Stars, Daisies and Butterflies
These are a few of my favorite things...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Oh, where to begin when discussing the phenomenon that is Clothes Mentor?! At the outset, it is a used clothing store where you can both buy and sell your fashionable, very gently-used or new clothing, shoes and accessories. I've been to its sister store, Plato's Closet, and was really unenthused. Mostly because there is no place for a size 16 gal in a juniors-filled clothing store. But also because the style of clothes just didn't feel like me. Along came Clothes Mentor. Same business concept, but all of the clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry feel like they have come straight from my (or one of my friends') closet! Coach bags?! Ann Taylor suits?! Elie Tahari heels?! Yes please! I spent about $80 my first time there, and came away with three very full bags of things I now wear all of the time. Some of the items still had their original price tags attached! There is something so very satisfying about a skirt you bought for $5 that has a $60 price tag. I even found a very vintage-y looking beaded necklace for all of $4. I have eyed their designer purse section, but I sort of feel that's the one area where you may not get the best deal. I think Ebay is still the best source, simply because if you bid at the right time, you can really get a steal (a la the Kate Spade bag I just nabbed for $43, I suspect because the auction ended at 3PM on a Monday). At Clothes Mentor, a $400 Coach bag might be on sale for $225. Granted, a huge chunk of savings off the original price, but still a little steep for my wallet. I digress. I also made the trip there to sell a few boxes of clothes, shoes and purses. My overall evaluation of the selling process is: do not take super high-end items, because you will not get anywhere near what you think they are worth. This is the place to take that Ann Taylor blouse you wore once and stashed in your closet ever since, NOT the Manolo Blahniks you saved up for a year to buy and now don't wear. Note the distinction. They are understandably very picky about what they take - must be in perfect condition, in season, and in style. Of the three boxes I took in, they took one box's worth. Interesting rejects: new jeans that they said were just not the wash their customers seemed to want, gorgeous Nine West suede heels that were not the right season, and a Kate Spade wallet that they already had two of. I appreciated that they explained the resons to me, rather than just shoving them back across the counter at me. In total, I made $65 on my unwanted items. I assure you, I have spent it back and then some in my weekly trips to see what new items the store has received. The current store is located at 818 Central Avenue in Albany. Much to my delight, they are building a second Capital District location right near me, in Crosstown Plaza in Schenectady (slated to open in September). Check out their website for more details:

Posted by April at 7:49 AM | 1 comments

I'm in one of those great, motivated phases right now - see my previous post for the impetus behind this. Don't get me wrong, yesterday was a little rough - no caffeine in the morning, and I felt a little hungry all day due to my return to normal, at least semi-healthy food. My tweaks for today: get a cup of coffee in the morning, for crying out loud! I can work on my caffeine decrease some other time. For now, the order of my priorities are: gym, vitamins, sleep, and less junk food. I got to the gym later than normal yesterday, and it was pretty packed - this usually annoys me. But I managed to find a machine that I liked (elliptical), and in no time, it all came back to me. I really do enjoy exercise. I get some sort of twisted pleasure out of sweating through my clothes and pushing myself until I need to stop and catch my breath. ;-) I got to bed at a decent time, thanks to my husband's (gentle) bossing. I ate better - really well all day, and a home made, albeit not low fat, meal for dinner. Forgot my vitamins, so that is high on my list today. So far, so good!

Posted by April at 7:36 AM | 1 comments
Friday, July 16, 2010
For a while, I was my own personal hero in health improvement. I had just underwent gallbladder surgery, and was determined to improve my overall well-being. I was on a six-week medical leave after the surgery, and as a result I had a LOT of time to think. I thought about my husband, and how he needs me as much as I need him. Why would I stay unhealthy and jeopardize our time together (which, we both agree, is a minimum of another 70 years)? I thought about my nephew and niece. I love them so much, and they need me to be there for them - chasing them around, going to their school events when they get older. How could I let them down? And I thought about my mother, who passed away at 41 (when I was 19). She never went to the doctor because she was always worried they would find something terrible. But because she never went, she died of a latent health issue she'd had all of her life. Losing her is something I will never fully recover from. How could I do that to my family and friends?
All of this thinking amounted to some major motivation for me to make some serious life changes. I joined the gym, and to my surprise, I really loved it. I didn't completely overhaul my eating habits, but I certainly started to make some healthier choices. I took vitamins every day without fail. I (mostly) gave up coffee and caffeinated soda. I even started to stick to a skin care regimen that seriously improved my skin. This went on for months. I couldn't believe my success! I wasn't looking for physical results - rather, I was looking to feel better. And I really, truly did. My husband was so proud of me. I was so proud of me!
After months had passed by of this new and improved me, I ran into a series of stressful months. We all have them, I know. And in retrospect, no single major, stressful event happened. It was just a rolling accumulation of stressors. I found myself skipping the gym to go home and take a nap. Eating McDonald's for dinner because it was easy. And drinking a giant cup of coffee every morning to perk myself along. Which brings us to the present day.
I have to say, I feel kind of "off". I'm not digesting food very well, not sleeping well at all, and my sinuses are out of control. I stepped back on the scale for the first time in a very long time and...let's just say I was not happy with what I saw. Not feeling well physically definitely affects me mentally. I just haven't "felt like" doing a lot of things - the gym, even going out socially - that I normally love. A co-worker stopped me this morning and asked out of genuine concern if everything was OK. That floored me - I am always the cheerful, constantly motivated type at work.
It's time to! If there's one thing I have learned through all of this, it's that I am the only person that can pull myself out of a rut. And when I put my mind to something and truly commit, look out world! Today I feel the old me trying to claw her way out, and that makes me smile - I love that girl!

Posted by April at 7:21 AM | 3 comments