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New Year's Resolutions That Have Nothing to Do with Losing Weight

Dec 31, 2013

Searching my blog for past New Year's posts just now made me realize that I possibly have a fear of making new year's resolutions. Here's a quick review:

2008: I wrote my very first blog post about writing a blog. I have no recollection about resolutions or even New Year's antics after that so I assume I resolved to write more. Which I did!

2009: I recounted the most epic snowball fight I've ever been involved in but didn't come up with serious resolutions after that. I think we were still snowed in and I remember getting the swine flu twice that season, so maybe I was just resolving to stay alive?

Here's what I "resolved" to do in 2010:
  • Buy more Aveda products.
  • Flatten stomach.
  • Work on zingy comebacks to be used on jerky boys.
  • Brush up on Spanish.
  • Eat more chocolate.
I think I took care of all the important ones in 2010, read: spending money and eating more chocolate. Go me!

P.S. That New Yea'rs Eve is the reason I don't go out for New Year's Eve anymore.

2010: I sprained my ankle that year, which would eventually cause me to snowball into eating more chocolate and doing nothing else for the next two years. Lesson learned: If you're going to be lazy, you can't eat whatever you want. You have to pick one. Lazy or eat whatever you want. Can't have both.

I sort of resolved to get back in to running and get a t-shirt from a race. I did get back in to running but did not get a t-shirt. In fact, the only race I ever ran was in 2010. Getting back in to running caused all kinds of worse problems for my ankle, which would eventually cause me to snowball into plantar fasciitis, which is one of those words like "gout" that sounds a lot grosser than it is but is even more painful. Lots of complaining, one surgery and six weeks of physical therapy still hurts. A lot.

Lesson learned: Running's not for everyone, and surgery doesn't necessarily fix anything but rather may just re-distribute the pain to other areas of your body.

I had pretty much set myself up for failure that year. I think this is when my resolutionizing began its decline.

2011: In December I moved out of the 13-year friend zone with a dude who decided to move us into the never-talking-again zone a month later and was devastated-ish, partly because it was the beginning of the year and I didn't like the symbolic implications. But even before that all went to crap, I was already feeling ugh about resolutions. This line is worth a copy/paste:

I decided not to make any New Year's Resolutions this year because last year I had one, ONE, and I did not fulfill it in the least. (I went to my doctor the week before Christmas, the first time I'd been since the week before Christmas 2010, and when the nurse weighed me she said, "Oh! You've lost a pound!" Fail.)

Then after it all went to crap, Mindy Kaling emerged as more than just that baby crazy chick from The Office and she changed everyone's life. Go buy and read her book now if you haven't!

2012: I made no resolutions for 2013.

And even though my heart was crushed this year, I'm kind of amazed at how productive it actually was.
  • I tried and failed at a career change then got back in the saddle and killed it.

  • I joined My Fitness Pal in July and stuck to the plan to lose 15 pounds in three months then killed that too and lost 30 instead.
  • I finally launched the business I've been dreaming about since that very first post, District Peach
  • I learned Microsoft Excel. This is huge, y'all. 
  • OH! And I negotiated with Comcast and got my cable back for less than I was paying for basic channels after a year of living cable free! 

So maybe the key is to not make any resolutions? Or maybe I lost sight of the point of resolutions?

All I know is I've got some momentum going, and I'm going to ride that wave as long as it lasts. So, for 2014, here's what I'm thinking:

Learn French. I've already started using Memrise, a free online tool that's a much more productive time-suck thank Buzzfeed, to do this. Je voudrais du vin, s'il vous plait. Translation: I'm all ready for a trip to Paris! (Please send donations.)

Learn how to sew. I already have a sewing machine I inherited from my Great Aunt Martha, and learning how to upholster furniture will be important for my business. I see lots of injuries in the future.

Or that.
Finally master Claire de Lune.

I have a piano in my tiny apartment, y'all. I have played it about five times in the past year, and it's time to put it to better use. Besides, I've been wanting to learn this most beautiful piece of music for 10 years now so...

See Britney in Vegas. Self-explanatory.

Until next year...c'est la vie!

Stitch Fix No. 3 -- Do San Franciscans know it's cold on the East Coast?

Dec 23, 2013

Fresh off my women's empowerment trip from my last Stitch Fix, I received my third one on the very same day they tweeted me this about Stitch Fix No. 2:

Customer service at its finest, y'all. 

For the third fix, I emphasized that I'd lost some weight since Stitch Fix No. 1 and specifically needed winter pants, preferably in the skinny, cigarette style, as well as some other wintry things that I could also wear on dates. Here's what I got:

1) This blouse was pretty but not something I would have picked out for myself, which we've established here is okay with me. I tried it on first and put it on again later to try with other pieces because, despite the color, cut and style which I was not initially crazy about, I kept thinking about it. The purple lace print seemed cheesy to me at first -- why not put actual lace on it? The pleat in the back was pretty at first glance, but if the top isn't tucked in, that pleat causes it to billow in the back. I was hoping to show off my figure a little, since I've been wearing nothing but big, blousy tops for the past year and a half on account of my weight gain. But, there was something pretty about it...

2) I am not a huge fan of stripes because I get migraines, and oftentimes patterns that cause optical illusions will set one off. However, when I saw this, I thought I might have to make an exception. The jacket was sturdy and the lining was satiny-smooth. I tried it on with my Catherine Malandrino Eiffel Tower dress and really loved it at first. It's cropped and has great structure, so it's quite flattering. However, I realized there was no front closure, and that bothered me. You'll notice in the photo of the back, it flares out a bit. I wish it had a small clasp on the front to prevent that from happening. Also, the front falls open, and that silhouette wasn't the best. I agonized over this jacket, but in the end I decided not to keep it.

3) These were the only pants they sent, and I wish I'd had at least one other option since I specifically asked for pants. They were designed to make you look like you lost 10 lbs. immediately. I mean, I get it, but I just lost 25 pounds so I'm not sure why these are the pants they chose for me. They were slip on -- no zippers or buttons -- which I wasn't crazy about. But once I got them on, I realized that's a smart feature to maximize slimming measures. They almost look like leggings on, but the fabric is sturdier. What really bugged me is the leg openings, which flared a bit instead of hugging your ankles, a feature of the cigarette pants that I love. And they were thin, clearly meant for warmer months. At almost $100, these were not worth keeping.

4) Anne told me a while ago that I need to stack bracelets around my giant man-watch from The Ex (yes I am still wearing it; it's nice, okay?). I haven't done too much of that because the bracelets I have don't all go together, and the ones that do end up making my left hand feel like it weighs an extra pound. The watch is heavy enough as it is, so I sometimes wear one with it. These were perfect for stacking, though, because one has some bling and the other, dual-toned bracelet compliments it by being understated but still pretty, and both are light weight. Since I was still undecided on what to keep, I put these in the maybe pile.

5) This top was pretty, yes, but ohmygosh it was difficult to get on. It's sheer polka dots, and it comes with a camisole that is sewn in. What. A. Pain. That camisole got so took me at least five minutes to figure it out. Note my fake smile. It was the most I could muster. Once on, it was fine, you know? It fell nicely, the color was easy to fit into my wardrobe, it was age and work appropriate, all that jazz. But the thought of dealing with that cami again was stressing me out, so I took it off and stuffed it in the return bag as soon as I snapped the photos.

After I tried everything on, I was kind of bummed out. None of them were very wintry, and only one was a true show piece. I worried my style profile was too conservative, but then I thought about my first two fixes and felt like maybe this was just a case of a mis-matched stylist.

I decided to keep the lace print blouse because it was a nice look, I had to admit. When I wore it, I got lots of compliments, which magically happens every time I wear a Stitch Fix piece. That reinforced my belief that Stitch Fix stylists do see something that I don't, which is a huge reason for me to keep using the service.

When I scheduled my next fix, I specified that I want winter clothes. I'm a little worried they don't know what winter clothes are, being in San Francisco and all. A quick glance at their Styled Outfits page leads me to believe there's hope though!

Sign up here if you're interested in trying it out -- $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase, and you only get a fix when you ask for one.

Online Dating: Who Makes the First Move? (with a dash of racism)

Dec 20, 2013

In the first post I wrote in my Online Dating Series, I touched upon the issue of rejection: 

"You're about to get rejected a lot. Deal with it. And don't take it personally. The truth is, as a girl, you're getting way more messages, winks, pokes, likes, and whatever they come up with next, than guys. And generally in life, guys get rejected way more than girls do. Think about this: By the age of 30, you've been rejected, what, a couple of times a year since you turned 15? So let's say 30 times. Guys get rejected every week. That's 780 times. (Please note: I conducted no scientific research, I'm just estimating.) Again, don't feel bad for them, but also don't make a big deal about it when it happens to you. There are plenty of other idiot guys to get attention from."

Well, now we have some scientific-ish evidence to back it up.

Last summer, blogger John Millard conducted an experiment on OKCupid in which he discovered women are inundated with messages and replies while men barely get any. Below are the mock profiles he set up and monitored, and the results after four months:

Don't feel too bad. Last month AYI reported that Asian women were the top choice for everyone online, and Caucasian women mostly prefer Caucasian men, who mostly like everyone but them. (Read more details here if you're confused.) And to get even more racist, OKCupid reports that black women reply more than anyone but receive the fewest replies. On the flip side, white guys respond the least of all but receive the most replies.

And then there's this little infographic (note how far down on the list redheads are):

Now that we've admitted everyone's a little bit racist, let's get down to business. I felt the need to bring all this up first, though, to put the asking out in a little perspective. See, a lot of us gals feel awkward asking out guys, and worse, we've gone against our rules before and made the first move online and had little or no success.

I asked my bachelors how they felt about a being the first to make a move online. This was the immediate response I received from one of them:

And he followed up with this: I would ask a girl out if she contacted me first.

Bachelor Matt (@djsheeno) said:

I think more people would be dating and getting together if women acted on their interests and contacted the guy first, asked out the guy, sent a text (or called) instead of waiting for him to text/call. 

If the AYI evidence is any indicator, it seems like guys would jump at the chance to talk to girls who reach out to them first. But then there's that pesky OKCupid data...paradox upon paradox...

So let's dig deeper. Here's what survey respondents thought:

Sampling of Respondents' Answers:

If a guy doesn't have the balls to ask me out, he's already emasculated enough without me being the one to ask him out.

I wouldn't go out with a guy who didn't have the balls to ask me out. BUT - I know other girls who have no problem with it and it works for them... so whatever works for the individual.

My Thoughts:

Fine. Whoever wants to do the asking can do the asking. I'm a Southern belle and therefore it's very, very hard for me to ask out a guy. It's a fear deeply rooted in the fact that I asked out a guy I met at Spanish camp once and was put on restriction when my mother found out. I may, however, sort of ask out a guy that has taken me out on at least two proper dinner dates by saying something like, "Hey I have these tickets I got for this event a while ago and my friend was supposed to go to with me but she bailed so I thought you might be interested but no big deal if not I can always find someone else." It's important that I say that entire sentence in one breath to ensure he understands I'm not asking him out even though I am. The key points I must make sure I hit before he answers are:

1. I got the tickets before I even knew him. (Was actually just looking for an excuse to see him again because he hadn't called since last date so I'm trying to keep the momentum going.)
2. My friend was going to go with me. (Probably never said a word to the friend, but perhaps texted something to the friend along the lines of I'm going to ask that guy I like to go, but if he can't, do you want to go?)
3. I can always find someone else. (I want him to know I have lots and lots of options, but in reality most girls plan their social calendars at least a week in advance, and unless Robin Thicke is going to be there, they're probably not going to go with me.)

But, for the rest of you, ask each other out! Live life! Dance like you just listened to Ignition (Remix) on repeat for an hour! 

By the way? I thought I'd found my future husband on OKCupid the other day, and I took these thoughts to heart and wrote him a message first. Guess what Y'ALL?!?!?!? HE MESSAGED ME BACK! And then I messaged him again and he messaged me and then I replied and then he went all white guy on me and gave me radio silence and it's probably because I'm a redhead

Thanks a lot, guys. Now not only will I be single forever but I'm actually considering changing my hair color. 

Rough Week? Here's some inspirational stuff to ensure your Friday night is fantabuloustic.

Dec 13, 2013

I meant to pick back up the Online Dating series this week, but instead I fought through winter illness like a champ and now my face feels like it's going to explode.

What is that supposed to mean? you may be wondering.

It means that instead of going to the doctor, I gargled Makers Mark every night. It worked, y'all. But if you're a Southerner you already knew it would. Except it took an entire week for it to work and my sinuses are obviously traumatized.

The Bright Side: I can hit all the low notes in Britney Spears songs, so there's that.

Anywho, as demonstrated in season 3, episode 10 of Sex and the City, entitled "All or Nothing," where Carrie ponders "Can we have it all?" and Samantha gets the flu and realizes all the men in her life are worthless, I felt...somewhat down in the dumps this week. Here's what made me feel better:

You can tell I did this sick because I left off the "e" at the end of "America." Aaaand I just wrote "e" instead of "a". Being a grammar/spelling/punctuation nerd is a curse, y'all. *blows nose*
Let's just say I made some less-than-perfect decisions at the beginning of this week that I'll save for the memoir, but now that I'm at the end of the week I think they weren't so bad after all. Because...


...which led to this...

...and now that I've expended all my reserve mental energy for the week, I'm really grateful for this...

P.S. If you are not subscribing to Amy Poehler's Smart Girls then you are missing out on some saaaaaage advice, my friend.

Stitch Fix No. 2: Lessons Learned

Dec 3, 2013

Since I last posted about Stitch Fix (and then Stitch Fix picked it up and made the post my most popular by nearly 2,000 hits), I have definitely formed a little dependency. Not addiction...there's a difference y'all, and the latter involves abuse and I don't think I'm abusing until debt collectors call. Right? 

Here's the thing -- my main point about this service is that I think it can actually save you money in the long run. One terrible shopping habit I've worked years to break is buying something that I just sort of like, especially if it's on sale, and then only wearing it a couple of times, and then yelling "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!" at Noli, which isn't fair to her at all since she hates wearing clothes and therefore cannot relate. 

I have worked very hard to break this cycle, but sometimes, especially when a girl is feeling blue because the holidays remind her of her ex and how this time last year she was obsessing over what to get him for Christmas and then spent more money on a present than she ever had, not to mention it was a really frivolous item, but it was an investment in the future and worth seeing him smile, and now she'll be spending the holidays alone but at least she's lost 30 lbs. since the breakup, a girl's just gotta buy a new shirt to help her get over it.

My second Stitch Fix came at the absolutely perfect time -- the night I was stood up by one guy, got dumped by another over text, and then found out a third was telling the friend who set us up that I was a liar, because, as I've bemoaned before, DC is the smallest world in the world and the third guy, who lives in Baltimore, happens to be friends with the first guy, who lives in NOVA (Northern Virginia) somewhere, and -- guess what ladies? -- guys talk. And they made the connection then read my blog and bad mouthed me some more. 

I'd like to emphasize, though, that I was dating three guys at once. And I was feeling very Phoebe Buffay about the whole thing. 

The first thing I noticed was my stylist was different. And not only that, my stylist was a dude. And not only that, the dude told me to have a great time in St. Thomas, which was the trip I went on right after my first fix. And not only that, whomever signed my form was different than the stylist. I was nervous.

I was hoping for some fall/winter clothes because, on account of my recent weight loss, most of my fall/winter clothes are huge on me. When I saw Brent mention St. Thomas, I logged on to my account to try to figure out why that note was still popping up, as I had mentioned the trip when I first signed up. That's when I saw I had told them I was going to St. Thomas on my profile, not on my fix request.

Even with the St. Thomas mix-up, I was pretty pleased with my fix. Here's what I got:

1) My eyes immediately went to this cute blouse. The arrows were a nice twist on a black and white print, and the way it draped was unusual and flattering, almost like a wrap dress (which is a lifesaving style for us big-boobied ladies), plus some added length on the back to keep it from coming out of your skirt -- very nice touch. I put this in the keep pile.

2) I was enamored with this dress. I wasn't sure it would fit, but I was I gleeful when it did -- albeit difficult to get over my aforementioned chest. The top was navy and the bottom mustard, a color missing from my wardrobe that I've been wanting to try for a couple of years. I sent out a tweet to get some opinions, and the consensus was I should keep it. I went back and forth for a while but finally decided not to. It was pretty short and I think I was more excited about it fitting than how it looked. If I were in college? I'd have absolutely kept it. But I wouldn't have been able to eat for two months.


3) This jacket looked cool, but I had to fuss a lot with it to get it to look right. The zippers were very confusing and it wasn't something I particularly needed, as I have a pleather cropped motorcycle jacket from H&M already.

4) I liked this blouse because it was a rust color, which, like mustard, is not a color I have in my wardrobe. I've spent years thinking I can't wear anything with yellow tones because of my skin tone, but since I decided to become a redhead, yellow-toned colors seem to be okay on me. The fit was nice and it fell perfectly. But I really wanted to keep the black and white top, and since I needed clothes for fall/winter. I didn't want two sleeveless tops, so I decided not to keep it.

5) This was the last piece, and while I thought it was cute, I was self-conscious of the way it flared because I thought it made me look hippy. Now that I've gotten a little more used to my new size, I wish I'd kept this one. Not only was it swingy and a fun print, it was only $28!

I put the arrow top aside and placed the other items in the return bag. And then, the second before I sealed it, I realized I'd made a mistake. I have a million black and white things in my closet; what was I doing?! I snatched the rust blouse out, put the arrow one in, and quickly sealed the bag before I could change my mind. When I wore it the next day, I received lots of compliments.

My next fix is already scheduled! I'm really happy with what I've kept so far, and I'm still impressed with how the Stitch Fix stylists get it so right. They know my style and know when to push my beyond my boundaries. Not every piece is a win, but the ones that are are big wins.

Sign up here if you're interested in trying it out -- $20 styling fee goes toward your purchase, and you only get a fix when you ask for one.