150 growing fashion brands. This community also includes stylists, models, photographers, manufacturers, tech companies, textile companies, and many others that work in the fashion industry. NFA wants to support our community and help this new crop of fashion entrepreneurs grow in Nashville without having to turn to New York or Los Angeles for support.

And they need donations. They pledged to raise $100,000 via Kickstarter and are about halfway there. The Kickstarter ends in three days. Make a pledge here.

Amanda Valentine is offering a 20% off coupon code for her merchandise with a $10-$99 donation; 30% with a $100 or more donation. Just email your donation receipt to her at and she will send you the specific promo code.

Imogene + Willie is hosting a private NFA launch party on August 15. You can purchase a ticket via a pledge of $150 or more. If you've ever been to Supper + Song, you know how amazing these events are. Tickets are only available until May 15, so act fast.


May 6, 2015

Caftan Life

I'm pretty sure the caftan trend peaked last year, but I've just now decided to get on board. Typical, the one I want is $238, which is outside of my budget. My friend and caftan-soulmate, Bernadette told me Macy's has them for under $50 in the lingerie department. So... I'm probably going to Macy's today. Also? Surely I can find these awesome suckers at thrift stores. Right? I feel like the trick is to avoid the fancy websites and head straight to where grannies buy housecoats.

2014 Cerulean Caftan via Emerson Fry, $238 - no longer available on website

2014 Cerulean Caftan via Emerson Fry, $238 - no longer available on website

To be continued!

April 30, 2015

MyFitnessFoe, Part 730 Days

Wow, I really let these posts go. Sorry about that. The last time I published an update on my weight loss was last summer, which you can read here. So.... To recap, two years ago I met with Mari-Etta Parrish and set about the business of becoming 'fabulous by forty'. I was thirty-seven and hovering around 200 lbs. What I didn't know at the time, was that I was in a toxic work environment, which was bringing up all kinds of issues that needed to be addressed.

I spent May 2013 - May 2014 following the plan Mari-Etta created for me, and it worked! I went from 198 lbs to 175 lbs. I've spent almost all of my adult life over 180 lbs, so I was real happy with 175 lbs. I thought if I worked hard, I could get to 170 lbs and that would be ah-mazing. But a lot happened around this time last year - I started seeing a therapist and I left my job. Oh! And I was training for a Half Ironman.

I lost another 10 lbs the second I was out of that job. Then I continued losing as I got closer to my race in September. I think I was at 161 lbs on race day, and then by November, was down to 159 lbs. Y'all, I haven't been under 160 lbs since I lived in NYC, and that was over a decade ago (see below).

This is from the summer of 2001. It was my first visit home after moving to NYC, and I was teeny.

I hit the two-year mark on MyFitnessPal recently, which is insane. Alas, I am not still at 159 lbs, but I am around 161-163 lbs, which is fucking remarkable considering I've spent the past three months not really working out a lot. I was pretty sure the second I quit training for Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga, I would balloon right back up to my old weight, but nope. Turns out, not true.

I did contract work for a lobbying firm this past Legislative session, which devoured my spare time. That ended last week, so now that I have my schedule back, I'm going to start working out more. I'm not "training" for anything. Whatever races I do, are going to be ones that I can do with minimal effort. I'm working on finding out what I want to be doing - more swimming, less running, more yoga, etc. - and incorporating that into my lifestyle.

2013, 2014, 2015

A friend asked me recently if it's offensive to tell someone they look great after losing weight. Personally, I'm not offended. I worked hard to lose this weight and I appreciate people acknowledging that. BUT. I didn't lose this weight because I counted calories and worked out. I lost this weight because I sought answers and I put in the work. John told me once that there are people who cheer for you while you're climbing the mountain, and there are people who cheer for you once you reach the top. I think it's fine to be in either of those two camps, but maybe just know which one you're in and be thoughtful about how your comments may be received.

Also? Not all weight loss is positive. People lose weight for all kinds of reasons - stress, sickness, sadness. The last thing you want to do is throw a, 'Hey girl, you look great!' at someone who's walking through something private and heavy.

I've opened myself up for comments on my appearance because of these blog posts, and I'm fine with that, but I'm unique. A woman who doesn't talk about her weight probably doesn't want outside commentary on it. I think, like most things, the key is compassion. If you notice someone is losing weight, and they're not publicly documenting it for the world wide web, maybe ask them how things are going as opposed to asking them what their number on the scale is.

None of this is for me. Everyone knows how much I weigh, but again, I am unique. For now, my focus is on getting back into the rhythm of regular exercise (not training) and figuring out what that is for me. Now that I'm working from home, I'm also trying to eat healthier. I have access to whatever I want to eat, whenever I want to eat it, which is good and bad. Will I learn to love salads and lentils? Time will tell...

I'll turn 39 in a few weeks, which gives me a year to figure out what I want 'fabulous by forty' to look like. Cosmically, it's a huge answer, but in terms of my weight, I'd like to get down to 150 lbs or 145 lbs. I probably need to talk to Mari-Etta and tweak my plan to lose 10-15 more lbs. I may go for it. Why not?

Until next time!

April 24, 2015

Whistling In The Dark Podcast

There's a podcast I've been listening to and I feel like you should know about it. It's called Whistling In The Dark. It's hosted by Shannon Fitzgerald, a television writer and producer (bio here). In this podcast, she celebrates women's successes, details the paths it took to get there, and is brazenly open about her experience with therapy. What's not to love?

The podcast is basically her interviewing her famous and semi-famous friends. But it's super interesting. The interview is never about fame, but about how they achieved their success. She's real into process, so she asks a lot of questions about how they structure their day, how they remain creative while running a business, how they started out and what their day-to-day challenges are. I love it!

I recently listened to the episode with Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, the co-founders and CEO's of Who What Wear. I can't remember if she posed this question to Hillary or Katherine, but she asked how they structure their work day. Whichever one answered, said that she's most creative in the morning, so as she's waking up and drinking coffee, she basically reads the internet, which is where she gets a lot of her inspiration. Then she, you know, takes a shower and runs her company, all the while, her creative brain is marinating in everything she took in that morning. Later, in the afternoon, when everything is taken care of, she sits down to write, and all of that inspiration from the morning, her brain has digested and turned into ideas.

This speaks to me because I've been having trouble structuring my day now that I work from home. I'm also creative in the morning, but I tend to burn through all my energy before 10am and then I'm useless in the afternoon. So I've been using my mornings for inspiration and my afternoons for writing. It works!

Listen to this episode. They talk about all these other things, too, like how everyone told them they were crazy when they left their magazine jobs to start a website, that no one, especially women, were doing at the time. They also list their favorite beauty products, which, hello!

Another thing I appreciate about Shannon, the host, is how much she loves therapy. She even has two episodes with her therapist, and they are amazing!

Okay, the whole reason I wrote this post is to tell you about the episode where she interviews two of the writers from Friends. It's probably my favorite episode. It's a fascinating look into how television shows are written, or at least, how they used to be. And of course, they have all these hilarious, behind-the-scenes stories about celebrity guests, etc. As someone who works in two to three Friends references a day, this touched me on a spiritual level.

Side bar: After listening to this episode, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Showrunners, which is what television writers are called now. I highly recommend it.

If you're a podcast person, which aren't we all? Download some of these Whistling In The Dark episodes. I think you'll enjoy them. Like anything, she gets better as she goes along, so some of the early ones are long and a little unstructured, but I still like them. Here are my favs.

Episode 15: The CEO's of Who What Wear/Clique Media Empire
Episode 13: "Friends" 20th Anniversary Edition
Episode 11: Karen the Therapist
Episode 10: Ann Shoket
Episode 8: Mario Melchiot
Episode 6: Cynthia Rowley
Episode 4: Lesley Arfin
Episode 1: Dan Savage

Happy listening!


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