Big News!

Oh my dear peeps, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.  But it’s now official…. I’m a Hollaback Health blogger!

When I first came across Hollaback Health (from Rachel’s blog, I was most really impressed that a group of bloggers–and some of my favorite ones–were getting together to talk about how to improve health blogs and be better bloggers. I really wanted to join from day one, but I  honestly wasn’t sure I fit the “health blogger” profile.  I mean, I write about my workouts and my recipes, but beyond that, I don’t do the information posts that these ladies do so well, nor do I think of myself as a “health blogger” per se   I haven’t come across any other health bloggers that wax rhapsodically about a blouse turning out or the wonders of their new pins.

However, after following HBH for a few weeks, I came across a post that generated quite a stir, in which Elisabeth (one of the Hollaback bloggers) spoke out about feeling different from other health bloggers. The post launched a bazillion comments and started what became, ultimately, a really valuable discussion on how bloggers perceive the blogosphere and their place in it.  And wouldn’t you know, but most of the numerous comments it generated were along the lines of  “I feel different from others too” and “I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel this way.”

Without going into my own response to the post (which I commented on in the post itself),  Elisabeth‘s HBH post made me realize that I wanted to be a part of HBH for sho’,  and that the fact that I don’t write only about health issues doesn’t make me any less of a health blogger.  In the end, I run and I swim, I do pilates and the occasional Core Fusion workout, I eat new foods and I’m concerned about what I eat and how I feel after eating it (goodbye, pastries, don’t need the bloat you give me), because I want to be healthy and feel great and live to a ripe old sassy age of 100.  And the legs/stomach/muscle tone that I get from healthy pursuits and living definitely keep me motivated to sew and dress well and generally show off what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

I also know what I like about blogs and what will keep me reading one (and going back to read the blogger’s entire archive), and I want to improve what I put out for y’all to read.  On top of that, I think a Puerto Rican girl with a big booty and a full passport could add to the discussions that HBH generates and provide yet another different perspective to the already multidimensional, diverse, and intelligent group of ladies on the blog.  And, finally, I want to be forced into looking at how I’m blogging and how I can make it better–for me, true, but mostly for YOU.

So I took the plunge, asked about joining the blog, bounced some ideas around… and the rest is history.

Don’t worry, I’ll still write up a storm, and write about the stuff that keeps my typing fingers tapping.  I just hope to make it better and engage with you, and with the rest of the blog world, in different ways.

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As for minding my p’s and q’s today, I had a short morning run (2 miles) and a wonderful 40-minute lunchtime swim, plus I threw in a 10-minute Core Fusion arms workout, in which I admit to doing some swearing and, um,ladygrunting during the last bit of tricep work.  If this doesn’t get me Michelle Obama arms, I don’t know what will.

I wore real clothes again (so what if I did it because the water pump repairman was coming?):

Skirt by me, anonymous tank top, Target shoes, Most Fabulous S-given necklace

And ate some pretty tasty meals, such as a lunch egg wrap with spicy BBQ sauce:

And coconut curried rice noodles with bok choi, green beans, carrots, onions, and plenty pepper sauce:

This week is shaping up to be one of the best food weeks ever!  Stay tuned for some (hopefully great) Cinco de Mayo eats tomorrow…

Hello, New Blouse! Nice to Finally Meet You

I finally wore it! What “it,” I hear you ask?

Why, the Alexander Blouse!

Let’s go back in time, shall we, to get a full sense of how shamefully I should wear the Procrastinating Queen Crown?

I started the Alexander blouse back on, oh, March 19!  See? Here it is, with the pattern laid out for cutting:

That same day, I work on it for long enough to find out that I’d cut the top in four pieces rather than two (what’s with the putting both together at the shoulder to cut business?  Sheesh. Thank goodness for seam allowances.  And seam rippers, of course.

Then I put in the darts, take them out and redo them to make them line up better with my, um, anatomical proportions.  As in, I close the darts higher lest it look like my boobs start at my waist.

Then I put the peplum ruffle on, pin the back shut (why oh why must you have buttons on the back, Alexander Blouse?  Don’t you know how impossible that makes you to fit properly?), try it on, screw up courage, and look in the mirror.

I look in the mirror.  I make horrified face.  I rip it off and cry a bit.  Because ladies who wear the Alexander Blouse style do not go  around showing off their stomachs in their lady blouses.  I made the whole shebang too short.  Cue expletives.  I dry my eyes and pretend like nothing happened when Husband asks what all the door-slamming two minutes ago was all about.

One day week later, I pick it up again, remove the ruffle, and draft an extension/midriff piece thingie (see?  I told you I’m totally self-trained, hence I have no idea what that part is called in sewingspeak.  And, being bilingual, I already never know what anything technical is called in eitther English or Spanish). I attach it.  I try the blasted thing on again.  I have my doubts, but it’s workable and I don’t need to slam any doors (I do a long-suffering sigh instead.)

A few days later, I pick up the blouse to add the buttons.  I realize, as anyone with no sense would, that I’d rather start a new dress–fresh project, no problems to fix, better procrastinating strategy.  I toss Alexander Blouse into the To-Finish pile  in the Room Whose Door I Shut And Pretend It’s Not Where Half-Finished Sewing Goes To Die , where it languishes for I’m-not-saying-how-long.

About a week later,  I dig out said Hellblouse and hem the bottom and the sleeves and put in the buttons.  I ask myself where the buttonloops should be attached.  I realize I should have put them in with the interfacing.  I swear some more, but less hair-raisingly than before.  I have a cup of tea and go at it gently with the seamripper, put in the loops, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

I put on the buttons–all minus three at the bottom, because I’m lazy and worry that the buttons won’t line up (never mind that there’s a button guide piece to tell me where loops and buttons go.  Do I trust it?  Yeah, right. Plus, I’m half-assed and forget such a thing exists.)  I put the Alexander Blouse on the third dining room chair, to guilt myself into attaching the last few buttons during a Law and Order binge, a Dexter binge, or any other crap TV binge.

More days go by.  Yes, I know.  I’m more into doing my nails and Core Fusion during TV time–no buttons get attached.

Last weekend, I catch a marathon of The Hills.  It coincides with preparing outfits for my last week of work.  I realize that I am not about to start wearing pencil skirts and heels when I start working from home from next week, that the Alexander Blouse DESERVES a proper 40’s-inspired outing–lipstick, hair waved, and all.  I also feel the need to counter the trash I plan on watching all day long with the modesty and ladylike accoutrements of times past.  I finish the damn thing before Heidi Montag gets her supaboob job.

I wear it today.  I accessorize with blue granny and mommy bling, red lips and nails, and plenty of insouciance.  I deduce that Burdastyle made the Alexander Blouse solely for ME.

In other words, I rocked the shiznit out of that blouse:

Now I can wear it with shorts.  And not slam any more doors over it.  What a relief!

__________

Not going to bore you with any more than the basics of the day–I had an awesome breakfast:

The weekend's vegan muffins with coconut, banana, kiwi, and pineapple, plus pineapple and papaya on the side

And a fierce dinner–a quick and easy Indian Sweet Potato Hash (the recipe now posted at the Chomping Shop):

And 32 laps were put down at the pool.  I swear the last two extra laps made extra goggle indentations that lasted for a couple of hours after the swim, but I don’t care!  I like having battle blemishes, anyway.  Even ladies like to feel hardcore sometimes…

The Ten Pool Commandments: What Not To Do at the Swimming Pool

Some days are pool heaven.  The sun is shining  (ok, it shines every day from January to June, but still), the water is debris-free, the palm trees are gently swaying, the smell of toast is in the air. I might even have the pool all to myself.

And then there are days when you wonder what exactly takes hold of people when they take to the water in stretchy fabrics.

Today was a fine example of the latter, but rather than give you the splash by splash, let’s go straight to how NOT to deport yourself in communal water:

  1. Do not do laps on the pool width-ways.  The lines are there for a reason, Mr. Splashing With Your Face Up In The Sun.  Maybe, if no one else is in the pool, you can go the short way and feel like a hot shot for doing more laps that you can brag to your friends about.  And I know that, if you’re a new swimmer, you might not be able to go the entire length of the pool, or you might be pretty scared of the water, period.  That’s fine.  But trust me,  my heart almost busted out through my ears the first few times I hit the pool with my board last year.  I just got a board and a spot by the edge until I was convinced I wasn’t going to drown.
  2. Don’t swim directly next to people when there are a million open lanes or, worse yet, no one else in the pool.  You creep me out.
  3. It goes without saying, but please shower before dipping yourself in.  If I can smell your disgusting sneeze-inducing smell-coverup cologne when you hit the water, you haven’t showered enough.  You need a sponge and elbow grease–get to it.
  4. I’m usually not in the water to chat, so please leave me to my laps.  However, if you stop me mid-push-off to ask me an inane question like “where are you from,” I might bite you (and hope that you showered appropriately beforehand).
  5. It goes without saying, but pretty please don’t sqroak into the water.  If you need to expectorate, you need to turn your ass around and come back another (phlegm-free) day.

And, just like there are rules of deportment to be observed in the water, there are a few that should be observed in the dressing room.

  1. Ladies, please flush the toilet.  Why is it that the pool toilet is always unflushed?  I’ve tested the flushing many times, and it works just fine.  Humidity plus unflushed toilets equal unholy stink.  Surely we are better than that.
  2. I know that it can be awkward to change in front of other people, but don’t sigh and harrumph and carry on and give me the side eye for being in there when you want to get changed.  Don’t sigh because the family shower is in use.  Don’t shoot me evils because you “need” to change in the toilet stall because I’m there.  I know there are body image issues and cultural issues that create discomfort for people, but goodness, my back is turned to you.  And I KNOW you have no problem flashing your goodies (the same ones we share) to all and sundry for carnival.
  3. Do not spend ten minutes grunting in the family changing room.  Swimming can be hard, but unless you’ve just broken a Michael Phelps record there is no need to alert the world of your physical exhaustion.  That, and I have no idea what you’re up to in there, and it’s just a bit gross.
  4. Put a towel down if you’re going to be sitting butt-nekkid on the bench.  Or, better yet, don’t sit butt-nekkid on the bench.  Sheesh, you wouldn’t share water with me so what makes you think I want to share THAT with you?
  5. Gauge carefully who you want to talk to while in a state of butt-nekkidness. I’m not a prude in the changing room, but I also don’t start face-to-face conversations with fully naked folks, so I expect the same.  Wait till I have at least two undergarments to stand in front of me and expect a response.

I can safely say that I saw Pool No-No’s 1,2, and 3 today (and averted what was clearly a No-No Number 4), and that I saw Dressing Room No-No’s 1,2,3, and 4 today.  And it’s not like the pool was that busy.  Oy vey.

If only the kind pool men could wake from their worktime slumber to put up a Miss Manners-type sign and make all naughty rule-breakers do a Walk of Shame (or two minutes in the outdoor shower for all to see), pool time would be much happier indeed.

____________

Of course, I always dress like a lady after ending a great four mile run with every joyful expletive in the book and when I am preparing to dispense etiquette tips for all and sundry:

Working my skulking creeper pose

Skirt made by moi and revived a week ago by some nip and tuck action, t-shirt from Charlotte Russe (can I admit that this was $3 now?), white cardigan from Britain days (New Look, I think) and the same old Target pointy shoes I love so much, this time in pewter.  Surely grown women don’t own three pairs of the same shoes.  I have never claimed to be a grown woman.

Speaking of etiquette, I had to dispense with most strictures of etiquette (and the white cardigan) to eat my lunch, which was a gorgeous–and very staining–combination of the weekend’s chipotle chicken (the last bits!) and leftover Tibetan salsa (tomatoes, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions, pinch of sugar) over green salad:

Followed by the absolute last bit of the lemon bars that I will eat (I mean it this time):

As for dinner, the day called for something fast and relatively hands-off, so I made a batch of Little A’s peanut sauce and tossed it with thin spaghetti, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and green onion:

Cue happiness at having finished the day’s second shift before the hands-off dinner, after which cue delight at having the time to devise a new 3-mile playlist to dominate tomorrow’s run, after which cue realization that I can watch TWO episodes of Dexter tonight if I stop cueing everything off–and now cue goodnight.