New Hair Ideas

I’m pretty lucky that my new job is very accepting of my current look, which is a little more “me” and a little less the preppy look that I was trying to pull off for a few years, there. In February, I got an undercut and dyed my hair a metallic silvery-blue color, which looked really nice for about a month. Eventually though, the blue started to wash out and my roots started to grow in, and now my hair is a weird light blue/yellow/gray mix. It actually doesn’t look terrible, but it’s not really where I’d like it to be. Since I need to go in and get it trimmed a bit, anyway, it’s time for me to pick a new color! I’m thinking a pastel, and have been mulling over a few options:

Bubblegum Pink, like Kelly’s amazing ‘do from Pinterest:

Pink Hair

Icy Purple, which doesn’t look that different from my hair right now, except that it would have purple tones instead of yellowish gray ones.

Purple Hair

Of course, my very favorite is Unicorn Hair, which has a bunch of different interpretations online. This is probably the closest to how I’d like it to look, though:

Unicorn Hair

What do you guys think? I’m probably going to wait until the day of the appointment to make my final decision, so if you’ve got any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them! No green, though, and I’m not really feeling dark colors right now.

Shifting Into Gear

CaDPdHdUcAEpBvl

A tiny, glowing part of the Chewbacchus parade, my favorite thing about Mardi Gras. Image via NOLA.com.

It’s Mardi Gras weekend here in the Big Easy, and most people are out at the parades or attending various parties. I’ll be heading to a couple of grand events later in the weekend, but for the moment I’m enjoying one last dose of quiet before diving headfirst into the celebration.

For the last week or so, I’ve been gathering up everything I have that’s worth anything and posting it on Amazon or Ebay. My goal is really to pare down my belongings to the point where my house doesn’t feel full of stuff, but rather full of possibility. As the piles of junk start to disappear and the surfaces clear off, I’ve found that my creativity is returning bit by bit. I’ve been able to come up with some creative storage solutions that managed to elude me for almost two years, and I figured out how to afford the new computer I so desperately need without putting myself in further debt. Several sewing projects have been attempted and completed successfully, I learned a new origami pattern, and I had a cool idea about how to make my closet work better for me last night that I intend to work on as soon as Mardi Gras has passed.

Another thing that’s going to change with the season is my health. I’ve actually been taking good care of myself. I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression, am attending therapy regularly, and walk/work out daily. After much thought, however, I made the hard decision to quit my gym for the year to save money. I realized that though I love lifting weights and hanging out with the people at the gym, my finances (and emotional state) are never going to improve if I keep spending that obscene amount of money on working out each month. In fact, after doing the math, I realized that I could easily afford to enroll in a Fitocracy program online, WITH my boyfriend, and still save enough money to buy a month’s worth of healthy groceries. I loved that gym, and maybe I’ll make enough money in the future to return, but for now it’s more important to focus my attention on my financial fitness. I’m actually very excited about the Fitocracy program – it’s called Hormonal Fat Loss. If you’re interested in checking out any of the training programs at Fitocracy, here’s a COUPON CODE FOR $20 OFF. Even better for me, when you use the code, I get $20 off, too!

Maybe most exciting of all is that I recently made the decision to start dressing like the me that’s been inside, hiding, all this time. Tomorrow I’m headed to get a new haircut that’s sure to give my parents a heart attack. I want it to look something like this:

shaved-side-hairstyles

Not sure if the stylist is going to have the time for the color, but I know the cut is going to look amazing. Really looking forward to making a splash at the Orpheus Ball on Monday night. I found this beautiful dress on Rent the Runway that’s right up my alley – a little more tech while still being glam:

_10688369

Image via Nordstrom.com, because I’m too lazy to find it on Rent the Runway right now.

And I got the most beautiful vintage earrings on Ebay to complete the ensemble:

s-l1600

Check out these bad boys…

Welcome to 2016. It’s going to be my year, but I’m happy to share it if you’re nice 🙂

Challenge Update: Diamonds Out, Trekking Supplies & Workout Leggings In!

Despite my inner child’s excitement over the potential of owning another pretty, shiny thing if I hit my weight loss goal by April 3rd, I think I’m going to have to change my direction re: prizes for meeting my goals. I know, I know, it’s a disappointment – so much less sparkle involved in hiking gear than diamond jewelry!

But seriously, I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days, and it would be a much better use of funds if I focused on getting my supplies for the Camino, instead of a new belly button ring. I’ll have to buy things (a pack, hiking poles, new socks, and all manner of other fun odds and ends) to go on pilgrimage, anyway. It makes more sense to reward my good behavior with supplies that will only encourage more good behavior. Also, it would be a lot less wasteful of me. Maybe I can save the bling for my next milestone.

No matter what, I’m also thinking that some new fun workout clothes are in order, whether or not I hit that 170 lb mark. Some of the ladies at my gym have been wearing these amazing workout leggings, and I’ve been coveting pretty hard for the last month or so (Sad, right? Totally going to hell over spandex. Oh well.). It wasn’t that long ago that it was hard for me to even find decent workout pants and leggings, and back then it seemed they were all gray and black and uber boring. Now I’m seeing awesome ones in a plethora of colorful patterns. I dig loud, crazy designs, so incorporating them into my gym life is definitely a big plus. Something like these…

Onzie Low Rise Leggings

Onzie Low Rise Leggings in “Copa Cabana”, at Nordstrom. (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Capri Leggings in Prism Print from Bloomingdales. (Click through image to visit site.)

Onzie Capri Leggings in Prism Print from Bloomingdales. (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Track Leggings in Teal Chevron at YogaOutlet.com. (Click image to visit site.)

Onzie Track Leggings in Teal Chevron at YogaOutlet.com. (Click image to visit site.)

What do you think? Do you dig going loud and crazy at the gym? If you’re a lady (or happen to know a lot about women’s gym clothes), any good workout leggings to suggest?

Belly Button Lent

Can you tell that I like horrible jokes? I’m as corny as they come. Last night, in fact, I spent the better part of an hour reading a website for The Potato Rock Museum, an online collection of rocks that look like potatoes, with arguments that these rocks might actually have been potatoes at some point. I laughed over some of the images until there were tears streaming down my face. I mean, seriously – you can’t possibly tell me this isn’t one of the most amusing things you’ve seen today:

Yum, what a lovely baked potato! Wait a minute, that’s no spud – that’s a ROCK!

Whatever, I thought it was hilarious.

Anyway, I’m just writing this little post because it’s the first day of Lent, and I felt like it deserved some attention. Not for any religious reasons, mind you. I’m decidedly not Catholic. I’m not even celebrating Lent in any official capacity. But since the first day of Lent happens to mark the end of the Mardi Gras season, it’s a useful demarcation for me in other ways.

I didn’t get too crazy over Mardi Gras. In all, I had eight drinks over two weeks. I ate a tiny sliver of king cake, a huge BLT poboy, a slice of pizza, and a decent enough helping of fried foods and snacky things, as is my custom during the season of debauchery. Overall, though, this was a very tame holiday season for me. I didn’t even leave the house on Fat Tuesday. I’m getting old, and as it turns out, I really enjoy being sober and healthy.

That being the case, I’ve decided that this Lent I’m going to go for it. No drinking for the next 40 days. I’m also going back to eating paleo, and even though the Iron Tribe transformation challenge is over, I’m going to keep working out four to five days a week. Right now my loose goal is to get to around 170 lbs by Easter.

Now here’s the kicker. If I can get to my next goal mark of 170 within the next 40 days, I’m going to buy myself the present I’ve wanted for a few years now. I’ve had my eye on this ridiculously trashy diamond belly button ring.

white-gold-body-jewelry-with-pave-54

I’m currently wearing a sterling silver one with swarovski crystals, but if I can keep up the good work, I think I deserve to get something lovely and silly for my good work – a genuine white gold and diamond ring for my naval, perfect for accenting my prized lint collection.

Too bad I can’t find one with potato rock accents…

New Year’s Eve 2015

For the last five or six years, my New Year’s Eve celebration has been pretty low key. This one wasn’t all that different, but it was a lot more fun than I’ve tended to have for the last few years. I got dolled up and hung out with a small, tight-knit group of geeks at our favorite pub. The most exciting part of the evening was when I accidentally got my heel caught in my bar stool when I was trying to get up, and ended up falling down (oops). I’d only had half a glass of wine, so I couldn’t even blame it on being drunk – just my general and all-encompassing clumsiness. Luckily, nothing was broken and I didn’t damage my shoe or my dress, but I did bruise my shin, which is now wearing an ugly purple and black mark for the trouble. The pub was bustling enough that no one outside my group even noticed. I know this because in typical mortified-Anna style, I took an informal poll of strangers on my next trip to the ladies room just to make sure that was true.

Here are the few snapshots I have of the night. Sorry, was having too much fun to take photos!

3 friends

Angie, Anna & Alex

 

pretty dress

My beautiful dress, as seen in the bathroom mirror. Kind of a crappy photo. Really should have asked someone to take a photo of me for posterity…

 

stealing a kiss

Stealing a kiss before midnight.

 

love

Love

 

Ladies: Measure Your Tits

I know it’s a risque title, but it says exactly what it needs to: women, get to know your girls better! Mostly, this is just a cautionary tale from one clueless woman to the rest of you (much more in-the-know) ladies out there, about how easy it is to misjudge just about anything, including your bra size.

The story goes a little something like this…

On New Year’s Eve, I decided that nothing in my closet was going to work for going out that night, and I deserved a new party dress. So I took the bus downtown in search of my dream gown, and remarkably, found the perfect thing a couple of hours later. Side note: I found the dress at Saks 5th Avenue, which is normally WAY out of my price range, but they had a 70%+ off rack, plus a 20% off sale on sale items. I ended up walking out with a gorgeous $600 dollar dress for just around $100 – total score.

Anyway, once I had the dress, I realized that nothing in my existing lingerie collection would really be pretty enough to wear with it. I wanted something retro and lacy, so I went to Trashy Diva, which is this amazing New Orleans-based boutique that sells vintage-inspired dresses, shoes, jewelry and lingerie. They actually have two shops just for dresses and a small selection of underthings, and then two shops that sell nothing but shoes and small accessories, and another two shops just for lingerie. I don’t live that far from one of the lingerie locations, so I walked in there in the hope that something would pop out at me to go with the dress.

Click the photo for more info on Trashy Diva's lingerie selection!

Click the photo for more info on Trashy Diva’s lingerie selection!

The shop is like a lacy candy store. Everything is so pretty and soft and silky and sexy, and you can’t help but feel a bit naughty just being in there. There are garter belts and beautiful silk stockings, and all manner of designer underpinnings at prices to match. As you might imagine, I was overwhelmed with my options and just sort of stood there, looking stupid, until the customer service person came to ask if I needed any help. I nodded, and confessed that since my weight gain, my boobs had grown and I was unsure of my size.

Now, even though I was telling the woman that, I was pretty sure I knew my size. After all, I was wearing a bra that fit me. I’d originally been a 34B, but once they became too uncomfortable to wear, I’d moved up to a 36B, then eventually a 38B, which seemed OK. But still, it never hurts to check, I thought. Besides, I hadn’t had a bra fitting in at least five years or more. So bring on the tape measure!

The tape measure came out, and the circumference of my rib cage just under my breasts was measured. I was surprised to see that the customer service person had the tape marked at 36 when she pulled it away. Then she measured my breasts at their widest. I saw her mark the number on the tape, but didn’t know what it meant. “So I’m a 36B? Am I just wearing my bras wrong or something?” I asked. She chuckled gently, then informed me that I wasn’t a 36B, or even a 36C – I was now a D cup.

If you’ve got big knockers, congratulations. If D sounds small to you, again, all the best. But for me, after years of barely being a B, the idea that I could one day fill out a “ginormous” D cup sounded like the thing of utter fantasy. As the customer service person started to lead me around, pointing out bras in my size that fit my other criteria – lacy, black, cleavage-creating – I remained incredulous. The obvious answer to all of this was that she’d screwed up. There was no way in hell I could fill out a D cup.

Except that I did. The first bra she had me try on went home with me that afternoon. It was absolutely gorgeous, and a perfect fit. Suddenly, that odd bit of underarm fat that always squished outside of the bra seemed less noticeable. The bands, just a tad wider than those on my B-cupped bra, didn’t press into my shoulders as much. My breasts still looked exactly the same size to me, and fit into the bra in the same way that they’d fit into my other bra, but seemed more secure, like they were held in place a bit better. Apparently the difference between a B and a D is not as much as I’d always thought.

I went out that night with a bit more confidence. It was like I’d gotten an instant boob job – no pain, just the same old lovely rack, presented in a spiffier getup. Before leaving the shop, I talked to the customer service person a little more about how I could have been so wrong about my breast size, and she said that it was something she saw multiple times a day at the shop. We’ve all seen women who are obviously wearing the wrong sized bras – you can always see telltale signs like overhanging back fat, or that interesting double boob effect where there’s extra breast tissue trying to pop out of the top of the cup. In the past, I always thought I’d never be one of those girls. But now I know that it’s ridiculously easy to get your numbers wrong. The wrong bra might not even look or feel that bad, if you don’t know what signs to look for.

If you have no clue where to start, you can get measured at any lingerie shop. If you’d prefer to do it yourself, Brittany Herself has an EXCELLENT how-to on her blog. She also includes a super in-depth video in her post by Caty135, which I’ve also included at the top of my post to make it easier. Make sure to give both a glance, as they contain some great information on why you should be careful when getting fitted at a chain lingerie store like Victoria’s Secret, and how to make sure your bras are fitting correctly.

Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky like me, and end up getting bigger knockers in the process!

 

 

 

Success Is Paleo

It’s the beginning of my 4th week as an Iron Tribe Fitness “athlete”. I’m putting that in parentheses because they actually do call us athletes, and though I know they’re trying to make us feel strong and capable, I’m not really feeling it yet. But that’s not their fault – I’m loving being a member of the gym. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time. I really just needed somewhere that would tell me exactly what to do, show me how to do it (probably multiple times, because I don’t pick up physical movements really well the first few times around), then give me specific goals to reach and times in which to get those goals accomplished. So far they’ve done all of this, while being amazingly kind, patient, and accepting of my flaws. I love working out there, and can’t wait to finish up with the 101 program and move into taking regular classes four days a week.

Even though I’m not yet working out at full power, I did start something new today at Iron Tribe – eating meals from the Inner Fire Grill. I should have taken some snapshots today to show you what I was eating, but I forgot and gobbled it all up. Maybe I’ll start showing you a weekly roundup of eats – today’s meals were amazing. I think I’m really going to like not having to think about what to eat anymore. I can just open my fridge and pick the thing that strikes my fancy that day.

From now on, each Wednesday I’ll place an order for my meals for the following week. On Monday, I’ll pick up lunch & dinner for Monday/Tuesday, and on Wednesday I’ll receive lunch & dinner for Wednesday through Friday. The meals last a few days in the fridge, so if it turns out that I have dinner plans or a lunch meeting, I can always just save that meal for a later date. Minimum effort, but surprisingly delicious and filling meals. Today’s lunch was a half of a sweet potato filled with braised beef ribs and onions, served with this amazing paleo chive mayo. Dinner was chicken salad (who knew I could enjoy a non-mayo-based chicken salad?) and a side of mixed fruit.

This Saturday marks my last day of drinking until Thanksgiving, so between getting strict with my meals, not taking in any of that extra sugar, and working out 3 to 4 days a week at the gym, I’m planning on starting to drop some serious weight over the next month. Thinking about seeing if anyone at the gym wants to put together a running group to start training for some distance runs. I’m really excited about feeling like success is actually attainable. I haven’t felt this sure about my health journey for a long time, now.