Category Archives: career

Steppin’ Up on Workin’ Out

Lately, with the past few weeks being especially erratic, going to the gym has been really (REALLY) difficult. As a result, I’ve noticed in the mirror that I look a little… mushy. My abs are no longer as defined as they were, and my muffin tops look like they’re freshly baked. When I was getting to the gym regularly, my focus was usually on one or two major muscle groups a day, which put me at the gym right around 30-40 minutes. That worked well for me, when I was going 5-6 times a week. With the crazy car situation, starting a new (wonderful) job and squeezing in training during the past week, going to a wedding (so much fun- congrats, you two!) which somehow put Captain Laser Pants and I out of commission from exhaustion for a few days, and our little guy starting to cruise around the house (aka using furniture to walk), life has been a little hectic.

I needed to step up my game for riz at the gym. With lots of new tunes (mostly seriously hardcore stuff that makes me strut around like a tough girl) and some new exercises, I was ready to spend over an hour at the gym every day I go. So far so good, even mini- Gwinn is doing really well at the gym nursery (of course they love him there, he’s darling). I’ve been getting there 3-4 times a week for the past two weeks and I’m already seeing a difference. Below is what I did today, be prepared to be OMAZED. That’s right, o-mazed. I should say that since I’m experiencing some pretty annoying pubic bone pain (pretty sure I have a pinched nerve, awesome) and both my knees are prone to giving out, I modified my routine A LOT. Like, no more running (sad face), easy on the leg press machine, and easy on the squats. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Warm up: 4-5 minutes on bike at a mid-range resistance

Tricep extensions 20 lbs x 10 reps
Tricep kickbacks 15 lbs x 10 reps
Bent over rows 20 lbs x 10 reps
Repeat above 3 times
Standing side ab crunch 25 lbs x 10 reps, each side, 2 sets total
Every other day: bench press ~40 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Calf raises 120 lbs x 12 reps, 3 sets
Leg extensions for quads 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets (gotta go easy on my knees!)
Leg extension for glutes/ back of thighs 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets

Pull Ups – 30 total with ~60 lbs. assistance

Hip Abduction machine (inner thigh) 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Hip Abduction machine (outer thigh) 70 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Lat Pull machine 90 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Chest Press machine 75 lbs x 10 reps, 3 sets
Every other day: Leg press machine 150 lbs x 8 reps, 2 sets

Wall bridges x 10 reps, 2 sets each side
Side crunch/ toe touches  x 10 reps, 2 each side
Weighted crunches, side to side and middle 12 lbs x 18 reps
Army style push ups x 5 reps, 3-4 sets
Side leg raises (for inner thigh) 12 lbs x 15 reps, 4 sets each side
Every other day: plank, 20 seconds, 3 total (I freaking hate planks)

Cool down- walking on treadmill 3 minutes, lots of stretching after

It’s intense, but seriously, two weeks ago I could only do five Army- style push- ups. Now I can do 20.

In other news, here’s a picture of Captain Laser Pants and myself at the wedding:

We didn’t mean to match, we just both like blue.

Mini- Gwinn is in the Gerber Baby Photo Contest on facebook. You can vote for him, his ID# is 317.

 

Our little guy likes blue, too.

And, last but not least, I finally have new glasses. Which are also blue.

“I’m blue, da ba di ba di da…”

 

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Nothing New Under the Sun (but definitely in my closet)

Ok, so, I’ve been ultra MIA lately. My bad. There isn’t anything new going on for CLP, mini Gwinn and myself. Currently I’m sniffing for work, and it looks like I’m going to go back to teaching, but just on the weekends, and maybe (if it all works out!) taking care of a precious baby for one of my amazing mama girlfriends once or twice a week. The beauty of all this- no need for child care (hopefully). And I loved teaching- so win!

Any way, when I was scared of re-entering the corporate world, I thought retail therapy would help ease the shift. I went to the thrift store (yeah, that’s retail therapy for me these days) and found two gorgeous wool skirts, one grey and black and the other brown and cream pinstripes. The total? $6.30. One of them is from the Limited, tags still on it. Impressed? It gets better. Around the same time (within a day or two) I went to Target in search of a needed cocktail dress for an upcoming wedding (yes, I go to Target for cocktail dresses now. Banana Republic and Anne Taylor are brands of my past). While on the hunt, I sifted through the clearance racks for “work appropriate” attire and stumbled upon a goldenrod dress. Hear me out. Normally, I shy away from any color that isn’t blue, black or grey. And by “shy away” I mean “I absolutely do not buy any colors other than blue, black or grey”. But, in a moment of whimsy, and with the knowledge that current fashion trends are veering towards bright colors, I -gasp- took it to the dressing room with me. In this excursion I also grabbed the cocktail- esque dress I wanted, a cardigan in a different shade of yellow (cause, hey, if goldenrod looked bad, maybe daisy yellow would be ok?), and a royal blue high- low knit skirt (I’m currently infatuated with high- low hemlines).

This is me letting you into the dressing room with me. Oh, the scandal!

This is the goldenrod dress. $7. SRLSY.

So, this dress shocked the bejeebus outta me for a few reasons. One- the color is surprisingly flattering. Two- it has pockets, and I LOVE dresses with pockets. Three- It was $7.

 

 

 

The reason I went to the store in the first place – the blue dress

This royal blue dress is so, so pretty. It has butterfly sleeves, draping neckline, tie waist, and it fits beautifully. The one I’m wearing in this picture was a size too big, so I ordered it online (and it was $6 cheaper online, anyway!). The cardigan was on clearance for $12 with really pretty beaded detail.

I actually liked this the least.

The skirt wasn’t flattering at all, and the red tank top was gigantic. It made for a poorly assembled look, even though the colors are great together.

Clearly, I’m on a Snow White/ primary colors kick. Have you seen Polyvore, the website where you can put together looks of your dream outfits (like me), or if you have a well stocked closet, put together new outfits with what you already own? It’s wonderful. I really like the Disney Bound looks, like this one here. See? I am so hooked on the red- blue- yellow combination, in fact, that I am planning on adding a red ribbon and bead necklace to the blue dress for the wedding, with a red satin clutch and yellow sandals.

I made this. It has a bow in the back, very cute.

Nine West, literally six years old.

Because I have a horrendous habit of finding one color or one color scheme and sticking to it religiously, I’m now finding myself gravitating to this trio almost daily.

Red necklace, yellow shoes, blue shirt. Stop me!

Sigh. Maybe I should just go back to black.

On to other things. I’ll be doing a blog post about the goldenrod dress and the five or six styles I’ve thought of for it. Boots, belts, lace- extended slip, dressy, casual- it’s so versatile!

This post was meant to be more of a “I’m still heeeeeere!” than clothing- based. Oops.

Hope all is well out in the world of interwebs for you folks!


Accut-ain’t What I Thought It Would Be

Chances are, if you know what Accutane is, you either a) are a medical professional or b) you know someone who has painfully cystic, problematic skin. For the record, Accutane is no longer on the market. It has replacements, like isotretinoin, or Claravis, if you want to be able to pronounce it. Hi, I’m in AA- Accutane Anonymous (is there such a thing?) and I started taking Claravis two weeks ago. Let me just say, Accutane ain’t what I thought it would be. After a lifetime of combating skin I didn’t love, everything got much, much worse after the birth of mini Gwinn. I’ve done everything in the book in an attempt to heal it, with no results (yes, even Proactiv. I’m so tired of being asked that.). The last resort- the big dance- was isotretinoin. Five months of misery lead to a lifetime of healthy looking, smooth as a baby’s behind skin. I can handle five months, right? I mean, I was pregnant for like six years, and I lived through that. So I started talking to other people that have taken the big plunge in skincare. All the guys I talked with said they didn’t think the six months of misery (the treatment is five to six months) was necessarily worth it. All the ladies- you guessed it- absolutely felt that enduring the hardships of the medication were worth the end result. The guys urged me to reconsider, the gals told me it would be an entirely freeing decision to give myself a life with pain- free, pretty skin. What everyone agreed on, as well as all the forums/ interwebs stuff I read, was that I’d need a supply of the following:

-copious amounts of chapstick
-eye drops
-saline spray for my shnoz
-lotion
-vaseline
-water. lots of water.

So, no big deal. Right? I have five or six tubes of chapstick laying around the house to begin with, and I was already a crazy moisturizing lady. Piece of cake.

A few days into the treatment, I noticed that my lips felt dry if I hadn’t used chapstick within an hour. A few days later, I noticed that my eyes felt dry. Now? If my lips aren’t coated, they hurt. I actually have to stop in the store at least twice to apply gobs of goop to my mouth and pour eye drops in my eyes. Last night I experienced my first medication- induced nose bleed (as I was washing my face, which was convenient for clean up).

For those that aren’t in the know, cystic acne is incredibly painful, especially with an eight month old smacking your face. Topical treatments don’t work (they just make the top layer of skin dry, eww), oral medications don’t always work, and sometimes only time can treat the issue. While you’re waiting, you’re stuck with a topographical map for a face. When you’re 15 years old, it’s acceptable to have a few pimples. When you’re in your late 20s, however, people wonder what you’ve done to yourself to have such heinous skin. Statements like “It must be something in your diet” and “Do you wash your face regularly?” are usually said by morons with flawless skin. Of course I wash my face, and I eat better than you, lardbutt (not you, gentle reader).

This major shift in my life is also coupled with the news that I’m returning to the work force (cue the river of tears). The stress of looking for child care, the feeling that I’m abandoning my bright (yes, he’s bright, I said it. He says several words! He’s Einstein! Ok, he may be average. But he’s pretty.) little boy (who’s never been without me for more than two or three hours!!), and the fear that he won’t get the attention he deserves have me stressing out completely. Will my house ever be clean again? When will I have time to make all his baby food? Will they use sign language when they sing to him? Will they sing to him? How often is he going to be sick? Even as I’m writing this out, anxiety is taking over my mental faculties.

Oh my goodness, ya’ll. This is a lot of new going on right now.

I’m going to go squeeze my little punchkin.


My One Article of Clothing

It is not brand new information when I tell people that I am not fashionable. Mostly, when I “dress up” or try to look “nice”, the outfit involves jeans, some sort of flat sandal, and a t-shirt. Since pregnancy, I’ve mostly given up on what I wear. At home, my mom uniform is usually a pair of running shorts and a sports bra (the t-shirt or tank top is discarded by 10 AM due to puke, milk, carrots, and snot). When in public for nonsocial reasons (shopping, gym, etc), I’m wearing what I wear at home, only with the gunk covered tee. When I once swore I’d never leave home without makeup (the horror!), it’s now more routine for me to go without than take the time to slap some on my face. You’ve seen other moms like this- she wears a fashion trend that embodies “defeat”. It’s like a proverbial game of paper – rock – scissors switched to baby – fashion – baby. For the record, “baby” wins every time.

Not all moms are this way. I see and know many mothers who look phenomenal every time I see them in public. Their clothes are clean (which is a super power in itself), modern, and dare I say it? They look beautiful, nay, radiant.

I lack this radiation ability, and not because don’t want it. Some women are born to be mothers- they were also most likely the women that “glowed” when they were pregnant. Some of us were thrown into this new career path and aren’t totally qualified for the part. I don’t really have the energy to look good, especially when my looks are such a nonissue. I’m the equivalent of the new intern who’s just really happy to make it to work in the big, fancy company, even if I have wet hair and deodorant streaks on my blouse.

Seriously, I’d like to look presentable in public with my adorable baby in tow. I’d like to look like one of those moms that stepped out of an advertisement for something I didn’t know I needed. At some point, I’d like to look somewhat fashionable. In an attempt to do this, I splurged and bought a $15 jersey maxi skirt at Old Navy last month.

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This has become my one article of clothing. If I have to leave the house and it would be socially awkward for me to look the way I normally do ( i.e. must wear makeup to avoid terrifying small children, deodorant, must brush teeth, must brush hair, etc), I have worn this skirt nine times out of ten. I bought it in a light heather grey color to guarantee that I could wear it with almost anything, and so far, it has worked out splendidly. It’s probably the best $15 I’ve spent since, well, I can’t remember the last time I spent a magical $15.

So, for the other moms whose fashion statement says “defeated by my child’s needs,” I took some pictures to prove the effortlessness of this very trendy look that’s age appropriate for everyone except for really, really old people. It’s also flattering (really!) The skirt I bought has a wide waistband and a generous length to accommodate long and short figures alike.

For those with accessories, go crazy (as crazy as you can without your baby pulling earrings from your earlobes or choking you with necklaces). The minimalistic piece of the skirt lends itself to patterns, multiple textures, and plenty of accessories. I don’t wear jewelry anymore, largely because mini Gwinn will find a way to hurt me with it, hence my plain outfits.

Until my little dude is self sufficient and outgrows his “mommy must suffer!” mentality, this will probably be the extent of my attempts at looking nice, unless my trendsettery knows no bounds and puke stains become haute couture.

If you’re one of those “my fashion has been defeated” moms and you’re blessed enough to have helping hands in your city, I encourage you to change out of your gunky puke shirt and husband’s shorts (wash them, too) and try a small change, like a maxi skirt, and go feel pretty. Then tell me about it, so I can live vicariously through you, as I’ve never been away from my child for more than three hours and have no idea what it’s like to feel pretty anymore. In fact, if you have a sitter, go on a date with your guy and feel pretty while you’re at it, cause that’s what I miss most, and you deserve some enjoyment (and I really need to live vicariously through you on this one, too).


Motherhood on Trial

It’s funny to me, keeping in mind all that a mom does, that the “career” of motherhood is so looked down upon today. College educated women are putting off marriage and procreation in the pursuit of a successful career- sometimes at the sake of personal relationships- to support themselves in an ever increasingly expensive America. Our society encourages selfishness. Buy more expensive cars. Live in the “cool” part of the city. Wear the best brands/ designers/ styles. Wear expensive shoes. Coordinate your pets to your lifestyle. Don’t let anyone, be it the government, a member of the opposite sex, your parents, or your own misgivings, stand in your way to keep you from what you want.

Don’t misunderstand me- making and spending money is absolutely fun. To an extent, it is fulfilling. I am not “bashing” education, a successful career, having nice things or pursuing a fun life. But, eventually (I would think), living the “Peter Pan” life- the life where one never truly grows up, but merely prolongs adolescence in the pursuit of the next party- just looks silly. By “looks silly”, I mean, truly, the people that live the Peter Pan life, look ridiculous after a certain age. There’s no number for that, but the women in their 40s, wearing tiny clothing and getting trashed at the dance club, look absurd. So do the men picking up girls half their age. Having minimal adult responsibilities and putting off adulthood eventually produces an emotionally infantile grown- up. Relationship skills are pretty low on the importance ladder when you’re always on the playground.

What, pray tell, does any of this have to do with motherhood?

I’ll get there, itchy britches.

There’s something that bothers me greatly in our society today, and not just for the moral degradation of us all. Today we are bombarded with images and media telling women to quit acting like ladies if they want to “get the man”. What these girls, because let’s face it, women who aren’t ladies are really just big “girls”, fail to see is the flip side of this coin: the man they’re trying to “get” has already been “gotten” multiple times, by other girls, just like them. The sexual revolution has afforded girls the pretense of having adult things while still getting to act like girls (this goes for men too). You can have a big girl job, wear big girl clothes, live in a big girl apartment, and have big girl sex. There’s no trying involved- if you want sex you have it- and there aren’t any real repercussions for doing so. The men that jump in and out of bed with multiple women aren’t going to respect the girl beforehand, and he certainly won’t respect her after, so there’s not much to lose. There’s no courtship, no pursuit of a relationship, and half the time there isn’t even a phone call or breakfast after. Society tells women it’s ok to keep pushing off marriage (and who wants to marry bed hoppers when you can just keep bed hopping?) to keep having fun.

Do you remember that scene in Pinocchio when the puppet boy realizes that the party isn’t so fun anymore?

The degradation of society may lead to or stem from the complete deterioration of the nuclear family. Chicken and egg here- I don’t know which came first. There are single mothers, single fathers, and families where there aren’t children at all. Some of these situations occur by choice, others by circumstance- that’s not to say any given choice is “wrong”- but our society began to decline when the nuclear family began to do the same. Don’t agree with me? Look at the statistics from the sexual revolution to now- when women began to have children without a father in the home, when men and women began to be more promiscuous and flippant with their sex lives, when men and women began disregarding the importance of relationships, crime went up, welfare went up, and the cherishing of life went down.

Changing gears. I actually know people (women) who are literally grossed out by motherhood. They exclaim “EWWWWW” when they hear about breast milk. To be fair, motherhood is not a clean and neat job. It’s full of puke, spit- up, poop, pee, slime and goo of unknown origin. It’s messy, both literally and emotionally. You cry when your baby won’t eat, you are physically ravaged by the lack of sleep and what pregnancy has done to your body, and you feel isolated from the rest of the grown up world. But, good readers, I will tell you, that after all the jobs I’ve had, all the college education I trudged through, and all the hard work I’ve endured, there is nothing so difficult as motherhood. It is certainly the job at which I’ve worked most hard. I utilize every mental and physical resource I have every day to care for my child. When women without children say to me, “Oh, you’re a stay at home mom?” like it’s a freaking social slight, I want to punch them in their moronic throats so they can never speak again. I haven’t chosen to be a urine soaked homeless woman, I’ve chosen to raise a human, you ingrate. And, I bet, if these people are asked to step up to the plate in exchange for their responsibility-less at the moment they look down on mine, they wouldn’t be able to deliver. Until they’re ready to grow up, it’s too hard a job to do. It’s too selfless.

judgement day -dumdumDUUUM-

To make matters worse, other mothers judge one another. Back off! You know how hard this job is. For the mothers that breast feed until their children are 22, more power to you. I’m so glad that you are able to make that much milk and give your growing child what she needs. But don’t judge the mothers that can’t make milk, or whose baby wasn’t able to nurse. Mothers do what is best for their family, not for any one else’s. If a mom isn’t following all the rules of the ten thousand parenting books out there, chances are she’s found her own parenting style that works for a particular child. Don’t beat one another up because of different styles. Unless you see another mom feeding her baby broken glass, it’s not your place to judge. If the Time magazine headline “Are you mom enough?” didn’t grind your gears, then you are either mom enough (and good for you if you are!), or you haven’t given thought to the idea of pitting mothers against one another.

As you can see, I’m pretty fired up about all this “motherhood on trial” business. I am not opposed to having a career and living the fun single life. I really enjoyed it when I had it. I wasn’t pushed into marrying my husband, but we did unexpectedly have a baby. I put away “what I wanted to do” for what was required of me. I’m not less of a woman for doing so; I would venture to say that I’m more. To all of you enjoying the life you’ve made for yourself- awesome. I’m really not judging you for what you’ve chosen (this post is really me thinking aloud), so please don’t judge me for the life I’ve made for myself and my family.

This is a pretty heated blog post. If you have thoughts on it all, share it. Like I said, this post is me thinking aloud- it’s harsh (as my inner dialogue can be), it’s raw, and if I offended you, it was not intentional.