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WRITINGBLUEHAWK's Recent Blog Entries

Buckling Down

Friday, September 28, 2012

I was reading my SP weight reports and observed the following:

1. I have lost 5.5 pounds since August 1st
2. I have lost only 1 pound in September

In my previous blog, I identified about 8 bad habits that are holding me back from losing more weight. Thanks to some of the feedback Iíve received from my SP friends, Iíve decided to focus on changing only two things; drinking more water and sticking to my 10:30 pm bedtime.

Two other factors that are contributing to my slowed weight loss are hypothyroidism and perimenopause. Despite my tendency to self-sabotage and my haywire hormones, I am managing to hang in there and stay patient because the alternative is to regain the weight.

I am also focusing on taking a moment everyday to celebrate being 46 pounds thinner. Here are some of the changes Iíve noticed since Iíve lost weight:

1. Iím not afraid to have my picture taken. Yeah, I look chubby in the photos, but I donít look obese.

2. I jump around and dance more. The other day my daughter and I were doing the ďPsy Gangnam StyleĒ dance and just being silly. Before, I wouldnít have even wanted to.

3. I like to shop for clothes again. Every time I pull a size 12 off the rack, try it on and IT FITS is still remarkable to me.

4. Iím dressing more youthfully. Not in the pathetic way of a 40-something woman who doesnít know any better, but in a fresh, positive and flattering way.

5. Although bootcamp class is killiní me and I canít do all those mountain climbers, burpees, and planks, Iím hanginí tough and holding my own in a class with people half my age.

Above all, Iím physically and mentally healthier because my blood sugar is normal, my skin is clear, and the psychic pain of being obese is gone. I really feel like Iíve given myself the best gift ever. That is why Iím buckling down and working harder to reach goal.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HANAVAS 9/30/2012 12:59PM

    emoticon insight!

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SONYALATRECE 9/29/2012 12:38PM

    emoticon consistency trumps all else.

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MOBYCARP 9/28/2012 9:54PM


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FLEURGARDEN 9/28/2012 6:39PM

    Great job!

I still have a bit of weight to lose, but I'm also thrilled when those size 12s fit.

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REALLY_ROBIN 9/28/2012 3:40PM

  Good for you for losing 46 pounds, hanging in there while you aren't losing like you want to be, and for choosing just 2 things to work on. Way to go!!!

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NESARIAN 9/28/2012 1:24PM

    Slow and steady wins the race!

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LEFTHANDLUKE 9/28/2012 12:54PM


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CAKEMAKERMOM 9/28/2012 12:47PM

    Keep on focusing on the positive and you'll positively get to where you want to go!

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LADYPIXEL 9/28/2012 12:43PM

    That Gangnam Style horse riding dance is ridiculously fun. (And my daughter and her boyfriend do it often. I keep trying, but I have two left feet!)

You can do it -- stay strong!

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What's Getting in my Way

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I've been plateaued for a couple of weeks and after mulling it over for a few days, I've decided to really get focused on dropping the next 5-6 pounds. Hopefully, this will reignite my motivation and re-energize my efforts to get to goal.

Here are the things I need to fix.
1. I've fallen away from my morning smoothies because berries are no longer in season and are getting expensive. I need to find a way to pack my morning with fruits and/or vegetables so I can get my 5 a day in.

2. I'm not pushing hard enough when I exercise. Typically, I lift then do 30 minutes of cardio on machines. But last week, I took a bootcamp class and it was WORK. I am planning to go to the bootcamp class 2x a week to jumpstart my fitness.

3. Too many diet cokes. I'm hopelessly addicted to them. I'm sure they're not helping me, but I've got to figure out a way to kick this decades old addiction. I was doing well for a while, but now I'm back to drinking three or more cans a day.

4. Slack record keeping. I'm not weighing or measuring my food anymore, so I need to return to measuring stuff for awhile to retrain my eyes.

5. The corollary to #3 is I'm not drinking enough water. I need to substitute water for pop.

6. Menu planning. I can be so freakin' disorganized, I'm sure I'm slightly ADHD. The biggest sins are going to the store without a list, and not being strategic with my menu planning. For example, if I plan to bake chicken one night, then I should prepare chicken salad with the leftovers so nothing goes bad. I also need to just freeze stuff if I know I'm going to grow tired of eating the same thing all week.

7. Not sticking to my 10:30 pm weeknight bedtime. I'm worse than an 8 year old. I'd stay up until 1 am or 2 am if I could. If I know I have to get up at 6:30 am, I need to go to bed at 10:30 pm. Period. This way, I won't be so tired by the end of the work day that I don't do what I'm supposed to do.

8. Too many treats. Ugh! I hate the idea of giving them up completely, but I need to get back to basics for awhile. This also includes the little Weight Watchers Smart Ones desserts and skinny cows. A few times a week is okay, but they should not be dietary staples. Besides I have no business bringing those little smart ones desserts into my house. I don't handle them well and am quite capable of devouring 2-3 of those little monsters in one sitting.

I think if I resolve these areas, I will kickstart my progress. Time to hit the "reset" button and treat this program like it's Day 1.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINICOOK 9/26/2012 3:37AM

    Sounds like you've identified all areas where you could improve. That's half the battle. Work on the most important ones first and the rest will surely follow. You will make these changes! Have faith in yourself.

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MOBYCARP 9/25/2012 8:31PM

    I don't know. 8 things to work on is about 6 more than I could handle at once.

If I had to pick one thing, I'd say strictly enforce that bedtime. Getting enough sleep will make it easier to think, and easier to work on the other 7 things.

If I were picking two, the second thing would be to always be drinking water. No diet coke until after I get the 8 glasses of water in my day.

The other stuff will probably come naturally if you can get these two things done.

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SONYALATRECE 9/25/2012 4:41PM

    You've got it all in perspective, so you'll be fine.


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CAKEMAKERMOM 9/25/2012 2:35PM

    Sounds like you know what you need to do and some things to help you do it!

Can you get berries from the freezer section? Off season that's the cheapest way to do them. You could also try different fruits for your smoothies, perhaps good cooking pumpkin with some cinnamon and nutmeg? There should be plenty of recipes for different blends on the recipe section.

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TRAINER_T 9/25/2012 2:27PM

    Knowing where you need improvement and being honest with yourself is a HUGE accomplishment!

Now you have a goal and a a plan = SUCCESS emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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JUSTMAGPIE 9/25/2012 2:24PM

  Good for you! you have said so much on what is also happening in my life! Good work on acknowledging what needs change! emoticon

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Weight and social class

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why am I suddenly paying attention to how much people around me weigh? I think it's because I'm in an environment where living a healthy lifestyle is like swimming upstream. I think if I lived in Colorado or California, maybe the experience would be different. Here in Kansas City, we love our barbecue and IT SHOWS. After all, this is BEEF country where vegetarians are barely tolerated or dismissed as new age-y west-coast eccentrics. But I've also noticed something else.

Weight really is becoming a class issue. Even in Kansas City, the people you see at a chamber of commerce networking event or the suburban country club are going to be a lot thinner than the folks you see at Dollar General or Wal-mart. This week I visited all of these places and the difference is stark. I don't have hard data, but I would guess that only 20% of upper class or upper middle class people here are obese compared to 65% of less wealthy people.

So what's going on? I will grant you that the wealthy have access to gym memberships, walking trails and organic fruits and vegetables. As far as their grilling habits, I have no idea. Maybe they're throwing tilapia and veggies on the grill instead of pork spareribs and burgers like the rest of Kansas City.

I know the daughter of a colleague of mine who is a millionaire. After she had her third child she flew to the west coast to have a tummy tuck and liposuction so she could regain her figure. Predictably, the next time I saw her she looked absolutely fabulous. I know for a fact that these folks throw down on barbecue because they entertain regularly. But I suppose when you can leave the kids with a nanny in one wing of the house while you work out with a personal trainer in the other wing, a few spare ribs here and there is not going to do much damage.

Contrast that with the rest of us who are living paycheck to paycheck, shuttling kids to school or soccer practice and doing our own housework. It sure is a lot easier to grab some fast food than to come home to a fridge full of unappealing leftovers after a long day. And the weekends? That's for housecleaning, yardwork and visiting the in-laws and running all the errands you didn't have time for during the week. Given this kind of schedule, is it really that surprising that most of us are struggling with our weight?

In a nutshell, it takes real focus and effort to drop the pounds when you don't have lots of time or money, but we also know that it can be done. So if weight control IS possible for a majority of us, and 2/3 of us are fat what gives?

I really think it IS about our social circles. If you belong to one that has a lot of overweight people in it, then their habits become your habits. I think the wealthy and upper middle class belong to social circles that reinforce weight control. They probably dine at places that offer calorie controlled options, meet up at tennis clubs, walk the golf course and exchange tips on how they work out, where they work out and what fitness club or personal trainer they use. If all that fails, they share tips on the best plastic surgeons.

I know the friend of a relative of mine who married a wealthy man. Interestingly enough she had to sign a pre nup that included a clause saying that if she gained more than 20 pounds during the marriage, she would forgo her claim to his assets should they divorce. In other words, if she got fat he had every right to divorce her and leave her with nothing. So she was constantly exercising and just picking at her food. I met her once and she appeared to be 5'7" and weigh about 125 pounds. But she was also living in a fabulous house that overlooked the city and driving a fancy car. I'm sure she has a sense of urgency when that scale creeps up.

I happen to belong to a social circle where thinness is frowned upon and the most prized women are "thick" but only in the right places. When I meet up with friends, we are most likely to go to a buffet where the food is cheap and plentiful. My friends only become weight conscious when it becomes a health issue. So I shouldn't be surprised that although I've long wanted to be thinner, it didn't really happen until I got a sense of urgency.

So if people don't have a sense of urgency, then diet and fitness won't be a priority. For upper middle class and wealthy people, the sense of urgency probably kicks in after the first 20 pounds and is fueled by their social circle. Who wants to be the dateless fat friend? How can you join in on boutique shopping with your girlfriends if you wear a size 14? So off to that appointment with the personal trainer.

Anyway, I don't know what happens among the upper middle class and wealthy. I'm just guessing. Still, the bottom line for all of us is that weight loss doesn't happen with complacency. It only happens when it becomes urgent and that sense of urgency is what drives us to change. Aside from a personal health issue, the single largest contributor to our weight becoming urgent is driven by our social class. That's why the wealthy are thinner.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBAELLEN 9/24/2012 10:14PM

    Interesting. I feel like a contrarian, but here goes. Although I'm not extremely wealthy, I was fortunate come from a privileged background. As a result, I guess I can say I've shared your observations from the other side of the fence. I've pondered the cultural phenomenon many times, and I do believe your theory to be true. We grew up with a housekeeper, and meals were planned and dinnertime was a must. Any food outside of home was a social occasion, and I can't ever remember carryout. The closest thing I remember to fast food was when we went out for ice cream cones. :) Although I REALLY hate exercising, we all grew up with socially "proper" summer and winter sports. Bowling would have been embarrassing. :) You're right, an overweight woman was very rare, although I can remember a number of big, fat, unselfconscious men. It's just the way it was.

Until I started gaining weight (god's gift to us middle-aged people who love cookies) I never even thought about not being thin. As I grew to become a "Walmart and Dollar Tree lover" I noticed the same things you have. My initial thought was, why do people without much money let themselves get so fat! I'm convinced it's cultural. The food, the activities, the education and the components of acceptance are very different in different circles. I also don't discount the genetic factor - - that is, people tend to marry within their culture and, logically, thin people would have children predisposed to "thinness." Whatever it is, you're right that there is little acceptance of being overweight among the privileged class.

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MOBYCARP 9/24/2012 9:11PM

    I see the same correlation that you do, and find your speculations as to cause plausible. I'd add one other thing, though . . .

It's noised about that eating healthfully is no more expensive than eating unhealthfully. That's BS. Optimizing grocery shopping for health may not be any more costly than optimizing for convenience, but it certainly is more costly than optimizing for low cost.

Right now, I spend about twice as much per month on groceries (food only) than I did pre-Spark. It's worth it, but it is also noticeable in my budget.

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MPLANE37 9/24/2012 4:25PM

    I think your analysis is pretty accurate. Essentially you can't overcome the momentum of the society that you live in. If you hang around with people who are fat, the chances that you will end up fat too skyrockets (this was shown scientifically). It works the other way around too, so it is better to hang around with health-conscious people.

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RICHILA 9/24/2012 3:29PM

    My husband and I noticed when our refrigerator was out that cheesburgers and fries at McDonalds were a lot cheaper than a grilled chicken salad at McDonald's. Also that none of the 2 for $20 deals at restaurants in our area include the healthy choices on the menu.

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FLEURGARDEN 9/24/2012 7:29AM

    I think there have been studies that support your observation. But I think it's also the other changes in society that contribute to rising obesity in general. I grew up fairly poor and none of us were overweight. My mom cooked all of our meals at home, partly because fast food wasn't as readily available, but also because it was a lot cheaper to cook from scratch when you had a large family. And while cable and video games and computers weren't available yet either, my mother always kicked us out of the house to play during daylight hours so she could clean and do laundry without us in the way. So we biked and swam and played at the local park. But now fast food is plentiful and we all tend to sit still for our entertainment.

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SKINICOOK 9/24/2012 6:42AM

    You know you hit the nail on the head there. Even in Ireland where I live, the wealthy are generally thin and a large proportion of the working class struggle with their weight. Class wise I'm in the middle myself and noticed that the more educated people become about their health, the better choices they make which impacts on their lifestyle.

In my opinion the working class are more likely to be overweight because junk food is cheap, quick and easy and this attracts people with less time and money to spare. They are also less active, less involved with sport and spend more time in front of the TV or playing computer games. Maybe their parents were never educated and they were brought up not knowing what good and bad food choices are. The wealthy usually eat better quality food and have always been more conscious of health and appearance. After all most designer clothes are made to fit slim people. They are also into sports in a big way from the time that they are children. A lot of their socialisation revolves around sports. That's my theory anyway! Great blog, very thought provoking!


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SONYALATRECE 9/24/2012 4:49AM

    Sad, yet a true phenomenon.

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STRIVING4HEALTH 9/23/2012 9:55PM

    I live in Southwest Missouri and seems to be even more the theme here...

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CYLIB1 9/23/2012 9:39PM

    Quite true!

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I know what I'm supposed to do, but ....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Now that I'm only 21 pounds from goal I know what I'm supposed to be doing to shed the rest of this weight. I'm supposed to be intensifying the exercise, cutting more calories and putting the nutrition into overdrive. Trouble is, I've grown accustomed to eating 1,600 calories a day and cutting my intake to 1,200 calories a day sounds painful. I'm still exercising, but it's slowed to about 30 minutes of aerobic activity 4x a week.

I KNOW I haven't been working as hard as I should. So it's no surprise that my rate of weight loss has slowed to 1/2 a pound a week over the last month.

My current goal is to lose 11 more pounds by the end of 2012. That's 3-4 pounds a month. Not bad, but once you throw in Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, 11 pounds might as well be 30. If I don't find some motivation to kick things up a notch, I'm not going to meet my goal.

How do I deal with this? I've returned to Weight Watchers for reinforcement and continue to journal and blog on SP. Should I jumpstart my weight loss by dropping the calorie consumption to 1,200 for a couple of weeks, then return to my normal 1,600-1,700 calorie intake? That will require me to drop my carbs, increase my protein, eliminate all packaged or processed foods and cut out desserts. In return, I might drop a quick 3 or 4 pounds.

I'm going to think it over. I'm glad that I'm still on program, but I need to either accept the slower rate of weight loss or make the sacrifices necessary to speed it up to 1-2 pounds a week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLE1908 9/21/2012 1:49PM

    I know you will get it done...we all have that "wall" that we have to break through...good luck!!

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NEWME0519 9/20/2012 11:00PM

    Yep, I'm in exactly the same place! I know what to di but can't get my mental state to cooperate!


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JAZZEJR 9/20/2012 10:05PM

    I've never figured out how to lose 2 lbs a week, but anyway, why not join the Fall 5% Challenge? The team's goals will help motivate you to stay with your own through the holidays.

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MOBYCARP 9/20/2012 8:41PM

    I started 21 pounds from what I thought was my goal, and I took it off fast. In 12 weeks, I went past goal and started trying to maintain.

And I kept on losing. Added calories. Lost more weight. Added more calories. Lost more weight. 8 more weeks and 10 more pounds, and I thought I'd found my final weight. Dropped another 3 pounds learning to make the weight go sideways instead of down.

I didn't do it the way SP recommends, but I see why there is a recommendation of slower weight loss as you approach goal. I lost maybe 2 pounds a week when I was trying to lose weight, and it was a difficult transition to maintenance. If you're losing a half pound a week, the transition to maintenance ought to be easier and smoother.

That's the theory, anyway. You'll need to figure out whether the theory fits with your emotional quirks and philosophical outlook.

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BARBAELLEN 9/20/2012 8:28PM

    Here I am again, speaking from the other side of the fence. That is, I'm at the lower end of the scale, and I've NEVER experienced weight loss that's anywhere near "quick." Recall that back when you were fussing about having those weeks when you didn't lose at least two pounds, I told you about how even more patience would be required when you weight less. Well, here you are! I've been on 1,200-1400 calories since I started! Yep, 1,600 calories would be a massive feast!! And, the lighter you get, the fewer calories you'll burn doing the EXACT same activities that melt away pounds on a heavier person. Sorry, but there's no way around it.

Now, all that is not to be discouraging. You know the formula for losing weight, so no matter which way you go with your decision, you keep with the program and the weight comes off. It really does. A while back I reached a point short of my initial goal and stopped working as hard as I could. However, I do keep with it and am losing about a pound */- a month. Only you can decide how relaxed you're going to be about losing your last 21. Whatever you do, just NEVER forget to keep with the program. PATIENCE!!

No matter how fast or how slow you decide, you'll still be going in the right direction. Just don't change course, and you'll be just fine. You're doing great!

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CAKEMAKERMOM 9/20/2012 2:57PM

    It depends on what you really want. Do you want to be at your goal now or do you want to reach a reasonable goal even if it's not as fast as you originally hoped.

I've gone down from my 1.8 pounds a week to about a pound a week (except the last couple). It is harder to drop it quickly as you get skinnier and there is less fat to get rid of, so if you work on toning and being healthy, then the weight will look good when you're done.

As for holidays, I suggest not bringing the candy in the house. If you're lucky you don't actually need to give out the stuff, so you don't really need to buy it, but if you do give the stuff out, don't get it until the day before so it's not sitting there staring at you tempting you to eat it.

With the other holidays, don't focus on the food so much as the family. Bring some healthier options for the dinners that will happen so you know where your calories will lie.

Good luck getting through these food based holidays!

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Is Thrifting a Hobby?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I spent yesterday shopping for clothes at some of my favorite second hand clothing haunts, most notably the Salvation Army Thrift Store. There's one about a mile or two down the street from me and about once a month, I like to go in there and shop for clothes. Yesterday, I hit the jackpot. I found three designer brand jackets and a sweater that will be perfect for chillier weather for only $15.

I also enjoy rifling through clothing racks at consignment shops, and any other second hand rose store in town. I've also purchased an item or two on Ebay. The secret is to visit the stores nearest the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Some people are not motivated to put their clothes on consignment, Craig's list or Ebay. For them, it's easier to just bag them up, drop them off and get the tax receipt.

I am working hard to build a fall wardrobe because almost nothing in my closet from last year fits me. I tried on some of my long sleeved size 2x shirts and they were just hanging off my body. I also had to bid adieu to my favorite pair of blue jeans. I played softball in them Friday although they were already sagging in the seat. They kept falling to my hipbone so I was constantly hitching them up during the game which annoyed me.

For my birthday, I got a gift card to my favorite department store so I can shop for new clothes. After my thrift store finds yesterday, I ventured into the store only to feel overwhelmed with choices. I ended up leaving without purchasing a thing.

Somehow, with thrifting you don't get overwhelmed because it's hard to find clothing that is your size, still in style and in good condition. It's like a treasure hunt. With retail, the challenge is finding stuff you like that's on sale, but it's much more expensive and not as interesting or exciting when you find something.

Obviously, I still plan to use my gift card, but I will need to be more strategic. I am going to visit some wardrobe 101 websites and figure out the most versatile pieces I should add before I use my card.

Anyway, it's all good and I'm grateful to have such a lovely wardrobe problem.

Onward and downward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-PAULA 9/17/2012 4:17PM

    I usually try to hit at least a couple thrift stores when I have a day off during the week. I have found some great buys at some from printer cartilage to yard furniture.

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CRISTALITE 9/17/2012 8:19AM

    I share the same feelings of being overwhelmed in regular stores, and until you explained it I never really knew the meaning behind it. It's true I love to shop in thrift stores and will take the time to look for things that l like and will be willing to spend money on since (1) l really hate shopping and (2) l really have to consider my budge or lack thereof. I guess I always considered myself a frug since thrift stores and Dollar stores are stores I feel the most comfortable in. Although I do like quality l do not have the means or rationale to spend exorbitant amounts on a single or a few items. Thanks for making some sense out of the way I've been feeling, now I know I'm not crazy.... Cristalite

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RUSSELLORAMA 9/16/2012 8:46PM

    I love hitting up the thrift stores. It can be challenging finding items in larger sizes, so one of the benefits of getting smaller is more options. :) I really like Savers, Goodwill, Maj-R Thrift, City Thrift Store, and Avenue Thrift. I don't always find something but when I do, it's much friendlier on my budget!

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BABY_GIRL69 9/16/2012 6:46PM

    Well, I think that you should just buy something that would compliment your finds at your thrift stores.. God bless, Dee

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