Monday, April 30, 2012

Curvy Porn: Erotica Edition

Greetings Curvy readers. At this point I would like to invite my parents and anyone else related to me or who knew me when I was 5 to click the X and move on to your next website. This post is not appropriate for you.

Ok, so here we are, Nice and cozy.

It's no secret that I like to push the envelope, and I can be a lot of fun at bars. I wear my heart on my sleeve, the lampshade on my head and I have the vocabulary of an angry drunken sailor. I also happen to love to read erotica and I don't hear Mr. Mandy complaining.

 Today we have a very special guest blogger with us to introduce her latest book See Me, which I have read and which I highly recommend to all of my uber-literate friends out there. What's lovely about See Me, which is remarkably different from other books of its genre, is the T&A attributes of the main character Abigail. You see, Miss Abigail is a Curvy Girl and when she walks down the hall with a man walking behind her, she is concerned about how her bum looks. Sound familiar? But what's fun is that men love her bum, and her bosom and all the curves that she is moderately insecure about. SOUND FAMILIAR?!

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Pauline Allen, and her book. If you leave a comment here, you will be entered into a giveaway to receive a copy of this awesome e-book. Chat it up!

I'm so glad to be here today to chat with your readers. I'll start off with a little background about myself. My pen name has an interesting evolution of its own. I smile now remembering how my alter ego came about. Pauline is a dedication to Anne Desclos who wrote The Story of O. Her pen name was Pauline Reage. Allan is in memory of one of the most romantic authors of all time, Edgar Allan Poe. I know what you're thinking...Poe! Really, he's into horror and gothic suspense. I employ you to take another look--To Ulalume is quite lovely.

My home is a renovated Presbyterian manse built in 1900. I made one of the upstairs rooms my secret hiding place where "forbidden fantasies come to play." The Midwest is where I live, but my heart resides in New Orleans. My office is decorated with memorabilia from the most romantic, darkly disturbing, and grandest city on the planet. I travel to see my muse twice a year. My battery gets recharged and I always bring home all kinds of complicated tales to put to paper.

By day I'm a writer and by night I'm a nurse who works in a labor/delivery/neonatal special care unit.

My debut novel, See Me, was released in March by Loose Id publishing. Here's a little taste of
what it's about:

 Abigail Swanson's spirit has been battered, a body left for dead to recover to find fear and loneliness. Due to an abusive relationship, she is unable to feel the one thing she longs to have again. She builds a lucrative business specializing in the commodity she can't afford to experience. Passion. Sean Drennan traded his fists for a portfolio, but the cost was too great. Now, considered damaged goods, he's unable to find employment. Desperate to gather some quick cash, he reluctantly agrees to take a job in the field guaranteed to make him sell his soul.
So what does a successful pornography entrepreneur do when her clients are demanding a tattooed hunk and her performers don't fit the bill? She puts all her trust in an ex-con who has nothing to lose. Can he save her business and her heart at the same time or will his fighting ways leave him cold and lonely yet again? For one voluptuous, scared woman it's love at all costs. For one man it's a new experience he's more than willing to fight his way into. But can Sean and Abigail survive the dangerous ride?

I may be an erotic romance author, but I'm a reader first and foremost. My best friend laughs at me because she'll suggest a book for me to read and the first thing out of my mouth is, "Is there a fluffy girl in it?" Anne tells me to get over this "fluffy girl" thing I've got going on and just read the book. If the answer is yes to my "fluffy girl" question, the book goes to the top of my to-be-read pile. If not...well, it sits on my e-reader shelf for a bit.

Being a curvy girl means I have the right to demand my knight in shining armor...or vamp with
sexy fangs...just as much as the other girls. But, searching the shelves in my local book stores always left me feeling inadequate and lost. The women on the covers were thin, willowy even, or toned and athletic. I'm neither. I'm a woman with breasts and hips, thighs and a rounded tummy. Where's my cover? Where's my heroine with flowing hair and a beautiful gown or tight leather cat suit? I decided to find it! I wanted that sexy cover and even sexier heroine pouring spice and romance on the pages, giving me something to hold to my chest and grin, tears streaking down my face because the woman with the rounded hips and size DD breasts finally got her alpha hero.

Well, folks...I only grinned and wiped my tear-streaked chubby cheeks five times. I was surprised on a couple of levels when it came to finding books in the genre I preferred. One issue was that the full-figured, BBW, Rubenesque books weren't being tagged under that description. So, it was up to me to spend my precious time hunting for these books. Second, there weren't very many authors writing for the average-sized woman.

Some writers/publishers/editors will argue that the story should be about the character and not just what she looks like. I agree to a point, but I want to relate to the character. I want to be the one dancing at the ball with the handsome stranger or having a secret rendezvous in the corridor. I can't relate if the woman is always a size two with, to quote Dirty Dancing "spaghetti arms."

As a reader, I want to read about all types of characters. I'm simply requesting that there are
more choices for the women who are curvy to have their heroes too. As females we all want a strong hero with a brooding personality and past that we can heal. Whether you're petite or full-figured, we are women and crave the same type of romance.

As an author, I've chosen to write books with characters that I would want to read about. I
have characters of all shapes and sizes in my books, but my heroines have one direct theme. They are curvy, voluptuous, full-figured, BBW, rubenensque, and phat. Shew...did I forget any other cool labels we have? My beautiful heroines are scarred, broken, emotionally in turmoil, strong-willed, confused, intelligent, and free-spirited. They are more than their weight. More than their
jean's size, and definitely more than their insecurities. Embracing their bodies and rejoicing in their feminine shape is the cornerstone of their nature. And their hunky heroes are always passionately frustrated and sexually charged by the sway of their luscious hips and generous backsides. Dang, did it just get hot in here or is it me?

If you are a reader who enjoys reading about confident women of size tell your book suppliers. Get the word out. There are authors out there looking for a voice for their pages. Search for the categories/genres titled BBW and Rubenesque when scrolling through your favorite ebook sites. These are usually a couplet to a larger genre such as Contemporary, Paranormal, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy. If you have a favorite author, write to him or her. Ask if they have any full-figured heroines and what titles you should be looking out for. I discovered such great authors as Charlotte Featherstone, Lissa Matthews, and Alish Rai, all of which write rich, curvy heroines.

I challenge my curvy sisters to reach for romance in all aspects of their lives. Unfasten the
top two buttons on that dress shirt. Discreetly adjust your black thigh-highs while you're in a crowded elevator. Rock the knee-length pencil skirt. I swear there's a hot man sitting in the corner adjusting his collar, praying you glance over in his direction so he can get one more look at your sultry smile. Curvy girls rule!

And...don't forget to leave a comment today to register for a free copy of SEE ME!!
Pauline can be contacted at:
See Me is available at:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Listening, in 6 words...

Our last day of linking to Momalom. Today's topic is Listening, and we are writing it in 6 words. For those who know us, we are chatty Curvies, so this is no small feat...

Eyes locked, arms uncrossed, mind open. - Kate

Noise in head, louder than you. ~mandy

Listening, with heart - not your ears.- Rebecca

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tiptoe Through The Play-Doh

Linking with Momalom this week, my topic was “Age”.   Oh, the places I could go with “age”, but honestly, the first thing that popped into my mind was how, at the ripe old wrinkly age of 38, I have experienced a few lifetimes of “schtuff” – such “schtuff” that typically would not happen in a person’s 30s.  However, I chose to take a trip down memory lane instead.  Join me, let’s tiptoe through the Play-Doh.

I arrived in this world in the mid-70s, but I really consider myself a child of the 80s.  I am emotionally connected to many different aspects of the 80s.  However, let’s continue that ride…..let’s see what you remember.
70s:        Bellbottoms, Platforms, Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Lite Brite (one of my all-time favorite toys ever), Hot Wheels (noisy plastic wheel and all), Simon, Pudding Pops, Atari (FROGGER!)and Play-Doh (doesn’t the smell bring you right BACK?).

80s:        Smurfs (yes, I thought I would grow up to be Smurfette), Jake Ryan (no, my son is NOT named after Jake Ryan….really, please believe me, he’s not), Miami Vice, Culture Club (I STILL love Boy George and if you want to see me dance, put some classic Karma Chameleon on please), Madonna, Cassettes (remember how many we pirated albums we made at home off the radio?),  Apple Computers (remember the green screen and DOS commands?), MTV (when they actually played music videos), Pac-Man, Karate Kid, Alf, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Swatches (I loved my Swatches), Neons (I had everything neon…..running tights, sunglasses, socks, you name it), and High Heeled Shoes with anklet socks (probably neon).
90s:        Clueless (How cute was Alicia Silverstone?), Saved By The Bell (Dustin Diamond is NOT a porn star – no way, no how, I don’t believe it), Trapper Keepers, Macarena, Electric Slide (way before the Cotton Eyed Joe hit town, we were sliding our way into uber-cooldom), Dunkaroos, Power Puff Girls, Beanie Babies, Grunge Rock (Poor Kurt Cobain), Rugrats, and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles.

00s:        Harry Potter, Britney Spears, Boy Bands (Who doesn't love Backstreet Boys or N'Sync???), 9/11 (the greatest tragedy of our generation, for sure), Shrek, Lord Of The Rings, Finding Nemo ("Fish are friends, not food"), Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp, Duran Duran (again).

Somewhere along the way,  I reached adult-hood.  You know….THAT routine.  Go to work.  Kids to school.  Grocery shop.  Pay bills.  Fix house.  Fix car.  Pay more bills. Follow fashion.  Or not.  Watch T.V.  Watch the news.  Save for old age.  Act your age.

What?  Act your age?!?  Here’s where I come to a skidding halt.  A screeching stop.  No.  I am having a tantrum.

No.  In fact, I see absolutely no good reason to act your age.  The older I get, the less I want to act my age.  What does a 38 year old “act” like anyway?  Who sets the rules for society’s “norm” on age?

With that – I challenge you to act anything but your age this week.  Go skip!  Yes, skip, skip, skip to my lou!  Find the sidewalk chalk and draw your best Smurf.  Hula hoop!  Go to Target and embrace their neons….buy something for yourself and wear it proudly.  Blast your best “Walk Like An Egyptian”, in your house or better yet, on the street to terrorize your pre-teen children.  Bring out the Simon.  Do it.  Do it now.

Life is short.  We get old because we do stop playing, not because we are too old to play!

Save the vintage age for your cheese, or for your wine……..because We Are Young. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Words- in Haiku

We are linking with Momalom blog and letting our creative juices flow via someone else choosing our topics for the week. Feel free to click on the link to discover some great writes/bloggers.

We Curvies have decided to write about today's topic, Words, in Haiku form because WHY THE HECK NOT!? We are all artsy and whatnot.
Hey, who wrote which? Comment below with your guesses... Kate, Rebecca, or Mandy? (Because it is fun, that's why.)


Learning to be nice 

No self-deprecating words

Love thyself for health


Sometimes losing weight

is simply dropping baggage

of words said harshly

No more step classes

For this classy Stepford Wife

Eating vegan, yo

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wave of Change

We talk a lot on this Curvy blog about changing the way we eat. We are becoming more mindful of what we take into our bodies and the ways in which we burn it off. This blog has brought about some positive changes for those who write it- it certainly has for me- and hopefully for those who read it. However, change is hard. And change is inevitable. But it isn't all about the curves...

Change, to me, is scary. It can be exciting and can really charge me. It can make me self reflect which I am not always willing to do. Change can be sad. But as a rule, it can be rather overwhelming. In a good way. In a bad way. In the way it just is.

I am watching a family change before my eyes. My own. Not the one I made, but the one I was brought into. 
We are tripping over each other with change. 
We are biting tongues with this change. 
Different people are taking the helm. 
This change, for me, comes in the form of listening and holding my tongue. 
Change comes in the youngest, me, no longer being the baby of the family with rash and exaggerated reactions. 
Change comes in siblings looking to each other for answers to questions that are continuously...changing. 
Absolutely no one can control what is going on, and of the 7 of us in this family, only one is good with that. One zen brother in a family of control freaks and angst ridden criers.

This situation reminds me of a huge and powerful ocean wave. 

When I was little, my brothers and I would spend all day in the ocean. The days before storms reached the shores were the best swimming days with warm waters and huge waves. Sometimes those waves were too much, but we rarely got out. We just dove under the big ones and made it to the other side of them- bobbing, spitting, grinning...
But now and again, the wave would hit and I would get crumpled, pushed, and held under the water. Panicked, I would stiffen and push against it. Try to get up. Try to stand, try to regain control. And I finally would regain control and would stand up when the wave was over. I would breath frantically at what I survived. Cry out a bit at the relief that it is over and at the panic I went through.

One day, there were multiple waves like that in a row and I made a decision when pinned under the 2nd one. Go with it. Be like seaweed. Be the fish under the waves. Just go. And it would toss me, but more gently. It wasn't as jarring. I wasn't stiffening. I was bending. And I was twirling. I would find my feet, stand and take a deep breath before the next one came. Back under, calmly talking in my head- this wave will pass, this cannot go on forever. When finally the run of waves subsided, I smartly left the water and sat on the beach, breathing deeply. I watched the waves, now less threatening, from the shore and appreciated their power. 

This time, when the crashing wave of change is over, when I sit at the beach and look out, the waves will be gone altogether. I think that will be the most scariest change of all. The battle will be over and never fought again.

Change. Can it be deflected? Does it help to stiffen against it? I have bouts of crying out. Bouts of tight shoulders and kicking feet. But more often I am going with it, like the fish and seaweed, because there is no stopping this wave. I have to bend before I break.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jar Full O'Life

Look at it.  No, I mean look at it again!  Isn't it absolutely beautiful?  Believe it or not, this splendid shade of green has changed my life!  Seriously, I know I may sound like a complete corny dork.....and I am starting to sound my <ack> age (is this a sign of middle life?).....but look how simply and completely alive that jar of juice appears.

I cannot help it.  I cannot stop talking about how wonderful these green smoothies are.  I am surprised at the amount of people who already consume these green lantern wonders - both young and old.  I am flattered by the number of folks who are ready to experiment, to be brave and start adding life to their daily repetoire!

There are some rules to the green game.........for example, you cannot try just one!  Everyone is different.  Our taste buds are like our fingerprints, there are no two alike!  Keep experimenting day after day and decide what ingredient works for you (mmmmm, coconut milk) and what ingredient definitely deserves to stay elsewhere (hmmm, I'll keep that fresh mint for my mojito and not in my morning smoothie)!

Start your body off with a full glass of life, here's how:

1 c unsweetened coconut milk (try water, try almond milk, try whatever floats your boat)
2 c baby spinach
1 c chopped kale
1 banana
3-4 strawberries (or blueberries, or raspberries or any berry or kiwi, they are all so GOOD for you)
1 tbs ground flax
handful of ice

Blender it all up!  Don't overblender or you will lose some of the nutrients via the heat produced from your machine.  If your tummy may be sensitive.....lay off the kale, add another fruit for now.  The goal is a much higher ratio of greens to fruit.  If it's not sweet enough to start, try adding a little bit of honey (NO SUGAR).  Carrots are a fantastic way to sweeten up your smoothie, but I recommend a dark glass as the smoothie is not a wonderful shade of green.  Throw in a whole (peeled) orange!

I have yet to find a "savory" smoothie that I love......for now, I'll leave out the parsley, cucumber, tomato...but I promise you I will come back and give it another whirl soon.  There has to be a "salad" smoothie that I enjoy, right? 

The options are limitless!  Find your special recipe - don't forget the love for mango, or pineapple - add a little fresh coconut.  Try some of the other greens......collards, watercress, wheatgrass.....your body will be super excited.  A few of my friends actually get an energizing rush within an hour after consuming this jar full o'life.  Let me know if you do!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Total Chick Factor

Every now and then I realize that I am a total chick…, not a chick in the cute, little, cheeping and yellow way…..nor a chick in the club hotness rating kind of way; but an emotional chick kind of manner.  I do not know about you, but I cannot STAND being an emotional chick.  No way.  This tough, badass, strong woman cannot be an emotional mess.  Ever.  EVER.
But sometimes I am.  I am trying to find the acceptance that it is okay to be an emotional diva at times (no, it’s not)…..but I struggle with my emotions (am I a head case?) and I am finding out that some of my lovely curves may be attributed to my emotionally challenged attitude (see, I am a head case).
Like many women, I can blame my emotional roller coaster on that once monthly pre-menstrual Tarzan swing of hormones.  I am not a bitch by any means (no, you may not ask my family if they agree).  However, I do find myself just a little shorter in patience….you know, instead of rolling my eyes at my son torturing his younger sister, I find myself visualizing the gory act of ripping his face off, through all seven layers of epidermis.  Yes, that cat that has tripped me for the umpteenth time today is about to become coyote food.  [Insert maniacal Tarzan scream here].  Total crazy chick.

However, some other times I have emotional ascents and descents:  spikes that peak at the highest atmospheric level, but then drop like a G6 to the deepest bowels of the Grand Canyon.  I know I am not unlike many of you, but I do find it harder at times to cope with the navigation through the pits and valleys of the lows.  I find that, like my parents were before me, I am an emotional eater.  I use food to cope at times; such a vicious cycle when you are trying to lose weight and get to a healthy size for optimal health. 
When I feel good, I am soaring…I am confident…I can conquer the world (let alone my weight and health).  When I feel emotional, I hate myself, I demoralize myself, I beat myself up silly…..and I go and find something to eat.
What do the experts say?  They say find a diversion:  Go for a walk.  Read a book.  Take a bath.  Drink water.  Really.  Really.  REALLY?!?  How come they NEVER say find a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a bottle of wine?  How about I walk around my house in circles while I tongue my spoon full of marshmellowy, chocolatey, fishy foody goodness?  Maybe I can sit in my tub full of rose smelling bubbles; candles lit and savor my Cline Cashmere red in a fancy glass to the sweet sounds of Enya. 
Do they know that the mere option of going for a walk alone, finding time to read a book or the allure of a “Calgon, Take Me Away” moment is all a fantasy?!?!?
So, instead of calling me an emotional head case, what I have learned is that these expert diversions do not work for me during my emotionally weak moments.  I have yet to identify what works for me as a whole. I have realized that there are a few key activities that put me in a happy place without effort:   
  • Spending time with friends on unexpected late afternoons is quite cathartic. 
  • Finding a few moments to read the latest book craze, “The Hunger Games” is a perfect time out. 
  • Believe it or not, cooking is very much a release (despite the fact that the food that I fear is right in front of me), so I am always trying to whip up some delicious and yet, healthy meal.  Yes, you heard me right – if you want to keep me sane, ask me to cook for you! 
Because I have yet to earn my millions to purchase my place on the shore, a place where I can stare incessantly at the ocean and get lost within myself, I will continue on and find ways to patch up the emotional colander that I can be – I am nurturing the inner chick, flaws and all.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finding Community

I struggle with my eating in the best of circumstances. I struggle with making the best choices, with how to manage my portions, with how to get a well-balanced diet, all that. I have spent half my life now, on my own, trying to do the right thing by my body.

And having spent many of those 18 years doing my favorite things – road-tripping and adventuring by plane, train or automobile (I am so full of crap. I hate to fly. So scratch plane and add bus) – I can tell you that making the right choices is far easier when in the controlled environment of your own kitchen.

When you are on the road, you are out of your element and at the mercy of others. You don’t have your staple items, and there is no guarantee that your hostess or hotel will. You might be lucky enough to find a café that stocks soy milk and agave nectar, but probably not. Likewise for restaurants with vegetarian and gluten-free options, convenience stores with nuts and fruit, and opportunities for tons of water and bathroom breaks.

So here I am, blogging from me to you, from the warm sunny comfort of Cape Cod. I am sitting in a big old house where for the past 4 days, my family has enjoyed time with several other families – including 9 children, 3 dogs and lots and lots of beer.

Lucky for me, I have friends who not only understand my struggle but who – in their own ways – share it. And even luckier for me, we all happen to be in a place where this vacation – with all its adventures and fun and walks on beaches – was meant to be more than a gluttonous food-fest. Inspired in part by Linda Snay’s awesome guest post but also inspired by each other, these past 4 days have been an absolute feast for the senses.

Instead of using vacation as an excuse to order out, buy junk and let diets go, we embraced the opportunity, collectively, to sustain a large group of people with optimally good food. Highlights of the trip, from a culinary standpoint, were:

* Making sushi with my friend’s 13 year old and sitting at the table eating in silence except for the audible “nom nom nom” sounds we made.

* Making homemade pizza as a group and creating the most outrageously beautiful veggie pizza the world has ever seen.

*Finding a burrito place on Martha’s Vineyard where you choose the base of your burrito (I got spicy portabellas) and added in extras. For me, rice & beans, black olives, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and cilantro). Ate on a cobblestone patio with my friends and kids while people-watching, the ferries coming in and out in the distance.

* Creating green smoothies and juicing in the morning while 9 kids looked on in horror/fascination

* Whipping out roasted seaweed and apples on the ferry for my kids and munching healthy snacks with them, because this is our new “normal”

It’s a new experience, to have friends who support and embrace the same moral code of eating, and maybe it’s the secret to the whole thing.

Regardless, it was easily the best vacation we’ve ever had. And we don’t come home with any of the guilt and “Diet starts Monday!” proclamations that usually accompany a 4 day weekend at the beach.

We are nourished, inside and out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to deal with leftover easter candy...

Take it on walks with you- work it off while eating.

Eat all the dark chocolate first as that has scientific studies linked to it which makes it very close to 4 out of 5 doctors agreeing that the scientific studies prove that maybe some dark chocolate is actually a wise choice and look at you being proactive about your health!  (written after eating all the dark chocolate first)

Eat it first thing in the morning- you will have all day to burn it off.

Eat as much as you want and then drink lots of water to counterbalance it and to begin the flushing out process.

Freeze it, preferably in a basement freezer if you have one. Then you will burn calories walking up and down the steps to get it as well as by chewing hard frozen candy.

Hide it between 2 peeps. Then hide that peep sammich in your mouth. 

Pretend you didn't eat it. Deny, deny, deny. (wash mouth area first to erase signs of any chocolate)

Dip the chocolate in peanut butter to ensure you are getting enough protein.

Slip it into your kale smoothie! (while slipping the kale out of the smoothie and adding chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup instead)

Eat it. Know you are eating it. Know that you will keep eating it until it is gone. Then move on and get back in line.

BUT!!!! Get back in line for realsies.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mindful Eating…

Life is hectic.  We live in a world of fast food, quick dinners, and eating in the car on the way somewhere.  We’re on autopilot, when it comes to what we eat, and HOW we eat.  We chow down, eating in mere minutes.  Did we even taste the food we so lovingly prepared?  Or did we get down to business and move on to the next daily chore?
Mindfulness.  Sounds beautiful, but what is it really?  Mindfulness meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally.”  I strive toward this daily.  In my relationships, my parenting, my yoga practice, my art.  I struggle with it daily as well. 

Recently, I’ve heard a lot about mindful eating.  Simply, this is applying basic mindfulness meditation techniques to your eating habits.  Eliminating all distractions, focusing on the present moment and experiencing your food completely.  Through this practice, you can cultivate deeper knowledge of your relationship with food, and work toward establishing healthier choices and habits.   

Try this experiment in mindful eating.  If your mind wanders at anytime, simply let your awareness rest on the breath.  

Choose a piece of fruit.  I like to use a clementine or orange, but you can do this with any food.  Place the fruit on the table.  Sit in your chair and take a few full, deep breaths.  Become aware of any sensations in your body, without judgment.  Next, bring your awareness to any sensations in your mind, the thoughts or worries on constant cycle, again without judgment.  Finally, become aware of your breath and how it feels moving through your body.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Smile.       

Hold the fruit in your hands.  Let your senses experience the fruit.  Feel the texture of the peel.  How does it feel against your skin?  Is the fruit warm or cool?  Is it heavy or light?  Notice the color, the shape, the imperfections that make up the beauty and wonder of this nourishing gift of the Earth. 

Begin to peel the fruit.  Listen to the gentle tear as the peel is pulled from the flesh.  Smell the citrus essence.  Feel the soft tenderness of the exposed treasure.  Begin to section the fruit, taking the first piece and placing the rest of the fruit back on the table.  Eat the first piece, chewing slowly and consciously.  Close your eyes and taste the juicy sweetness.  Be present.  Once the first piece is eaten, thoughtfully take the next piece, repeating the above process until the fruit is finished. 

Now, sit in your chair and let your awareness rest on your breath.  Check in with the sensations present in your body, mind, and breath.  Are you full?  Are you calm?  Are your thoughts and worries re-entering your mind?  Are you itching to get on with your day? 

There is no right or wrong way to feel after the practice.  It’s a practice because you are working toward something.  Mindfulness.  And it does indeed take practice.  Make your practice fun.  Smile, laugh, enjoy.  You can practice alone or with your family.  With others, especially children, make it less formal, let laughter, conversation, silliness or whatever comes be with you at the table.  Prompt each other with questions about how the food feels, what they taste, see and smell.  

This may seem like a long process; different from the way we typically eat.  How can this be done within our crazy lives?  Simplify the practice!  Turn off your cell, close the laptop and your book, put your work away, if there are others eating with you be fully present with them as you talk.  Change your perspective.  Don’t look at it as a long, boring meal, think of it as a ritual.  After all, our body is a temple.  


Linda Nutter Snay

Linda is a Yoga instructor, mom, artist, wife, friend. Check out her yoga FB page.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Foodie Friday: Vegan lunchbox

I used to even wear t-shirts proclaiming my love for meat. That’s love, folks. True meat love.

So like Rebecca touched upon yesterday, I have now – for 12 days and counting – been eating a completely Vegan diet and here’s the deal. It’s in my nature to complain, so I want to tell you how royally bad it sucks. I want to piss and moan and be snarky and clever about all the ways in which I love meat and can’t wait to return to the arms of my lover. (Which as we all
know, is a bold face lie. My lover is Merlot)

The truth is scary. I hesitate to type the words.
I love it.

Vegetarian food is boring, the critics – and there are plenty, trust me because I used to be one – will say. I simply can’t LIVE without meat. I need protein. That was my voice until 12 days ago. Vegetarian food has the potential to be boring, that's true. As a vegetarian, you can eat bread and pasta and white foods, foods just as colorless as the brown and grey meat that used to make up a large portion of my diet (I need protein!).

But a fully expressed Vegetarian/Vegan diet is like a Technicolor rainbow, full of life and color and vibrancy. And flavor, true uninterrupted flavor. Basil. Cilantro. Oil and vinegar. Merlot.....coffeee.....dark chocccccolate......

My god! WTF has become of me! The old me would be sticking pins in the voo-doo doll I would have made of the new me. I don’t know when, why or how this happened.

Just kind of glad it did.

So while I will wax poetic on Veganism some other day folks (sorry to disappoint – I know this is a fascinating topic to all you carnivores out there), for now I will concentrate on Foodie Friday and offer you a glimpse at what is one of my favorite all-time lunches-gone-Vegan.

This lunch is inspired by the single best vegetarian entrée I have ever consumed. At that particular restaurant, the waiter brought out a platter with a generous portion of mashed potatoes in the center, with grilled vegetables laid appealingly around the edge. With forks and knives, my friend and I shared this ginormous meal and then a dessert afterwards. It was a lovely
night out for two new moms forging a friendship, and it is one I have never forgotten.

Butternut Squash
Coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk
Vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste
In season grillable veggies. I like colorful peppers,
asparagus, thinly sliced eggplants, portabella mushrooms, red onions and summer
Red wine

Take a whole bottle of red wine and drink one giant goblet while you are cooking (optional)

Bake the butternut squash whole for an hour at 350-degrees. Slice in half lengthwise and continue to cook until the insides are soft.

Remove the seeds and the flesh and mash the rest in a bowl.

Add butter, salt and pepper to taste and enough coconut milk to encourage the squash mimic the consistency of mashed potatoes, assaulting it with a masher. Creamy and smooth. Mmmmmm.

Coat the vegetables of your choosing lightly in olive oil and a dash of salt and grill ‘em up. Serve them alongside the heaping pile of mashed squash.

Drink the rest of the wine.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vegan Apocalypse

It all started with a few words…a challenge from a fellow warrior.  A 21 day to be a vegan, to refrain from the taste of blood….could I do it?

I learned about Kris Carr after a friend of mine gave me a copy of her “Crazy Sexy Cancer” book back in 2007.  I enjoyed this author’s fresh perspective and brutal honesty about her journey with her cancer.  However, when I stored my cancer experience away, I also put away Kris Carr’s book.

Flash forward to January 2012 when fellow Curvy Girl, Mandy invited me to attend a wellness conference in Boston.  It was here, where we stumbled upon “Crazy Sexy Diet”, Kris Carr’s latest book – the novel that screams, “Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark and Live Like You Mean It!”  The details of this book were so compelling that both Mandy and I were instantly drawn in and made some pervasive changes in our lives starting RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

You see though, March 2011 to now has been a massive year of upheaval for me.  The attempts to get myself super fit and super healthy all went by the wayside as I scrambled to handle all the life changes in store.  I had a meltdown:  my daily workouts changed (due to both injury and new work schedules); my nutrition changed - as my focus was on selling/buying/moving my home/kids/husband/breast cancer fundraising and mentoring/life in general – this chaos took precedence.  My emotional state was at its lowest this past year – even lower than since that other trying time in August 2007 as I battled for my life.  Honestly, what a wake up call to realize the door I  thought I closed (cancer chapter) was still WIDE OPEN and I had quite a mess to clean up.  However, I decided – yes, plainly and simply decided…I made a choice, that 2012 is MY year.  Me….myself…..and I.  It is ALL ABOUT ME this year.  Well, if it were only that simple, right?

In any event, after the wellness fair, I started “juicing” – well, blendering for optimal health.  I am not a big breakfast fan – unless it’s the weekend and I have been carted to Parker’s Maple Barn or MeadowBrook Orchards.  I know that 2-3 cups of veggies in the morning is really a great staple for my body – and I saw the results prior to my 2011 meltdown.  However, the mere thought of chomping on 2-3 cups of veggies in the a.m. is tough; so why not drink my veggies!  YES!  After a multitude of experiments and a broken blender – I have been blendering since January!  The benefits of green “smoothies” every morning has been profound on my body and I feel great.  Despite my “Shrek” mouth, the greens keep me going – I am more energetic, I do not have cravings and my body feels clean!

And then I got the email.  The 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. 

I am not sure what happened but when I saw this email – something “clicked” inside of me and I felt compelled to try this 21 day vegan challenge.  I was already consuming 80% vegetables in my daily nutrition, so why not go completely vegan to see what additional health benefits I would reap.  I want to go into summer 2012 as strong as I can be.  (Okay, okay, yes, it’s my OCD and it’s probably the ONE factor I can control in my life).

I am currently on day 11, as of the date of this post.  I am honestly floored at how much easier this is than I would have anticipated.  I am not in the vegan apocalypse, walking around sniffing out the smell of blood, killing for a fresh piece of meat……in fact, I have NO craving for meat whatsoever. 

The hardest part has been watching for “hidden” ingredients (i.e. eggs, butter, milk…).  Breaking some of my daily habits has been interesting as well:  “What do you mean I can’t have a splash of cream in my coffee?!”  Oh.  Cream = cow’s milk.  “What do you mean I can’t cook my farro or quinoa in chicken broth?!”  Oh.  And then there are the skeptics, the critics, the downright rude……I will simply blame my hearing aid here and say, I cannot HEAR them. 

My body is cheering me on and that is the motivation I need to continue this journey.  I have energy!  I am full after I eat!  I have no bloat or other digestive issues (do not ask me about the beans on the veggie tacos…..)!  I feel clean inside!  I am losing weight!  Most importantly, I feel STRONG.

What will I do after day 21, you ask?  I am unsure.  95% of me wants to remain on this lifestyle as it’s such a perfect fit for me.  However, 5% of me wants to reserve that “Out of Jail” card – in case of a summer cookout and the smell of a burger overtakes me.  Yes, maybe I want to reserve that “right” for an occasional burger.  Or rack of ribs.  More realistically, I love cheese and I love egg whites.  I cannot envision going without them for the long term.  What I have learned by this vegan experience is that they are not as critical to my nutrition as I once pegged them to be.  I may indulge in cheese (after all, I have a massive love affair with cheese), but I have found to make better choices and make my choices count – instead of shredded cheddar on my veggie taco, I prefer goat cheese on my homemade Farmers Market pizza.  Instead of cream in my coffee daily, I will indulge in an occasional Cherry Hill or Kimball ice cream.

US VegWeek starts on the 18th.  Could you make a pledge to try it for a week?  If I can do it, you can! for more details – or come find me!  I will be happy to help you take a baby step for better health!  I can even send you THAT email!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And the winner is....

Congrats, Mo -- and yay for me since I know where you live and don't have to pay shipping. I am a cheap bitch and so you winning makes me doubly happy.

For anyone wondering about my method, here it is: I wrote down names of commenters on my handy dandy yellow legal pad. For those of you that shared our post on your Facebook page, I got you down there 3 times – sometimes in quick succession and sometimes in 3 different areas of the page.

I used one of the fine services at to pick a winning number
for me!

I cross-checked the winning number to find the corresponding name and VOILA! Winner winner chicken dinner. Except for temporarily-Vegan me, who will be enjoying Tofu dinner. And Maureen, who will be eating gluten-free pancakes.
That said, let me take this final moment to thank everyone out there who has been reading and supporting Curvy Girl -- we look forward to spending coffee chats with you for many moons to come.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Through Thick and Thin

Rebecca's post on friendship last week got me thinking...I have been wanting to write about friendships and body images, but it is a sensitive thing...and people may wonder if they are being called out. Truth is, I think many of us will be called out. (Maybe not EVERYONE, but A LOT.) It has happened to us and it has been us. The green eyed monster- Jealousy. Look how the word "louse" is in there....interesting. But I digress.

I had a best friend growing up who I will call Ann. And I had a best friend in high school. We will call her Gracie. Gracie was cleverly funny. We were hooked on each other starting in 9th grade. We were at each others' house every weekend, all weekend long for sleep overs. I became close with her older sister and parents. We laughed and talked about boys and painted her 3rd floor, which had become her room, in bright polka dots and caterpillars....for some reason. We clicked, our humor clicked, our support for each other and appreciation of what the other could do was really impressive for teen girls.

Then I lost a lot of weight.

We started to drift apart. We became competitive about what used to be just simple shared interests. She started hanging out with other friends more. I licked my confused wounds and hung out more with my good friend since 3rd grade, Ann. 
Ann and I were sharing the shame of eating brownie muffins together (so the shame was somehow less because we were doing it together). 
She said to me, 
"I was wondering when she would dump you."
"Because you are thin. Because now you are competition. You were her fat friend. Now you are prettier than she is- but she has bigger boobs." 

She took a huge swallow from her Coke and went on eating as I stared. Shocked. Dumbfounded. 

Ann had sat back and watched the whole thing unfold over 3 years. Felt my leaving her side to be with Gracie more. (Ouch. BAD friend, Kate).  
She shrugged. 
"I knew you would be back. Everyone needs a fat friend" (as Ann was very curvy).
"I don't see you as my fat friend, though." I said, small.
"I know. And that is why I took you back."


Why do we take issue with other women based on appearance? In high school, it is hormones. Competing for the attention of the boys. College- same thing, maybe- but in my world of a women's college women could be competing for the attention of a man or a woman, or both, depending. But there being few men around, it upped the cattiness at dances and parties of the women who wanted to attract guys. LOTS of tossing hair and tight LL Bean jeans. Plunging flannel shirt necklines. (Tramps.)

Then it became about envying to near hatred the women who got their figure back very soon after having a baby. ME-OW!  We new moms were all in hormone comas with matted hair and one mom at the park says, "Damn it! My pre pregnancy jeans are too big now!" (Oh how she laaaaughed and laaaaughed!)
Shut- your- filthy- mouth- whore.

Or, sitting at the beach, arm elbow deep in some nacho-like sensation bag and one woman gets up, adjusts her cute bikini bottom a little and RUNS down to the water to cool look around to make eye contact with some other chip eater to say "WOW" but the "WOW" has a right nostril flared above an Elvis like lip of disgust. Disgust at the beauty. The confidence.

Oh. I am guilty. Take me to the gallow's pole. I have declared "It's genetics!" I have whispered "Yeah sure, but she can afford a personal trainer..." Um, even if I could afford a personal trainer, my genetics would not allow it, OK? No. I am serious. (Insert sound of crinkling nacho bag in background of that statement.)

I hate it!

I see FB updates of people talking about their weight loss journeys and I am so impressed. I AM, because I have matured a lot in the past few years- I have matured a lot just writing for Curvy Girl. But I have found that I am hesitant to talk about any weight loss I have had- because what if everyone needs a fat friend, and I would be dropped? What if people see it and I become a "bitch"? (other than the bitch I already am, of course.)

Many of my relationships I have are effected by my past. My story of growing up XL and not having many friends because of my appearance. This lameass story of being dumped by a "best" friend..because of my appearance... 
When I stop and think of all the people I feel are true friends of mine, I know I see their whole self, the way I saw Ann and she saw me. I see the ease in their lives, ease with their bodies, their quirky habits, their OCD, their scatter-brainedness, the struggles with their weight, their parenting of special needs children, their battle with the eye-rolling stage, their start up business successes, their family losses, their mundane yet happy lives. I see the whole person which is so much more attractive than their pant size. I like the richness of the people I surround myself with. I just have to have faith that they see it all with me, too.