Tag Archives: Jenny Craig

What girl doesn’t need new shoes?

In an attempt to reduce my shopping and stick to my monthly budget I have sworn off clothes ordering till I lose 20lbs.  Weight gain has been another unfortunate side effect of perimenopause – at least that’s what I am blaming it on!  So I am back on Jenny Craig for a while – the only diet that I have tried that works every time for me – though obviously keeping the pounds off is my failing.  Fortunately they welcome me back with open arms (as long as I open my check book) and I always find it easy to stick to the diet because I see results immediately.  It’s New York Fashion Week in a couple of weeks and I have been invited to a party where there will be lots of gorgeous, 20-something year old bloggers, so I need to feel confident and hot (and hopefully look it too!).  There is no better incentive to try and lose weight!

So no clothes – that obviously doesn’t mean no shoes or make-up!  I am just a little obsessed with footwear right now.

As you all know I adore the Vince Claire pumps.  Vince is becoming a brand that I am more and more attracted too – their clothes are casual yet elegant – and they now have a stand alone store here in Atlanta.  Well Vince have done it again for me with the Claire in new Fall colors.  Personally I am lusting over the ink suede.  They will be mine – but maybe not till November time when I can wear them with my grey leather trousers.  They also come in black cherry suede, black suede and umber suede.  I take between a US 8 and 8.5 and the 8 fits perfectly – a little narrow at first but they stretch to fit after a couple of wears.

Vince claire ink


Next up are these beauties from Sam Edelman – another favorite brand of mine for footwear.  The Sam Edelman Anastasia comes in burgundy, black and grey – and yes I want all three!

Anastasia burgundy

(image from www.SamEdelman.com)

Anastasia black Anastasia grey


Finally there are some great deals on sneakers at J.Crew in their sale.  I am smitten by these New Balance and there is an extra 30% off the sale price right now (code SHOPSALE)!

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So there you go – a clothes freeze doesn’t mean no shopping:)

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Sneakers – New Balance (similar here) // Dress – ASOS // Jacket – J.Crew // Bag – Alexander Wang Rocco

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Abercrombie & Fitch and Marketing 101

Dipping in and out of the social media channels today I’ve noticed a lot of irate posts and comments regarding a recent article in Business Insider about the comments made by the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries.  Basically he has said that he only wants ‘cool, thin, beautiful people wearing Abercrombie’s clothes’.  Reading the comments stirred me – but not into resolute agreement with the dissenters I’m afraid.

Before I continue I will preface with saying I am not fatist, remember?  I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like not being able to buy the clothes I want.  Even if the sizes were available – at my largest I really should not even have been thinking about wearing some styles from stores like H&M and A&F.

So back to what Mr. Jeffries said.  Anyone who has studied Marketing 101 knows that every great (and not so great) brand has a target.  You sacrifice being everything to all people in order to become niche with a certain core target.  In theory all brands are exclusionary.  Cartier market to wealthy individuals, Jenny Craig market to those that want to lose weight, Walmart target to those that want to ‘Save money. Live better.’, and Lane Bryant market to plus size women.  Where are the complaints about these brands being exclusionary?  I bet if you saw some of the white boards in those offices with the brand’s target demos, psychos and guiding principles written out, you would shudder to see who it really is they want buying their product.

I disagree completely with The Daily Mail’s summary regarding the furore – “But it might be time to change this dated business model. Plus-size, generally referring to U.S. 14 and above, makes up 67per cent of America’s purchasing population.”  Let’s stop increasing this number and start addressing the problem by getting healthier America!  I’ve often aired my hope that Zara doesn’t start vanity sizing for the US.  Their sales are not as good here as in Europe due, it is said, to the larger average size of the American woman.  Put bluntly a lot of American women can’t fit into Zara’s Large (very few of their clothes go to an XL).  Keep the clothes as they are – those that are desperate to wear the clothes and can’t, can go for a run and stay away from the chocolate.

Now I do realize this isn’t just about being ‘large’.  It’s also the reference to needing to be a ‘cool kid’ to shop there – and I get that.  There are all sorts of pressures on children as it is – never mind them worrying about being cool enough or not to wear Abercrombie, but ‘kids that are cool’ versus ‘kids that are not’ is nothing new.  Yes I have watched The Breakfast Club way too many times.  As far as I am aware most high schoolers can’t afford to shop in A&F without their parents chipping in – so surely that is where a parent helps to guide them with their clothes choices?  If, as a parent, you oppose the brand’s targeting practices don’t shop there.

So in conclusion to my random thoughts on the subject – I actually applaud Mike Jeffries for being open about his target market – it really doesn’t take much to work it out.  I can’t see it damaging A&F, in fact for many it will become more desirable – and for those objectors there are many other places to shop.


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Trying it for size.

So yesterday morning was a tad surreal.  I woke up with a stonking hangover to start with.  My tolerance for alcohol is pathetic these days and after a very relaxing Thursday evening spent in front of some DVRd Real Housewife episodes with a bottle of chardonnay I was useless come Friday morning.  A bit rubbish really as I had to rise early and head up way outside I-285 with our project manager to visit a bath tub manufacturer.  Uuuurrrggh.  I threw some work out gear on knowing I’d potentially be hopping in and out of tubs to try them for size and comfort.  All in all it was a successful trip but I did feel a bit weird sitting in a bath tub in the middle of a factory floor with 6 burly blokes looking at me.  Sorry no photo:)

Even with the bottle of chard the night before I was more than thrilled later in the day when I got to my Jenny Craig appointment that I’d lost just over another 2 lbs!  Whooopppeee that’s 6 lbs in 2 weeks!  Now imagine if I hadn’t had drank those 1000 calories the night before?  Obviously I’m allowed to cheat every now and then…

I think the reason I indulged on Thursday evening was that I knew this weekend was going to be manic.  This morning was Poppy’s ballet recital.  Now in the past she has done ballet through daycare, this year we signed up at Atlanta Ballet School and goodness me the rules, regulations and instructions have had me as a mother terrified all year that I’ll do something wrong.  The bun as to be perfect every week and the uniform has to be worn etc. etc…it has, if truth be told, taken some of the fun out of it for both of us.  I’m also a little aggrieved at the amount of money I’ve been asked for what with tuition, recital fees, uniform purchase, ticket purchase and then we were told no photographs at the recital but we could buy photos and videos for a fee – you’re kidding me!  I was also mad as hell when we arrived at the theater to find that all the girls had to wait in a room that was covered wall to wall in merchandise, displayed purely for 6 year old girls to fall in love with and then beg their parents to purchase for them.  I dug my heels in and managed to distract her but come on!  Anyway despite my irritation the recital performance was fabulous and Poppy yet again has a very proud Mommy and Daddy.

Tomorrow is Poppy’s birthday party, plus it’s Mother’s Day here – which I hadn’t realized when I booked it so I am really hoping some of her friends actually show up.  Shockingly bad organization on my part but I’d forgotten all about Mother’s Day once the UK one had been and gone with me successfully getting a card and flowers to Bury, but Happy Mother’s day Mum (again!) and to all the lovely Moms, Mums and Mothers out there xx

As it is MUCH cooler here today I opted for a jacket that I love but haven’t worn too much – the grey jungle cat Boden trimmed velvet blazer from AW 2011 – which is now in clearance at $41.40 – get one quick!!  I love it – it fits perfectly really well tailored.  I wore it with the LE pale iris Sassy Stitch top from AW 2011 – another of my favorite tops – I just wish it wasn’t dry clean only as I’m less likely to wear it often.  Going for an edgier look (amazing what a new haircut can do) I paired them with my Gap grey legging jeans, Gucci belt, and some Nine West mid heel pointed pumps similar to these.  My favorite black bag came out of the closet too after I had put it in storage for summer – a hint that a lovely nude YSL Roady would be perfect to add to my collection…

So Hugh doesn’t feel left out and to thank him for his Mother’s day gift hurled at me as he walked in from daycare on Friday, here is my lovely little man in his new Mini Boden tee shirt – he also has the cricket one which he is completely befuddled by.  Golly I love their clothes for boys.

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Flat pack hell aka IKEA

I’m so happy it’s Friday.  The end of the school year is taking its toll.  It’s filled with birthday parties, ballet recitals, pool openings and teacher appreciation days.  I am in constant flux of running errands and driving people around town.  Dealing with two separate teacher appreciation weeks for the first time is driving me nuts.  Don’t get me wrong I value our teachers and I am in awe of the work they do but this week alone I have had requests from Hugh’s daycare for cash, presents, cards and lunch for the teachers.  I’m more than happy to help provide a fun lunch but sometimes I feel I’m being asked for donations every month – and it’s not like we don’t already pay them to take care of our son.  Maybe I’m being too harsh but from Christmas bonuses to Valentine’s Day to teacher’s birthdays and teacher appreciation week I’m starting to feel a tad irritated.  Plus I then get invited to Muffins for Mothers at 4pm on a Friday afternoon!  What working Mom is going to want to do that before a commute home on a Friday?  They used to have it in the morning for breakfast when we dropped the children off, which makes far more sense, and I’ve just made the daycare Director perfectly aware of that.  OK vent over and done with.

MM had the morning off today and we’ve had the pleasure of each others company in IKEA for the past 2 hours.  My daughter turns 6 on the 18th May and her request for some weeks now has been for a more ‘grown up’ bedroom.  It’s not childish now but she wants a desk for homework, more storage, and more grown up art on the walls.  I’m actually very impressed that she wants these for presents instead of more dolls – which do get played with, but I’m sure Ken is up to something as there seems to be an ever increasing population of them every time I enter her room.

I love IKEA‘s products – I wouldn’t want the entire house furnished in IKEA but we have fabulous bar stools, a couple of beds, storage solutions and some dining chairs from there and they all look great.  They obviously aren’t built to last years but they do the job and look pretty cool.  What I really don’t like is the IKEA store itself.  Even when you enter with a list of the specific items needed I guarantee you will never get out in less than 2 hrs.  I’ve even learned a few short cuts through the maze of furniture but still I can’t get out quickly.  I write down every code so that I can go immediately to the correct warehouse shelf, but every time there’s an issue – I write it down incorrectly, we change our mind on the way down there and forget the new number, or we mix up items and end up having to search on the computer terminals.  None of it IKEA’s fault I hasten to add – always user error.  Then of course the flat packs are heavier than lead weights so negotiating them out of the store requires strength and skill, not to mention we had omitted to remove the car seats from my car, so we ended up straddling the back seat unclipping awkward child restraints so we could lower the back seats!  Aaarggh!  In 90 degree heat and humidity too – yuk!  Well all we have to do now is to work as a cohesive team and calmly assemble said flat packs.  Normally this involves me trying to instruct MM, getting exasperated with him for having no logical or spatial reasoning, then telling him to get out of the way and let me just do it on my own…all part of his cunning plan.  I promise to post photos of this sequence of events over the coming evenings while we try to assemble the desk and shelves quietly once the children are in bed.  Or as MM suggested S. and his girlfriend will be here by then and surely living in Stockholm makes one an expert on assembling IKEA??:)

Before the excitement of IKEA I headed to Jenny Craig for my first weigh in.  I am thrilled to say I lost a whole 3.8lbs this week!!!  I’m only trying to lose about 15lbs in total so I hope it keeps coming off this quickly.  I haven’t felt hungry at all due to eating all the healthy fruit and veg that Jenny Craig encourages you to volumize with.  I should be fast as lightning on my morning run tomorrow!

Poppy and I before the school run this morning:

I was asked the other day, by Diane, if I have any favorite tunics that I go back to time and again?  Well I do try and rotate my clothes but the one that I love is from last summer and it’s the Terrazzo Tunic.  It’s so comfortable – I know some really disliked it thinking the print was very 1970’s wallpaper but I am definitely one of its fans!  I’m wearing it here with my Boden spot prize necklace from #BodenMondays twitter fun!

To all my readers in the UK enjoy your long weekend and Monday Bank Holiday!

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My new goal weight.

After deciding to embark on my first marathon I have been assessing everything I need to do for optimal training and preparation. So far I have identified the following:

1. Find a running group so I can benefit from the camaraderie of a group of runners with similar objectives

2. Strengthen my knees and hips so they are less prone to injury

3. Use my foam roller daily and stretch thoroughly after every run to prevent injury

4. Use Fartlek techniques to get faster

5. Settle on a pair of running shoes that I like and keep me injury free

6. Improve my diet for optimal energy and try and lose 15lbs to get leaner and faster

Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are pretty much all in hand and I’ve been doing my clam shells and squats, and using my roller in front of the t.v. each evening:)  I found out that our local running store, West Stride, has a summer series of runs that should help cover 1 and 4 – though I might have to grab my running partner too in order to do some speed training on the local school’s track.  After reading Runner’s World I’m already confused with distances, rest intervals and paces to run at – not having a background in track and field makes me feel like a complete amateur – though I guess I am!

Number 5 is a trickier one.  I’m currently running in my Newtons but I’m not sure my form has perfectly adapted yet and in order to stay injury free I’m considering buying a pair of New Balance W890 v2 to alternate with.  Of course this does mean spending a silly amount of money on running shoes until I find my perfect pair but maybe I just need to shift my clothing budget over the next few months into a line entry for ‘running expenses’?

Number 6 is one I didn’t think I need to plan for, but if anything I have found my weight gradually creeping up due to all the running I have been doing.  I have taken ‘carb loading’ to heart unfortunately and have lost all sense of portion control.  So knowing that I need to fix this fast I headed back to my Jenny Craig center non Friday.  It’s only the other week I was telling Running in Mommyland to treat it like hitting the ‘reset button’ and now I find myself heeding my own advice.  I already feel much better after just 3 days back on the plan.  I know there are cynics out there (I used to be one of them) who think diet plans are money making, quick fixes that don’t generate long lasting results, but in 3 years, excluding the past couple of months, I’ve managed to pretty much maintain my weight and I am confident that I can reach my new goal weight quickly and stay there again once I’ve convinced my mind and body again that I can survive and run strong perfectly well, even with smaller portions.

I just successfully passed one of the biggest tests in my new weight loss journey.  We have just taken the children to a fund raising fair at the elementary school and on the way home we called for frozen yogurt.  Normally I partake with the kids and get a huge lashing of yogurt covered in crushed peanuts, white chocolate chips and syrup – yum!  I’m very proud of myself that I avoided all temptation – even though I did have to go and lock myself in the restroom while they served themselves!:)  It’s 90 degrees here today so I’m wearing my lovely J.Crew gingham shorts, AllSaints tee and navy slim Havaianas.  This weather is playing havoc with my attempt to grow my hair – the humidity is adding volume and frizz – nice!  I might have to opt for a selection of hats and headscarves throughout the coming months!

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Celebrating 3 years…

I’ve always struggled with my weight.  Hold on, let me rephrase that with a more honest appraisal – until 2009 I ate too much and exercised too little.  Even at University when I was wearing tiny sizes I still always thought I was on the chubby side mostly due to my love of a St. Andrews fish supper, and my lack of motivation to do anything physical in cold, wet and windy Fife.  At school I didn’t participate in any of the few sports available, again due to lack of aptitude and interest.

When I arrived in the US, in 2000, for some reason I thought the heat and healthy eating would help me lose weight.  Who was I kidding?  I very quickly paid the price of the HUGE portions that I ate ALL of (there are starving kids in Africa you know!), the cheap beer, and the sun loungers – how the hell can you exercise in 90 degree heat?  It was the ultimate constant vacation.  As I moved into my 30’s I resigned myself to the fact that I was a ‘big’ girl and I should just stop worrying about it and enjoy life.  I hated shopping for clothes and in hindsight I was probably more miserable about my weight than I was prepared to acknowledge.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad but I did kind of feel I was letting MM down as he had always been physically active playing football, running and just generally being more ‘get up and go’ than me.

My daughter arrived in 2006 and I PILED on the pounds.  I really did adopt the mantra eating for two.  Because I then lost a lot through breastfeeding and stroller pushing I persuaded myself I was back to ‘normal’ though I never stepped on scales – all I knew was that my pre-pregnancy clothes fit again, but given they were all US size 12s that wasn’t saying much…A year after my daughter was born I was pregnant again.  Hooray another opportunity to eat all I want.  Admittedly I didn’t gain quite so much with my son but I was still probably unhealthy.  When my son was born in 2008 I was in a much happier place, we had moved into our new house and I was feeling more settled.  I had a sense that changes were afoot.  While on maternity leave I discovered the joy of being out and about and had even ‘jogged’ a little with the stroller.  Maybe I could be more active?  I knew I had it in me as I had done step classes, jogged a little and played some football in the early 90’s – but my downfall was always that I was consistently inconsistent with any form of exercise that I tried to embrace.

When I returned to work I noticed a good friend had started to lose weight…she was changing shape dramatically and quickly and I asked her for her secret.  It turns out it was Jenny Craig.  Now I am NO fan of fad diets or paying to lose weight – I really do believe it is down to the simple math of burning more calories than you consume, but I needed something to get me on the right path and give me a kick up the backside.  So at the beginning of March 2009 I headed with some trepidation to a Jenny Craig center and signed up for membership.  I returned home with my bags of food determined to make it work – especially as I had just spent what seemed like a small fortune (but worth every penny now).  In the first week I think I lost 5lbs which was incredible motivation.  By September 2009 I weighed 135lbs – I’d done it – I lost almost 40lbs!

So today I celebrate 3 years since taking the plunge, and keeping it off has completed my metamorphosis into the occasional half marathon runner who thinks nothing of running 6-8 miles, cycling 30 miles, and swimming 30 laps of the pool.  Oh and hence the short hair – I was so thrilled to see my neck and collar bone again I wanted to show them off!  Not surprising that I don’t recognize the girl in the photos – who is that again?

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

Fall 2008

Fall 2008

Fall 2007

Fall 2009, post-Jenny, in my 26″ Diesel Jeans

Post JennyPost JennyPost Jenny


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