Dec 7, 2009 Product Review
More Fashion Help
In last week’s edition of Fashion Monday I wrote about how a stylist, Meg, came to my house and made me get rid of most of my clothes. And I did get rid of them. Well, almost all of them. After Meg left I pulled two pieces out that I couldn’t bear to get rid of. Neither of them had been worn in public, ever. They were both impulse purchases. The first, a crocheted sweater-type thing, I had bought in college. I remember having no money and no clothes but for some reason I spent $35 on this thing that of course I never wore. Even when I was thin I would try it on with a tank top and stretch pants under it and still it looked awful. The length was all wrong, it had a horrible V-neck that went down almost to my belly-button…just awful. The second was a red and gold skirt that I thought looked good in the store, and it was a great deal (my weakness) so it went home with me and sat with the tags on for years. I brought both of these to an event hosted by fashion expert Alison Deyette, hoping that she could tell me how to wear them, or if I even should. I didn’t want to second-guess Meg; I thought of it as more of a second opinion, like if I had been diagnosed with a horrible disease and was hoping another doctor would give me better news. Or put me out of my misery.
Alison was pretty brutal with the sweater. There was no hope for it and I was to toss it immediately (actually, I think it could probably make some nice doilies, but I don’t have the skill so it went to the Salvation Army). The skirt she had a little more hope for. She said that its main problem was length, that if I could get it hemmed a little above the knee it could work. Of course, I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet, but at least now there’s a reason for the skirt to still be in my house.
Skirt length was something that Meg and I had talked about as well. I tend to go for long, straight skirts that hide my fat calves. As many overweight women do, I often fall into the trap of thinking that the more I cover the better I look. But for reasons I still don’t quite get, it just doesn’t work that way. Meg recommended lots of knee-length skirts and tall boots for winter, since the skirts would probably be a little more forgiving during weight loss than pants. Of course, finding boots that fit my calves was a whole other problem, but I’ll save that for another post.
What To Buy When Losing Weight
What clothes to buy during weight loss is a big issue for me. I hate spending money on things I know I’m not going to use for very long, and that’s exactly what I’m doing when I buy clothes that fit me now. I don’t want to be able to wear them for very long, I want them to get baggy quickly. So what to buy? I interviewed Alison a couple of weeks after the event, and she had some great advice about what clothes are worth spending money on when you don’t anticipate being in that size for very long. She had some other great fashion advice as well, and also talked about a new video game for Nintendo DS that came out recently, called Style Savvy.
Alison’s essential pieces to buy when you’re losing weight:
- black pants with a little stretch
- trouser jeans
- button-down shirts with a little stretch
- a really good trench coat with a removable liner
Alison’s style advice if you’re overweight:
- Avoid clothes that are too tight or too over-sized
- Dress for your body type
- Pay attention to what you’re wearing under your clothes – a good bra can slim you instantly
- If you have larger breasts, don’t wear crew-necks; wear V-necks and scoop-necks (but not cut too low)
- Camouflage with jewelry: larger women shouldn’t wear very delicate or small pieces, and no chokers; you want the eye to move up-and-down
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The Style Savvy Game
I was sent the Style Savvy game to try (and a Nintendo DS to try it on), and while it wasn’t my cup of tea (um, I mean, my can of diet pop), I could see some budding fashionistas digging it. I can especially see tween girls using the multi-player options to judge each other’s fashions and visit each other’s boutiques. For me, getting dressed and trying to look stylish is a chore. Maybe once I’m more comfortable with my own style I’ll enjoy playing a video game based on style.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 1 and 5. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
Sep 27, 2009 Product Review
Last week I went to an event at Chelsea Piers featuring Jillian Michaels (that’s my friend Beth Feldman of Role Mommy on stage with Jillian – Beth hosted the event). You know Jillian. Even if you don’t watch “The Biggest Loser” you’ve probably still seen the commercials or seen her on a talk show. (At least I have, and I’ve never seen the show.) On “The Biggest Loser” a bunch of really overweight people compete to see who can lose the most weight, and Jillian Michaels makes them work out until they cry. So I was simultaneously excited and nervous to go to a launch event for her new Wii workout game, “Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010.” Why nervous? I was told to wear workout clothes.
I took a bunch of pictures at the event. I was looking at them as I went along, so I know they were being saved. I got home and put my SD card into my computer, and a strange, scary thing happened: only the first picture showed up. All of the pictures from the event – actually, all of the couple hundred pictures on my SD card – were gone.
I’m not going to go into it all here. Just suffice it to say that when I got my laptop, it was fast and beautiful. Then a couple of years of overeating (big media files) caused it to get slower and slower, until finally, downloading a photo recovery program pushed it over the edge into morbid obesity, and it couldn’t get out of its chair.
Much like my own weight, this happened to my computer so gradually that it didn’t seem like an emergency. At any point I could have put it on a diet-and-exercise program (transfered files), but I was just too lazy. Until it was almost too late.
I eventually recovered the pictures, but not until after my computer went through emergency surgery (sending my husband to PC Richards for an external hard drive). And the lesson here, I think, is that if I would just take care of these things consistantly, stay on top of them, panicky emergency measures wouldn’t be necessary. Packing for trips wouldn’t be sweat-inducing.
So, back to the event. Nobody gets fat overnight, and nobody gets thin overnight. But I’m definitely lazy, and being able to do some meaningful exercise in my house would be fantastic, especially over the winter. I have a couple of Pilates DVDs that I like, but I get bored with them very easily. I have some hand weights, but they’re gathering dust. Jillian Michaels’ new workout game is the next evolution in working out at home. Instead of a DVD that’s always the same, you can design your own workout, and get encouragement as you go along. Or, if you’re not working hard enough, have Jillian Michaels’ avatar yell at you!
She looks nice when she’s not yelling, doesn’t she!
Jillian didn’t just slap her name on the game and collect some fees. She helped design the game (it’s set on a desert island because she’s a big “Lost” fan!) and she did all of the exercises wearing one of those ridiculous motion capture suits covered with ping pong balls, so the instructor on the screen really is moving the right way. Some of the moves incorporate the Wii balance board, and you hold a Wii controller. So if you’re not raising your arms high enough, you get a red line on the screen. Do it right, you get a green line.
I tried the game while Jillian was giving interviews, a few feet from the stage but with her back to me. The last thing I need is a real person yelling at me in a room full of people. I have no problem with what she does on the show – those people are volunteers and they know what they’re in for. But for me, there was no prize at the end to make getting yelled at worth it. Getting told that I’m fat or not working hard enough just makes me want to eat. But on the game, in my living room, that could be fun. I tend to yell back at the TV anyway.
I’m fairly clutzy and uncoordinated, so I didn’t expect to be able to master the moves right away. I was surprised I was having as much trouble as I was, though. I was getting red lines all over the place! Then I realized that I was mirroring what the Jillian avatar was doing, when actually I was supposed to be doing the same leg and arm as she was. Once I got that I was more or less OK but again, this would be a lot easier to master if you weren’t in a room full of people. Each move has a tutorial you can go to, or go right to the move. You can choose the music, the location – lots of the game is customizable, which is great for moving from fitness level to fitness level or for when you get bored.
Not surprisingly, Jake caught on way faster than I did:
I don’t have much use for the Wii game because I don’t have a Wii, but there’s also a travel version for Nintendo DS, which I do have, so I’m excited to get that one when it’s released on October 20th (the Wii game will be out on October 6th). Jillian’s mind is already on the next version – she’s trying to incorporate weights and other stuff to take it to the next level.
I’m all for making exercise easier. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but if I have to go to too much trouble to get to the actual exercise part, I wont do it. I’ve been a member of some excellent gyms that I never got my ass to – too much trouble. I love riding my bike, but I have to be dressed a certain way and then I have to put on sneakers and carry my bike down the stairs and put on a helmet…meh. But if you’ve got a Wii in your living room, and you can kick your kids off of it for long enough, then I think this game would be a great way to help you get fit.
UPDATE: Our hostess Beth Feldman posted a whrrl story about the event
Reserve your game today on Amazon:
Jan 13, 2009 Contest/Giveaway
I’m sitting here watching some really bad singers on American Idol, so it’s ironic that I’m posting about a prize that involves some great music. This was a fun contest for me because I kept tricking myself into believing that I had to play Guitar Hero on Tour Decades more because I was doing the contest. I know, makes absolutely no sense.
Anywho, our winners are: Melissa, Angela, Jen, and Belinda P. Congratulations! [Update: I forgot to mention that Angela is my stepmom, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a DS, but I'm betting that one of her 73 kids does! :-)]
Check back on Thursday for another giveaway, and thanks to everyone who entered!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Jan 8, 2009 Contest/Giveaway
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that I simply can’t take a video game guitar with me everywhere. But now I don’t have to. About a month ago, my friends over at Nintendo and Activision sent me Guitar Hero on Tour Decades for my Nintendo DS. Playing Guitar Hero this way took a little getting used to, after the hours I’ve logged with the “real” Guitar Hero and Rock Band. There’s a controller that straps around your DS with four colored buttons for playing the “notes” of the song, and then you strum on the DS screen with a little plastic pick.
After a couple of songs though, I was getting the hang of it. The game starts with modern songs, and then as you successfully play through songs you unlock other decades. Obviously it’s not going to be the same experience as playing Guitar Hero (and my hand gets tired a lot quicker), but it’s a really fun substitute. You have to be really careful not to let the controller slip off of the DS if you’re adjusting the grip, but that’s my only big complaint.
Unfortunately I only have one DS so I wasn’t able to try out the multiplayer function, but I think it’s great that it’s there. Plus, if one DS has the original On Tour game and one has the Decades game, the two players can choose from all of the songs from both of the games.
I played this recently during a long car trip and I have to say, it made the time fly by. Of course I had to fight my son to play it, but that’s OK because he’s unlocking the songs faster than I can!
So now for the giveaway: the great people from Nintendo and Activision who sent me my copy of Decades sent me four more bundles to give away! The bundles include both the On Tour controller and the Decades software. If you want to win one, just take a look here and tell me what your favorite song from the list is. Mine is the Alien Ant Farm version of Smooth Criminal (which also has an awesome video, BTW – it walks a fine line between paying homage to Michael Jackson and making fun of him). I haven’t unlocked it yet, so I’m dying to get to play it.
Entries must be received by noon eastern on Tuesday, January 13th. Four winners will each win a Guitar Hero On Tour Decades bundle. Any comments received after noon eastern on January 13th will not count! The winners will be chosen at random by random.org. Only mailing addresses in the U.S. are eligible. Only one entry per person per day please. I’ll say that again: you can answer once per day! To see the full rules, please go here.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Nov 10, 2008 Randomosity
This is what’s been floating around in my head for the past week. I need to clear it out to make room for more.
Stephen Colbert on November 5th:
You see, for years we have crammed fear down your throat but this time you refused to swallow it. We had big plans! Last night we were going to harvest your bloated livers and make a delicious fear fois gras to be served at the McCain victory party. And needless to say, when Obama won there were a lot of empty, disappointed crackers out there.
The fact that minority support for Obama may also have helped Proposition 8 pass in California is really unfortunate. I think Jon Stewart put it best:
And if you like your injustice tinged with a little irony, enjoy! [news clip explaining that 69% support for Proposition 8 among black voters helped it pass] Ah, it appears the oppressee has become the oppressor. What’d that take, about twenty-four hours? Free at last! Free at last! [picture of two men holding hands appears on screen] Whoa, whoa, where are you two going?
There’s a very defensive editorial on Huffington Post right now saying that blacks shouldn’t be blamed for Proposition 8′s passage. I’m not blaming the 69% of blacks who voted for Proposition 8 (at least not completely). I’m simply pointing out the insane irony. If Obama were Hispanic, the irony award would have gone to Latinos.
Support for Proposition 8 was almost as strong among Latino voters. The reasons why this is completely backward is voiced in this CNN commentary, much better than I could ever write it.
Last week I wore a hole in the thigh of my favorite jeans. This is probably the most embarrassing place to get a hole. Not that anyone could see it, but it’s humiliating. I threw the jeans out as soon as the hole appeared (I knew it was coming for a long time; the fabric in that spot was getting thinner and thinner). But the concept is embarrassing: that my thighs were rubbing together so much and causing so much friction that they actually made the fabric disappear.
After losing 25 pounds, I’ve been stuck at this weight for a year. The jeans were a sign. I wear jeans almost every day, and that was the only size 14 pair I liked. I have the same exact jeans in a size 12, so I’m not buying another pair. No favorite jeans until I fit into the size 12 pair. All I have are the ones I’m wearing now, stretchy old-lady jeans with a very unflattering leg. That should motivate me!
I’m all for recycling, but this is a bit ridiculous: used condoms being made into hairbands. Gross in an understatement. Read all about it on Snopes.
No matter how early I get up, no matter how organized I am, no matter when I have the kids get their shoes and hats and coats and gloves on, there is simply nothing I can do if my daughter decides that she has to poop ten minutes before school starts.
The good people at Nintendo heard me whining about not having a Nintendo DS, and they sent me one! It’s a pretty pink one and while it came with two games (Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir, and Kirby Super Star Ultra), I’m really excited to try out some of the more adult games for the DS, like Flash Focus and Brain Age, and I’m especially interested in My Weight Loss Coach, which comes with a pedometer and helps you track your activities and progress. I think I know what I want for Christmas! And of course my daughter is dying to try My Baby Girl.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Nov 6, 2008 Product Review
Munchkin has never shown much interest in computers. She’s only four, so that’s not very surprising. But when a friend of mine at a PR firm emailed me about a new game for the Nintendo DS called My Baby Girl, I had two thoughts: Munchkin would love this, and I don’t have a DS. Damn.
But we sort of got to try the game out anyway online. At MyBabyVillage.com there’s a short flash game based on the My Baby Boy and My Baby Girl series. In this flash game you get to…drumroll please…change a diaper! Wow, for real? ‘Cause I didn’t get to do enough of that with two kids!
But I’m not the target audience for this game, of course, so I asked my daughter if she wanted to try it. She jumped at the chance, especially since she was going to get to do it on my laptop, which the kids are normally not allowed to touch.
She’s never used a mouse pad, so it took her a few minutes to get used to that. But once she did, she was hooked on the game. It’s pretty easy: you move the pointer (which looks like a DS stylus) around the baby’s changing table and click on items, in a certain order, to change the baby’s diaper. If you’re having trouble, there are arrows to help you. There’s a “care meter” that tells you how you’re doing. Move fast enough, and the baby coos with delight. Move too slow, and the meter goes down. And that’s it! The entire objective is to change the diaper. And my daughter is totally hooked. I haven’t even told her that that’s just a preview. She thinks that’s the entire game.
The full game for DS (which comes out on November 10th) sounds kind of like The Sims for little kids. There’s no winning or losing, you just nurture the baby at your own pace. As certain milestones are reached, like eating and crawling, more abilities are unlocked. This sounds really cool. Not for me – I have enough to do nurturing my flesh and blood three-dimentional children – but it sounds perfect for a four-year-old, especially one as baby crazy as my Munchkin.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom