FRENCHSEAMS's SparkPeople Blog FRENCHSEAMS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community I lost the fluff! Before and After Photos Before- <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After - <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Those pillows were were my excuse for not exercising. Hand me downs from my mom that I probably don't even need. One was tossed , the other two not quite put away (new shelves to be built when the rain stops) but not on my treadmill anymore. <BR> <BR> I started two classes in January in addition t... Wed, 12 Feb 2014 09:53:27 EST Three Pieces of Pizza And an Early Sleep Yup, that is enough of a celebration for me and they were small pieces too. If I go to bed early I can get some exercise in before having to work. This is a much better way to indulge than buying even a half bottle of wine. Plus, I was great about packing my lunch all week, not stopping for coffee etc. so saved a bit there. I did buy two cookies today and yesterday though but not pricey ones. I want to stop that. No more cookies from the deli. <BR> <BR> I have had sugar cravings since I sto... Thu, 16 Jan 2014 23:08:59 EST Cooking Weekend = Saving Money plus healthier hopes <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Big shopping day at Costco, well, big because of the dog food and bulk toilet paper. Did anyone notice that packing on toilet paper only says "bathroom tissue?" I think everyone still calls it toilet paper still? No? <BR> <BR> Anyway, this time I planned a few meals and went in with a list and have vowed to pack lunches to take to work and save money. Actually, I did that all last week too and vow to carry on the ... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 12:02:00 EST I guess I'm unlikely to die just yet The doc says I most likely have heartburn. Probably too much coffee probably isn't helping. I did start drinking more when I started working more in the office so, lifestyle changes are in order I guess. Apart from coffee that have been happening. <BR> <BR> I won't be having much of a garden this year unless is rains heavily soon. Water emergency is the talk in California. So, the hay bale garden I had for fall and winter will be broken apart and used to mulch the standard garden beds. My f... Fri, 10 Jan 2014 20:28:56 EST A year of making do ahead <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Bulbs are planted! Grass is a dirt patch and unfortunately will probably be staying that way as I suspect this will be a water rationing year and my front yard is full of shade. <BR> <BR> The whole yard needs landscaping but it probably won't happen this year either. It doesn't mean I can have annual flowers around to brighten up the place. Making do with what I have. I am looking forward to having some fresh flow... Mon, 6 Jan 2014 10:04:48 EST Fantasy vs. Reality <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, I have seen this very pretty soft pastel pink chiffon skirt, or similar variation thereof three times lately in fashion reports and I think it is lovely. I would really like to make one as I've not sewn shilk chiffon before and it would be an interesting challenge. The only problem is, I wouldn't look fresh and youthful like Jessica Alba wearing it. My fear is, with my middle age spread and that skirt length, ... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 00:28:33 EST Success! I did not make a batch of brownies today. <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have three packages left in the six pack box I bought at Costco but I am now eating sugar free. I did eat two Kale and Acorn Squash pies though at 470 calories a pop but I considered today my ease in day to my sugar free routine. <BR> <BR> I have to say I am still proud of myself. It is just easier to think, "I do not eat refined sugar" than it is to practice moderation, especially with brownies. If I was in a... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 23:16:30 EST Making Exercise a Priority I got through last night's mild urge to run to the store for one last bottle of wine before starting another sugar challenge with the thought that I want to wake up refreshed not foggy headed. It worked. <BR> <BR> My new mantra is - Make Exercise A Priority <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My idea for today was to wake up early and exercise to a DVD but that didn't get set up last night as I ended up chatting to a friend, which is impo... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 12:22:59 EST The Gift Card Trap <img src="">So my son, who has been on the receiving end of my generosity this week regifted me a Macy's $50 gift card that he got for Christmas which was very thoughful of him. I appreciated it as I just spent $72 at the pharmacy for him today rather unexpectedly, but what can you do. <BR> <BR> So, I thought, well, I have been wanting to get a bottle of Shalimar Initial for ages. I try it on whenever I see it in a store and think, one d... Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:02:26 EST Ready to get back to a normal routine I just returned last night from the Dickens' Faire in San Francisco. My house guest for the last two months is heading back to Australia and I'm exhausted in a good way. It was good to catch up after 15 years and boy did we do some sightseeing and adventuring. <BR> <BR> In the last two months I went to Yosemite in CA, Virginia City, NV and Seattle. I had lunch at the Space Needle, a ferry ride to Bremerton, a walk through the Pike Place Market, a ride on the gondolas at Santa Cruz beach ... Mon, 2 Dec 2013 23:25:42 EST Playing Tourist and trying to Make a Buck Staying up too late and not getting enough sleep has put sparking in the back burner for me but it will only be for the next 7 weeks, then I'll be back and back on a fitness challenge. <BR> <BR> My friend arrived a week and a half ago from Australia and I've been playing tourist guide. We've been to Virginia City, an old gold mining town and touristy place, Lake Tahoe, A midnight viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with audience participation, the flea market, the antique mall, the reg... Thu, 17 Oct 2013 08:46:07 EST Next Challenge - Exercise <img src=""> <BR> <BR> .....I think I am starting to have this conversation with myself one too many times. <BR> <BR> I HAVE to get a decent exercise program going. Healthy food habits are well established but getting this body moving is still a challenge. <BR> <BR> Today is a good day to start and keep at it. Sun, 29 Sep 2013 10:21:35 EST Testing Moderation with Dark Chocolate Results After finishing the 100 day challenge of no refined sugar or alcohol and getting great results with weight loss and improved health I decided to ease up a little. Bought one bottle of wine and finished it over five days, yes, it took me five days to finish a bottle which also involved using it in riostto. One package of dark chocolate was consumed over two weeks I'd say. <BR> <BR> My test showed two things. <BR> <BR> #1 yes, I can moderate my food intake if i am mindful about it and don't ... Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:05:39 EST Lesson Already Learned-Wine instead of Dinner = Bad Idea Not happy with my weight loss this month. I guess I have to stick with crustless quiche while trying to lose. Small amounts of chocolate seems to be slowing things down too. Other than that, i haven't changed all that much from what I was doing on the challenge. Some good habits are sticking. <BR> <BR> Tonight I ended up having a long conversation with a friend and didn't get the yard waste container filled as planned and it seemed too late to make dinner. Oh, just get a wine bottle instead... Mon, 23 Sep 2013 23:09:07 EST One in the hand, now two in the bush Well, life certainly changes on a dime sometimes. Yesterday at work a call came in that a competitor in this very small niche market I do marketing for is comatose after suffering a brain aneurysm and even if he recovers, which he probably won't, he will never work again. <BR> <BR> This means my clients will be swamped with work as they will pick up those clients, the wife called asking for this assistance, and will reduce their advertising budget. This means less hours for me. <BR> <BR> ... Tue, 17 Sep 2013 11:46:05 EST Goodbye 18s Hello 16s! Well, I am happy to say I have shrunk out of my size 18 pants now and I am comfortably wearing size 16 pants now. I have two pairs of size 18 pants that I couldn't fit into when I started this weight loss plan and now they are too big. Donation time! <BR> <BR> I had pants I was wearing when I started that got too big, but this is the first size range I actually passed through. So, a first. Yeah! but I probably have about three sizes to pass through still, which is sort of who!... Sun, 15 Sep 2013 22:37:04 EST Only 50 Pounds of Kummerspeck (grief-bacon) to lose now <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I do love those Germans! Yes, my excess weight is all due to grief-bacon! <BR> <BR> It's true and I did drink wine to relieve stress. As a result, I don't have love handles, I have grief- bacon! <BR> <BR> The German language is nifty indeed -"It's not easy to speak German. You can choke to death on the gutturals. On the other hand, only in German is it possible to invent an entirely new word simply by mashing a ... Fri, 13 Sep 2013 15:44:04 EST Bad Interview = Back to Drinking? - Nope, been there, done that. Yesterday I received a call from my recruiter saying there was a job suited to my skills and I should be on standby for an interview. Well, today that interview request came with about two hours notice. <BR> <BR> Fortunately, because I have been trying to organize my life and upgrade my presentation, I was able to get dressed and out the door looking as good as I can at my weight in a half an hour ready to talk my way into a job. If nothing came of it, having interviews is always good practi... Wed, 11 Sep 2013 22:58:47 EST I'm Guessing Woody Allen Would make a Terrible Buddist So, as I continue on this getting healthier way of life I thought I would at least consider making it a goal to sit at the dining room table for more meals than I do currently. And I also decided to check out the team "Mindful Eating" which has been on my team list for ages. <BR> <BR> Mindful eating incorporates a fair amount Buddist influence which is all well and good. I started reading their challenge intro - <BR> <BR> <BR> "A wonderful feeling of freedom comes when you stop judging y... Sun, 8 Sep 2013 00:30:02 EST Trying Moderation ....... with Dark Chocolate <img src="">Ok, this 100 day challenge is over tomorrow and in general I plan to stick with what's working, no refined sugar, no alcohol with a small exception, Dark Chocolate. <BR> <BR> Can I moderate and only have a couple of pieces a week if there is a whole bag in the house? Well, I guess I am going to find out. <BR> <BR> I'm going to get a small bag of either 86% or 72% chocolate Ghirardelli Squares and see if I can refrain from e... Sat, 7 Sep 2013 15:13:44 EST The Biggest Mess Maker in the House Doesn't Even Live Here uggghh......what can you do? <BR> <BR> My house is a dusty dirty mess nearly all the time it seems and the biggest mess maker doesn't even live here although he visits so often it's like his second home. <BR> <BR> Andre comes tagging along with my son's friend for a visit nearly every day. Although he is always pleasant, he never wipes his feet before coming in so drags leaves, straw etc. from the garden etc into the house. Asking him to wipe his feet brings about no changes. <BR> <BR> Un... Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:41:40 EST Fortunately, Unfortunately, Fortunately <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I wanted to make a necklace and made a special trip to the store to buy some eyepins so I could make a sautoir necklace. <BR> <BR> Fortunately, <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> I already had pearls, amethyst and periodot on hand. This was my birthday present to myself without spending too much. <BR> <BR> <BR> Unfortunately <BR> <BR> <img src... Thu, 29 Aug 2013 23:28:58 EST I Feel Like Lindsay in Rehab I remember reading the Lindsay Lohan wanted to get released early from her 90 day rehab so she could be out for her birthday. True or not, I dunno, but I feel the same way today. <BR> <BR> I have fourteen days left on this sugar challenge and my birthday is tomorrow but there will be no cake or champagne for me. I'm sticking to this challenge because it is serving me well and I am not happy being overweight. Plus, all my friends and family that I would normally celebrate with (small dinner... Sun, 25 Aug 2013 20:51:23 EST Haven't We Had This Conversation Before? Today I was at a computer I seldom use and I brought up the login page for SparkPeople. An old username populated the username field with a name that represented a goal I had at the time and the year 2010. I guess I was trying to finish a particular project in 2010 and was trying to lose weight too. <BR> <BR> I cancelled that account after work got bad because it was pointless to try and lose weight or drink less under the circumstances I was under back then. It just wasn't going to happen.... Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:49:57 EST Potato and Squash Gratin - Easy Quick Recipe Dinner tonight was a variation this Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Grati <BR> <BR><BR>quash-and-goat-90647 <BR> <BR> Given my abundance of zucchini I needed some ideas. This was quick, easy amd tasty. I didn't have goat cheese in the house so I used cheddar and substituted smoked paprika for the basil and it was yummy and easy. <BR> <BR> I'd say any potato au gratin recipe could have squashed used as a replacement for 1/2 the potatoes. It does make ... Tue, 20 Aug 2013 01:37:29 EST Artie Chokes 2 for a Dollar No, I won't reprint that terrible old joke here, but read it if you wish- <BR> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> I was at the store yesterday getting some carrot seeds when I saw they had a sale on blackberry plants. $2.53 each. I decided to buy two even though I debated on whether or not I wanted to use my garden space for perennial plants that aren't high value or high production. <BR> <BR> This summer's harvest and the success of the hay bale cucumbers changed t... Sun, 18 Aug 2013 14:43:52 EST Next Issue to Address - Money/Job Skills Okay, I'm feeling better with this healthy food, no sugar and no alcohol and this is how I am going to eat until I get down to my ideal weight as a rule and probably for the rest of my life thereafter. Exceptions will be exceptional. It's a habit now so I guess it's time to move on to my next issue in life. <BR> <BR> Money <BR> <BR> I hate thinking about it and because I don't plan and budget better it gets away from me. I don't have compulsive issues with it, just a lack of attention and I... Thu, 15 Aug 2013 12:27:14 EST Sugar and Skin Condition I've always had pretty good skin, meaning, it's generally not dry and parched looking unless I'm out a lot in really cold weather. Its not prone to rashes etc. so I generally don't think about it much. Yes it's not as firm as when I was in my twenties but that's expected. It's pretty good for someone almost fifty. <BR> <BR> I have to say though, my skin, all over, is feeling really soft and nice these days and I haven't done anything to it. Must be my diet. I mean, it's noticeable. <BR> ... Wed, 14 Aug 2013 01:20:33 EST Milestone - Today I felt Taller than Wider Today was a good day. I wore a pencil skirt to work for the first time in a few years. I've worn a few pencil skirts to interviews but those were a skirts 2 sizes up from the one I wore today and I felt awful. Today I didn't look like a walking brick. <BR> <BR> <em>104</em> <BR> <BR> Even when I've carried some weight before (never this much) I still felt very vertical. Yes, that is how I would describe it. At 5'9" one can carry a few pounds before one seems more horizontal in appearanc... Mon, 12 Aug 2013 21:03:26 EST A New Jacket or Rent for a Year - Historic Cost of Clothing Today while dropping some donations off at Goodwill I picked up an on trend, like new, black pencil skirt for $4.99 to replace the black pencil skirt that is now too big for me. It was a better use of my time economically than altering my existing one. <BR> <BR> THIS IS HISTORIC! Yes, is. <BR> <BR> Some years ago I read quite a bit about historic clothing and, though I didn't believe it at first, found that the cost of a nobleman's jacket or doublet during the renaissance was... Sun, 11 Aug 2013 23:50:11 EST Goodwill Donation Day.....feels good I'm going to make a Goodwill donation today, not so much of clothes that are too big, because I can still wear them, but a donation of clothes that fit but I don't particularily like. Because I am smaller and some of the better clothes my sister gave me do fit now, I can get rid of these others that are not so flattering or of a cheaper quality. No need to have a closet full of clothes that I probably won't wear. <BR> <BR> Two pairs of shoes are in the donation bag too. Kind of sucks that ... Sun, 11 Aug 2013 16:42:28 EST Les Miserables for Dieters Well, this is good. The jeans I picked up on July 18th at the thrift store are now wearable. It took around 7 pounds to go from zipped up but too tight to wearable. They are still snug, but not terriblly so and being a dark color it looks ok. <BR> <BR> This losing weight slowly sucks though.....yes, I am making progress but it does seem like a bit of drudgery. Yes I am eating tasty food and healthy food and not in starvation amounts but sometimes I do go to bed slightly hungry and no wine t... Wed, 7 Aug 2013 11:52:28 EST Straw Bale Elizabethan Garden Layout <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, I'm thinking of arranging some straw bales for a kitchen garden in my backyard Elizabethan style along with a few pots for accents and for plants that grow better in dirt. If I sprang for four large plastic terra cotta looking pots for the four corners Instead of using black plastic nursery pots, I might be able to avoid this looking like some white trash Elizabethan labyrinth. <BR> <BR> Here's hoping anyway... Mon, 5 Aug 2013 23:57:57 EST The Case for Not Living in the Moment While there is something profound about deciding to not put your life on hold until one loses weight, or gets the right job or spouse or degree or whatever, there are also benefits to living with a mindset for the future. <BR> <BR> I am going to have a wonderful spring garden next year and I fully intend to enjoy a cup of coffee in my healthy size jeans, now boxed away and I'm going to make that happen by weeding now and planting sweets peas and poppies and bulbs when they need to be planted... Sun, 4 Aug 2013 20:50:52 EST Time to Start Planning the Fall Garden Since I live in Sacramento, I have another season of planting and harvesting available to me and this year I plan to take full advantage of it. <BR> <BR> I found this summer that I actually ate a number of vegetables I grew on a regular basis that I would never buy at the store. Cucumbers for instance, and I didn't even have to turn them into white bread and butter cucumber sandwiches to eat them either. <BR> <BR> Same for banana peppers, I had plenty of those in healthy double white, one y... Fri, 2 Aug 2013 17:35:51 EST This Vegetarian needs some Chicken Fillets <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I am a few ounces from having lost thirty pounds <em>224</em> and am feeling better little by little every day. Being fat really had dragged my energy level down. <BR> <BR> Of course, now I need new bras but I was hoping to hit the outlet mall for their Labor Day weekend sales since I haven't found any winning lotto tickets on the sidewalk yet. Not interested in shopping for intimates at thrift stores, one has ... Sat, 20 Jul 2013 13:24:28 EST Cashmere Mulch Well, now that I have a new cashmere cardigan it's time to ditch the old one. I've thought about doing this before I had a replacement because it has moth holes and one elbow is worn out, but it's cashmere! I'm someone who really appreciates the feel of nice textiles on my skin and wore that holey sweater while reading at home regardless of how it looked because of the feel. <BR> <BR> Goodwill would not want this rag. No one in Africa would want this rag. My son, for some reason, objects to ... Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:28:42 EST Minimal Fashion blogs akin to Anorexia? I've spent the last year and a half looking at books, blogs and TV shows on how to put together a veratile wardrobe. I think this need hit home when I was invited at the last minute as a fill in for a friend's office Christmas party. It was a cruise around San Franciso Bay and all I could come up with at an hour's notice was a black rayon summer dress worn with black tights and a wool sweater and a trench coat that was too small to button. <BR> <BR> Yes, I was one of those women who gained s... Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:11:12 EST Thrift Store 12 - Sewing 1 Well, for the first time in my life I am planning my fall wardrobe now, instead of mid November. This is partly motivated by the fact that I am losing weight and have no fall clothes that are likely to fit so I could see a wardrobe crisis looming. <BR> <BR> Wool fabric is on sale this week and I was considering placing an order since I am trying to have at least the core basics (what this entails varies depending on who's giving out advice) at all sizes as I get to my goal so I can up my sta... Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:53:03 EST Whoo Hoo, the weekly weigh in was still on track <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> Ok, the weigh in wasn't as bad as I anticipated. And, in all likelihood I lost two pounds this week. I am a little more than four pounds down from two weeks ago and I know there was a glitch last Sunday, probably using a different scale or being dehydrated. <BR> <BR> This makes me feel better even though I think I will still keep tracking exercise in a tick off the chart kind of way. I really do not want to spend time tracking food. I don't mind spot checks but tha... Sun, 14 Jul 2013 09:49:01 EST I'm going to start tracking exercise now I'm disappointed in my weight loss this week. I won't get two pounds by tomorrow which is my official weight in day, Sunday. I haven't been tracking my food but have been eating really well. I added up the calories at the end of two days just to check how I was judging my food intake in my head and came in at 1330ish both days. <BR> <BR> I think if I tracked my food on other days it would have been about the same, barring two days when I had small plates of nachos when I needed to go grocer... Sat, 13 Jul 2013 12:31:30 EST I Guess I'm not as Self Sacraficing as I Thought So, this weight is getting to me. More today than usual because the scale on Tuesday said I gained two pounds since Sunday. It's not really true that I gained two pounds of fat in two days. I had a quick drop on Sunday because I was probaby dehydrated then I ate salty stuff Monday and Tuesday and drank a lot of water. This happens. I didn't over eat. <BR> <BR> Nevertheless, today I decided I would go to bed hungry all for the sake of keeping the scale moving in the down direction. I was dedi... Fri, 12 Jul 2013 00:36:57 EST I'm setting the alarm for 5am It's time to get some morning workouts in. My foot has been looked at and I was just told to watch it and that bones had to get used to exercise just like muscles do. <BR> <BR> Today was a bit of a waste. My toilet still doesn't work, although I can manually fill the tank from the sink. I guess I need to do more troubleshooting before I buy replacement parts as I don't actually have water coming out of the water supply. I guess I need a new angle valve. <BR> <BR> I'll get that another day.... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 22:19:01 EST Well, Finally! An idea arrives...... I've been in the career doldrums for awhile now. My last full time job was so demoralizing that a co-worker and I though we would be better off starting our own business than doing what we were doing for people who just exploited us. <BR> <BR> We had an idea back then to write an inventory application for wineries for their inventory and to export their data to various ecommerce websites but for various reasons, namely the bankruptcy of the place that was to be my foot in the door, that ide... Mon, 8 Jul 2013 23:01:51 EST I feel diametrically opposed to myself I must have two heads that each have their own opinions these days. <BR> <BR> I feel like I have lost 25 pounds in a blink of an eye yet, the weight loss seems so painfully slow. <BR> <BR> I feel so much thinner yet simultaneously quite fat. <BR> <BR> I feel like I have wasted the last two years but concurrently feel that I have made seriously impressive strides and am in a new and improved mental state of well being and have finished a number of significant projects. <BR> <BR> My house s... Sun, 7 Jul 2013 16:45:30 EST Tomorrow is taking in pants day Yup, I'm going to spend the day in the AC running in the seams of various pants that can be successfully altered. One pair I am going to canabalize for it's buttons, zipper and drawstring and toss the fabric. Sorry, no Goodwill donation when I can grab some buttons for future use. <BR> <BR> While taking a break from selling fireworks I tried on a shirtwaist dress at target and a knit straight waisted one. Both were equally hideous. I have to wonder what my body, especially my waist will loo... Sat, 29 Jun 2013 23:46:25 EST Nope, not really saving money on clothes, but they fit better. So, In answer to the question, do you save money by sewing? I would have to say the answer is no, not really, not at the moment anyway, but potentially, I could. <BR> <BR> I live near a major upmarket shopping mall with the standard fare of Nordstroms, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Talbots etc. in addition to Burberry, Louis Vuitton , Tiffany's. no Sax Fifth Ave unless you count some misnamed outlet store which seems more like a Marshall's. There is a outlet mall close by too. Not many high end b... Fri, 28 Jun 2013 00:19:12 EST Changing Behavior that wasn't Working I seem to think that if I buy fabric, I actually have clothes to wear. It is not true, it just means I have fabric, perhaps bought on sale, but it's still just fabric. Same for patterns. Having a pattern doesn't mean you have a garment. <BR> <BR> I have to wonder what the stats are on how many commercial sewing patterns actually are used. I'd guess something like 20% at best. <BR> <BR> It's easy to buy fabric sight unseen online because it's on sale at a great price and have no notions, ... Thu, 27 Jun 2013 18:49:07 EST I'm feeling like Goldilocks These pants are too big. <BR> These pants are too small. <BR> These pants are just right (for the moment.) <BR> <BR> I think I should make a few dresses to get me through the upcoming gap in my clothes. I have a whole bunch of clothes that are size 12, but only a few pieces that are 14s and 16s. I'm in the 18s now but heading downwards. I can see another wardrobe crises on the horizon. <BR> <BR> I guess that's a good thing. Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:15:20 EST Need a Plan on How to Deal With Future Stress Ok, I'm doing fine now, and plodding along, eating well, exercising, dropping weight, easy peasy lemon squeezy. But, my past has shown me to yo-yo with my weight way too much. It goes up when I am stressed and down when I am not. <BR> <BR> So, the smart thing would be to find a way now, while I'm not stressed to cope with stress that I'll encounter again for sure. I mean, maybe I'll never have a psycho manager again, I won't have teenagers, I'm smart enough now to avoid controlling men, na... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 21:41:04 EST