Monday, February 22, 2010
In an immature “lying in bed before sleep hoping to win the lottery” kind of way, I’ve had one consistent fantasy throughout my adult life: to be a runner. I wanted to be thin like a runner, I imagined my hair flowing behind me as I glided lightly on my feet, barely touching the ground, sprightly, lithe and energetic. It seemed like the very essence of athleticism, fitness and strength. In reality, running was so hard for me that I just couldn’t do it. And, honestly, I absolutely hated to run.
This life-long impossible fantasy challenge I’d imposed on myself was definitely a heavy burden to bear, but the flip side of this was the remote possibility of immense rewards. Over and over again, I’d take brief forays into the world of jogging: prepping the perfect running music mix before heading out to pound the pavement… or grass… or dirt. Unfortunately, sooner or later, shin splints intervened and my hacking lungs couldn’t hack it. Last year, I was pleasantly surprised to manage (slowly, with my feet barely lifting off the ground) ¾ of a mile, without stopping to dry heave. I then did a few sessions with a friend, topping out at 2 very slow, very rough 15- or 16-minute miles.
Today, something’s changed and I write about this, not quite on my Blackberry as I jog around the track, but on the sofa in my gym clothes, still feeling the headiness of oxygen and success. Today, after a slow three-month build-up, I managed, for the 3rd time in a week, 2 and half miles in less than half an hour… with energy to spare and a smile on my face. And throughout this process, I’ve watched the staff at the gym go from very concerned to proud, with several of them congratulating me for my efforts.
Although running circles in the gym isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (let’s face it, it certainly wasn’t mine) it has strengthened me, given me confidence, helped me lose weight and most importantly, turned fantasy into reality. And, guess what? I LOVE it.
Tips for the really bad runner:
- Start slow. Run/walking is a great way to finish that first mile.
- Buy some supportive running shoes… and, yes, they’re expensive – I recommend Ragged Mountain Running Shop if you’re in Cville.
- Get some really strong beat-driven music to carry you when your legs barely can.
- If possible, run on a cushioned indoor track to help strengthen your joints. Short laps are easy and motivating.
- Just move your legs. Let your body do the rest.
- Stretch part-way through, if necessary.
- Smile. (I’m not kidding.)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Vintage is IN… big time. And it always will be, because it just means that beautiful, strong, timeless, classic pieces and a few wackier wonders were made to last. The trick is to recognize a true beaut when you see it and be wily enough to keep it from slipping through your fingers. Then you need to figure out whether or not a piece will work with your look. If your fashion is strong, then anything goes. If you’re a little doubtful, then you might want to consider putting the 1980s Fendi back in storage until next year. Another way of ensuring your vintage will work? When copies start showing up in shop windows, then you know you’ve got yourself a winner! Mix modern with vintage, frilly with sharp, Gucci with Gap, your five year-old favorite with a 1950s masterpiece. If it’s chic, it’ll never quit on you.
- Has it lasted 20 years? Grab it!
- Are the clothing chains copying it? Take it!
- Does it fit in with the rest of your wardrobe? Snag it!
- Does its timeless shape flatter your figure? Pick it up!
- Are you madly in love with it, despite its age? Put it on!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Not so far gone are the days when every Charlottesville glamour gal knew that wearing stilettos on the downtown mall was a dangerous prospect: for herself and her shoes. Each step involved that sharp intake of breath, that careful concentration… avoiding cracks became more than just a childhood game. Suddenly, the back-breakage issue was real, only this time for mother and daughter alike. Locals sat at restaurant patios, enjoying the spectacle of unprepared tourists running the mall-crack gauntlet and, while it had its funny moments, as an avid stiletto wearer, I can assure you that the recent changes to the surface of the mall are definitely all they’re cracked up to be.
The new ground no longer dictates the necessity of wedges or, God forbid, flats and, thankfully, allows us to prance on in our 6-inch spikes with no fear of sinking in, stuck while onlookers chuckle or, even worse, skinning the leather from the heels as we yank them out from between the bricks, ruining our prize kicks forever.
People may bash it, accuse us of kowtowing to misogynist designers’ bondage fantasies, tarting ourselves up in impossibly high, ridiculously constricting mechanisms meant to keep us women in our place. To that, I say, slip on a pair, just once, with the perfect LBD (that’s Little Black Dress) and a string of pearls. Not only do the shoes give a woman the height she might need to tower above the masses, but they improve her stature, forcing her to throw back her shoulders and walk like she means it. So, to those ladies who would love to wear sky-highs, but just don’t know how (now that it can actually be done in public in Charlottesville) here are a few tips to help you get over your fear of heights.
- One inch at a time: start with a short heel. Avoid going straight for the 6-inchers in those early sessions.
- Keep it close to home: Your training wheels are kitten heels, so practice at home before heading out. A full-length mirror will keep you even more on your toes. Don’t forget to practice on the stairs!
- Bring back-up: Leave the tiny clutch at home for your first few adventures in sky-land. Throw a pair of cute flats into your shoulder bag for long nights out.
- Slip one in: Once you’ve graduated to taller shoes, stock up on insoles, inserts and massaging foot gels. The highest shoes can often use a little extra cushioning.
- Wiggle while you walk: To truly master the sexy spike, you’ve got to stand up straight and let your hips do the walking. Swinging your rear will help you achieve that perfect balance… and look stunning while doing it.
- Don’t be callus: Pampering your feet is half the battle. If you’re not a pedicure kind of gal, a quick rub with a pumice stone at the end of your shower is an easy way to keep your tootsies soft, smooth and happy.
If you find that perfect pair, devise a strategy. Begin at home, graduate to dinner parties where you’re mostly sitting and start out slowly with shorter heels on those first few nights out. The bottom line is that you need to take your time. We all know Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. Well, neither were the catwalks of Milan or Paris, so you might want to give Charlottesville a little extra time before throwing in your shoes.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Ever been skitching? No? Well I have. And for anyone who knows what skitching is and anyone who knows me (and what a scaredy cat I am), you're undoubtedly chortling in a sort of half-shocked, half-ridiculing kind of way. Of course, you're right on both counts. Me skitching is definitely shocking and certainly ridiculous and totally AWESOME!
I can't think of a better way to end a delightful snowed-in evening than hitching some rope to the back of a big old pick-up, plopping your rear onto the top of a plastic storage container and getting your ass dragged down the snowy street and back.
Woe is the person who tries to get between me and the back of a pick-up truck anytime soon. And for someone who's so keen on the straight and narrow, not even Johnny Law could've torn me from the elated, squealing, shrieking thrill of rushing air and cold snow-covered eyes at 20 miles an hour on a Saturday. IN A SKIRT!
We had a very busy weekend: the arrival, snow, V's birthday. All of it well-accompanied by various delightful wines (including the "two-donkeys", or asses if you prefer, made by a couple of French lesbians... it tasted very barn-like, which I love) and mucho food. I shall start the diet anew this morning, I think... one needs breaks every once in a while... and I ate four pieces of carrot cake yesterday. Talk about overkill.
In random thoughts, my mascara keeps flaking and ending up below my eyes recently. I've tried every single one I own (that's a LOT of mascara) and the result is the same. Every day, my eyes start to burn and get dry towards the end of the afternoon, creating the infamous Raccoon-Eye effect. Has anyone else had a run-in with Rocky?
I followed a friend's lead on making the "money" corner of our house more welcoming (to the money, of course). Instead of just making it gorgeous, I put all my silver into the corner (in manner of sacrifice, a la King Kong or similar), in hopes that like might attract like. It works, people. The next morning, I got a phone call telling me that long-awaited funds would be arriving. Hallelujah!
Le Husband and I watched Food, Inc. a couple of weeks ago and we've decided to eat only Organic (whenever we control things, of course) and to plant a garden this year. So, if anyone has any fool-proof gardening advice, this fool's all ears. My mouth, literally, just started watering as I thought of tomatoes.
Lastly, my current Very Best Things:
- Home-made carrot cake with a red V on top
- V's Mashed Fluffy Sweet Potatoes with too much cream... yum
- Super sparkly Sonia Kashuk eye palette from Target - get it, but don't buy them all... leave some for me in case I run out, please!
- The possibility that we may get a washer and dryer soon (cross fingers and toes)
- My faux-fur-lined, water-proof reindeer boots.
- Domaine des Deux Anes wine.