‘Jersey Belle': The Thoughts In My Head

I can’t believe she said that to that woman!

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I love Arden’s kitchen.

I just saw 280!

Love Jaime’s black and white blouse in the scene at her office.

I need an office where I can invite friends over for wine.

Love that saying! “The men are the head and the women are the neck and we turn them where they need to go.” (from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”)

Hiding playing golf and hiding a baby are NOT the same thing, girl!

There’s a LOT of dog stuff in Danielle’s house.

Again, my heart breaks for Danielle. She wants to be a mother so badly.

They’re not in Mountain Brook! They’re at Soca in Homewood!

Luci should definitely meet Brooks for drinks. He seems like a super-fun person!

How does someone where a white tank top and no bra???

“I don’t want to see her boobs at all. Plus, they make mine look saggy.” Ha! Luci’s hilarious!

“Back then you knew how cool someone was by the size of their hair” — nice one, Jaime!

I think being a single mom anywhere must be hard. At least Luci lives in a safe neighborhood, which isn’t the case for everyone.

Arden’s bonfire is going to burn the whole city down with all that wood!

I wonder if other people who adopt, or who are considering adopting, have a relationship with the mother like this. I don’t know if it would be a good thing or a bad thing.

Oh, La Paz. That’s some yummy Mexican food!

La Paz

via al.com

I don’t blame Jaime for wanting the ladies to tell her what they think to her face! But that’s what all these reality shows do — they gather certain people together to talk about the other people. Classic “Real Housewives” scene right there.

I’m not so sure this conversation between Jaime and Michael should take place in front of the kids.

Jaime is hilarious with her children! So cute!

I just saw downtown Birmingham! They just showed Birmingham!

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

And now we’re back in Mountain Brook.

This whole “what do you look for in a man/woman” conversation is awkward.

Oh my goodness, he did not just say his grandmother cooks for him and does his laundry. Red flag is right, Luci!

I think honesty is the best policy with friends, but ultimately it’s Jaime and Michael’s decision whether they have another kid or not.

I want a necklace with a Jersey pendant!

This bonfire seems a little dangerous!

It is awkward that all the girls know that Jaime wants another baby and Michael doesn’t.

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Way to ask the awkward question, Arden!

Downtown Birmingham! Michael’s office is in downtown Birmingham! Woohoo!

It took the entire 60 minutes of the show for her to finally say something to Michael.

I think Jaime knows this whole thing with the potential adoptive mother is weird and that’s why she was having such a hard time telling Michael about it.

I love the expression on Michael’s face when Jaime tells him the New Orleans story! He looks pissed.

He’s very logical. I think it’s smart that he’s considering his age when it comes to having another child. And it’s good Jaime is focusing on having a happy marriage.

Oh, man, wonder what Jaime has up her sleeve to try to make this adoption happen! I’m starting to feel this poor mother in New Orleans has her hopes up and if it doesn’t work out … ugh. This makes me uncomfortable.

Well … what did y’all think of this last episode of “Jersey Belle?” Does the adoption thing make you uncomfortable, too? What were the thoughts going through your head?

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Fall Fashion For A Cause

Thanks to buddingfashionista, Vanessa, I learned about a great event for a great cause: the fall fashion preview at Saks Birmingham, benefiting The Exceptional Foundation.

Artwork created by the Exceptional Foundation participants to benefit the organization on display at Saks

Artwork created by the Exceptional Foundation participants to benefit the organization on display at Saks

The Exceptional Foundation provides recreational and social services for special needs people who are older and now outside of the school system. I was very excited to see participants from the program walk in the fashion show last Thursday!

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The clothing was provided by BCBGMAXAZRIA, and in addition to the Exceptional Foundation participants, local fashion bloggers Vanessa and Rachel, from To Hell In A Handbag, also participated.

Beautiful display at Saks

Beautiful display at Saks

Rachel (top left, bottom right) and Vanessa (top right, bottom left) in the fall BCBGMAXAZRIA collection

Rachel (top left, bottom right) and Vanessa (top right, bottom left) in the fall BCBGMAXAZRIA collection

I loved the leather jacket with the feminine skirt in Rachel’s top look. Vanessa’s gorgeous poppy romper with peplum shape could easily be worn in cooler weather with a cool jacket. The classic white blouses they each wore in their bottom looks are perfect for work.

I myself can’t wait to buy a few new things for fall! I wore a simple black pencil skirt with a vest over a raspberry-colored T, cinched together with my favorite belt from Lane Bryant and statement necklace from Stella & Dot.

I wanted every single item on this display at Saks!

I wanted every single item on this display at Saks!

If you are interested in contributing to The Exceptional Foundation, they have several events to attend throughout the year, including the popular Chili Cook-off. Or, simply make a donation!

What fall fashions are you looking forward to wearing? Anyone buying new boots this season?!

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Healthy Reads & Inspiration

It’s Sunday! I hope you’re cuddled up on the couch in your PJs, eating a yummy breakfast and looking for something to read, because I have some good articles and two of my favorite recent posts from Instagram to inspire you for the next week!

HellaWella.com: The power of yogurt: Lose weight and maintain health
I actually wrote this one, so forgive me for the indulgent plug! But I was surprised to learn of all the great benefits of yogurt. Planning to stock up at the grocery store soon!

Shape.com: Do women need more sleep than men?
I think I definitely need more sleep than my husband — or maybe I just enjoy sleep more than most people!

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TheBestLife.com: Could weight discrimination make you fatter?
Bob Greene, of Oprah fame, wrote this and I found it extremely interesting. know that for myself, fat-shaming does sometimes cause me to eat to cover up emotions, and when I feel good about myself, and others help me feel strong, I want to do better with eating well and exercising. Sad, but true. Words can do damage.

Love this post because it’s exactly how I feel — I may want to be more fit and healthier, but I have to appreciate my body as it is now, too!

WomensHealthMag.com: 10 healthy-eating rules almost all nutritionists agree on
Good, basic reminders from pros in the nutrition game. Always good to remember the simple tools to getting healthier.

Hope you enjoy these reads, and you start the week off on a happy, healthy note! Cheers!

Posted in Body Image, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, Weight-loss | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Focus On Birmingham: Inspire Fitness

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Posh Birmingham. All opinions are my own.

As you may recall, one of my August goals was to add more weight training to my workout schedule. I still haven’t done as much lifting as I would’ve liked to this month, so I was excited when I had the opportunity to preview the upcoming “Weightlifting: From The Ground Up” class at Inspire Fitness.

I’ve worked out at Inspire Fitness before, taking co-owner Kelly Creel’s yoga class and several spinning classes there, and I always leave in a great mood, excited about the workout I just completed and feeling supported by the staff. That’s a big plus at any workout studio or gym!

While Kelly and her co-owner and husband, Stephen, have always offered strength-training through their FuncFit class, they’re about to embark on a brand-new class that uses their training through the USA Weightlifting certification program to teach students the basics of lifting, concentrating on such moves as the dead lift, bench press, military press, clean, jerk and snatch. In this six-week course, Kelly, Stephen and their coach Adam will focus on each student’s own abilities, keeping in mind any past injuries, so that the fundamentals are learned, while each student is challenged to lift at his or her best potential.

After hearing about this through the Posh Birmingham deal that’s now offered — $59 for the six-week course! — I was eager to give it a try. In the spirit of transparency, I did receive this preview free of charge, but all opinions are my own and I am planning to sign up for the six-week program myself!

So my preview started with an explanation of the equipment and introduction to the move I would practice that night: the dead lift. I had only done this move once before, so I welcomed the chance to perfect my form and maybe try a higher weight.

Kelly reminded me of the benefits of the dead lift:

  • It’s a compound movement — it engages multiple muscle groups.
  • It serves as the foundation for more explosive moves, such as the clean and snatch.
  • It’s is functional in that it teaches the body to bend over and pick something up without injury.
  • It adds strength and stability.

First, Kelly started me out with a 15-pound bar across the benches, so I wouldn’t have to bend down so low while getting the form down. Then she explained what is basically a two-step process:

Feet a little more than shoulder width apart, grip outside of that, knees bent, back straight.

Kelly, showing me to keep my feet a little more than shoulder width apart, grip outside of that, knees bent, back straight.

Kelly advised me to keep my back straight when standing, but not to lock my knees, and make sure to exhale as I rise up.

Kelly advised me to keep my back straight when standing, but not to lock my knees, and make sure to exhale as I rise up.

After I practiced with the 15-pound bar on the benches, and then a 33-pound bar, she moved me to the floor where she added two 10-pound weights, totaling 53 pounds.

I lined my feet up under the bar, adjusted the width between my feet and the placement of my grip. Another thing I had to remember: squatting low so my back remains straight instead of hunched over.

I lined my feet up under the bar, adjusted the width between my feet and the placement of my grip. Another thing I had to remember: squatting low so my back remains straight instead of hunched over.

And then lift! I did several reps following this.

And then lift! I did several reps following this.

Kelly then added two more 10-pound weights, bringing me to 73 total. I don’t have photos of this, but she said this would be what they call my 3-rep max — the weight I can lift for three reps before I am fatigued. Because of a back injury I suffered a year ago, she didn’t want me to add more weight, just to be safe. I did a few more reps at 73 pounds, and felt so strong!

Kelly said to keep in mind that while some think a dead lift is a “pulling” action, it’s more of a push with your legs. When I did the move with proper form, I could definitely see what she meant!

What I liked best about this class is the safe environment — I trust the instructors at Inspire Fitness to challenge me, but to do so at my ability level so that I’m less likely to injure myself.

I’m really excited to get more weight lifting into my regiment. The class — which runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 25 — will be great for that. Hopefully I will see you there!

Have you ever taken a class just for weight lifting, such as this one at Inspire Fitness? What did you think of it?

Posted in Fitness, Health, resistance training, strength training, Weight lifting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m On Board: #boycottingtarget

I have been a fan of Chastity’s GarnerStyle blog for several years now. Her style is impeccable and her support for equality for plus-size women is unwavering. So when I saw her post about Target’s failure to offer their special designer line by Altuzarra in plus sizes, I found myself saying, “No! Not Target!” {Read her great letter to Target here.}

As I told Chastity via Twitter, Target’s plus-size offerings haven’t been doing it for me lately.

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But in the past I’ve had good luck at their stores. However, every time Target has partnered with a higher-end designer, I’ve been regulated to buying purses and shoes, scarves and jewelry. No designer duds at discount prices for plus-size ol’ me. And I just resigned myself to that being the way it is.

So I have to commend and applaud Chastity for starting the #boycottingtarget movement and standing up to the big box store. She’s right — we should get to buy the beautiful Altuzarra line (see it here) right alongside our size 6 friends. Leaving us out is cutting out a huge customer base — one that spends tons of money in their stores. So it’s time to hit ‘em where it hurts and just stop shopping there until they provide more equality with their clothing offerings.

Now it’s possible Altuzarra didn’t want to offer their styles in plus-size, but in my opinion, Target should take a stand and not work with designers who won’t provide clothing for all sizes.

A representative from Target has responded, but his response basically boils down to, “We’ve heard you and we might do something about it.” I’m not holding my breath. {Read Target’s response at Refinery 29.}

I’m grateful for stores like Lane Bryant who has brought in Isabel Toledo, not to mention Seven7 jeans, to design lines for them. But until we can go shopping at places like Target and have access to the same designers, styles and selection as our skinnier friends, then we still have to fight to look fashionable, too!

Thanks, Chastity, for getting us going with #boycottingtarget! I’ll be joining the movement with you.

Will you join us, too?

PS — It seems this is an ongoing problem that The Curvy Fashionista got involved with back in 2010. Hope this time the store will finally listen up!

Posted in Clothes, Fashion, plus-size, Style | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

‘Jersey Belle': Heart & Friendship

Sorry that I’m a day late with my recap of this week’s episode of “Jersey Belle”! I really loved this episode — it just seemed so full of laughter, family and friendship — I seriously can’t even poke fun at it!

From Arden’s wedding to Luci’s can-do attitude to the heart-breaking scenes with Danielle and her husband about wanting to have a child … the whole episode was relatable and made you just want to give everyone a group hug — or at least I did! It just felt like the first time that I could look at this episode and say, “They really are real friends in real life.”

Of course, Jaime did have a couple really funny one-liners that you just can’t forget. This week, my favorite was: “I’ve never had chocolate cake with the smell of manure mixed in.” Ha! That’s exactly what was going through my mind when I saw the cake in the horse stables at Arden’s wedding. The setting was beautiful … but I did keep thinking — manure?

One criticism, or question, that I still have about the future episodes of this show is whether or not we’ll see anything of Birmingham outside of Mountain Brook. I’m longing for one of the families to go to a game at Regions Field, or for a walk at Railroad Park … somewhere that shows off another area of our city that doesn’t include mansions and manicured lawns.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if they producers/cast decide to venture outside of the “Tiny Kingdom,” as they call it (really? I can’t believe I just typed that!). But I’m still hoping for Birmingham — the city itself — to get a little of this 15 minutes of fame!

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Football, Fashion & Food

Last Thursday night I was given the opportunity to attend the Girls of Fall event hosted by Birmingham Magazine at the Wynfrey hotel. As a Penn State and Northwestern alum, and fan of football in general (Go Patriots!), I was excited to attend and hopefully learn a thing or two. Thankfully, I had a better time than expected — in fact, I can’t wait for this event to roll around next year … and I think you should mark it on your calendar, too!
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I attended the event with my coworker and friend Tyler, who is an Alabama fan. Before we started our first of three workshops, we enjoyed some yummy food and checked out some of the merchandise on sale. I really loved this Slater Zorn vest at the GridIronGirl.org booth, and this awesome neon necklace by Urbane.

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Three07, one of the boutiques in the fashion show later that night, had a booth with fun clothes for Auburn and Alabama fans, and we learned about GridIronGirl.org, a website about football for women. Definitely check it out!

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Then we started our workshops, which included tailgating tips from Josh Bailey at Dreamland BBQ, inside info about officiating games from SEC referee David Smith and Xs and Os with Phil Savage Jr., which helped us understand the positions on the field and how the defense mirrors the offense.

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And finally, my favorite part of the evening, the fashion show! The clothes we saw were so much fun and so stylish. We saw great looks from Mint Julep, Three07 and Slater Zorn.

I loved the whole concept of Girls of Fall, and now I can’t wait for football season to start!

What’s your favorite part of football season? The food? The clothes! The game itself?

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