Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week 8, Day 2 - The Proof is in the Statement!

Week 8, Day 2 Outfit: Ann Taylor Black Short-Sleeved Wrap Shirt, Lavender Rebecca Taylor pants, BCBG black slingbacks

Oh Joy! Finally some reinforcement for my toil! Today I got my credit card bill (through email, of course, who gets paper anymore?) and lo and behold, it was $500 less than it has been in the past couple of months! Can you believe it??? Okay, so perhaps the statement should have been less last month because it apparently takes 1.5 months for the benefits of rehab to kick in - at least for a shopaholic...but because of Mikey's birthday present and the camera which has been faithfully generating pictures for me on an almost daily basis (albeit at times very blurry pictures) - last month I used what normally would have been spent on clothes on other expenditures. But, HOLY COW! I knew I spent a lot of money on clothes...but $500 a month? Crazy! So...this now leaves me overwhelmed with thoughts about what I can do with the $500 that I would have normally squandered on clothing. The altruistic thing to do would be to donate it to a good cause - like Dress for Success...but part of me needs to enjoy having this surplus of cash in my account for awhile (I promise, at the end of this challenge, I will do something good for the world with what I end up saving). One thought is to start getting my "kicks" out of investing and completely replace the thrill of shopping with the thrill of gambling a bit on stocks. I know, many of you might be thinking - one addiction for another...but I can safely say that I am not prone to a gambling problem - ask my brother who scolds me everytime we go to Vegas for counting my chips each time I win or lose a hand at Blackjack. Hmmm...stocks...definitely a worthwhile hobby...Anyway...I can't write enough about my elation over what is finally some kind of reward for my restraint!

Speaking of restraints, I had no choice but to eat chicken for lunch today. I was delivering more training for another client in Knoxville and all that they had brought in for lunch was Chic-Fil-a chicken nuggets and chicken wraps...hmmm...do I want the chicken or chicken? Yes, yes, I could have been "one of those" and opened up the wrap and picked out the pieces of chicken, or I could have skipped over the chicken nuggets...but come on! These were Chic-Fil-a chicken nuggets! I must say that I did eat them with trepidation, afraid that I was either going to have a very bad gastrointestinal reaction to eating chicken after about a month of restraint...or afraid that the Vegetarian Heavens would open up and strike me down with some sharp skewered form of a celery stick. Obviously, neither happened, and I ate the chicken nuggets and sandwich wrap. What did happen, however, was a wave of guilt that washed over me, causing me to obsess over what I might have been able to eat instead...leftover bagels from breakfast? An orange or banana? A cup of yogurt? Oh well, I guess that's the "flex" part of the whole "flexitarian" thing that I'm trying...but honestly, I really did feel guilty (though I feel better knowing that Chic-Fil-a seems to treat their chickens better than other fast food restaurants - or maybe I just think this way because they close on Sundays to allow their employees to observe Sabbath).

Back to the clothes front...as I was folding my pair of lavendar pants to put in my "worn" bin, I noticed a huge hole in the crotch of my pants. Um....how long has that been there? Cue thoughts of me going over my day trying to determine if I had ever bent over to pick something up thereby exposing my underthings. I'm sure I must have - but let's just hope it wasn't during the 6 hours that I was training 12 people - standing at the front of the room with all eyes on me. Hmmm...perhaps that's why all the ratings I got for training today were 4's and 5's (out of a 5 point scale) - maybe I should try to decipher the male from female handwriting to see if the 5's came from the guys and the 4's came from the women (they would give above average ratings because my indescent exposure makes them feel more put together and better about themselves, of course)...one can only guess...anyone good at identifying man writing?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 8, Day 1 - Live from the Philadelphia Airport!

Week 8, Day 1 Outfit: Ann Taylor Loft Purple rouched sleeve sweater, Express Jeans, DSW black flats (not sure the brand, and given that someone is sitting next to me in the waiting area of my gate, probably not appropriate to take off my shoe to look)

I did it...one of my goals during this challenge was to post from an airport...and by golley, I'm doing it right now. My conditions were as such: 1) Wifi must be free (couldn't quite expense an internet fee for purely blog-posting purposes), 2) I have the time to do it...which I do...at least I think I do since everyone appears to still be waiting in the terminal. One of the things that I usually love about living near Detroit is the fact that we can find a direct flight to just about anywhere since we are a former-NWA hub (now known as Delta). Well, I could've done that today, but it would have cost my client an additional $600, so, being the good little consultant that I am, I went with the flight that requires me to fly from Detroit to Philadelphia, and then from Philly to Knoxville. So, my travel officially started at about 2:30 and will likely end around 11pm (by the time I get my car and roll into my hotel parking lot). So, those of you who think travel is oh so glamorous, know that it can really STINK - especially when weather is involved (I did have a delay leaving Detroit, but it did not impact my connection in Philly). Travel is cool, however, when you end up at a mountainous resort in Colorado (which was the case last week). Even though my flight out of Detroit was delayed, I still had an hour to spare between my connecting flights, so I stopped in at the airport-based wine bar called Vino Volo (there's one in Detroit as well) and snacked on a brie and prosciutto sandwich (minus the piggy) and drank a flight of white wines. Not too shabby...but I still would rather be at home eating and drinking with my 4 cats (yes, Mike counts as a cat - I think he used to be one in a previous life as is evident from the love for sardines and somewhat catlike unpredictableness).
In the Philly airport are several clothing stores - the Gap, Brooks Brothers, Swarovski, etc...that I used to stop at when flying in and out of Pittsburgh (that airport has the same stores). Well, it's funny how my natural inclination to go toward those stores had to be cognizantly stopped today as I remembered my challenge. In Psychology, there is a documented phenomenon discovered by Seligman where when you take an animal (in his case, rats) away from their natural environment when they are exposed to an addiction, they no longer receive the proper cues to prepare their bodies for the onslaught of the addictive substance thereby overdosing on the addictive substance when in a new environment. I would document my natural draw to the clothing stores in the airport today to be a watered down confirmation of such a theory...when taken out of the element of being at home and in an airport, an environment where you would not expect to see clothing stores, I naturally reverted back to my old thinking/addiction. But, I'd like to think of myself more intelligent than a rat, so therefore, I resisted!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week 7, Day 7 - Lounging Around

Week 7, Day 7 Outfit: North Face Fleece, Old Navy Fleece Pants

After a healthy consumption of wine last night at dinner, I spent most of the day in recovery mode...which means, comfortable "errand" clothes. Mike and I finally caught up on some episodes of Project Runway, I succumbed to my guilty pleasure of watching Dancing with the Stars, and are ending the night with a viewing of Raging Bull (clearly more Mike's pick than mine - which is why I'm blogging as we watch it).

This week will be pretty action-packed work-wise as I'll be traveling to Knoxville tomorrow, coming back last Tuesday night, then heading to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a client visit to our company headquarters. I'll be dining with the CEO and other senior leaders on Wednesday night at a rather exclusive restaurant...so I may have to use Wednesday as a "meat day." Speaking of which, I did give into eating seafood yesterday, even though this week was supposed to be a vegetarian week. It's hard to resist mussels at a four star restaurant! I have, however, stayed true to my week of no chocolate challenge - and it's certainly been a bit harder than I thought it'd be...my sweet cravings have instead been filled with girl scout cookies and rice krispie treats. Perhaps a more difficult week-long challenge would be to give up sweets altogether...wow, now we're talking!
Stay tuned for what I'm able to put together this week for all the different events...I'm thinking going through another black dress for Wednesday's dinner...we shall see!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 7, Day 6 - Dinner with the Boss

Week 7, Day 6 Outfit: BR purple sheath dress, Black Aldo Knee High pointy toed, kitten heeled boots (how's that for a description?)

Today began with a 1.5 hour hot yoga class - intense! I then came home to take a 2.5 hour nap to recover from the class (seems counterproductive if you ask me). We found out this morning that our middle cat, Martini, has a genetic heart disorder which has led to the bloated stomach that we mistakenly thought was weight gain due to the Prozac we forced on him. He now has to take pills twice a day and may need a biopsy if the swelling doesn't go down. Until I had cats, I was always one of "those" who used to think people who got all worked up about their pets' health were wack-jobs...but now being the owner of 3 cats, I can definitely understand how emotional it can be when you may lose one of them. Martini appears to be a bit more active today after getting his first dose of meds, so I'm hoping things are starting to look up.

Tonight we'll be dining with my boss - sans the other work couple that make up the last 3rd of our wine club. We're trying out a new restaurant owned by a chef I had read about a few years ago in a book that profiled this chef, Brian Polcyn, Michael Simon (now an Iron Chef), and Thomas Keller (owner of the renowned French Laundry). I LOVE fine dining - maybe almost too much...but now that I'm on this vegetarian kick, I think many of the menu items I would naturally gravitate toward (Fois Gras, Sweetbreads, Braised Beef) are definite no-no's. I did notice a few vegetarian menu items, so I'm very excited about that! For tonight, I figured I'd wear a sheath dress that is made of thick enough material to soon make it's way upstairs into the "off season" storage, so might as well churn through this one before it gets too hot outside to wear!
I finally moved and hung the clothes from my "worn" bin (which was already full and being covered with additional worn items) to the upstairs closet. I also spun through my "off season" closet (shouldn't this be a testament to how many clothes I really do own...to have an "off season" closet?) and grabbed a few items that can soon be worn as the temperature rises. The main closet has once again been filled to almost full capacity.

Mike and I got a massage today at one of those outdoor mall kind of establishments. Right across the street from the massage place was one of my favorite clothing stores - White House, Black Market. Normally, visions of the store displays would immediately get my heart racing - but, oddly, today, no such thing happened. Maybe it was because I didn't get a close look, or didn't like what they had on display...but something is definitely going on! Could I be (gasp) cured?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week 7, Days 4 & 5 - Acts of God

Week 7, Day 4 Outfit: BR beige wool sheath dress and jacket, Nine West knee-high boots
Week 7, Day 5 Outfit: Forever 21 sweater dress, BR black tights, BR snakeskin wedges

So, I never did have a chance to indulge in my much anticipated 4 course meal for $50. The roads outside my chalet were so covered in snow, and flurries were blowing so multi-directionally, that I could barely see in front of me. I spent about 20 minutes driving in circles, going the wrong way on one-way streets around the resort, and trying to stay what seemed like road in order to find the restaurant at which I made a reservation. At one point, I just said "screw it" and headed back to the parking lot of the condo to get my bearings straight. I pulled out the map again and identified my second choice for a restaurant and found that there were enough landmarks around it in order for me to not miss it in the blizzard. I guess I could have also taken a shuttle, but there was no parking around the shuttle stops and the signs for the pick-up locations were buried underneath at least 2 inches of snow. I ended up at the Inn @ Keystone - a very nice little boutique-y lodge with a Seafood restaurant that boasts using local ingredients. Hmmm...when you're in the mountains, 1.5 hours from Denver, I highly doubt that seafood is all that local. Regardless, given that I still had a couple of fish-eating days in my week, I went with the Mahi Mahi...which was just okay. My room (as you can see from the Day 4 picture above), was nice and cozy - very ski resortish. It was clearly built a while back, as evidenced by the fact that it had a bidet and a jacuzzi tub. There was a gas fireplace in the living room which was so inviting, that I decided to sleep on the couch (a much easier feat for someone 5'1") than in the bedroom. The jacuzzi tub had a shower head installed on the ceiling (which makes for a nice 10 minute "hunt for the switch to turn on the shower" activity). The walls surrounding the tub were mirrored, with the last wall being a clear window that overlooked the sunken living area - which had 3 huge windows overlooking the majestic mountains outside. Very nice set-up, except for the fact that if you can see out, anyone outside can see in! Luckily, when you're showering at 5:45 AM at a ski resort, you can rest assured that no one will be out and about peering into windows - especially after a blizzard! During the training session that I facilitated, I mentioned to the client that I found it odd that I had a bidet in my room. She came back with "thanks a lot, that's my timeshare, you know." OOOPS! She seemed pretty unoffended by it though and did mention that she plans on getting rid of it - eventually. Good thing I didn't say something like "I feel like I'm in the Poconos mountains in the 70's given the cheesy jacuzzi tub and all" (you all know what I'm talking about, right? I'm sure you've seen the magazine ads for the Poconos resort that still boasts about having the only champagne glass shaped jacuzzi tub).
Travel back home from Denver was as uneventful as it could be...especially in light of the fact that many of the travelers at the Denver airport were carryovers from the day prior. Because Denver got 12 inches of snow on Tuesday night, everything was shut down that evening and Wednesday morning, which means that you are dealing with a lot of pissed off people desperately trying to catch the next flight out back to their original destination. They get even more pissed off by the fact that they get no remuneration for their travel woes because snowstorms fall into the "Acts of God" category...therefore, the airline is not responsible for putting you up in a hotel or feeding you. It's times like these that you can either see the best or worst in people. There are people who react to every little travel mishap (I must sadly admit that I likely fall in this category)...you know, the ones who snort or violently shake their head when the ticket counter person announces that the flight will be delayed (even if just for 5 minutes). Then, there are the positive people who head straight to the bar and get hammered...so regardless of what bad news they receive about their flight, they just order another shot. Now, these "happy" people, mind you, are also the ones that wreak of booze when they get on the plane, pass out, and snore loudly during red-eye flights thereby allowing no one peaceful rest except for themselves. Hmmm, not sure which type of traveler I'd rather be!

Last night was my last "fish" day before this upcoming week of being vegetarian...so I went out for sushi with Jen and Maggie. Given that there are few days left in winter, I decided to fish (no pun intended) for a sweater that I could churn through without starting to exhaust my spring/summer wear. Good thing I did, because after dinner, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, there was snow and ice on the outside of my car, and my flimsy raincoat did nothing in terms of keeping me warm. Yay, sweater!

My week-long challenge to not eat chocolate has been kept up - even to the extent that I was removing chocolate chips from the rice krispie treat that was packed in my lunch during my client meeting on Wednesday. I had the hugest craving for something sweet when I got home from dinner last night and knowing that chocolate was off limits, I got very jazzed about a fruit pizza I had leftover from my Sunday get together with the DUB club members. Imagine my reaction when I opened the fridge and discovered that the craved fruit pizza was MIA. Can we say - grrrrrrrrrrrrr? Such an event might have made me turn to chocolate - but because I knew I'd have to blog about it, I instead took a bath to help me forget. Since when is a bath as good as chocolate? NEVER!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Week 7, Day 3 - Ironic!

Week 7, Day 3 Outfit: North Face jacket, green BR turtleneck, BR skinny jeans, Black Ugg boots (yes, I know, I'm repeating 3 articles here, but these are the legit ones...the turtleneck will go in the "worn" bin when I return home)

Remember that song by Alanis Morsette "Well, isn't it ironic, don't you think?" Today is the day of irony! It began with me at the airport recognizing a face I have not seen for awhile. It was the face of Torie, the Banana Republic manager at the Toledo mall. I saw her in the security checkpoint line, and then when boarding my mid-size plane to Denver, CO, she was seated 2 rows behind my assigned seat. Sitting next to my assigned seat was a very large man that I really had no desire to spend a 4 hour flight betwixt, so I gave him the "no offense, but given that there are 4 rows on the other side that are empty, I'm going to do us both a favor and situate myself in one of them so as to give us more room." I first started in the next row down, but those seats ended up being assigned to others, so moving one more row back put me right across the aisle of Torie. She glanced at me with what I thought was a look of recognition, but I didn't try too hard to make eye contact in case she didn't want me blurting out "hey, don't you work at Banana Republic?" So, I rode the entire 4 hours keeping to my own business, meanwhile stealing glances at her thinking "how funny is this?" A Banana Republic manager, going to the same place I am, on this day and hour, and across the row from me? Part of me wanted to strike up conversation with her to see how much of a dent I've made in their sales by taking on this challenge...but then again, figured she'd think I was a totally crazy for thinking that one single person could make any kind of impact on their sales.

The second painful irony of today is that I am at a beautiful ski resort, it's coming down white fluffy snow, and I am spending it working! Well, I'm kind of done with the work part and am going to continue watching the rented iTunes movie (the Traveler's Wife, which I'm loving so far) before it expires (it self-destructs after 12 hours...and, okay, one more "doh!" moment, I forgot to fully charge my computer battery last night and therefore only got halfway through the movie on the plane before my computer shut itself down). Also, free night skiing lift passes are only available from Wednesday - Friday...double-doh (as today is Tuesday)! Half-price lift tickets begin at noon and end at 4:30...I rolled in around 3pm...triple-doh! The worst part about it is that I actually added 20 lbs. to my carry on by packing all my ski clothes...boy, would that have made for an interesting outfit or what?? So, sadly, I am staring outside of the window of my beautiful chateau, at the pine trees and lightly falling snow, and am going to enjoy ZERO of it. Well, I am going to treat myself to a nice dinner at the golf course restaurant that offers 4 courses for $50 (which, I might add, was a restaurant recommended to me by my client, so I'm guessing she's okay with the bill). Why not??? I made it all the way out here, didn't I??? I might as well make use of the beautiful surroundings and get gussied up a bit while I'm at it. Yes, Alanis, it is ironic, but I'm making lemonade out of my lemon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Week 7, Day 1 - Hostess

Week 7, Day 1 Outfit: Red Susanna Monoco Wrap Dress

Last night I hosted our monthly DUB club get together with my fellow female wino's. Given that I was playing hostess, I figured I'd wear a comfortable dress that was also a bit festive. The red color was perfect for when I pulled out a hot vegetable lasagna from the oven and dropped it on the floor, splattering marinara sauce all over me - like I said, good thing the dress was red! True friends are those who rush to your aid when you are clearly a little too tipsy to be pulling hot lasagna out of the oven and come to sponge tomato sauce off of your arms and face! Thanks Ladies!

I've been receiving texts from some friends asking when my challenge ends as they have made plans to go to various stores. Sadly, I still have about 45 weeks to go! I don't have the urge, however, so I guess this challenge will prove to be easier than I thought. Then again, there's always vacations - which I would normally spend half of exploring boutique stores and buying items that I can't find in Toledo (which is a lot!). Regarding other challenges, however, the meat-free thing is going pretty well. I feel a lot better when I am able to avoid dairy and meat. I actually resisted eating pizza the other day, which gave me quite a feeling of satisfaction! I have failed to keep up (or even try) my meditation challenge. I figured that if I went to yoga, that would count toward my 30 minutes of meditation...but given my schedule this past week, it's been a bit hard. So, as I enter into the last full week of March, I'm going to need to re-think what my challenge will be. Hmmm...no chocolate for a week? I think that's fair and pretty easy to maintain (not to be confused with easy to do). Okay, starting today, I will not eat chocolate for a week. Done!

Today I'll be taking it easy as I mentally prepare for my business trip out to Colorado. The work itself won't be too difficult...but just flying halfway across the country, driving 1.5 hours from Denver to the ski resort, deliverying a full day of training the next day, and then heading back to the airport to fly home and arrive around midnight is going to be a bit exhausting. I mentioned to another co-worker who is a ski enthusiast that I would try to get myself to ski for the 1/2 day tomorrow that I'll have to spare. I checked out prices for lift tickets, however, and they are pricey...unless they offer a 1/2 day discount, I don't think I can rationalize spending $100 for 4 hours of skiing. Then again, I used to be able to rationalize spending $100 in 30 minutes of shopping...so perhaps I should adjust my thinking. Stay tuned for tomorrow when I blog about what I decided to do at the ski resort - maybe I should give the spa some thought - the funny part about this is I'd be spending as much at the spa for 1/2 the time of entertainment. Gosh, my priorities are really messed up!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 6, Days 6 & 7 - Recruitment Weekend

Week 6, Day 6 Outfit: Black BR cardigan, BR Pink polka-dotted shell, Ann Taylor Loft khakis, black leather flats (not sure of the brand, bought them at DSW)

Week 6, Day 7 Outfit: Black BR puff-sleeved wool shirt, Express Jeans, BR Pink polka-dotted sash (good thing I didn't wear this with Day 6's outfit - it'd look like I was hit by a pink polka-dotted truck), Lovely People black patent leather pumps

This weekend is the BGSU I/O's annual recruitment weekend where prospective graduate students come to experience the program and meet the current graduate students and faculty (and their significant others). Having been a grad student myself, and now tethered to the program through my marriage to Mike, it's interesting to reflect on the fact that about 10 years ago, I too was going through this process. Now, I am definitely beginning to feel my age as students who seemed so young to me are graduating and getting academic or applied jobs. I have the hardest time explaining to the prospective students who I am and why I know so much about BG's grad school program - because my identity is "Mike's wife" - a wife that used to be his student (I'll allow a moment for the gasp and eyebrow raising from those of you who did not know how Mike and I met).
Since I don't see the graduate students all that often, this weekend is a chance for me to reconnect with them and catch up. Some of them are aware of and following this blog, others did not realize I was embarking on this challenge. The male students of course reacted with "what's so hard about not shopping for 365 days?" while their female significant others found it interesting that I might have enough clothes to last me an entire year without repeating anything. Speaking of which, I have kind of snuck in the black top that I wore yesterday on other days where another outfit took center stage. So, I am finally having to retire this shirt to my bin of "worn" and may not be wearing it again for a year.

Yesterday morning, I had breakfast with some fellow yogi's and we chatted briefly about my blog and how often each of us shop for clothes. Lisa, who I have accompanied on a few shopping trips (where I ultimately ended up buying twice as much as she did), was surprised at how many clothes I have from Banana Republic. Lisa's statement was in some ways a re-confirmation of why I am doing this challenge...to approach some kind of shopping norm that I used to be 2 or 3 standard deviations away from (there's a fun term for you stats nerds). Who knows what will happen by the time this challenge is over...will I be more conscious of how often I go out and spend? Will I have found other more meaningful ways of spending my time? I have to admit that the thrill of clothes shopping has transferred a bit over into home goods shopping. After breakfast yesterday, I got really excited about going to Pier 1 to buy a few things for the home to jazz up what we refer to as our wine room. It's kind of like a recoverying alcoholic turning to smoking or a ex-smoker turning to eating. Yikes! - I hope I won't have to resort to also ruling out other forms of shopping.
On Thursday night, I started gathering up all the hangers that have been bared and got a strange sense of satisfaction with how much of an empty gap those hangers created in my closet...so, almost 7 weeks into this challenge, I can finally say that churning through my closet a day at a time is finally making a dent. However, there is another closet upstairs with warmer weather reserves that will likely soon be making its way down in the next month or so...summer is coming!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 6, Days 4 & 5 - St. Patty's Day + 1

Week 6, Day 4 Outfit: Ann Taylor Loft GREEN wrap shirt, black BR pencil skirt, Joan and David black patent leather pumps (guest appearance: Sunny the cat, what a ham!)

Week 6, Day 5 Outfit: Ann Taylor gold silk blouse, black BR trousers, Joan and David black patent leather pumps

I headed up to my regular Detroit "hotel" (a married co-worker couple's apartment that has been generously offered to me to crash at when I report into the office, which is about a 1.25 hr drive from home- I usually get in two days of back to back "office time" because of this generous offer). During my Detroit trips, it's harder to blog because I usually end up spending my after work hours draining bottles of wine with Mike and Lyn. I've become so inculcated into their family that I have started to think of myself as their second child - yes, I am competing for their attention with a 1 yr. old boy named Beck (which I might add, has a future in Gap Kid ads because he has perfect features). Yesterday, I joined them for a St. Patty's day dinner and ate meat for the first time since my wine dinner at the Toledo Museum a couple of weeks ago. I am definitely beginning to notice how quickly my system is forgetting meat and how eating just a bite-ful of it is such a conscious effort, that it's actually easier to not eat it at all. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the corned beef...really enjoyed it...but definitely think I've got this flexitarian thing down. Tonight, I ate what was probably an over processed cheese and mushroom frozen pizza and my stomach nearly exploded from the butter and cheese loaded on it. Hmmm...maybe being Vegan really is my destiny!

During our monthly office meeting yesterday, when we got around to the "people news" section, the male meeting facilitator turned to me, with cocked eyebrow, and asked if there was a certain challenge that I wanted to share with the group. Seeing this as an opportunity for shamelessly publicizing this blog, I did share with the group about my goal to avoid buying clothes for a year (now I really need to stick through this as long as possible as my very reputation at work is at stake - especially since they all refer to me as the "fashionista"). Those in the office who have been keeping up with the blog asked me to share about my arrest warrant, which ended up becoming the highlight of my story. Speaking of which, I have finally received a notification of my speeding ticket (on an ever so otherwise easily missed postcard the thickness of the kind of "no postage required" cards you find stuffed inside of magazines - actually, this card was actually thinner). Apparently, no court hearing has been scheduled for me, and I am instead expected to pay $145. In the breakdown of this total, $10 of the $145 is the actual "fine" for speeding 5 miles over the speed limit, $95 attributed to what is labeled as "Costs", and $45 for what is labeled as "State Costs." Can someone tell me what the difference is between "Costs" and "State Costs?" WTF????? Please note, that I rarely swear in blogs - ok, this is really my first blog, but anyway - I am so annoyed as to how an agency that is being funded by good tax dollars (not mine, of course, because I live in OHIO) can run so terribly, inefficiently, and we-don't-give-a-f**k-about-you-ly (yes, I just invented a new word in blogland). ARGHHHHH! I am SO calling this place to give them a piece of my mind (which will surely dwindle down to nothing after likely being on hold for 15 minutes when I call).

So, I have been giving much thought to the fact that I have made a commitment to take on a new week-long challenge each month (in addition to giving up shopping). Given that March is over 1/2 way through, I need to get crackin' on this month's challenge. Since I'll be traveling quite a bit these next few weeks, I figured the "easiest" (or rather most likely to be maintained this next week) challenge to do is 30 minutes of meditation each day for a week. So, starting tomorrow, I'm beginning this challenge. I tried meditating with Mikey last June for a weekend when we were trying a detox weekend (this followed by 3 days in Vegas binge eating and drinking)...and I actually enjoyed it. I was only able to last 10 minutes - which will therefore make it quite interesting to try for 30 minutes...wow, that seems like a long time...which is all the more reason it has to be 30, not 10 minutes. My travels next week involve a trip out to Denver, followed by a 1.5 hr drive into Key Stone for my client engagement. I've decided that I WILL ski, even if by myself and somewhat rusty from not having done it in 10 years. How can you be in Key Stone, CO at a ski resort, in a condo that is (according to the client) right next to the lift, and not embark upon the opportunity that has been placed in your hands? Plus, that's one more day's worth of clothing I would otherwise not wear that will count toward my challenge! Oh what fun!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 6, Day 3 - Chicago Reprise

Week 6, Day 3 Outfit: J Crew wool blazer, Ann Taylor Loft beige sleeveless tee, BR striped black skirt with (too difficult to see from my lame self portrait) beige diagonal lines, Nine West knee length boots

I spent today mostly in a remote suburb away from the city that I have developed a bit of an obsession over in the past week - Chicago (sigh). Perhaps it's the good eating I've been doing, the energy generated from buzz of outside foot traffic on the city streets now that the weather is better, or just the sheer fact that the mid-size town life that I've lived in the past 10 years is finally making me crave city-life. Regardless, I love Chicago and will make it a point to venture into the city whenever possible - even if my hotel is booked way off in the outskirts!

My reunion with Mimi (my highschool pal) last night was surreal! It's as if we never lost touch! We met up around 9pm yesterday at her hotel and went across the street to a sparkling wine bar named Pops and feasted on truffle salt sprinkled french fries (since I'm still doing my veggie kick). She and I traded stories of what various friends that we've kept in touch with are up to and reminisced about past acquaintances. It's fuzzy to me when Mimi and I were closest in high school - but clearly there were years when we either didn't know each other or spent more time apart as there were names she mentioned that I vaguely recall but can't put a face to.

My rental car yesterday was a Toyota Prius - wow, what a neat car...though it does take a little getting used to pushing a button to turn a 2 ton vehicle on (actually, it probably weighs less in order to get the crazy mpg that it does - I didn't even have to fill the tank up before returning the vehicle to the rental car agency). I asked the Enterprise representative if I need to be trained on how to turn the car off should it decide to unexpectedly accelerate...and he quickly shot back that the car has already been "fixed" (he must get that a lot...and is probably pretty fed up with remarks such as mine).
I'm entering into a month of crazy travel again, starting with yesterday and today's travel to and from Chicago (which will be followed by a trip to Keystone, CO, Knoxville, TN, Pittsburgh, PA, Atlanta, GA - all in a month's time!). I had a couple hours to kill at the Midway airport, so I decided to treat myself to a sitdown meal at a Chicago favorite - Harry Carey's @ the airport. Funny I should choose that restaurant given my vow to a week of being vegetarian (except for my co-worker's St. Patty's Day dinner tomorrow - yummm, corned beef!). I ordered the bruschetta and decided to ask for no cheese (I'm trying to be Vegan when I can). The restaurant was overstuffed with tables that were so close that other lone business travelers like me were confined to a section of two-seaters that were placed close together so as to encourage socialization. This, I believe, is a restaurant ploy to get one-partied people talking so they feel comfortable enough to share a table, thereby allowing the restaurant to accommodate "real" parties that would make full use of the two or four seaters that they had originally planned to fill. Well, it worked. I was typing away on my computer (actually intending to work on my blog at Harry Carey's - how neat would that have been?) when a gentleman next to me asked if there was free WiFi (which is business travel code for, "I have a lot of spare time and wouldn't mind a little company...and am throwing out an innocent question to gauge if you'd be obliged to have a conversation with me to pass the time"). And, my answer was "no (to the WiFi question, not to the question in code), but I'm only purchasing it to do personal things - and download my email so I have less to sift through when I'm back in the office tomorrow"). After nibbling on a couple of pieces of my bruschetta, and feeling the awkward distance between myself and the business traveler grow even more awkward, he broke the silence by asking if I was Korean...and quickly followed that question with "because my girlfriend is Korean" (my guess to put me at ease and let me know that he was not trying to hit on me). So, thus began our conversation about why we were both in Chicago, me finding out that he went to school in Tennessee (which is where I was born) and every 5 minutes or so finding out that we were in the same city at the same time or had some weird thing in common. This kept up for about 20 minutes until a waitress - seeing that the restaurant's ploy to get us to share a table was backfiring and was instead keeping us at our individual tables longer - came to my table and reminded me that there was a line of people waiting to be seated. I glanced at my watch and realized that I best be heading to my gate anyway, so my new temporary friend and I said our goodbyes. Ahhhh...such is the life of a business traveler (and no, for those of you who saw Up in the Air, I am not the Vera woman and this guy was not George Clooney)!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week 6, Day 1 & 2 - High School Reunion

Week 6, Day 1 Outfit (not pictured): Ann Taylor Loft green corduroy dress, black leggings, Coach rainboots

Week 6, Day 2 Outfit: Turquoise cowlneck sweater from Forever 21, White House Black Market wool high-waisted trousers, Franco Sarto black ankle boots (another BR free day...imagine that!).

I forgot to take a picture of my outfit yesterday and am too lazy to recreate it. My look from yesterday could be best described as "elf-like" - a short green corduroy dress paired with the Coach rainboots seen in the post from Friday. I had packed and painstakingly wore those boots to Chicago expecting there to be a ton of rain - only to find that there was some annoying drizzle but nothing that my Uggs couldn't have handled. The boots were comfortable enough, but after a 2 mile roundtrip walk to and from the Architectural Society down Michigan Avenue, my feet were naturally feeling the effects of a rubber knee high shoe and it's unforgiving stiffness. I now have a little rash where the shoe chaffed the top of my foot - ouch! Throughout the day, I could have sworn that I was catching whiffs of burnt rubber...perhaps it was actually the smell of singed skin!

The rest of our Chicago weekend getaway was wonderful. We had the most amazing and bizarre meal at Moto (the restaurant I blogged about a few days ago). True to my advisor's description, each course was very unexpected and a play off of normally recognizable foods. For instance, we were served a "cigar" which was actually roasted peppers wrapped in swiss chard leaves presented in an ash tray with black and white sesame seed "ashes." It was not only superbly unique, but also quite delicious. Another noteworthy dish was the "carrot cake" which was actually a white chocolate cylinder filled with carrot puree. We opted for the wine pairing (yes, we went all out) and enjoyed 9 half-pours of wine with each course. This is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity - one I highly recommend to my fellow foodies. Sunday was spent strolling down Michigan Ave and exploring a mini-replica of the city of Chicago. It is so neat to see all the different styles of architecture within a 3 mile radius. I'm definitely doing the architecture tour next time we visit Chicago.

So, I made the 4 hour drive back home with Mike only to unpack and then repack for a short business trip back to Chicago (this time I'm flying)! Though my client meeting is in the suburbs of Chicago, I'll be meeting a high school friend that I have reconnected with through Facebook in downtown for a drink. I just can't get enough of that great city! Given that we haven't seen each other for awhile, I figured I'd go one notch up from jeans and a sweater and wear what could end up being my business attire for tomorrow (photography-happy gurus out there, please don't criticize the faux pas I am commiting by taking a picture in front of a lighted area - I kind of like the "I'm walking through the heavenly gates" look, don't you?). I did pack other stuff but have not tried it on to see if the separates work together to create an outfit (remember, I don't like packing and like even less having to figure out what goes with what - so I just throw different things in together and hope for the best). While I was browsing one of the many artsy "buy stuff in here that you don't need" stores in Chicago - I came across a book that was written for mastering the art of packing. One of the recommendations was to try things on before they go in the suitcase - I guess this is the #1 cardinal sin that I commit...but I seem to manage...it's easy to do when after a 1.5 months of not wearing the same thing (with exceptions, of course) that I still cannot see the wall behind my clothes...I'm thinking maybe at the 3 month mark I'll begin to see open spaces?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 5, Day 7 - Resist the Temptation!

Week 5, Day 7 Outfit: BR Purple knit top, Silver Jeans (I packed light!), Brooks Tennis Shoes (to withstand the massive walking in downtown Chicago!); Evening Attire: Ann Taylor Loft black faux wrap-dress, Nine West knee-high boots

Day 2 in Chicago and still having a blast! Last night, we started with a drink at the bar of a Brazilian Steakhouse (what a complete 180 from dining at the Vegan Soul Food Restaurant!) and then headed to a wine bar/restaurant and enjoyed small plates of mini-grilled cheese sandwiches, a sampling of creamy cheeses, and a roasted beet salad - all paired with different glasses of wines. I was able to fight off the urge to eat seafood and luckily, Mikey was game. We then headed to a hole in the wall blues club and I finally got to see Mikey shake his tail feathers like he has always claimed to do when hearing good blues music. This was Mike and I painting Chicago red - which brought us old fogies back to the hotel by midnight.

This morning, we headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art and had as much fun chuckling at items being sold at the store as we did seeing the actual pieces on display. Mike and I are giving serious thought to purchasing a faux moosehead made out of cardboard - you have to see it to get the humor in this. We then hit up a sushi restaurant for a light lunch (all vegetarian, of course) and then Mike headed off to his beloved jazz CD store and I substituted my clothing shopping for home goods shopping at Crate & Barrel (see above picture above of me resisting the strong pull into the monstrous Banana Republic - it's almost as if the wind was blowing me away from the store - thank you wind!). It's been great substituting time that would have originally been wasted on spending more money on clothing with something more memorable and meaningful. Okay, yes, I admit, spending money at Crate & Barrel really is not all that much better than buying another pair of jeans or a dressy top for a night out on the town - but baby steps, right? Kind of like substituting fish for meat. I'll eventually repent in my conspicuous consumptive ways and finally become the responsible adult that my mom always wanted to be - maybe :)

Tonight, Mike and I are going all out with a 10 course dinner at a restaurant described by my grad school advisor as one of the most interesting dining experiences he has ever had - one that begins with you eating the menu. We've decided to challenge the chef a little by requesting strictly vegetarian food. I figure a good chef should be able to create a 10 course vegetarian meal that is not made up of fake meat products but consists more of fresh produce and legumes. We shall see! Stay tuned...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 5, Day 6 - Trip to Chi-Town!

Week 5, Day 6 Outfit: Ann Taylor Loft white blouse, The North Face black zip-up, Silver Jeans, Coach Rainboots

Today is Mikey's 41st Birthday, so our trip to Chicago has finally arrived! I started the day at a 6A cycle class and ran into Maggie who was signed up for the yoga class at that time...so I asked her join me and Mike for breakfast. His choice was of course the seedy bar near our house that at 7:15A was already packed with 3rd shift workers drinking Miller Light (which, in case you don't know, is a union endorsed beer) with their scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, and toast - niiiiice...well, not that I can blame them - last night's shift was kind of like my Friday's at 5pm - except for today which I decided to use as a vacation day in order to get an earlier start to the Windy City.

Mike and I left in time to catch lunch at a Vegan Soul Food restaurant recommended to us by Elaine (a fellow spinner and Vegan mentor to me). I must say, it was the most amazing and surprising vegetarian meal I've ever had. Mike had some kind of bbq rib look alike that turned heads as it was being brought to our table. I had the jerkfu wrap (tofu with jerk seasoning wrapped in a spinach tortilla). Though we were full, we succumbed to one of the vegan cake offerings (we decided on orange) which continued to reinforce the restaurant's reputation. I could definitely become vegan if restaurants like this existed in Toledo!

After lunch, Mike and I ventured to the University of Chicago area and went on a tour of the Robie House (a Frank Lloyd Wright original). Sigh...to live in a place like that (but can you say, money pit??? The cost to refurbish such a piece of art would be astronomical!). As I'm sure many of you are tiring of seeing me pose in front of the entrance into our house, I decided to change things up a bit today and take a picture outdoors in front of this beautiful home. After our tour, we made our way to the hotel to check in, and can I just say - I could not have picked a worse place for us to stay (unless Banana Republic rents out fitting rooms as overnight stays) as I am in my second month into this challenge. I am right across the street from the Water Tower. Those of you who don't know the magnificent mile, the Water Tower is a shopping mecca - complete with a huge Macy's, and several stores within the comforts of an indoor 4 or 5-story mall that is situated just south of other major stores on Michigan Avenue - such as the 4 story Banana Republic (which I had last hit up in early February promising myself that I would just buy "must haves" and walked out with over $100 in purchases of "want to haves"). Oh, willpower, don't fail me now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Week 5, Day 5 - This old thing?

Week 5, Day 5 Outfit: BR pink v-neck knit top, BR black linen pants, Gianni Bini black heeled loafers.

Today, I'm sporting what might be one of the oldest articles of clothing in my closet...a shirt that I purchased back in 2002 (almost 8 years ago!) from (you guessed it!) Banana Republic. Putting on this shirt brings me back to the days of graduate school when I was living on a stipend and what my husband calls an excessive amount of student loans (of course he says that, as he's helping to pay them off - remember that "for richer or for poorer" part in the vows?). Even when I was a student, the shopping addiction was present. My friend Shelby and I used to joke that we were the poster girls of Student Loans - because, at the beginning of each semester, we'd head to the bursar's office to wait in line to pick up our fat checks from the government (meant to last us all semester, mind you), drive straight to the mall, and would leave several hours later holding overstuffed bags. And, naturally, we'd finish off our shopping sprees with a nice dinner that inevitably involved a high bar tab. Ahhh...such were the days - living it up even when we weren't working. Contrast that to my husband's "in my days" type stories where he lived off of ramen noodles, had several roommates, and wore t-shirts and torn jeans (which is not too far a cry from what he presently wears).

Funny how even articles of clothing can trigger nostalgia and remind me of a specific time period associated with the purchase of that item (you may recall me blogging in a previous post about the fact that I can pretty much remember when and where I bought each piece - I guess it's kind of easy when most of my clothes come from BR). When I bought this shirt, my now 8 yr. old nephew Ethan was still a baby, and I remember purchasing this right before heading south to Atlanta to visit him, my brother, and my sister-in-law. Each visit to Atlanta always included a trip to the nearby outdoor mall (where they, of course, had a Banana Republic - a well-stocked one I might add). I remember seeing the shirt I'm wearing today in many other colors at that store and fighting the urge to get one in each color. Since I did buy this item full-price, I was less inclined to give into the urge, and likely bought a few other sale items instead. Oh, those were the days! Actually, those were pre-Mikey days, when it was easy for me to steal away to the mall with my sister-in-law and spend hours shopping without worrying how bored my husband was sitting at the nearby Barnes and Noble reading his book. Oh, and those were the days before Ethan had his own agenda for our outings...as well as his since born sister, Reese...although you can bet that once Reese enters into her teen years, Aunt Lilly will be all about taking her out to shop! We'll likely need to start with Gap Kids.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week 5, Day 4 - My other challenge

Week 5, Day 4 Outfit: Jammies

Well, today is another work from home day (I've been loving this week!) so I'm in my usual loungewear, plaid PJ's and a red fleece, so I'm not posting a picture of my attire today. I am, however, posting a picture of my calendar to show that I am serious about this Flexitarian challenge - which, I might add, is a lot harder than I thought it'd be. In a post last Thursday, I had mentioned that I wanted to alternate between weeks of being allowed to eat seafood and weeks where I would be strictly vegetarian...in order to keep track of this, I have drawn icons on my calendar to remind me which days I can eat seafood and which I cannot. When I can help it, I am trying to avoid eating fish altogether, but may choose to eat it when out at a restaurant (can't give up sushi!) and it's the healthier option compared to a dinner of french fries or something equally bad for me. I did designate St. Patrick's Day "Meat Day" - the one day a month that I can eat whatever I choose - because I've received an invitation to a co-worker's St. Patty's Day dinner party, and I just can't pass up her corned beef. Plus, it'll likely be weird if all I eat are potatoes and boiled cabbage (although, since I know wine will be served with dinner, I'd probably get a very quick buzz with only potatoes and cabbage in my tummy).

I'm trying to think what this month's 1-week challenge is going to be...so February was the Vegan-tarian Challenge...given that I got pulled over for speeding, perhaps my week-long challenge for this month really should be to drive the speed limit. Oh gosh, that one is way harder (those of you who have ridden with me, and grip the passenger side door with white knuckles, know that I have a bit of a lead foot - it's my LA upbringing!)! Some ideas I have are: fasting for a week (I'll have to save this for a really uneventful month), not using a car at all (this will have to be in the summertime so I can bike to places), no TV (that one really isn't all that hard for me), spending only $50 the entire week, giving up my PDA (that will have to coincide with a vacation, as that one is really really hard to do if I expect to have a job when that challenge is over). If any of you readers can think of other challenges, let me know. The criteria is that it has to be an act toward self-improvement, can be sustained for a week, and is challenging enough to be called a challenge. And, no, giving up alcohol is not an option - at least not yet.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 5, Day 3 - Free BR $10 Certificate!

Week 5, Day 3 Outfit: Ann Taylor Loft white belted short-sleeve button down, Ann Taylor Loft Brown corduroys, Brown BR open toed heels

First come, first serve!! Yesterday, I received a $10 Banana Republic Reward Card for being such a great little spender at the store (a wave of sadness is suddenly rushing over me...but I'll get over it!). Staying true to my challenge, I have decided to offer up this reward card to the first person who posts a comment to today's post (note, you must use the reward card in conjunction with your Banana Republic card). So, whoever wants it, just post and let me know where to send it (or if I know your email address, just let me know and I'll contact you for your mailing address). I kind of feel like a street dealer giving little samples of my goods to prospective clients.

Today is another work from home day, but involves an evening out with our neighbors. We had bought tickets awhile ago to see Jim Breuer (aka Goat Boy from Saturday Night Live several years back) at our local comedy club. For this reason, I'm actually wearing normal clothes and figured that people are getting tired of seeing pictures of me in yoga gear.

During my 6A spinning class this morning (yes, I have kept it up!), one of my fellow spinners told me she found the blog and remarked on how many clothes I have from Banana Republic. Yes, I admit, probably 70% of my wardrobe is from there - not only because they offer many of their clothes in Petites (this is a real gift to those of us who are under 5'4"), but also because they have sucked me into their Luxe program, which offers free shipping, free alternations, and $10 rewards card for every X dollars charged to the card (notice that I chose not to disclose what that would be given that I just received one in the mail for my past "indiscretions"). So, I have decided to make today a "BR-Free" day, well, except for the shoes...which has left me to wearing all Loft items (another store at which I frequented quite a bit). It's sad, you know when you are shopping too much when you walk into a clothing store and the sales reps all recognize you. They may not know your name, but they say "Oh, Hi!' The "Oh" in front of the "hi" signals to you that you are more than just a "can I help you find anything?" patron and have climbed to a higher (or lower, depending on how you look at it) status. At times, I would react to the salesperson's recognition with a slightly embarrassed smile knowing that they are thinking "it's that girl with a shopping addiction again...but yay, that means I'll make my sales goal today!" I wonder what they'll say when I resurface next February...maybe "she must have been in prison for a year because she maxed out her credit cards and couldn't pay them back." Based on the "warrant for my arrest" post, we all know that the pathway to prison really isn't all too difficult to walk down!

Week 5, Day 2 - Spring has Sprung!

Week 5, Day 2 Outfit: Old Navy Bright Green tank, Grey Everlast Yoga Pants, Lulelumon Pink Polka-Dotted socks

For those of you reading this from a location subject to colder climates, I'm sure you have noticed a wonderful phenomenon taking place over the course of the past week - the thawing of our environment! The snow is slowly melting away and popping up right as the last bit of white disappears is a bit of spiky green - the sign that daffodils are about to grace us with their vibrant color! Okay, I know I'm sounding a bit hokey here, but let's face it - we're all sick of the snow!

In honor of the approaching season, I decided to wear a bright green tank as I headed outside for a run yesterday. I figured that since I am somewhat cheating by getting to re-wear my fitness clothes on my work from home days, I should at least take a couple pictures (and also try to keep things different with each one I'm taking). You'll probably notice the bright pink polka-dotted athletic socks peeking from underneath my yoga pants. As obnoxious as they are, they are the only saving grace for Mike as he attempts to pair together my otherwise non-descript white socks after doing a load of laundry. Whether or not he realizes that the socks with the Nike swoosh on the back should be paired with the other socks with the Nike swooshes are a true test of his detail orientation - I'm sorry to say that he has failed this test...more than once. He once even paired one of his socks (he wears size 11 in Men's) with the grey patch on the heel with one of mine (which to his credit, looked like his, but just a tad smaller - okay, much smaller...almost like baby bear sitting in papa bear's chair). You can imagine my bewilderment when I arrived at my spinning class, opened up the darned ball, and found my sock completely engulfed in Mike's sock. I did proceed to stuff my foot (now wearing Mike's sock) into my already snug spinning shoes...which made for an interesting and slightly uncomfortable class. Bless Mikey, though...at least he does the laundry, right?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 5, Day 1 - Oscar Night

Week 5, Day 1 Outfit: BR green silk halter, Max Studio Black silk pants, Silver Target strappy kitten heel slides (not pictured...and not nearly as interesting as the Naughty Monkey shoes posted on Friday)

"I'm ready for my close-up"...well, okay, not actually, because close up pictures of me don't reveal my entire outfit. I tried striking a pose several times before this picture was taken, even with a hired hand (aka, my husband) - but none seemed to come out. I will admit, that I am quite selective as to which pictures I upload on my blog and end up with quite a few takes before selecting the one that best captures the outfit and, of course, makes me look taller and thinner (again, kind of like those lying mirrors in all the clothing stores).

Yesterday was marked with a lot of cooking as I prepared Asian-inspired bites for my Oscar Party guests to enjoy. I had to give up on the vegetarian thing and succumb to fish as 1/2 of the menu consisted of seafood (I can't force my guests to eat tofu and butter-less or egg-less products, can I?). On the e-vite, I encouraged my guests to wear their best Hollywood Garb. I wish I had taken better pictures of everyone coming in with their interpretations of Hollywood attire. Mike G came in with a white t-shirt, jeans, and some huge-ass sunglasses. He titled his display "I'm dressed as a celebrity going out for groceries." - I love it! Jen came in flip flops...and fortunately enough, the weather was permitting - it would have been even more interesting if there was still inches of snow on the ground. Linnelle and Dennis brought their Schnoodle who donned a dog dress with little poofs (like the kind that you used to see on the end of tennis socks) all around it...very adorable. I, like always, was notably overdressed - but I'm the hostess...so I've got to wear uncomfortable shoes as I walk around the kitchen carting appetizers back and forth to the living room, right?

The Oscars were pretty entertaining last night. We had a competition to see who could pick the most winners. It came down to me and Mike - and he lost to me by going out on a limb and picking Meryl Streep over Sandra Bullock - which, in Oscar politico fashion, was a no-no...you have to give the person who will likely not be nominated again the trophy - DUH-UH (Mike is fully aware of this strategy, but likes to go out on a limb and take a risk)!

Needless to say, after last night's attire, today is PJ's followed by Yoga gear day. I'll see if I can wear something interesting and yoga-ish to post later on tonight.

Week 4, Day 7

Week 4, Day 7 Outfit: White top from a local boutique called Raggaza (don't know the name of the designer), Old Navy plaid wool brown skirt, Liz Claiborne slouchy suede boots.

Saturday was marked with major cranky behavior. I could not stop snapping at my beloved husband...it seemed like every little thing he was doing was grating on my nerves...and this was to no fault of him. Even nice things he was doing for me, I found upsetting. So, what might have caused this crankiness? Well, one prime suspect is the monthly joy that we ladies get to endure during the mid-section of our lives...but I think it was more than that. Perhaps the withdrawal from not shopping and not eating meat was wearing on me and causing some unforeseen snippiness (yes, that's a word in blog-land). I managed to take a perfectly good night out, which involved a scrumptious meal at one of THE best vegetarian restaurants around (Seva, in Ann Arbor) and an uplifting Po' Girl (a mostly female Canadian folk group) concert, and ruin it! My saintly husband just waited out the Lilly storm and I'm sure prayed to the crankiness gods that I would be over this spell come Sunday...which I was...but not without a bit of guilt about my poor husband's hurt feelings-which strangely enough, came across as me still being a bit crazy and defensive. How does that work? How come even when we're sorry, we manage to be a bit touchy about it, even if it's our fault?

Anyway, let this blog be an ode to my patient husband. I love you Mikey (too bad you aren't following my BLOG! You could post this on your facebook page and proudly display your patient temperament!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 4, Day 6 - Androgenous

Week 4, Day 6 Outfit: BR (yes, of course, what else?) blue sweater, BR white button down, Gap khaki corduroys, funky rainbow striped shoes by a company called Naughty Monkey (took another picture of them to show you how funky they really are!)

So, a client of mine (who used to work for my company) is coming to BG today to give a talk, so I'll be meeting up with him at lunch. Do I dress up, wear jeans, or do something in between? As you can see from above, I decided on the in-between route. I threw on a blue sweater to go over my white shirt and suddenly feel kind of masculine...hence the title of today's post. However, fashion has previously dictated that a woman dressed in men's clothes can be quite the statement...so much so that at times, you wonder as you are perusing items of clothing at a unisex store whether some of the men's items were accidentally hung on the woman's side. Brings back visions of Kim Bassinger in 9-1/2 weeks...where she had this steamy scene with Mickey Rourke dressed in menswear.

For those of you who read my "Warrant for my arrest" blog, you maybe interested to know that I finally got around to calling the courthouse to schedule a hearing, and they told me that I should wait for them to send an appointment date through the mail. Wait a second here, wasn't the whole reason for my potential arrest due to the fact that I had failed to change my address? How on earth would they expect me to receive a letter in the mail if they don't even have the right address on file? Or, are they doing this on purpose in order to be able to issue another warrant for my arrest because I failed to appear in court? That way, another cop pockets the cash down payment that I put toward remaining un-incarcerated and the state of Michigan once again is left scratching their head as to why they are in such dire straights. For the love of Obama...what in the world is wrong with these state-run agencies???

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 4, Day 5 - It's a Cycle Sushi Kind of a Day!

I'm on the way out the door to my 45 minute cycle class followed by Pilates (aka, yoga, but with a sadistic twist). I'll be meeting some friends for sushi after...so will post more when I get back.
Back from sushi...and decided to challenge myself today by going to a sushi restaurant but not eating any fish! I had miso soup as a starter, agedofu spinach goma-ae (yummy!), and a veggie roll. Altogether not too hard to resist...although smells of deep fried fish were wafting in the parking lot as I walked to the restaurant. I'm determining that I need to come up with some rules if I'm going to take this flexitarian thing seriously. Perhaps I alternate weeks of eating strictly vegetarian with weeks of being allowed to eat fish...and then allow myself one cheat day where I can eat meat. Like the shopping challenge, I feel that just by typing this into my blog, I have already solidified my new lifestyle. Now, for how long do I adhere to this alternating week thing? Hmmm...3 months? Okay, that settles it...I will strive to alternate between vegetarian and aquatarian weeks, with one carnitarian (hee, hee, I made up a word) day (my hope is that after awhile, I won't even really be that excited about meat...but living a life without being able to eat Chick-Fil-A and Trotters (a local steak place that has the most killer steak marinade) just seems unbearable to me!
So, today I paid off what will hopefully be my last Banana Republic credit card bill for a year. I had to go onto the website to check my balance and just like being in the mall, averted my eyes from center screen and scrolled straight down to the bottom of the webpage. I did allow myself one glance up to see what was being showcased and did an "ehhh" with a shrug. Yes, that's right, I was not all that impressed with what I saw! Usually, a visual of a supermodel dressed in her "casual" attire (which usually involves several layers of clothing complete with a scarf, even when it's supposedly the middle of summer) induces a deep down longing feeling that forces my fingers to move the mouse to the "complete this look" link...and before I know it, I've dropped $300 on a "casual" outfit. Ha! Flashy webpages, you no longer have power over me...meet the new Lilly (ok, or Lilly who still has an ounce of willpower left after going less than a month without shopping).

Week 4, Day 4 - MIA

Week 4, Day 4 Outfit: White House Black Market dress, BR black snakeskin wedges
Sorry if I freaked everyone out by not posting yesterday...especially after such an eventful post on Tuesday morning! No, the police did not come back for me and lock me up (though I still need to schedule a court hearing...hmm...what will I wear that day? I'm thinking my best rendition of Sarah Palin will signal to the judge that I am a responsible citizen and am clearly a victim of a ridiculous legal system). You'll notice that I was sporting my "intellectual" look yesterday. My eyes have an occassional dry spell that forces me to go contact-less for a few days. This intellectual look, however, did fit in quite nicely last night as Mike and I dined with Toledo's high society during a 5 course German wine-tasting dinner at the Toledo Museum of Art's glass pavilion. What an event! We began by snacking on passed appetizers and sipping sparkling Riesling. We then were seated at our tables and feasted on multiple courses paired with other Rieslings (yes, I'll confess, I ate meat...how could you not when 3 of the 5 courses consisted of quail, rabbit, and pork?). This is why I love dresses...you can eat as much as you want and still remain relatively comfortable as your waist slowly (or quickly if you engage in a few beer bongs) expands throughout the night! The winemaker himself was there providing us with a bit of background on each of the wines after one of the musuem curators introduced us to different pieces of artwork that were used for entertaining back in the days. My favorite piece of art was what they called a "Trick glass in the form of a stag." I'll let your imagination run wild and try to imagine what such an artifice might be (let's just say, it may require drinking out of the rear end of a glass stag).
Today is a work from home day, so I'll be lounging in my PJ's. I might take a picture of my spinning gear and post it later...just to keep things interesting. My box of "worn" clothes is getting quite compact and needs to be moved to our upstairs closet and hung up (as they are acquiring quite a few wrinkles being cooped up in the plastic bin). I figure a once a month "hanging of the clothes" will suffice. Good thing I'll only have to do this 12 times! Now...off to call the courthouse...ugh.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week 4, Day 3 - Warrant for my Arrest!

Week 4, Day 3 Outfit: BR dark teal button-down, BR grey wool trousers, Black Calvin Klein ankle boots (with pointy heels that get stuck in mud on the side of the freeway...read on to understand why this is an important detail)

I should have gotten dressed this morning in my husband's black and white prisoner Halloween costume because there is apparently a warrant for my arrest in Allen Park, MI. Heading into work this morning, traveling on Southfield Highway in Michigan, I sped past a stealthily positioned cop car and had that "oh crap" moment as I started to decelerate. Sure enough, he quickly pulled out, crossed over 2 lanes to follow me, and then turned on his flashers. As I sat parked waiting for him to come back with some altruistic response like "I'll list down that you were going 65 instead of 71 in a 55 mph zone," he came back to my car empty-handed...never a good sign. "I have bad news," he says (tone of voice in total contrast with the message). "There is a warrant for your arrest for failure to change your address." I give him a blank stare and say..."huh? When did that happen?" In 2006, I was pulled over in about the same area on my way home, and the officer had cited me not only for speeding, but for having an outdated address on file. I fuzzily remember dealing with this, but apparently inappropriately, as I now have a $300 bond attached to my name (good thing I've given up shopping, huh?). Anyhow, I was asked by the policeman to step into his car (he was nice enough to say, "I'm not going to cuff you," well, thank God for that, because my attire today does not seem to really go with steel-colored handcuffs). After getting into his car, he asked if I had any cash on me [insert thoughts of "what the hell?" "should I jump out of here and run for my life?"]. I guess if you are a non-Michigan resident and commit some act of vehicular crime, you are required to pay $100 in cash or the "law enforcer" has the right to take you into the police station or hold onto your driver's license. Who carries around that much cash these days? Well, as you might have guessed, I did not have that kind of cash on hand, so the officer had to drive me to the nearest ATM (in his cop car, mind you). As we pulled up to the credit union, I could see people all around me getting frantic and worried that some kind of armed robbery was about to take place. Exit me from the police car with all eyes on my criminal self, as I quickly walk to the ATM, withdraw $300, and then head back to the car as if I were running a regular errand. I paid the officer the 10% of my bond for release, jumped back into my car, and now have to contact the court to schedule my hearing. Moral of the story: the state of Michigan is hurting financially...really hurting.
When having dinner with Jen and Maggie the other night and discussing my trial vegan-tarianism, we came up with the idea of me taking on some "good for me or the world" challenge each month for a week (because giving up shopping just isn't hard enough, at least not yet). Perhaps my challenge for next month should be driving the speed limit. I have a day-by-day Car Talk calendar on my home office desk, and the other day read about the fact that driving 55 mph is the optimal for getting the gas mileage. They also shared an interesting tidbit about the fact that every 5 miles you go over 55 mph, you are actually burning gas at a rate that would equate to paying .21 cents more per gallon for gas. Wow! Maybe I should try this challenge and see how many miles I can drive on one tank of gas. If I do this, all of you who I meet up with on a regular basis will have to cut me a little slack for showing up to our get togethers late and very irritable due to a conflict between my Type A personality and slow as molasses driving pace!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 4, Day 2 - Lounging Around

Week 4, Day 2 Outfit: Red Columbia Fleece, "Little Miss Lucky" t-shirt from Urban Outfitters, Target Yoga Pants
Ahhhh, I love Monday work-from-home days. Not only do they make breaking into the week more bearable, they also give me the opportunity to wear comfy clothes and lounge about. When I'm at home on Monday's, I usually end the day with my favorite yoga class at Essence (our local yoga/spinning/pilates studio) with Mike. Mike is a bit of a snob when it comes to yoga instructors as he is only willing to take yoga instructions from the owner of the studio. I, on the other hand, am somewhat of a yoga addict, jumping at any opportunity I can to be stretched and end up in "corpse pose," a pose that I used to find the least bearable of all because it required relaxing and trying to clear my mind of thoughts. Of late, however, I'm finding corpse pose somewhat enjoyable, and have found myself drifting off to sleep a time or two (this behavior, by the way, is very characteristic of my husband and is usually paired with sound effects--snoring).
My legs feel like huge tree trunks after 2 days of back-to-back running outside. Though I dread the run, having sun outside and temperatures above 30 degrees is reward enough for forcing myself out onto the streets, pounding pavement to the energizing beat of Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold." Other favorites include the classic "Sexy Back" and "Yeah!" by usher. Yes, it is acceptable to listen to age inappropriate music when you are wearing headphones and no one else is aware of what is reverberating between your ears. Much of the music I have latched onto comes from my spinning classes. Speaking of which, I must have been somehow brainwashed during my 6A yoga class from last Friday, because something compelled me to sign up for the 6A cycle class tomorrow. Maybe it's the fact that we're starting to get more sunlight? Who knows...but there is something exhilirating about getting a workout in before most people wake up. Back at UC San Diego, I remember seeing our college crew team wearing t-shirts saying "We get more done before 5A than you get done all day." Hmmm...kind of a nice thing to aspire to being able to say...note the emphasis on the word "aspire!"