Off the Dial

Been Booed? Bleah.

Does anyone enjoy this?

It started a few years ago. You come home to this Halloween sign and a bucket of candy and maybe some little toys or glow sticks. You're instructed to enjoy the goodies and buy some more so you can then "Boo" one of your neighbors.  When I see it all I think is, great, now I have to go out and buy something. Also, great, now we have more junk and candy in the house.

Booed3I love Halloween.  We've had the kids' costumes set for weeks – an angel and a storm trooper (thanks for asking).  We let our son with type 1 diabetes trick or treat and eat candy.  The best part is  going through the kids' giant stash when they get home. We say it's for safety, but it's really so Slade and I can grab any Reese's (him) or coconut/chocolate stuff (me).

The "You've Been Booed" just strikes me as another errand to run, more money to spend. I am sure it was created by a retailer – you can buy specially made up "Boo" packages at Target.  I know, I know, Rudoph the Red Nosed Reindeer was created by Montgomery Ward and we all love that.  But Ward's didn't ask you to run out and buy the newest, special edition Reindeer Games (just $19.99!).

We were going to really go Scrooge on this and ignore the Boo sign when we got one this past weekend.  But I forgot – if you don't put the sign on your door, you just get Booed again! So we got a 2nd bucket yesterday.  My kids were dying to run around the neighborhood and deliver their own package, so I let them.  Don't tell: I didn't buy anything new. We just took the 2nd bucket and passed it off as our own.

Hey, a new Halloween tradition – Boo regifting.  It'll be like fruitcake, we can all just pass around the same one!



Birthday Style

My birthday is today and I don't mind telling you I'm 40. It's funny to look back to the last "big one." On my 30th birthday, I was 3 weeks away from having my first child – things have changed a bit!

CakeBetween my recent back troubles, crazy early hours, husband with a restaurant and two busy kids, there's not really time for philosophical reflection. So I thought it would be fun to share what I've learned during the past decade but not about anything too serious.

So as I turn 40, here's what I've learned – about style. Yep, no diabetes, no health news, no community events. Just please remember, these tips work for me, but they're coming from someone who could go to work in her pajamas!

1. Listen to your mother – get your hair out of your face and put on some lipstick. I still struggle with that last, to the point that when I do put lipstick on during the day I feel like a different person. But I've compromised with tinted lip balm (I like Neutrogena a lot). I'm one of those people always putting on chapstick and at least this way I look more like a grownup than Suzy Chapstick (see I am 40!)

2. Stick with what works. I've been using the same moisturizer + sunscreen since I was 22. I've switched around but always come back to the Eucerin line. Admittedly, I have stupid sensitive skin but this is a great, inexpensive drug store line that my dermatologist also likes. I use the daytime sunscreen/moisturizer and the evening one that says it fights wrinkles. Wear your sunscreen! I am starting to make sure I cover my neck now too. Yikes.

3. I have never seen the need for an eyelash curler, but every makeup artist I've worked with has clamped one on me. I have one but I never use it. I switched to brown mascara for a while, but now I'm back to black. As long as you avoid that fab-80's blue I don't think it really matters. Did anyone ever get anything out of clear mascara?

4. If you straighten your hair, spring for the good flat iron. I have giant wavy hair and I've used the $18 ones. Finally bit the bullet and bought the high end. Yes, it was close to $100 but I've had it for 3 years now and it's made a huge difference. I spend less time doing my hair and it stays very healthy. No, I will not post a picture of myself with "before" hair.

5. Just once, treat yourself to a personal shopper or some kind of consult. I got this as a birthday present in 2007. Not that I'm counting the days since! The consultant (at Belk) put together outfits I would never have touched and while there were some crazy rejects (a billowing skirt, some Easter egg colors) she guided me into some great looks and advice that I still use every day.

6. Find a great tailor. I used Walid Nassar at Myers Park Tailorsor the folks at Belk Southpark when I shop there. You've heard this before, but it makes a huge difference and often only adds $10-$15 to the cost of clothes. I love Wally at Myers Park because when I lost my baby weight (plus about 10 pounds!) I brought quite a few pairs of pants to take in. Finally, he offered to call my husband and tell him to just buy me some new clothes! These days I'm back in the struggle of keeping that weight off, so I may have to visit him to let some of those pants back out.

7. Great shoes that hurt your feet just aren't worth it. I love heels and usually wear a 4". But I've learned that if they don't feel great, they just sit lookin' pretty in my closet. I'm not a shoe-snob. I buy most of my kicks at DSW or Off-Broadway and have no brand loyalty. I found a black-tie Nina shoe that feels so great I bought it in three colors. It's the kind of shoe I'll wear once or twice a year, so who's going to notice? Don't tell!

8. Finally, a bit of confidence goes a very long way. I think that's my favorite thing about getting older. At this point, I know who I am and I've got nothing to prove. I hear that keeps getting better for most women as we get older. Can't wait!

Honestly? I'm not crazy about the number 40, but who wants to go backwards? I feel great, I'm happy with the way I look and I love my grown-up life (thanks, Kelly Ripa).

If you're kind enough to leave me a birthday greeting here, add a style tip to the list! Love to hear what you have to say.

Hooked Up

Got a diagnosis on the back issues I've shared here: herniated disc. Ugh. My doctor is very optimistic that I'm already healing and we're just going to manage the pain while I improve.

One way I'm doing that is with a TENS unit. I'm not wearing it all the time right now, but for the first few days, I had it clipped to me 24/7. Benny took one look at it and said, "How come it's not wireless like mine?"

TENSunit It actually looks more like a giant meter than an insulin pump but it's got me thinking about what it might be like to walk around with diabetes gear.  Benny's had his pump for so long that it's routine for him, but for me, wearing something all day long took some getting used to. 

My recent girls-away-early-birthday weekend outfits were dictated by what I could clip the TENS unit to: no dresses and no pants without a substantial waist (it's a big clip). My clothing choices were already limited because with the back & leg pain I couldn't wear heels. I realized I have one pair of dressier pants I can wear with flats. If this continues, I will have to hem some pants, or go shopping!

I now have some serious respect for dress-loving little girls who wear insulin pumps and of course, all you grown up pump-wearing ladies. I thought about that clip every time I got dressed, packing for the trip, going to the spa (I decided to leave it off) and when I got ready for bed.  Can't even imagine what it's like to wear a pump and a CGM!

NinaGPI (Too much flash on this picture, but you can see my new accessory really well. Me and my friend Nina in front of the amazing Grove Park Inn fireplace.)

I know enough to know I don't really know what it's like to wear a pump full time, of course. It's sort of like when those dads-to-be strap on the fake pregnant bellies. They get an idea of what's going on, but it's not really the same because they know they can just take it off.

I've been happy to remove the TENS a couple of times a day – and I'll be really glad to be rid of it for good soon. Wish I could say the same thing about the need for Benny's pump. Someday, right?

Happy Birthday?

I've got a big birthday this month and decided to celebrate with a girls' weekend at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.  We started planning our getaway months ago, but we didn't count on injuries.

I've had back issues on and off for years – latest flare up was this past March.  I tried to tough it out for a while but finally started physical therapy in August.  I was signed up to play in a charity golf tournament last Monday and felt pretty good.  I took one swing and holy cow. Worst pain since childbirth.

So while this was my expectation:


…this was my reality:


That's a TENS unit. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It zaps you enough to confuse your nerves so they don't send the pain signals (my explanation).  It looks weird, but it helps.

The worst part was driving because I couldn't sit for very long.  They laid me out in the back seat with the luggage.  I didn't see very much of the beautiful mountain view on the way there - I could only see out the top third of the window most of time.  The sky looked nice. It was blue. 

I was able to hobble around the amazing Biltmore Estate and we sampled some lovely wines, thanks to our sommelier Wilson Whisenent. No relation to this Wilson. Or this Whisenant (of course I asked!).  Poor guy - for some reason we kept calling him Winston.


Had some great meals at the Grove Park where the service is always wonderful. The waitress at the Sunset Terrace saw I was uncomfortable and brought me a pillow for my back. Then another waiter chased me out into the lobby with it. We were all so confused – turns out he thought it was mine to take home!

The spa was heavenly of course. That's one of my favorite places on earth and at least I got some relief for the day.  We're still not exactly sure what's going on with my back - I've got more tests and doc appointments this week.

Not quite what I expected, but definitely a memorable start to my big birthday.  No old jokes, please.  I'm feeling every year right now!