Learning To Love My Thighs

30 Oct

Like most women, I am not 100% okay with my body. Specifically, the saddlebag/underbutt area.

I stand in front of my full length mirror daily, attempting to wish away the slight curve just below my hips, and the hint of cellulite below my behind.  I fixate on it, checking my reflection at the gym as I stretch, hoping the dozens of lunges, hamstring curls, squats, and ballet-inspired leg lifts I have just preformed have helped to smoosh and smooth those blobs of fat just a little bit.

But all I see are frog legs.

 

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I know I’m supposed to celebrate my strong thighs as powerful and instead stand there beating myself up. So now I have two things to hate about myself: not only am I not skinny enough, but there’s also something wrong with me mentally. Awesome.ImageAs a society, we seem to be caught between media messages urging us to accept our bodies no matter what shape they come in,  and constant warnings about the obesity epidemic. The message gets even more confusing when you look at supposedly tried-and-true fitness quantifiers — like BMI — obectively. (Some athletes, for example, tend to have high BMI’s because they’ve packed on so much muscle. That doesn’t make them obese. ) So in the absence of any clear message as to what we’re “supposed” to look like, wesubconsciously align our goals with the images we see the most: size zero models — all with a certain body type — airbrushed into superhuman perfection. Or at least I do.Image

Which is why  I found Robin Lawley’s post yesterday on The Daily Beast so refreshing. In it, the plus-sized model (and new face of Ralph Lauren) discusses the  “thigh gap,” or the space between the thighs that is celebrated on runways and in online thinspo groups alike. But she goes beyond the usual “blame the fashion industry” rant, and instead urges women to get right with themselves and put their priorities in order. She says:

“Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size? I’m not saying women who have it naturally are unattractive. But I would have to change my entire frame just to achieve something that seems so trivial.”

Of course, changing the way one fees inside is easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. So I’m going on record as saying I refuse to pass my poor self esteem off as just another media casualty. I know those women are airbrushed. But they have nothing to do with me, or my body. All women in my family are slightly pear-shaped, so it’s genetically impossible for me to look like Kate Moss does in skinny jeans.  I will only look like myself in skinny jeans. And I need to do the work to start loving that.

So starting immediately, I’m on a one month scale and full-length mirror fast. I will only be be using full length mirrors to check my form at the gym, and will cut off any disparaging inner monologues. If I need to see if there’s lint on my pants, I’ll just have to use a hand mirror.

Because I deserve to feel good about myself, thighs and all.

My Guilt-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

29 Oct

When I say that I am obsessed with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I am absolutely not exaggerating. I have queued up at Starbucks many a September 1, jittery with excitement that it was finally time to order my favorite fall treat.

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Then I found out there are 49 grams of sugar in a grande Pumpkin Spice. That’s more than 12 teaspoons — or about the same amount in two pieces of yellow cake with chocolate frosting. What a buzzkill! (Literally.)

But that doesn’t mean I’m about to forgo my pumpkiny caffeine fix. Instead, I’ve been working on an all natural, sugar-free alternative. And after three years of trying, I’ve finally perfected my make-at-home recipe.

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CultureKItty’s Guilt-Free Pumpkin Spice

2/3c strong black coffee (or two shots espresso)

1/2 c milk (increase to 3/4 c if using espresso)

1 tbsp pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp agave (you can also substitute light brown sugar or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon sugar (to top)

Warm milk in small sauce pan until small bubbles on top. If you desire a foam-topped treat like mine, use a foaming wand or warm your milk using a NesCafe Aeroccino, which simultaneously froths and warms your milk. (I have one — it’s my new favorite kitchen tool.)

Meanwhile, mix pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, agave, and vanilla in the bottom of your coffee cup. Add a few drops of hot coffee to make a paste, then stir constantly as you slowly add the rest of your coffee. Top with milk and a dusting of cinnamon sugar, and there you have it!

The Long And Shorts Of It

9 Apr

Where would I wear this?

That’s often the first question we ask ourselves as we twirl in front of the dressing room mirror, tempted by the item we’re trying on.

I threw that question out the window last fall when I clicked buy on these Karl Lagerfeld leather shorts.

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I justified them by telling myself that refreshing my wardrobe with a separate (on sale, no less!) was more cost effective than buying multiple dresses for the holiday party season. But it turns out they were an even better investment than I had anticipated.

With the leather trend still in full gear and spring weather fluctuating between balmy and blustery, I wear these bad boys at least once a week, and for a wide array of occasions.

Here are ideas for wearing your new leather shorts this spring, and well into summer.

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Weekend: Dress these bad boys down with a Kenzo-esque sweatshirt tee from Zara and Stuart Weitzman’s flat gladiator sandals. An iconic Proenza Schouler PS1 Pouchette in neon red gives this black and white ensemble a pop of color, while Joomi Lim’s crystal spike bracelet adds rock star polish.

Work: An animal print coat from keeps you toasty during chilly commute times while a pastel lasercut blouse softens the look. A 3.1 Philip Lim Pashli bag packs lunch and your iPad with style with space left over for these cap toe pumps if you’ve got a long walk ahead of you.

Happy Hour: An embellished long-sleeve top keeps things work-friendly while fierce mirror metallic pumps and a killer clutch take you from the office to cocktail hour.

Date night: Drape this powder blue blazer across your shoulders to allow a barely-there sequined cami to flirt. Sexy, yet demure, single sole strappy sandals lengthen your legs, while a neon minaudiere adds juicy — and unexpected — pop.

(Jury) Duty Bound

27 Mar

Jury Duty. Ugh.

That about sums up my feelings upon receiving a summons to do my civic duty.

But when to came time to report this week, I tried to stay positive by viewing it as an opportunity to explore the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center.

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With its soaring gilded spire and distinctive blue roof, this National Historic Landmark was the famous architect’s final commission.

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The administrative and sherriff’s offices are housed in a two-story gallery with an arched glass roof with many rooms (including the jury waiting room) offering access to outdoor balconies with stunning views of Mt. Tamalpais.

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Trees planted in the lower floor median stretch upwards towards the glass, which is book-ended with a gold mid-century motif.

ImageThe entire building seems to swoop and curve as beige, blue, and could-it-be-International-Orange? color scheme plays throughout.

ImageThe courtroom floor offers floor-to-ceiling windows, plenty of seating, and lots of paneled wood. Which came in handy when we were asked to wait outside while the lawyers worked a plea bargain. (Phew!)

Overall, leaving was still the best part of my time at Marin County Civic Center. But I couldn’t help but be grateful to Mr. Wright for making the time I spent in legal limbo so much more pleasant.

From Racked To Reality

20 Mar

My friend Danielle emailed me this Racked piece with a one-liner attached: “OMG YOU NEED THIS OUTFIT!”

Yes. Yes, I definitely do.

What I do not need, however, is to spend $1620 replicating it down to the Manolos.

Fortunately, I possess an enthusiasm bordering on bloodlust for bargain hunting and well-executed fast fashion. So I managed to copy the outfit almost exactly for under $300. Here’s how I did it:

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Lime Green Sweater: Asos, Metallic Leather Skirt: Asos, Shoes: BCBGeneration

A quick note on tailoring: Midi skirts aren’t for everyone. In fact, I’m not even sure I’ll love this length forever (although I do love the work-friendliness of a midi). Fortunately, I know a good tailor who will hem my leather skirt into a rockin’ mini for about $40. Problem solved.

Crazy Pants

8 Mar

Jeans are great, but after years of wearing them everywhere from five star restaurants to the dog park, I’m more than ready for the pants trend. And this spring, it’s all about the prints.

Whether worn with a half-tucked tuxedo shirt or a sweatshirt and hi tops, these printed stunners have me swooning.

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From upper left: Clover Canyon Paisley Road Pant, Tibi Starfish Pleated Pants, Asos Africa Pants In Printed Floral. From lower left: Whistles Orchid Print Pants, Clover Canyon Flower Tracers Pant, Asos Pants In Digital Animal Print

Go Tuck Yourself

5 Mar

Our recent move has my purse strings tied in knots. Which is fine because, really, I have enough clothes.

But what to do when last season’s floral blouse feels wilted?

Trade it for someone else’s still-fabulous former favorite on Bib + Tuck.

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The idea behind new website is RealReal-Meets-Pintrest-Meets-your roomate’s closet. List (aka “Bib”) your unwanted fabulousness on your own page and earn bucks to put towards items from other girls’ closets. Each buck equals one dollar, and you set your own price when you list your own item, ensuring you’re compensated based on what you feel it’s worth.

Enticed by the concept, I joined and am totally hooked. So far, I’ve bibbed one item: a beautiful boho dress sitting sadly in my closet, worn only once. But I’m biding my bucks until I find the right item to cash in on. Right now, there’s a pair of off-white Jeffrey Campbell booties calling my name. Also tempting: a totally on-trend pair of printed palazzo pants.

My one criticism: not enough selection. They need more users willing to sell more items. The best selections tend to get tucked (ie bought) in seconds by people who lurk around constantly refreshing their browsers.

Ah, to have that kind of time…