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Skinny Guide to Stocking Stuffers

9 Dec
Fill this puppy up with some inexpensive goodies. Courtesy of Tumblr

Fill this puppy up with some inexpensive goodies.
Courtesy of Tumblr

Christmas is fast approaching, and I haven’t done any shopping. I don’t usually buy many gifts. I tend to bake and send cookies off to the fam. They like it, and it saves me money.

I’ve mentioned several times in this blog how cheap I am. And if you’re anything like me, you need to be mindful of your duckets. But what about the holiday gift for the skinny person in your life to keep them on the right track in the new year?

Every workout warrior loves to armor up, but gear prices can leave you frustrated. Here are a few stocking stuffers to appease your sweaty friend without giving you sweaty palms.

1. Socks. You know your distant aunt who’s been out of work for a while but always scrounges up the coins to buy kids socks? You could be that aunt! You could be the one to buy your friend the funky socks that will get them noticed on the running path. You could be the one to buy that six-pack of Hanes your friend’s been meaning to pick up. Because one thing we gym rats never have enough of is socks. My personal preference is ankle socks, but I’ve been known to grab a pair of church socks when I’ve run out. Socks—you’re welcome.

2. Water bottle. Hydration is key. I can’t stress this enough. Just like new parents never have enough baby bottles, gym rats never have enough water bottles. We love them in all sizes. There are the little ones that clamp onto our running belts. There are the giant ones that we leave at our desks all day. There are the ones that won’t poison you if the bottle’s been left in the car for a while. There are even tiny squeeze packs that just make you question what the inventor was thinking. But your athlete will always be grateful to have a new bottle to keep them hydrated.

3. Beanie. It’s cold right now. While some of us will look at this as an excuse to skip the exercise class, your friend has been grinding away at the pool or in barre class. When the body temperature gets that high, layering up with extra jackets, coats, etc., is a hassle. Still, your friend needs to guard against the elements. A simple hat will work wonders. Have you ever gone out into freezing temps while your head is still sweating? It’s like a million bees are stinging you in the head. Your friend will appreciate your kind gesture at keeping the bees away.

4. Travel sizes. Depending on your friend’s gym, the amenities may not be all that appealing. People can be gross. The one saving grace can be having your own body wash, shampoo and the like. Lucky for your budget, these items cost about a dollar individually. You could stock your friend up on all the good soaps and lotions and mouthwash for less the $10. It’s like a Bath & Body Works gift set without all the bottom notes of alcohol. And this is a gift for both of you: you don’t want to be around someone funky and your friend doesn’t want to use the old shampoo in the gym shower. It’s a win-win!

5. Gift cards. When all else fails, just throw money at the problem. No one has ever said, “No,” to a gift card. No one. Even if it’s a gift card to the most random store, your workout warrior knows how to find what they need. But, to keep things simple, I suggest looking at the brands your friend wears and some of the stores they go to. You know, as you would for anyone for whom you’re buying a gift card. Sporting-goods stores are always a plus, as are lower-rung department stores like Target. If you don’t know the right socks to buy, trust me that your friend does and will with a gift card.

Whatever you do, make sure that your gift comes from a place of love. Your friend will grateful for your efforts.

Have you done your holiday shopping yet? What are you most looking forward to?

Booby Traps

28 Oct
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuschia_foot/600752201/

photo credit: Fuschia Foot via photopin cc

Last year, I went on vacation with friends to Cancun. I hadn’t been to the beach in a couple years and it was past time I put my toes in the sand. Funds were a little tight and I wanted to spend my vacation fund on more important things…like drinks at Senor Frogs. So I decided to forgo a new swimsuit.

I took my favorite suit: a white, low-cut one-piece that was totally flattering—30 pounds ago. When I went snorkeling, one of the guides wanted to take my picture under water. I blame the water pressure, but as I sunk myself, one of my girls decided to make an appearance for the camera. Yep, I flashed my Cancun snorkeling guide.

During the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I’d lost and gained several pounds, but nothing happened to my bra size. So I figured I’d always be an hourglass. Worse things could happen.

But then something changed. I started losing even more weight and my tops began to feel a little loose. “No worries,” I thought. “This is what you wanted: medium-sized shirts.” And then came Cancun.

I learned that breasts lose weight, too. Who knew? Breasts are mostly fat, so when you’re in hard-core cardio mode, as I’ve been for a while, you’re going to lose that fat.

Let’s be honest: I had really nice boobs. When they were big, they were full. Out of the many things I could gripe about on my body, breasts were not cause for complaint. But who am I without my girls?

No one tells you that this could happen. No one warns you that along with smaller jeans and even smaller bracelets come smaller cup sizes.

Every woman has a horror story about bra shopping. It’s a complete nightmare. No two bra makers are the same and every “expert” says they know what will fit you. Lies, I tell you! All lies!!

If you’ve watched any show aimed at women, at least 80 percent of us are wearing the wrong-sized bra. Eighty freaking percent! How can so many people be so wrong about something so necessary. It’s because unlike your shoe size, your bra size fluctuates with age, body composition and lifestyle. The size bra you wear to cocktail hour may not be the same size you’re wearing to work out.

You can’t trust the 15-year-old with measuring tape at Victoria’s Secret. Don’t even look the way of the older lady working checkout at Macy’s. Go to an actual lingerie store that specializes in undergarments. Victoria’s Secret is the Nine West of bras: cute selection, but the material just wasn’t made for multiple uses.

Another thing to look into, which I’ll be trying soon, is this list of exercises from Shape magazine to perk up your boobs. Nobody wants saggin’ dragons.

What do you do give yourself that extra lift?

The High Price of Low Weight

21 Oct

When you sign up for renter’s or home owner’s insurance, you have to list the value of everything in the home. I’m talking about jewelry, electronics, appliances, gadgets, etc. All of it. It’s a nuisance. The thing I’m guessing most people underestimate is clothing. At least I do.

I’m what you might call a frugal shopper. My closet is full of sale, coupon and thrift items. Shoes, jackets, belts, dresses, pants, all of it was bought with a sale in mind.

Imagine you lose, say, 50 pounds or so. And you do it so quickly that you don’t notice the change in your body until seasons change. The clothes that used to hug your body in the sunlight now make you look like you’re wearing over-sized hand-me-downs.

So I’ve got to go buy clothes. Guess what? Clothes ain’t cheap. I need a full wardrobe. And hear me when I tell you: NOTHING FIT!

The cost of weight loss isn’t that cheap. From buying healthy foods to gym memberships to workout clothes: It costs  money to live. But no one ever tells you about the most expensive part: New clothes. The cost of outfitting your new body is a pain in your new ass. You have to buy  everything, including underwear (Victoria’s Secret has gone up since the days of 5 for $25).

How do you navigate this new shopping world? Nobody wants to look sloppy. Here are a few tips I’ve learned during my between phase with the new body:

1. Belts.  You can go to TJ Maxx or Century 21 and rack up on belts to cinch those pants and dresses to your newly slimmed waist line. Big ones and little ones, it doesn’t matter. Get a colorful variety to leave yourself some options.

2. Leggings. Black ones will go with anything. Most places have one size fits all and those ones are pretty cheap. I don’t suggest investing too much money in these, seeing as how they shred after a few washes. But under one of your now-too-big dresses, this could make a pretty good day-to-night look.

3. Tunics. Let them blouse over those leggings or pants that are too big. No one will notice. Bust out the belt and some pumps and you’re ready for the club.

4. Old Navy. After TJ Maxx, this is my favorite store for simple, cute clothing with a low cost. The quality can be ho-hum sometimes. But you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get some quick wardrobe staples to outfit your body while you’re in the midst of transition. A couple pair of slacks, a few blouses, a couple skirts and maybe a dress, and you’ve got outfits for a week that may cost you less than $150. Just don’t let the $1 flip flops lure you.

5. Shoes. Few things distract from a drab outfit better than bomb shoes. If you’re lucky, your shoe size has not changed. If you care about your appearance now, you definitely cared before which means your shoe game is kickin’. Spruce up that over-sized dress with some spectacular pumps and heads will turn.

These are all quick fail-safes, but eventually you’re going to have to bust out the credit card. And why shouldn’t you. You’ve done well. So reward yourself with a smaller  pair of jeans or a shorter skirt.

You have to live in this body, dress it up a little.