Howard Stern (and Robin!) Said My Name (NSFW)

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 4.24.36 PMIt’s true. Howard Stern of the radio said my name, and he pronounced it perfectly (the first time). An old friend who has been a die-hard fan of the Howard Stern Show since we were in college at Penn State together in the freaking eighties was thoughtful enough to create this video clip and email it to me. Warning: this is not for the meek, mild, or minors among us:

 

If you’d rather not listen to something potentially offensive, I’ll just let you know Howard is discussing this article about bestiality I wrote (sorry) for Gizmodo back in 2011.

Of all the things I’ve written about, it’s mostly the articles about sex that have been the most popular (I realize this is not shocking). This necklace-slash-vibrator article received the most pageviews of anything I’ve ever written. This one, though depressing, did OK, too.

Then there was the article about the guy who got sued by FedEx because he made furniture out of their shipping boxes—that one had about 500k pageviews last time I checked, which was about eight years ago. Well, FedEx does rhyme with sex doesn’t it.

Anyway, Howard Stern said my name!

 

 

 

After One Month of Using the Jawbone UP MOVE: Progress!

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Photos by Kourosh Karimkhany
This post was sponsored by Jawbone UP MOVE.

I described previously how the Jawbone UPMOVE was already changing my behavior in a significant way, specifically when it comes to sleep, exercise, and diet. The device continues to affect my life in those categories, with one additional benefit: it doesn’t look out of place with an all-black outfit!

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I wore this to my teen’s junior high graduation and I felt good in it—and not just because all-black is slimming. The last time I wore these pants on the blog, I was demonstrating how to attempt to camouflage a seven-pound weight gain over the holidays. After using my UP MOVE for a month, I’ve lost more than half of that extra weight—four pounds! I have to say it’s great to feel in control of body again. I’m addicted to logging my sleep every night, which means more sleep and better metabolism. Same with recording my food and exercise—seeing my stats, as well as the UP App’s advice to eat more fiber and get to bed earlier, have proven to be key in getting me on the road to a weight I’m more comfortable with.

I’m particularly impressed with the workout logging function of the UP MOVE because if I forget to click my device beforehand, when I log on to the UP App, it greets me with: “It looks like you were really moving.” I’m like: “Thanks for noticing!” I can then let the app know what I was doing and how hard I was working and it estimates the number of calories I burned.

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I do believe the UP MOVE and I have a long an meaningful relationship ahead of us!

Wearing: Hayden Harnett pants, Pickwick + Weller (RIP) t-shirt, Surface to Air blazer, Freda Salvador shoes

Take the Stress Out of Father’s Day Gift Giving

Compensation was provided by T.J. Maxx and Mode Media

One reason my dad is awesome: he will chase down a toddler to get the shot.

One reason my dad is awesome: he will chase down a toddler to get the shot.

Everyone’s dad is the hardest person in the world to buy a gift for, right? I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. But I’ve found a tactic that works for finding great surprises for myself as well as for dad: Go to T.J. Maxx with an open mind, and see what goodies you find.

The merchandise at T.J. Maxx is always changing, and that’s one of the things I love about shopping there. There’s always a sense of discovery. My local T.J. Maxx is right next to the grocery store I visit weekly, so I make it a habit to stop by whether I have something in mind to buy or not.

Last week, I made my regular visit with a vague idea that I needed a Father’s Day gift. I was secretly hoping for some T.J. Maxx magic, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. I casually passed through the men’s clothing—that’s one of the many things he does not need—and headed to the tech gadgets. He loves his iPad, and is a master photographer. He’s got tons of accessories for his DSLR, but he hasn’t experimented much yet with the camera on his tablet. So when I spotted a fish-eye lens made for a mobile device, I snapped it up. Then I spotted a five-piece “task master” tool set, which included a magnetic pick-up tool, carabiner, light-up screwdriver and leveler. It was inexpensive, would be easy to ship to Pennsylvania, and since my dad is doing some kind of odd job around the house pretty much every day, I’m pretty sure he’ll use it often.

Mission accomplished! But no visit to T.J. Maxx is complete without a visit to the home section. I scored a ceramic frying pan—my latest cooking obsession.

I'm so serious: these were a score.

I’m so serious: these were a score.

On my way out, I also grabbed these tortoiseshell sunglasses for myself, plus a white polo shirt in my dad’s size. After all, clothes aren’t always about “need,” right? As usual, T.J. Maxx magic helped me make it work.

maxx savings. maxx style. maxx life.

Three Ways Jawbone’s UP MOVE Taught Me to Get Healthier

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Photos by Kourosh Karimkhany

This post was sponsored by Jawbone UP MOVE

I mentioned a few months ago that I gained some weight over the holidays. Somehow that’s half a year ago now and I still haven’t lost the pounds. In fact, to my chagrin and astonishment, I have gained a little more. I weigh more than I ever have before in my life, including post freshman-15. I think I’ve officially hit that age when losing weight has become ridiculously hard.

Or, maybe it’s the fact that I have zero willpower, and now that we have food in the house requested by our teenager—Cinnamon Toast Crunch,  Nutella, cheese crackers (you know the delicious, ingrediently ambiguous sandwich kind)—you can imagine what’s happening when I come home famished after a dance class. Especially when no one else is home to witness my immoderation.

Or, maybe it’s because I tend to only get myself out the door a couple times a week to exercise?

Who knows? Actually, I do, now. The mystery is being solved  by Jawbone’s UP MOVE. The timing was perfect for a collaboration with them, because I really didn’t know what to do about the continually rising numbers on the scale.

Now I know exactly what to do, because I’ve been wearing the UP MOVE watch-like device for a few weeks, and the corresponding UP App let’s me know where I’m killing it health- and fitness-wise and where I need some work. So far, here are the top three things I need to do to get healthier and finally lose that weight.

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1. Move more. On days when I go to dance class (usually Monday and Wednesday), I get all the movement I need. UP MOVE helps you count the number of steps you take every day, and my goal is 10,000. On dance days I get there easily. But on other days, I barely get to 3/4 of that. But, as UP MOVE has suggested, all I’d need a 20 minute walk and I’d reach my goal.  That’s easily done, and getting outside has lots of other benefits including helping me think more creatively and granting a dose of much-needed vitamin D.

2. Sleep more. I started using UP MOVE on a weekend, and thought I was a rockstar sleeper. The UP App was congratulating me left and right for sleeping more than most other women in my geographical region, as well as for getting some good sound sleep. But then Monday struck, and I discovered I stay up way too late and get up way too early Monday through Friday. Some nights I’m sleeping less than six hours, and I’m not going to bed at a consistent time. The UP App tells me that women who get more hours of sleep and go to bed at a consistent time have less body fat. That’s enough motivation for me to make a concerted effort to get more Zs—plus I’ll be more patient and in a better mood, which I’m sure my teen and toddler will appreciate!

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3. Eat smarter. I’m a calorie counter, so I tend to focus more on quantity than quality of food. But the UP MOVE device and app have taught me that’s not the best approach. After logging all my meals for the past few weeks, my score has been consistently around 5 or 6 (10 is the best), and the cause seems to mostly be BREAD AND SUGAR. But seeing that number go down from 9.5 to 6 because I added sugar to my oatmeal is helping me make better choices—i.e. now I put mango chunks in my oatmeal instead. Another favorite tip from the app: use avocado instead of mayo. I like avocado better anyway, I just always forget to buy them!

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I’ve only lost a pound so far, but I FEEL like I’m on a good trajectory. My goal is not to be skinny, just to be healthy so I’m around for these two kids for decades to come. I’d also prefer not to outgrow all of my clothes, you know? Stay tuned for my next installment in a couple weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Me Scan My Necklace Like Magic

margiela x h&m necklace long crystal collar

As we got ready for holiday entertaining and house guests, I decided to do some serious house cleaning. I sent loads of clothing to Crossroads Trading Company. But I thought maybe I could try my own hand at selling some of the mountain of costume jewelry I’ve acquired over the past couple of decades. All you need is a website and some decent photos, right? Well, I have the website, but I’m not the best photographer. Luckily, the Sprout by HP takes a perfect scan every time. Check it out in action in my video above—it’s only my second-ever video so please excuse the jankiness! Now I just need to get all the photos up on the site. Stand by!

Also check out here how I created an inspiration board for a gorgeous green room using the Sprout (and check out my first-ever video).

This post was sponsored by Sprout by HP.

So I Got Fired Yesterday

Yep, I got canned. It’s kind of the worst feeling, and it’s embarrassing, and my first instinct was to not let anyone ever know this really humiliating thing happened to me. In fact, I fibbed to one of my closest friends yesterday when I told her I couldn’t make it to the girl’s night out we’d planned because I’d “quit” my job and was upset about it (really sorry, Shadin).

Then I talked to my husband, who also got fired last year. He decided then not to take his employer’s offer to say it was a mutual agreement, not really a firing. I asked him why he would not take that opportunity to save face, and he said because it’s liberating to tell the truth. The job wasn’t right for him, and he got fired, why sugarcoat it? That got me thinking about my own hesitation to admit the truth of my shitcanning.

Then we picked up our daughter from daycare. As I waited for her caretaker to open the door, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that what’s on the other side of that door is what’s most important. Then it opened, and she gave me that smile and ran to me like I was the the most awesome person on earth.

I see quotes about how failure is good and necessary all over social media every day.

Here’s a great one from Maya Angelou:

“Courage allows the successful woman to fail-
and learn powerful lessons-
from the failure-
so that in the end,
she didn’t fail at all.”

Various outlets publish tons of lists of quotes on failure every year—but hardly anyone talks about their actual failures (Here’s one exception).

While reading the quotes makes me feel not as terrible, facing what’s real feels even less terrible. I want to live up to that awesome-person status, which would seem to require being an honest person. I got fired yesterday, y’all. I did some good writing at that job and I’m proud of my work. In the end it wasn’t enough, and it’s time to move on. So here’s to what’s next… omg what is next? I’ll try to figure that out over the weekend. Check back Monday, won’t you?

A Case for Counting Calories

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All those teaberry ice cream cone calories went straight into My Net Diary! Photo by my awesome cousin Bobbi Ann Bowen

It’s probably the least popular method for losing weight, because reality is just not that much fun. Admitting that you have to eat less and exercise more to lose weight is a truth that most of us, including myself, don’t like to face. But it’s how our bodies work, like it or not.

I’ve written about this before, yet I recently fell for another trick: I cut out all sugar from my diet for two weeks, expecting the pounds to fall off. I gained 4 pounds.

The problem is, tricks don’t work—except, of course, the tricks that actually result in eating fewer calories, which is what some of the low-carb, Weight Watchers and other methods do. But I find it so much more straightforward to simply log my caloric intake. You have control—you’re not relying on someone else to provide your food, or following some mysterious and weird regimen. People will try all sorts of complicated plans, from cleanses to paleo, anything but keeping an honest tally of how many calories they’re eating and burning off. It’s a little too real.

Don’t take my word for it, experts say the same thing. A calorie is a calorie. Some calories taste better than others, and some are better for your health than others. But, bottom line: if you eat more of them than you burn off, they will turn into fat. I know, bummer.

But, chin up, it can be fun to take control of your body by counting your calories! Recently, my scale approached my heaviest weight since back in college after I’d gained the freshman 15, and I wanted to nip that progression in the bud. Clothes weren’t fitting, I wasn’t eating healthy, and I didn’t feel good. So I started using My Net Diary (no, they are not sponsoring this post!). Over three weeks, I’ve lost about four pounds, and I’m committed to sticking to my plan.
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This Is My Skin on Technology

Just a picture of me and my face.

Just a picture of me and my face.

It occurred to me recently that my vanity is crowded not only with makeup, nail polish, curling irons, and various skin creams, but also quite a few items that can be reasonably categorized as technology. It also occurred to me that I love not having to go to a spa to use these devices. That’s exactly how lazy I am: going to a spa is even too much work. Luckily, if you throw a little money at the situation (though less than it would likely cost for a few spa treatments), you, too, can use these treatments in the comfort of your own home. Here are my tried and true beauty technologies. Note: when my husband looked at this post, he said: “They all look like pain machines.” I promise only one of them hurts (only just a little).
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Procrastinators, Unite


local take



You can order these cute Maggie Hurley giclee prints on wood and have them delivered on the same day with Six Doors

I am probably the worst procrastinator I’ve ever known. And despite limited scientific evidence that procrastination might actually help you get things done, I’ve always felt it’s mostly a bad trait of mine, especially around the holidays. Baking, decorating and, of course, shopping, end up getting done under duress. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, thanks to the amazing advances in shipping speed our civilization has seen in recent years. Case in point: Six Doors lets you ship on the same day as you order from a slew of  San Francisco boutiques, including Aldea Home + Baby, A&G Merch, Local Take, Urban Mercantile and tons more.

The folks at Six Doors asked me to curate a collection for them, which you can check out when you download the app. It’s entitled: “California Cool: Gifts cool kids of all ages will love.” It includes a beer bottle belt buckle, antler bottle openers, a really cute toddler dress, a terrarium, and lots more. All of these things you can not only have delivered on the same day as you order, but Six Doors will DELIVER FOR FREE in San Francisco until Christmas Eve—if the store’s open, they’ll deliver. Don’t you feel super ahead of the game all of a sudden?

Science of Style Friday: Do Horizontal Stripes Make You Look Fat? The Debate Rages

I’ve written about the science of stripes before, but new research has emerged and it’s time for an update. Especially since it’s summer, when nautical vacations call for sporting nautical blue (or red, or whatever) stripes. 

It’s a long-held belief that stripes going across the body will make you look short and fat. But a researcher in the U.K. seemed to have proven that’s empirically untrue. He showed that quite the opposite is actually the case. 

In 2008, Peter Thomson, a “perception expert” at the University of York took up the issue. He showed study volunteers 200 sets of pictures featuring women, all the same size, wearing horizontal and vertical stripes (in two separate outfits, of course). The vast majority of volunteers perceived the horizontally-striped women as thinner. He dug even deeper and found that even women wearing horizontal stripes who were 6 percent larger than those wearing vertical stripes could appear to be the same size. Audrey Lustig, who studies cognitive neuroscience, breaks the matter down even further at Ionpsych, if you’re interested.

I know you ain’t callin’ my baby fat. 

The idea (which is counter-intuitive today) that vertical stripes make you look wider and horizontal stripes make you look thinner goes all the way back to Hermann von Helmholtz, who theorized as much in the 19th century. But we’ve been ignoring the “Helmholtz effect” for more than 100 years. Isn’t that that is just rude? But we may have good reason. 

Last year, a woman named Val Waltham won the BBC Amateur Scientist Award for showing exactly the opposite. She put women in vertically and horizontally-striped outfits, took them out on the street and asked 500 passersby what they thought. In this case, the majority thought the horizontal stripes made women look bigger. 

The difference between the two studies is that the 2008 version used images, while in 2012, Waltham used real women. It would seem the latter is a more accurate way to judge. But, as scientists always say, a single study doesn’t prove anything, and more research is needed! 

Personally, I love Breton stripes and I feel strongly that if you find a stripe you like, you should wear it. Mama is Haute says even the French don’t find them too cliche to wear oftene—so you know they’re très chic. 

Published with Monogram