Monday, February 23, 2009

Body Image

It's interesting to find out other people's body image of themselves and of other people--or even more interesting, other people's body image of you compared to your own body image.  Don't worry.  This post isn't going to be the mortar and pestle for my confidence.  There is a moral, and NOT a French children's story ending. 

I know I'm not overweight, yet every single day I struggle with my body image. Most days I feel like the Venus of Willendorf.  On my good days I can teeter towards Venus de Milo.  A little extreme, but that's me.  I'm a Gemini AND a female...which isn't a negative thing, necessarily..just.. you know.  Women tend to be moody anyway, and Geminis have dual personalites, sooooo...okay, moving on..

Those pesky extra pounds that creeped...okay, I'll be honest. They didn't creep on. I ingested a lot of carbs and a lot of sugar after I walked down the aisle.  No more super amazing dress to look modelesque in.  I had plenty of elastic pants to last for ages....and I just kept buying more. When I had to pull out the dreaded fat jeans from the give-away pile in the give-away dresser in the storage shed outside, I couldn't play dumb any more or pull the bloated card or the water weight card or the Aunt Flow card or the "Well, Evan says I still look really good" card. Yeah, like Evan is dumb enough to suggest a salad rather than a pizza. If I ever see the day where Evan says, "Well, baby, it looks like your muffin top is a little more overflowing than usual", I'll probably be to the point where I'm diabetic and need to go on the Biggest Loser. But I won't get there, and I know Evan wouldn't let me do that to myself.

The whole point of this blog came from me being close to tears this morning wondering what the hell is wrong with me.  I have very good friends (the kind that don't bullshit me for anything) that make my confidence go through the roof. But then the little devil on my shoulder screams at me that they're tiny, so how can they try to reassure me if they have never been more than a size 2? They don't exactly have to worry about what's going to fall out of a bathing suit and when that what will choose to do so.  
Then there are the few people who have made fat comments to me that make me feel about 2 inches tall and 12 inches wide. 

I look at Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson who exude confidence and sexiness. I wonder how those two women that are bigger than me look so gooooood. On the flipside, Mary-Kate Olsen and Lindsay Lohan and Kate Bosworth may be small, but they don't exactly exude confidence or sexiness. They exude the unhappy and I-need-a-cracker vibe. BUT look at Kate Beckinsale and Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie and Rachel McAdams. They're small and healthy and confident and happy. All about body image which goes hand in hand with confidence which goes hand in hand with sexiness. I'm not a Jennifer Hudson. I'm not a Mary-Kate Olsen. Probably Scarlett Johanssonesque is a realistic goal.   

No matter how my friends build me up or who tears me down, it's all about the size that will get the bad body image hounds off my heels.  I don't want to be a size 2..I wouldn't fight it off with a stick, but I'm okay being a 6. That size isn't all that far off for me. It's just a matter of going to the gym and not pumping myself full of bread and chocolate. Easier said than done...since I love food. It just doesn't love me back. 

SO, the moral I had to teach myself today was: Don't accept yourself for what you look like now if you're not happy. Don't go crazy and look like a waif, but look like yourself. Don't settle for other people's body image of yourself. Make your own realistic one. 

Here's to lookin' like Aubrey. Cheers. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reality, Schmreality

First day back in the real world, and I'm trying to refrain from stomping my foot and screaming, "I DON'T WANNA!"  The weekend was great, other than being somewhat sickly on Sunday morning.  

Evan surprised me Friday night and took me to a really nice restaurant where my sister is a server.  The crab cake was phenomenal.... I don't think I'll ever be able to enter Red Lobster's doors again after having that....which probably isn't a bad thing. Seester gave us our Valentine card and a rubber chicken that squawks when twisted. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, she was under the impression that candy was inside of possibly even came out of its bootay. When I tried taking off its hind quarters, however, there was a very high-pitched squawk.  No candy a la rubber chicken.

Saturday we were hermits.  We stayed in, watched movies, played with our furry children (our dogs Kelso and Jesse), and I tried to become Rachel Ray for the day.  I baked strawberry cupcakes, brownies, Swedish spritz cookies, chocolate whoopie cakes, slow-cooked salmon with herbs, orange-glazed asparagus, and parmesan rice pilaf.  Somehow, I pulled it off. 
Now I'm stuck with all the extra baked goods, which is not good for me winning the contest. Hopefully my classmates will take them off my hands today.  

Sunday I was a little sickly, so more movies and playing with the dogs and the NBA All Star game that was AMAZING. I wish I could watch games like that more often.  Those guys are a very good way.  

So now, here I am, wanting to rewind and go back to the weekend where I was able to spoon my husband for almost 3 days. 

Here's a tip to couples: go get the book The Five Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman. It is SO helpful once you figure out each other's language. Seriously. 

I think that has to be all for now. My brain is just not functioning quite yet, and I'm afraid I'm going to blabber on if I don't put a stop to it now. 

Picture is of my furry children camping out on our bed.  The big black one is Kelso, and the little one is Jesse. Technically, his name is Jesse James because that's the only way Evan would let me name him Jesse. 

***Am I honestly seeing CNN analyze the Rihanna/Chris Brown debacle? Good Lord. Further confirmation to the soft news/hard news crap. Leave it to E, CNN. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Four more days until my favorite holiday....

I love Valentine's day.  I always have, even though I didn't have a man on V-Day until Evan..  It's a day of red, pink, chocolate, romance, and love. So what more could a girl ask for?  

This year I bought a ton of decorations for our house.  We kept saying we'd put them up, but we've been so busy and exhausted from work and school that we just never got around to doing it. This morning I woke up, walked out to the living room...and Evan had put them up. He has to wake up at 5:30 to go to work, but he still made time to do it. I love it when he figures out my language of love. 

In grad school news, I have to write a paper over All News Is Local by Richard C. Stanton and tie it in with the interrelation of globalization and media. It won't be difficult, but it's just a matter of doing it.  I'm not a big fan of "reports" on non-fiction books.  It's hard to get's like I'm enlarging the pompous authors' egos to a dangerous size, and they don't really need any help in that area.  Stanton doesn't seem to be as pompous as most of the other authors on the reading list, but.... still... 

In fitness contest news, I've lost 4 pounds since Sunday.  I worked out really hard Sunday night. I thought I was going to pass out on that damn elliptical, but I put a magazine in front of me with Kate Beckinsale pictures all over it..  That will definitely make you press on and not let your fat ass get off the machine.  That woman is ridiculously gorgeous. Yesterday I was a little under the weather, so we didn't go to them gym...I still lost weight though.  We will be going tonight.  I've got to figure out a way to wake up in the early morning to do my Biggest Loser videos.. And after a long day, it's so hard to peel myself off the recliner and go.  Maybe I should put up Kate Beckinsale wallpaper all over my house.  

Not too long until my fat pants are extra loose... :) 

P.S. I don't know if any of you have given into the phenomenon that is young adult fiction, but really--there's some really great stuff out there.  One of my very favorites is the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.  Check it out.  He makes complex Greek mythology so enjoyable and easy to understand.  It's so amazing...I wish it would have been around when I was a kid. I don't know when I'll find the time, but I really want to re-read the series very soon.  


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adios, Flab

Well, today is the first day back on the health bandwagon. I'm having a contest with my mom and my sister to see who can lose the most weight by March 11. I'm trying to ignore my hoard of Valentine's Day candy, which is incredibly difficult because if chocolate is anywhere near me, I can usually hear it screaming, "EAT ME!" I just need to get in tune with a little thing called will power. It helps that it's a contest, and I have an actual deadline. I'm pretty excited about it, actually. I can't wait to be bikini-ready again. Maybe if you're lucky I'll post those horrid can't-look-away-but-don't-wanna-look before pictures and then a helloooooo after picture. We're still negotiating the grand prize...maybe a new outfit or a fun trip somewhere or a few new bikinis. My ULTIMATE deadline is May though. If I meet THAT deadline, then Evan is going to take me somewhere really fun. Maybe Sea World because I've never been, or Schlitterbahn because I've never really been to a water park. Can you tell I love incentives? It helps..otherwise I can come up with all kinds of excuses. Until then, I'm going to be spending countless hours in the gym, and my Biggest Loser Workout DVDs will be worn out. I'm sure Evan's fitness advice will be exhausted, as well. I'm lucky to have a husband that wants to be a conditioning coach for college/pro basketball/baseball. (I can also say that all of this is going to be research for my will come in handy.)

I know everyone says you always gain weight the first year you're married..With me, though, I don't think it has anything to do with comfort. I was comfortable with Evan before we were married because we lived together for a year. I think with me it was the notion that I didn't have an amazingly beautiful (and small) wedding dress hanging over my head any more. On our honeymoon, I had icecream at least 3 times a day. And lots and lots of carbs. I love Puerto Vallarta....more specifically, I love Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya. Great, great memories. (Picture is of me on our honeymoon on our room's balcony....I miss that view!)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

As I have mentioned, I'm reading a lot of women's fiction at the moment in a directed reading with one of my professors, Deborah Chester (an author in a variety of genres; and also under the pseudonym Sean Dalton).  Bet Me and Hissy Fit are the first two that we'll be talking about.  I enjoyed Bet Me far more than Hissy Fit.  Hissy Fit was actually quite a disappointment.  

Synopsis of Bet Me from the book's flap:

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man like Cal Morrisey, who asked her to dinner to win a bet.  Cal Morrisey knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs.  When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.  But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal are dealing with meddling friends, wedding cake, a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kremes, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a frantic bride, Chicken Marsala, a mutant cat, snow globes, two Mothers-from-Hell, great shoes, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of, including the biggest gamble of all--unconditional love.   

From ME:

For the most part, the reviews--editorial and customer--were favorable.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the rich community of characters, the quirky aspects of the plot, and the fast pace of the novel.  The negative editorial reviews complained about the lack of complex sub-plots.  In my opinion, a Romance novel, complex sub-plots tend to take away from the main plot. Authors tend to put the main agenda on the back burner longer than necessary.  Sub-plots shouldn't overshadow the main plot.  Anyway, the negative customer reviews didn't really know what they were talking about because they complained about it being predictable.  They somehow missed out on the memo that every romance novel is predictable because it's meant to be a light, enjoyable read.  

This book definitely gave me several tips for writing my own Romance novel.  Besides making me crave bread, butter, and Krispy Kremes like I never have before, this book managed to make me laugh out loud.  The dialogue is very witty, and it made the story move quickly.  Min has a very sharp tongue, and I definitely appreciated that.  

This book opened my eyes to an alternative heroine--one that's not incredibly thin with an outrageously high metabolism that can eat whatever she wants and lose weight doing it.  It was enjoyable to read about the transition from viewing Min as chubby and plain to viewing Min as curvy and sexy.  No, she doesn't lose the weight.  That's the first question I asked my friend.  Usually, in a novel with a bigger protagonist, she loses the weight then gets the guy.  Not in this one though.  

The chemistry with Cal is strong, and I was relieved that there were so many scenes with them together.  (In my review on Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews that will be coming within the next week, I will complain about the lack of tension between hero and heroine because they're NEVER TOGETHER!!!)  It's just further confirmation that the story is so much more enjoyable if they're pushed together more.  

A few things that I'll watch out for when writing my novel is making characters too frozen.  For some reason, in the plethora of books I have read lately, the mothers are always ice queens. Does anyone out there have a supportive mom?  I found that Min's mom and her tendency to berate Min incessantly was annoying.  Then, to top that off, Cal's mom was ten times worse.  I realize that fictional characters have to be extraordinary, but I think there's a fine line that they can cross and they become caricatures.  

Also, Liza constantly being there to thwart Cal and Min got a little old.  I started to dislike her, and that shouldn't have happened.  Min's a sharp-tongued, independent woman.  She didn't need her best friend whacking Cal in the head every chance she got.  Even though the viewpoint from David and Cynthie was somewhat necessary for the story, it always fell flat.  I'm not quite sure how she could have made their scenes more interesting, but I was always ready to get their scenes over with.  Perhaps this is an instance where multiple viewpoints should have been thought out a little more carefully.  

All in all, this book is one of my favorites that I have read this semester.  The characters were well drawn, the dialogue was great, the pace was quick, there weren't large info dumps, and Crusie even allowed us a glimpse into the characters' futures in the last chapter.  

Definitely recommended.  

But make sure you have bread and donuts very, very near because if you're stuck at a location with celery and yogurt, they will end up being flung across the room.  I speak from experience.

P.S. Crusie uses commas. :)

Hissy Fit review to come later....   

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

All I got...

Due to the long day, I don't want to expose you to my terrible mood. Instead, here's a link to a Stephen King interview and his take on Stephenie Meyer. I'm so glad someone, especially a professional writer, is finally being honest to the public AND to Meyer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Well, I kinda dropped the ball on this blog.  To be honest, I got so wrapped up in school that I completely forgot that I had signed up.  But now, here I am...ashamed but ready to write.  :)

Families...  are all of them dysfunctional? I'm not talking just immediate family..I'm talking extended family.  I used to think mine was incredibly abnormal, but I'm starting to feel better about that..  I don't feel better about my family being dysfunctional because the stress level lately has been high enough where my husband and I have toyed with the idea of leaving the country..  But feeling better with the comforting thought that I'm not alone. 

I've been reading a lot of women's fiction novels lately because it's part of a directed reading I'm doing with one of my professors.  I know some people scoff at romance novels or genre fiction in general, but... I don't care.  Get over yourselves.  They're meant to be fun, easy reads.  There are so many harsh realities people have to deal with in the world, so it's nice to come home after a long day, pick up a book, and escape to a fictional world full of witty dialogue, romance, and intrigue.  Readers of romance/chick lit/women's fiction are such dedicated followers, and so it's such a great genre to break out in.  (Here's to hoping!)  
Anyway, after reading several books right after another last week, I noticed something incredibly random.  Of course the majority of these books included sex scenes.  This can be such an embarrassing subject for some, but I'm not going to lie and say that I don't ever get turned on by these sex scenes... because I do.  And my husband is NOT complaining. 
Back to what I noticed:  the sex scenes that separated sentences (incomplete or complete) with commas flowed a lot more and succeeded in raising my heart rate.  However, the scenes that had complete sentences and ended in periods didn't capture my attention...or escalating heart rate.  In fact, sometimes I managed to not be turned on.  When I replaced those sentences with commas, fragmented the sentences, etc changed it back to a hot love scene.  So, there ya go.  

Believe me, I know that this isn't some diabolical scientific find, but it is important for me.  Hopefully one day when you are reading my best selller, you'll be able to read a love scene and go, "Yep, she was right.  Those commas really get me going."  

Okay, that's all for now... and I promise to be more dependable with blog posts.  

I know I'm going to read this tomorrow and think, "Did I really analyze commas?" But YES..I did.