Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy.


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{Must Read} “It Was Me All Along: A Memoir”

It’s no secret that in this world of blogging, it’s almost impossible to stand out. Anyone with a computer and access to the internet can start one, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee that anyone will read it. Lucky for me my mom reads mine, and anyone else I just assume got lost trying to find ways to sneak healthy food out of the kitchen in a cute outfit. (See what I did there? “Stylish, stealthy and hea..”-never mind.) What I’m trying to say is that it’s such a wonderful thing when you discover a blog that you truly love. You find yourself reading for hours, days even, and wanting to invite the person over for a bottle of wine and a pajama party, but like in a totally non-creepy way. You feel like you’ve known them for years, like you’re bosom buds, and it’s really something special. This is how Andie’s blog was for me.

Through following along her blog and exchanging emails over the past few years, I’ve come to consider Andie one of those “internet friends” whom you’ve never met but feel like you have. I’ve been lucky enough to make a few of those since I started blogging, which is probably my most favorite part of the whole experience. It’s a funny thing, even though you’ve only even had a conversation through a screen, you really feel genuinely excited for them when great things happen. Like book deals! When Andie announced she was writing one, I knew I had to get my poorly-manicured hands on it. And when one showed up at my door a few weeks ago, I could.not.wait. to dig in.

It Was Me All Along

It Was Me All Along is about a lot of things, not just Andie’s struggle with food and weight loss, which she has spoken very openly about on her blog. I identified in so many ways with her childhood self, the longing to be thin, the feeling of being an outsider, the back-and-forth torture and shame that binge-eating causes, and the use of humor as a way to deal with it all. This story I knew, but was never able to tell so beautifully. But there’s another, much heavier side of Andie’s story, one that deals with family drama and abuse and loss. Not an easy thing to write I’m sure, but Andie does it in a way that makes you feel like you were right there with her, holding her hand through it all.

Andie also takes you along on her journey through her dramatic weight loss, all 130+ lbs of it, and you feel lighter just reading about it. Again, I identify with a lot of her struggles on my own level, as I’m sure most women can. Following her along as she sheds pounds and gains acceptance and confidence is exciting, especially as she describes her travels through Rome, and eventually landing a dream job working on a Leo DiCaprio movie. (!!!!!)  I learned more intimate details of situations she’d written about on her blog and answers to some questions I was too afraid to ask, but desperately wanted to know. (I realize this makes me sound like a stalker and I’m fine with that.)

I don’t want to say too much more, but know that I read the entire thing, cover to cover, in three days, and it made a whirlwind work trip involving four flights in two days actually pretty enjoyable. I really can’t say enough great things about this book, all I can do is recommend that you read it. Even if you’ve never read her blog (which I can’t imagine), Andie tells her story in its entirety, writing in such a way that only she can. I’m really honored to have gotten an advanced copy, and will definitely be ordering one of my own as well.

Congrats, my friend, hopefully one day soon we will get to share that bottle of wine.


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Things I’m Loving

Well, hello! Happy post-Thanksgiving to you all. How are your pants fitting? Is that a weird question to ask? Mine fit just fine because I refuse to wear anything less than elastic waistbands after November 1st. Really helps to make those extra 5 lbs of holiday wine and carbs that much more manageable. Plus leggings and boots are the quintessential fall/winter wardrobe pieces so it all works out. Hooray!

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a favorites post. And the video thing was fun for a while but, um, holy crapton of hours of work. Not that I didn’t enjoy making them… talking to you guys was extremely fun, but editing is not my cup of tea. Good thing I work for a video company… It’s also a lot harder to ignore how embarrassing your are in video form vs. a poorly-written blog post. Yeeeikes.

So let’s begin!

1. Gigantic chunky sweaters and I are having a moment. Not only do they pair with the aforementioned leggings/boots combo like cheese to a fine wine, but they are so warm and snugly. This winter has already started off rather aggressive (oh hi snow on Thanksgiving), and my office is pretty much always freezing, so I’ve been living in them. My favorite is this one from H&M: (only 29.99!)

hm sweater

All the pink. I also love this one (a great basic) and this one (which I can’t afford). I don’t know what happened but it seems like I don’t own any winter clothing anymore. I think I developed an aversion to sweaters for a while because I wore them every day since I went Catholic school, but now I just can’t get enough of them. Plaid skirts, however, are still on my shit list.

2. Crafts! I try to be working on something at all times, whether its knitting or writing or even drawing. There is something so therapeutic to me about making things with my own hands, and I just need some kind of creative outlet at all times. I tend to shy away from DIY-type projects because a. they always turn out to be more work than I originally intended, and b. the finished product NEVER looks as cute as the inspiration. (I am the epitome of the Pintrest fail.) But something about this most recent project just had me convinced I needed it in my life:

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Yes I know my ribbon is completely jacked and the “W” is a little more crooked than I intended, but I just love it so much. I made Brandon go out in the freezing cold and hang it up at like 10:30 at night the minute the hot glue dried. What should I make next??

3. This face wash:

deep-pore-wash-web

 

I took a chance on this Alba Botanica face wash randomly when it was on sale, and holy crap. It smells amazing (like peppermint) and makes my skin feel so wonderful. I’ve been dealing with some less than optimal skin issues as of late, I don’t know if it’s the weather or the baby-making drugs they’ve got me on, but my face has not been a happy camper. This has really helped (along with my Clarisonic, which I still swear by). It’s got 2% salicylic acid, which always seems to work well for me, but it’s not the least bit drying. Plus it kind of wakes you up in the morning because it’s so minty and refreshing, which is much needed for this non-morning person. Love love love.

4. Let’s talk under-things! Not like, underneath things, like underwear things. I know we’re all friends here, so I’m going to let you in on a secret. The Gillian & O’Malley stuff at Target is the shiz. Someone actually told me that it’s manufactured by the same people or place (something like that) as Victoria’s Secret, but is just less expensive. I don’t know if they were just selling me magic beans, but I totally believe it because I love their stuff. Their “intimates” (love that this is what they call underwear) are so comfortable, and I basically live in their sleepwear on nights and weekends. Plus they have really adorable pajama sets. So yea, I know this is a random one, but I felt like I needed to share. Your welks.

5. Obviously I have to address my favorite thing to talk about: TV. Somehow I managed to cut ties with a few shows that weren’t doing it for me anymore (namely Revenge and Grey’s is teetering on expulsion) but there are a few that I’ve been absolutely loving. First and foremost, Homeland. JUST YES. I was so worried that this show had jumped the shark, but oh no, my friends. We’ve got crazy chardonnay-soaked-jazz music-listening-breakdown Carrie back, and it is everything. We were so sad that it wasn’t a new episode this week. Newsroom is back for its final season, and I’m along for the ride, but the jury is still out on that for me. The first season was just so so good. At least Maggie’s hair is normal again. The Walking Dead mid-season finale was pretty crazy, but also, was it? I mean… I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I don’t know. Not the most shocking thing that could have happened. Overall I’ve been liking this season a lot, though, so watch on I shall. The Comeback is back! If you didn’t see the first season, and you love Lisa Kudrow as much as I do, run to HBO GO and watch it. And then start watching the new season. You DO want to see that. (A joke only people who watch it will get.) And finally, I have to give it up to my favorite show of the season: The Affair. I actually didn’t plan on watching this until I ended up 20 minutes into the first episode because I was too lazy to change the channel, and I was hooked. The characters make me love and hate them all at the same time. The style of storytelling is SO GOOD and it’s definitely different than anything else on right now. Equal parts romance and drama. Also Pacey. Like I need to say more.

So that’s it for now, please tell me some things that are making you less stabby this winter season!


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Thoughts on Lady Friends and Being Inspired

It’s true that I loved – and I mean LOVED – the Spice Girls when I was 11 (ok 12). Alright, fine, maybe I was 13. In fact there is a picture floating around somewhere of me and a few friends dressed as them and lip syncing a choreographed live performance at a friend’s summer family picnic. I was Sporty Spice, obvi. And yes, my signature Sporty high kick was on point, and yes, it was completely mortifying.

Why am I talking about this iconic 90’s girl group and classic awkward tween Jess moment? Because “girl power”, that’s why. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amazing group of women that have become influencers in the world today and in my daily life, and that it actually surprises me that I value them so much.

For a long time I felt like I would never be a girl’s girl. I was always “one of the guys”, partly because I though out made me sound cool, but also because I found girls to be kind of… well, mean for most of my young adult life. I wasn’t ever lucky enough to be one of those naturally pretty/thin/sweet girls that people gravitated towards. I was tall, loud, and pretty much always felt like a square peg in a world of round holes. Even when I was part of a group, I always felt like the odd man out. Sure, I would find a few people here and there whom I felt really understood me and didn’t mind my my quirks. And not the adorable kind of quirks, the kind that make you want to be homeschooled after people find out you watch Anne of Green Gables with your mom instead of MTV, which you don’t even have because your parents blocked it. (Just to be clear, I loved watching those movies with my mom and totally understand now why they thought Singled Out was inappropriate for a 10 year old. But you see what I mean.) And honestly I think those friendships formed solely over a bond of feeling “different”.

SO. I’m writing all this to say that as I continue to move into my 30’s (AHHH)… I find myself  actually seeking out women in my life to motivate and support me. And through doing so I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who felt the way I did – kind of a loner, desperately wanting to fit in, despite a false confidence that screamed otherwise. I think I was always a bit of a “floater” because I was afraid of getting too close to any one friend for fear they’d turn on me and tell all my secrets. (Now I realize how much of a mistake that was and the value that female friendships have to offer.)

I’ve found so much comfort through reading books that divulge the trials of some of my favorite similarly off-beat women (Tina Fey, Mindy Kahling and can’t wait to read Amy Poehler’s!) that have made me actually feel validated having gone through similar experiences. Every day I read the blogs of women that have built incredible careers and built their own successes for themselves, and I want to have Sex & the City style drinks with them all and have them spill all their secrets. (Like her, her and her.) And not to mention the amazingly wonderful friends, family and mentors I’m blessed to have. (I hope you know who you are.)

What I find to be crazy is that every time i have this conversation with another woman, they pretty much know exactly what I’m talking about. So this tells me two things: A. I’m not a special snowflake and growing up is hard for everyone, and B. there needs to be more. More conversations with girls about how to be nicer to each other. More opportunities for young women to find mentors that can help them navigate through their sometimes fun but more often tumultuous early 20’s. More discussions on how to work together professionally and not root against each other, or get caught up in jealously or competition. More celebrations of each other’s successes and support during challenges.

I know… This is a bit of a kumbaya/Mean Girls moment, but I feel like it’s an issue that needs discussed. I think there’s been a lot of amazing progress and I really hope to see it continue. Especially since we’ve decided to try and have children, I think about if I had a girl of my own and what I’d want the world to be like for her. And even though that might not happen anytime soon, or at all, in the meantime I think we can all probably agree we can do a little more. And at the very least we can be sure and thank those who do.

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