To Jazzercise or not to Jazzercise? That is the question.

So I've fallen off the Jazzercise wagon lately, what with my handicapped husband, family in town last week, and the Alzheimer's Memory Walk (which I brilliantly decided to run and then suffered several days of soreness afterwards). I reluctantly got back to it this week, but since so many of you are unfamiliar with the ritual, I thought I should take a few minutes to describe it to you.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT how Jazzercise patrons dress. I must emphasize that the stereotypical image of Olivia Newton John in her "Let's Get Physical" video is not how we roll (I usually sport a tank top and capri pants). So please permanently remove this mental picture from your brains:

It all begins with the yawns. I'm too tired to go. I don't really want to go. Can I think of a good reason (or two) to skip out? Will one of the Anorexic Girls be there today (while I know they are struggling with their demons and they are not healthy, I always feel like they must look at me and think, "Now there's a FATTY!")? And then I have to consider who's teaching...because if it's Miss Red Head With Perfect Piggy Tails I'm A Size Zero, then I can't go. If it's Miss I'm Gonna Give You All A Pep Talk For The Next Hour with, "C'mon, you can do it!" or "Don't you want to work off all the nachos & fries you inhaled over the weekend?" who smiles the entire time, rockets all over the stage like my girls' bouncy balls, all the while maintaining her precious, perfect little hairdo---then I don't wanna go.

There are at least four main types of women at Jazzercise: the obsessive Anorexic Girls who probably go to class 2x/day, 7 days/week; the super-fit & muscled-not-an-ounce-of-fat-on-me girls; the real/average American girls, and the heavier girls. While I definitely appreciate the variety of body shapes & sizes, I don't appreciate the supersized posters of Judy Jazzercise all over the walls. Her eyes follow me while I work out, kinda like the Mona Lisa. Which is not a good thing when I'm huffing and puffing and sweating buckets. I have to wonder: does Judy Jazzercise even eat? Look at her. She's also much too happy. Is anyone truly happy while working out? I'm only happy when I'm done.

I usually opt for a potty break when I hear that seven-minute-long Jazon Mraz song come on. Because that's a good way to shave a few minutes off the really rough ab workout. As I lay the toilet paper out prettily over the toilet seat, I admire myself in the mirror--I love the way my workout pants accent my muffin top. And my calves are so white everyone has to wear shades. While I'm in the bathroom I notice that someone has left quite a mess at the sink. So I take an extra minute to wipe that up, and then I put a new roll of paper towels on the rack. Voila! I've wasted enough time that once I come back out, it's silly to start when the crunches are nearly over!

As a general rule, I always stand in the back row. Then there are significantly fewer opportunities for people to be faced by my fanny. I can also do my daily comparisons and belittle myself, admire others' super cute workout gear, and ogle the perfect girls. It's also a safe way to ensure that I do each routine correctly; it's far easier to watch the people directly in front of me & imitate them rather than to squint at the instructor way up in front. This isn't foolproof, however. I routinely go left when I should be going right, bang into my neighbor and shout "Sorry!" over the pulsing music. Or I'm doing a pliƩ when everyone else is doing a jete. But I'm in the back row, so it's not glaringly obvious. Except to the instructor in the front of the room.

My favorite instructor is Sally. Sally happens to be a real/average American girl like myself. She isn't a pep talk person and she knows how to make the workout more fun. She'll talk about all the crap she ate over the weekend, all the beer she drank, and rant about her husband's latest antics (including a recent debacle with a homemade aquarium that leaked everywhere). She is real. She is not tiny. She sweats buckets like me. She gets tired during the workout like me. I appreciate that sort of thing because it makes me feel more normal. And because she helps me feel that way, I'm more inclined to go, and to seek out the classes she's teaching.
What do you like to do for exercise & how often do you do it? How do you stay motivated & realistic with your goals?



Leigh vs. Laundry has bestowed this award upon me and I'm just glowing! Thank you so very much, Leigh. Leigh is a kick and you must check her out immediately by clicking here. Her newest post, Lil Friday, was so cute and it made me want to call all my friends and leave them messages today. Maybe I still will!

The rules of this award require me to list 10 things you may not know about me. So here goes nuthin':

1. When I was in 2nd grade in Houma, LA, I won a spelling bee at Southland Mall. I won a set of giant dictionaries. I still have them.

2. I detest bell peppers. I can't even eat anything else that shared a plate with/touched them.

3. My maiden name is Best. When I was in grade school, some of the kids called me Erin Worst. How original.

4. I am afraid of flying. I am often the lone 30-something woman who cries when there's turbulence.

5. I have unfortunately inherited my dad's ugly toes.
6. I used to get a $2.50 weekly allowance when I was young. I spent most of it on books.

7. I sleep on my stomach. And often drool while doing so.

8. One day I would like to work at Whole Foods.

9. I hate pantyhose. And tights are not the same as pantyhose.

10. I think someone needs to make Spanx for men. Why don't men want to look svelte/desirable?

I want to pass this award along to:

Lee over at Headaches, Hormones, & Hot Flashes

Adventures of a Wanna-Be Supah Mommy

Matty Thoughts

Jennifer at Hope Studios
Holly at 504 Main


Outraged over this Filippa Hamilton shiggedy--size 4 is fat?

I read this article on model Filippa Hamilton today and immediately flew into a frenzy. Hamilton is 5' 10" and weighs in at a mere 120 pounds (she's a size 4), certainly waif-like by modern standards. She's been fired for being too fat and Ralph Lauren went so far as to alter her appearance in ads---making her head out to be the largest part of her:

It sickens me that women are held up to such impossibly high standards. Why is an anorexic body considered ideal and desirable? More importantly, when was the last time you heard of a male model being airbrushed? And what was Ralph Lauren thinking by tinkering with the photo to this extreme? I think she looks sick and emaciated. It saddens me because these are the ads our young girls see as they flip through the pages of their magazines. They learn that this is the way they are supposed to look.
It's no wonder girls are growing up with Anorexia and Bulimia. It's no wonder that fourth graders are counting calories. It's no surprise that they look in the mirror and feel ashamed of their bodies, which are supposed to have curves. REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES!
I should follow my own advice because I never like what I see in the mirror. But I'm trying. I confess I'm probably just as susceptible to what I see in magazines...even though I know it's not reality and it's not healthy.
I am trying to focus on my overall strength, health, and what I put into my body, rather than numbers on the scale. I try to go to Jazzercise four times per week, but that doesn't always happen (like this week). I am reading more labels while I'm doing my grocery shopping, and I'm also making an effort to shop the perimeter of the store, rather than the processed junk in the middle. I'm shunning most things with high fructose corn syrup--I used to think I was a rock star for eating Yoplait yogurt. But guess what? It's loaded with artificial junk (including high fructose corn syrup). Not good for you. Did you also know your whole wheat bread probably has high fructose corn syrup in it? For a few days, I challenge you to read the labels on things you like to eat, things your kids like to eat. It's scary when we realize we can't pronounce half the things going into our mouths. I challenge you to make some changes, however small, so that you're taking better care of yourself and your family. Be realistic. Be kind to yourself.
So, shame on you, Ralph Lauren. You are an asshat. You don't get it, and you're as pompous and pig-headed as they come.
As a nation we need to focus more on our health. Surely it's more important that models be healthy and strong instead of scrawny and starving.


Post It Note Tuesday---I did it!!

Okay, so it's a lame first attempt. But I'll do better next time, mmmm'kay? The point is that I actually did it my own self. Woohoo! Don't forget to drop by Supah Mommy's blog
to learn more & play along.

Best friends and braids; women's hair & femininity

When I was a little girl growing up in Houma, Louisiana, I had a best friend named Elizabeth. I loved her and our moms were close friends, so we spent a lot of time together. One thing I always loved and admired about Elizabeth was the two long braids she always wore in her hair. I coveted those long locks, as my own mother didn't like to let my hair get too long (understandably, since she was mostly the one dealing with it and working out those tangles!). Oh how I yearned to have long, luscious hair, hair long enough for those kinds of braids.

Elizabeth and I lost touch after my family moved to New Orleans when I was eight years old. One would think in the age of Facebook I'd have found her by now, but either she's not on Facebook or she's not interested in being found, or both. I've found and reconnected with scads of people from my past and it's really fun to see what everyone is up to 20-30 years later. Sadly Elizabeth is not one of those people.

Anyway, little Abby's hair is finally long enough to braid a bit. I confess I like the girls' hair shorter for the same reasons my mother did when I was growing up. But after this morning I am thinking about letting it grow out some. She didn't leave them in for long (Abby abhors accessories), but I wish she would have. This is what we came up with:

The pictures were snapped in a hurry as we were eating breakfast and getting ready for school. Izzy's hair isn't yet long enough to braid, unfortunately. Clearly Izzy is the one in the background being goofy!

It's interesting how much of our sense of self & our femininity is tied into our hair. If my hair looks bad in the morning or I can't seem to get it right, it has the potential to ruin my day. I also like my hair longer, but I don't have the patience for it (either to grow it or to deal with it once it's long). Moreover, I'm lazy and tend to put it up in a ponytail...so then I figure if it's in a ponytail every day, is there any point to having & keeping it long? Nor am I creative with it, can't style it or do up-dos to save my life. My hair is also very thick and takes a while to blow dry. So my options are limited. I'm currently trying to force myself to grow it out some, as I tend to feel more feminine & girly when it's longer.

If I was petite with delicate facial bone structure, I'd go for a pixie cut or bob like Halle Berry, Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes, Audrey Tatou:What about you? How has your hair changed over the years? And have your thoughts/feelings about it changed? If you could have any hairstyle, what would it be?


Need Female Fashionista Help --- PRONTO!

Okay ladies. I splurged on this new dress for winter/holidays/holiday parties, etc. It's from Boden USA & you can check it out here. I love it. It's a knit, sweater-y material. The top is light grey with white stripes, a band of orange in the middle, and the bottom is in slimming navy. It's knee-length.

Please don't think I'm dumb, but I'm assuming (and in the catalogue it was hard to tell in the photo of the model wearing it) I should pair this with navy tights and navy pumps. But is that too monochromatic? I don't own navy pumps, so I'm going to have to go out and get some. But I figured I should check with all of my very hip bloggy friends first.

Please advise and forgive me my stupidity and ineptitude!!!

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