Archive | February, 2015

What I Learned From the Grammys 2015

9 Feb

photo (11)

Because I missed the first 30 minutes of the show, I’ll give you my reactions as I saw them.

* The first thing I saw was Pharell accepting his Grammy then reneging on promise to moonwalk off stage. Let this be a lesson: if you say you’re gonna moonwalk, you’d better moonwalk. Otherwise all trust is lost.

* After Pharell, I was shocked to see Smokey Robinson’s face. Smokey may have also been shocked. Or maybe that’s the way his doctor has sculpted his face. I don’t know anything but it was a surprise to both of us.

* Miranda Lambert, who’s been very op[en about her weight loss, looked great on stage. I don’t listen to country music, so I couldn’t tell you what her song was about. I only became intrigued when part of it was bleeped out for so long I thought Eminem had joined her on stage.

* Sam Smith got his second award of the night and thanked everyone for “just letting me be me,” a mantra we should all take with us as we continue on this journey of life.

* Kanye modeled the latest in workout wear, especially in these frigid temps. Thanks for looking out for us, ‘Ye.

* Madonna is 56. Repeat: Madonna is 56. (However, my 19-year-old cousin likened her performance to “watching ya grandma twerk.”)

Yahoo Entertainment via Tumblr  http://yahooentertainment.tumblr.com/

Yahoo Entertainment via Tumblr

* Beyond that, the song and staging was a mashup of Take a Bow+Express Yourself+Like Prayer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

* Did anyone else notice the playoff music sounded like something evil was lurking around the corner?

* Beyonce addressed the BeyHive in her acceptance speech. BeyHive collectivly loses its shit.

* Somehow Ed Sheeran was able to get the best backup band of all time: Herbie Hancock, Questlove and John Mayer. That’s pretty amazing. (Don’t know his song either, but his voice is nice).

* For the second time last night, the 50-and-up crowd had a band to rock out to. This time it was E.L.O., a band whose name I didn’t know but whose music I’d heard. And I wasn’t the only one. Sir Paul McCartney became everyone’s dad jamming to his song at the family reunion when E.L.O. got on stage. Cheers to rocking out in your 70s!

mccartney

* Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani sang…or something. The orchestra was great, though.

(At this point, “Walking Dead” fans creeped into my timeline with their spoilers. They all suck…until I can watch the episode.)

* Last year, Annie Lennox made a couple of comments that ruffled my feathers. First, there was the whole Beyonce-is-feminist-lite thing, which made no sense. Then there was the whitewashing of “Strange Fruit,” a song specifically about lynching. Because I’m petty, I couldn’t enjoy Annie’s rendition of Nina Simone’s version of “I Put a Spell on You.” I’m sure it was lovely, but I’m not ready for her yet.

* Pharell looked like he was auditioning for the sequel to “Grand Budapest Hotel” as he performed “Happy” what has to be the billionth time in the past year. But kudos to him for having his dancers perform in hoodies and stand for a moment in the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” stance.

pharell

* President Obama and a domestic abuse survivor introduced Katy Perry, who surprisingly sang pretty well. I was slightly distracted by her Solange copy fit, though.

* Lady Gaga sang with Tony Bennett. They were both painted a disturbing shade of orange.

* I am a Stevie Wonder stan. I listen to “Songs in the Key of Life” in full at least twice a month. The rest of the month, I’m rotating through my favorite songs. Last month it was “Rocket Love.” So imagine my joy when Usher started “If It’s Magic.” I had to grab my tissues. Then Stevie came out to hit a few bars of his harmonica solo. It. Was. EVERYTHING!!

stevie

* I’ve only listened to “FourFiveSeconds” briefly, so the show was the first time I’d actually listened to it. Thoughts: Rihanna’s vocals are getting so much better. Kanye wasn’t as hyped as I would have liked. Paul McCartney’s mic wasn’t on. Still it’s the most hood folk song I’ve ever heard, and I’m here for it.

* Mary J. Blige sang “Stay With Me” with Sam Smith. I could have died in that moment a happy person.

mjb_samsmith

* Prince!!!

prince2

* Kanye almost Kanye’s Beck’s acceptance speech. There were several great moments in this: 1) Kanye being able to laugh at himself. 2) Beck truly being at a loss for how he beat Sam Smith, Beyonce, Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran. 3) And this Vine of Jay-Z silently saying “Don’t do it.”

* Kristin Wiig was grown-up Maddie Ziegler while Sia sang “Chandelier” to a wall. Maddie gets all the props for making everyone think her crazy jumping around was just that and not extensive choreography. It takes work to look a fool and not hurt yourself in the process. Maddie wins.

* Somewhere between “conscious uncoupling” and Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Martin got buff. Yes, Lord!

* There was minor controversy surrounding Beyonce singing “Precious Lord,” seeing as how Ledisi sang it in “Selma” (beautifully, I might add). I didn’t hate Beyonce’s performance, but I did wait for the goosebumps. “Precious Lord” is the kind of song you feel in your bones, and I didn’t get that. But she still did well. Put it this way: the BeyHive won’t be defecting any time soon.

* Common and John Legend dueted on “Glory” and it was glorious. It’s a great song with a powerful message. My fingers are crossed for an Oscar.

commonlegend

Apparently I missed AC/DC, Ariana Grande and…I think that’s it. I’m OK with that. All in all, it was a pretty blah Grammys. There weren’t a lot of get-out-of-your seat moments. Hopefully the Oscars will be better.

What did you think of the show?

Plus-Sized Bikini

6 Feb

For the first time in its 50 years of existence, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue will feature a “plus-sized” model. I use quotes because, well…

This is Robyn Lawley. And while she’s curvier than your Chanel Imans and Joan Smalls of the world, it’sĀ a bit of a stretch to call her “plus sized.” And I’m not alone. Lawley herself says she’s just a model, adding plus-size to the title isn’t necessary. At a size 12, she meets the industry’s definitionĀ of a plus-sized model. But by the looks of it, she could go either way.

Small confession: I used to watch theĀ making of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition when I was a kid. I thought those women were gorgeous and modeling always intrigued me. It could be because I couldn’t take a decent picture to save my life. But it could also be because I was envious of their locations and their bodies. I grew up watching Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks andĀ Heidi Klum. They were all slim and fit and looked nothing like me.

So imagine my surprise to find out SI finally added a woman with a little more meat on her bones to the issue. And then imagine my surprise to see it was Lawley. This is knot a knock against her because her photos are stunning. It’s more a knock at Sports Illustrated for not taking the opportunity to showcase a woman who can rock a bikini and still reflect another portion of society. Instead of featuring a model of a larger size, SIĀ sold an ad featuring Ā larger model.

Meet Ā Asheley Graham, the plus-sized model that stole Lawleys’s thunder earlier in the day. There was some confusion over who the plus-sized model was and GrahamĀ got a lot of the earlyĀ laurels.

I say good for the both of them. They look fantastic, the shoots are gorgeous and they are doing the damn thing.

This little confusion spawned one of my favorite hashtags Thursday: #Pluskini

For us mere mortals, wearing a bikini can be a heady thing. We don’t all have the bodies of Victoria’s Secret models, nor should we. Variety is the spice of life. So when I saw images like this…

and this…

I was remindedĀ that we all look good, no matter what. I even contributed my bikini photo from the strip above because Sports Illustrated doesn’t have to define what I see as beautiful.Ā The magazine only adds to it.

Wearing a two piece is a mental battle you’ll fight with yourself. I know I did. Eventually, you’ll have to tell theĀ negative voice to shut the hell up so you can strutĀ your stuff on the beach.

I applaud SI for expanding its definition of beauty, but I’ll be glad when the plus-sized model isn’t an anomaly.

What did you think of the plus-sized models, both featured and advertised?

Front Row Seat

4 Feb
When it comes to workout mentality, Tracy Flick is my hero. Courtesy of Bitch Flicks

When it comes to workout mentality, Tracy Flick is my hero.
Courtesy of Bitch Flicks

I have a friend whom I’ve known since we were 11 years old. When we wereĀ in sixth grade, I hated him. He liked to pick on me. And don’t give me the crap about he just liked me. No, he really just liked to pick on me.

We didn’t really become friends until middle school when I helped tutor him with algebra. Now he’s my best friend. However, to this day he still likes to tease me. He’s justĀ not so mean about it. What he really likes to do is remind me of how much of a nerd I was in school. Anytime I’m starting to feel myself a little too much, he reminds me of my tinted glasses and constant hand-raising in class.

I don’t deny it: I was a good student. I made all As and Bs and didn’tĀ get into any real trouble. There were certain classes where I liked to sit close to the front if I could.Ā My last nameĀ starts with a “D,” so that wasn’t usually a problem.

My need to excel in learning has carried over into my fitness life. I love being in the front of the spin or Zumba class. And I’m not alone.

The New York Times recently ran an article about the people who like to “Race to the Front Row.”

One instructor calledĀ the students who dash to the front of class the Tracy Flicks of exercise class and said they tendĀ to be Type A. Okay, I’ll take it.

tracyflick

I wasn’t always this way.Ā When I began my weight-loss journey, I was weird kid in class. I kept to the back in each session, praying no one would notice me. It can be incredibly nerve-wracking working out in front of strangers. Add to it doing synchronized movements to an EDM beat and you’ve got a recipe for embarrassment.

It wasn’t uncommon forĀ me just stop in the middle of a Zumba routine and wait for the next sequence to make up for it. You could often see me (if you turned around) stop pedaling up “seated hills” in spin class because my thighs just couldn’t take the pain anymore. And don’t get me started on boot camp. Let’s just say I was a very slow learner there.

But how you begin is not how you’ll end. After a while, my dance past came back to me and I was moving to the Zumba beat. I still hate “seated hills,” but I can keep the pedals moving nonstop. Boot camp is still an issue, but it’s not the death of me as it once was.

The scramble happens only in the most sought-after classes, where a place up front is a status symbol, akin to sitting front row at a concert or fashion show.ā€”nytimes.com

Now that I’ve got the hang of things, I’m able to move to the head of the class. A new spin instructor even saidĀ it was a pleasure to have me in the front of class! ThatĀ compliment allowed me to let my geek flag fly. I was back in middle and high school getting praise from the instructor, and it felt great.

Sitting behind people who don’t know what they’reĀ doing is annoying.Ā Newbies tend to want to be up front so they can see the instructor, while old-heads like myself want to avoid the distraction of newbies…by sitting up front. So what’s the compromise?

I thinkĀ there’s middle ground where old-heads can occupy the first row and maybe scooch their bikes over a bit so newbies can occupy the second row. That way they’ll see the instructor and have a real person who knows what they’re doing as reference.Ā In Zumba or boot camp, the same applies: leave room for the newbies to see the instructor.

We’re all there to sweat it out and we’ve got to find room to co-exist.

Do you see yourself as a front-row warrior or a back-seat bandit?

Monday-Morning Quarterback

2 Feb
Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

You’ve made it through the Super Bowl and Katy Perry’s Missy Elliot‘s performance (along with Lenny, lions, tigers and bears, etc.). Congratulations Patriots…I guess. Your coach still sucks.

By the time many of you read this, you will have been bombarded by numerous pundits on TV and the interwebs giving their take on the game last night. Many of them have never held a football. Some of them think a perfect spiral is a curl pattern. A few have only heard of a “Hail Mary” in reference to Tupac.

These are your Monday-morning quarterbacks. Now that the football season is officially over, you won’t hear the white noise that comes with uninformed opinions about the profession. Lucky you.

On your weight-loss journey, you’ll run into a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacks. They like to offer opinions on the things you should and shouldn’t do. They like to tell you that they know what’s best for you. And best of all, they love to shame you when you fall.

They are, to put it simply, full of shit.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Isn’t that the very nature of this blog? To tell me what I’m doing right or wrong?” I really hope you don’t see it that way. This blog is a platform for me to share some of my stories and for us to have a dialog about the weight-loss process. What worked for me will not always work for the next person. I’m not here to shame anyone.

Your wight-loss Monday-morning quarterbacks like to offer opinions when none are requested or required. You will run into them everywhere. Unless it’s your doctor, trainer or nutritionistā€”a credentialed someone whose job is to offer their take on your progressā€”then you might want to take their opinion with a grain of salt.

On your weight-loss journey, you’re going to try numerous methods that will get you toward your goal. You may give up meat, make your workouts solely cardio or even go on cleanse. Weight loss is a process. Figuring out what works for you is going to take time. Having others buzz in your ear about the things they think you’re doing wrong will only delay your progress.

So how do you mute-button all the unwanted opinions?

1. Just say no. Just like the devil on your shoulder who told you to kill off those last Oreos in the bag, the “angel” on your shoulder is going to offer you tips on some cleanse she found in the back of Glamour. If it doesn’t sound inviting to you, just say you don’t want to do it. You know what you’re capable of. If living off of lemon water and cayenne pepper for week isn’t it, say so.

2. Be a loner. The weight-loss journey is traveled alone. You may be invited to take classes and join clubs, but no one is losing the weight for you. It’s not a group project to shed the pounds off of your body. If there’s some group activity that you’re being invited to, do it because it’s something you want to do not because it’s something the group is doing. Group’s are good for moral support. Participating in every activity isn’t a requirement.

3. Lie. We all have those friends who want your best interests at heart…but really just want you to agree with them. If one of them comes to you with a rando piece of equipment or workout video that’s “changed their lives,” just go with it. Some people can’t accept a no, so they’ll have to settle for a “sure, that sounds great,” so you can move on to other things in life. Like many Monday morning quarterbacks, they just want someone to nod in agreement even if they don’t agree.

What did you think of the Super Bowl? How are you drowning out the pundits today?