Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Memoriam: Oscar de la Renta


Last night a friend of mine sent me a text message, alerting me to the fact that Oscar de la Renta had passed away. He was 82 years old and had been battling cancer for some time. I have always loved Oscar de la Renta's design aesthetic, and I was so sorry to hear that he had passed away.


By all accounts, it seems he was as gracious and elegant in his personal, real life, as he was in his designs.

As recently as 2012, at an event in New York City, Mr. De la Renta spoke about his cancer. He told the crowd, "The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life."

It was always one of my dreams to attend one of his fashion shows in New York, but since I am not a regular customer, nor a celebrity, nor a fashion insider, that dream never materialized. BUT, I have been extremely fortunate to find a couple of Mr. De la Renta's designs over the years on consignment, or on eBay.





I always loved his use of color and his delicate, beautiful fabrics, especially his lace and eyelet pieces. One day I hope to find an eyelet or lace blouse, or a fabulous, colorful dress, to add to my collection.

Another thing I loved about his designs was that he made clothes to fit women who are a size 0 and those who are a size 16 or 18! It seems his goal was to make women feel beautiful, regardless of their dress size.

So today, the fashion world is poorer for the loss of this creative man, who it seems, more than anything, was a true gentleman. May you rest in peace, Mr. De la Renta, and may God comfort your family and friends as they go on without you.





“Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion,” Mr. de la Renta once said. “A runway is spectacle. It’s only fashion when a woman puts it on. Being well dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense.” ~ New York Times


Monday, October 20, 2014

The French (Baking) Diet?

Hello again!

Let's jump straight ahead and get the weigh-in done.

Monday's weigh-in: 163.5. (-1.0 versus last week and -3.5 to date)

Alleluia!!!!!! Yipee!!!!! Hurrah!!!!! [Insert cartwheels of joy here] ��

What happened??!!

I wish I knew! This past weekend, I did some more baking. This time, it was chocolate croissants.  


Maybe it's the French pastry diet?  Hehe

No, it's not. Last week I behaved reasonably well. I tried to eat reasonable portions, and I tried to eat mostly home-cooked meals. But the truth is, I also did eat out sometimes. And, last night, I had a tiny dinner because I had an upset stomach. I don't think it was from the croissants, since I only sampled 1/2 of one (to make sure it was good). So, the truth is, I'm not sure why I saw such a big loss this week.

But, I'm not complaining! In fact, if anything, it has motivated me to be extra careful this week. And, I'm going to be better about jotting down what I'm eating, if I'm exercising (and how much), and how my tummy reacts to it all. Hopefully that way I will have a better idea of why my weight fluctuates.

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy this new weight (probably my lowest in over a year) and hope that the downward trend continues!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting back into the swing of things


As I mentioned last time, I spent the previous week baking delicious treats and I was reasonably pleased to see that I hadn't completely gone overboard.

This past week, the trend towards more French behavior continued (moderately) as I focused on more home-cooking and got a bit more exercise in. But, on the downside, the approach of Halloween has meant that there has been more free candy crossing my path, and it's hard to resist candy miniatures. 

Monday's weigh-in: 164.5. (-0.5 versus last week and -2.5 to date)

Phew! Am I relieved!

For this week, my focus is going to be on menu planning, healthy meals, and moderate exercise. Today's been a scorcher, so I'm not really in the mood to go out for a walk or a bike ride, but temps should drop later in the week, so hopefully a few brisk walks will work their way into my schedule.

p.s. My new goal is to lose between 0.5 - 1 lbs each week. I'm hoping to be a bit lighter by the time I travel back east to see my husband's family at Thanksgiving. And, my Maman's family may be coming to visit for Christmas, and I really don't want them to see me as I am right now!  So, I have two things to motivate me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back again, baking again

This past weekend I took another baking class: Viennoiserie at Home. Viennoiserie refers to "laminated" dough, like the one used for croissants and Danish pastries. So, we made croissants, pain su chocolat, assorted fruit Danishes, and brioche. 


Of course, this meant we had to taste what we made. :)

We each went home with lots of goodies. I kept some but gave a bunch away. 

Despite this, I'm sure these delicious treats didn't leave my waistline unscathed. 

Tuesday's weigh-in: 165. (-0.5 versus last week and -2.0 to date)

I guess I'll call this a success, since I managed to go back down a bit despite the enjoyment of numerous buttery baked goods. 

Now, the treats are gone. Time to get serious!

Monday, September 29, 2014

And, we're back!


Well, I'm back.

If you're following this blog at all, you already know that last week Monsieur and I went on vacation. We decided to drive to Santa Barbara, and boy, was it relaxing. Guidebooks call that area of California the "American Riviera". When I first read that I thought to myself, "Yeah, right. Nice try." But I think there may be something to it. Strolling along the tree-lined, extra-wide sidewalks you feel like you could be in some delightful European beach town. It really was wonderful and I would definitely go back.



I think I was pretty good about portion control. Monsieur and I typically would split lunches and share appetizers. And, I actually did take part of my dinner back to our hotel one evening because I already felt more than satisfied. But I do think I ate more at dinner time than usual.

I also discovered a wonderful ice cream shop that is based in Santa Barbara: McConnell's


They have as assortment of delicious flavors, but my favorite (by far) was Black Coffee Chip. It's a blend of espresso and drip coffees plus some very finely shredded Guittard chocolate. Heaven! So, I was a bit relaxed about my treat intake.

On the plus side, we took some long walks and swam almost every day, so I hope that helped to balance things out a little bit.

Still, given all that, I wouldn't be surprised if the scale wasn't as complimentary as it was before I left. 

Monday morning weigh-in: 165.5. (+1.5 since last week and -1.5 to-date)

Gulp.

So, I was hoping that the result would have been a bit better. But, I managed to get things moving in the right direction before, so I should be able to do it again, right? Right.

So, here we go!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Early check-in

Next week, Monsieur and I are going on a mini-vacation. Actually, it will be our first non-family, non-wedding-related trip in over a year. My last real vacation was three years ago now, and it was just before papa got sick. So, I am really looking forward to it. We are going on a road trip and several days of poolside lounging are planned.

Since I won't be around next week and I'm not planning on bringing my laptop (or my scale!) I thought I would check to see how things were going, weight-wise.

Friday morning weigh-in: 164. (No change since Monday and -3.0 to-date)

Of course, this is not quite the same as if I had weighed myself on Monday, but I am actually quite happy to see that things are holding steady.

This week has been a monster. Maman got sick this week, too, and our caregiver got the stomach flu, so for the past 3 days I have been 'on duty' full-time. As a result, my meals have been a bit erratic. Especially yesterday. But, the caregiver will be back today so that will (hopefully) give me a chance to regroup and get ready for my vacation.

See you in a week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting ready for Fall

Many years ago, I absconded with a steamer trunk that my dad actually used on a transatlantic voyage. It's not quite Louis Vuitton or Goyard, but it's definitely the genuine article.

Ever since, I've used it to store my 'off-season' wardrobe. Twice a year (spring and fall) I open the trunk and pull out clothes for the upcoming season. While I'm at it, I usually also review each piece I'm pulling out to make sure (1) it still fits, (2) it's still appropriate for my lifestyle/age, and (3) I still love it. If something no longer meets all three criteria, I usually set it aside and either donate it or sell it.

Well, today was the day for my trunk opening. Out came wool skirts and pants, some bulkier sweaters, and a few "holiday" dresses. In went my breeziest tops, my eyelet dresses, and anything in too light or pastel a color.

Next, I tried on my fall/winter clothes.

The good news was that most pieces still fit me. (Criterion #1, check!)

And, most pieces are still appropriate for my lifestyle and age. (Criterion #2, check!) 

So then, the last question is, "Do I love them?" Ah, here we get to the real problem.

Unlike Spring clothes, which easily put a big smile on my face, Fall clothes tend to bore me. In theory, Fall fashion is the best. The magazines are full of beautiful jackets, rich knits, and delightful accessories (hats, scarves, gloves!) and I love it all. But the reality is that in my day-to-day life--at least, my Fall/Winter life--my uniform consists primarily of jeans, long-sleeve t-shirts, and wool cardigans. I just don't wear skirts or wool slacks, unless there's some special occasion that calls for a dressier look. And as for button-downs, I hate ironing. Le sigh...

As a result, I feel a huge desire to edit and simplify my wardrobe even further. Then, once that is done, I will be able to clearly see where gaps exists and what I need to shop for to fill those.

For now, I must trudge through the hard part and look forward to the fun to come. :)