Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Ways to Feel Fine on a Fat Day

Do I regret overindulging?
Not so much.
I got on the scale this morning and ouch, it's gonna be a big fat day. Though I've vowed not to let the scale dictate my mood, every once in a while the number displayed there is undeniably bad news. And when that day comes two days before Thanksgiving, the situation isn't likely to improve anytime soon.

I've had fun packing on the pounds - the biggest contributing factor was a trip to Napa filled with lazy hours lolling under olive trees, spreading goat cheese on thin slices of baguette, and sipping glasses of chardonnay. I don't regret my excesses, but the extra fat rolls around my middle combined with an overall bloated feeling are not exactly making me excited to go out and greet the world.

Perhaps you might find yourself in the same position over the holidays. I've been here before (admittedly, not so early in the season) and I've got some tricks to boost my mood and distract myself from the unwanted flubber. Here are five tips to feeling fine on a fat day.

1. Pay attention to grooming. Fat days are perfect for taking care of oft neglected body parts like skin and teeth and nails. Feeling good is about more than weight, honey. Moisturize, slather on the self-tanner, try out a daring shade of nail polish. I just gave my teeth a good flossing and I feel lighter all ready.

Distracting myself from
weightier issues.
2. Don't torture yourself with tight clothes. Today is not the day for skinny jeans and a tucked-in shirt; they'll just make you crabby. Accommodate your extra curves with loose or stretchy clothing. A day spent in Lucy stretch yoga pants is a happy day. If you can't go sporty, try a billowy skirt over leggings or a forgiving long cardigan.

3. Adorn your head. The idea here is to keep everyone's eyes riveted above the neck. Change up your hairstyle, put on some eyeliner, wear dangly earrings, don a  funky chapeau. And most importantly, smile! People will be so entranced by your lovely countenance they'll never notice the newfound voluptuousness below.

4. Hydrate. I probably haven't gained an ounce, I'm just suffering from severe water retention. My plan is to chug water throughout the day. That way, every time I pee I'll feel like I'm losing weight!

5. It's not that big a deal. A couple pounds one way or another don't change your life that much, so skip the guilt and self-recrimination and go for a walk around the block. The fresh air will do you good.

Finally, when all else fails, consider Marjie's Incontrovertible Squirrel Theory. It's brilliant scientific logic will leave you feeling adorable all winter long.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is this fair? Ads for female equivalent of Viagra can't run on TV

This weekend when my husband and I were in Napa, I came across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle describing a sexual double standard that made me mad.

According to the Chronicle, two women have developed a botanical topical oil called Zestra, designed to help women "heighten their sexual intimacy." Semprae Labs co-founders Rachel Braun Scherl, 45, and  Mary Jaensch, 58 - both married mothers - developed the product in response to research that tens of millions of American women have sexual difficulty and no way to treat it.

Zestra is an all natural product targeted to women who just aren't feeling it like they used to. One Zestra ad (see below) says the oil will "help you feel the way you used to when sexual arousal just happened naturally - without doing anything, without thinking about it, without trying not to think about anything else."

Um, I'm not admitting to anything here, but does that include not thinking about picking up the dry cleaning or worrying that my kid needs a ride home from the mall? Tell me more.

Unfortunately, most women have never heard of Zestra's benefits, because many network and cable TV stations won't run the ads.

We're no stranger to products to help men's problems in the bedroom. Ads for Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are everywhere. The ads clearly communicate that men deserve lifelong sexual gratification and the complications that come with age require medical treatment. The commercials, with images of couples dancing romantically or sharing hilltop baths, also imply that a man's ability to sustain erection will not only bring great satisfaction to him, but to his appreciative partner as well.

But when it comes to promoting a product designed to help a woman achieve more pleasure, the TV stations refused. From the Chronicle article:
Laura Grindstaff, an associate professor of sociology at UC Davis, said many cultures are uncomfortable with the idea of female sexuality outside reproduction and motherhood.
"When you see naked women bounding around in any music video or open a magazine and see ads for cars or cosmetics, half-naked women are everywhere," Grindstaff said. "That is not women's sexuality. What you see is completely bound up and constructed by male ideas of what women's sexuality ought to be. An ad like Zestra's, with no men in it, about women's pleasure for the sake of pleasure, is threatening."
Maybe that's what the stupid TV execs think, but when I researched my article "What Men Really Want," I learned that most men would love for their women partners to feel sexier and more aroused. So maybe banning Zestra ads from television is unfair to both men and women.

If you're interested in what the flap is all about, check out this Zestra commercial.

Intriguing, no? The product is available online at zestra.com or at places like Wal-Mart and K-Mart. I haven't tried it (yet), so I'm not endorsing it. I just think women and men should have equal opportunity when it comes to good sex.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Online Dating - it's Like a Catalogue of Available Guys

Is online dating for you?
Let me state for the record - I am not dating. I've been married to the Irish Hunk o' Love for 19 years and  intend to stay that way. But if I were looking for romance at this point in my life, I would definitely try online dating. I interviewed a number of single women over 40, and according to them, dating websites are the way to go. They've connected with wonderful men who they feel they never would have met otherwise.

In the name of research (and out of rabid curiosity), I signed onto Match.com to see what the site is all about. Without giving a single piece of information about myself, I was able to search for non-smoking men, aged 45-50, who live within 10 miles of me and work out 3-4 times a week. You know what? There are 230 of them!

Some of them are very cute too. Hello, there "AlmostDflawless" in Highland Park. Although your name indicates a certain lack of humility. Maybe "hungryandthirst" from Chicago or "lovemykids1012" from Glenview is more my style. And he's online right now, maybe...

Okay, I've snapped out of it. But you see how addictive it can be. It's a virtual catalogue of potential dates.

If you are single and sick of the bar scene or awkward fix-ups, why not give dating websites a try? If you'd like to read about some success stories and ways to get the most out of your online experience, check out these two articles I wrote for MakeitBetter.net:

Is Online Dating the Fast track to True Love
Tips to Successful Online Dating

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sex & the Suburbs on the Radio

I had the chance to appear on Wayne Messmer's Homelife Radio show on AM560 WIND this morning. We talked about what men really want, how to spice up your marriage and the pros and cons of online dating - all topics I've covered in my "Sex & the Suburbs" column for Make it Better Magazine.

 To listen to the fun 10-minute discussion, press the play arrow, below.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Marlo Thomas - That Girl is All That & More

Last week I had the opportunity to interview the legendary Marlo Thomas when she visited Chicago to promote her new book - Growing Up Laughing, My Story and the Story of Funny. For the full interview, read my story at Make it Better by clicking here.

I've interviewed lots of cool people, but Marlo Thomas was my first big deal celebrity and I was a little unsure how to proceed. I knew I was to meet her at the Four Seasons but didn't know how to actually connect. Did she use a code name? Would I go up to her room? And could I call her by her first name? I hoped I wouldn't be impossibly awkward.

I needn't have worried. Because thanks to Marlo (yep, it was okay to call her that) the whole experience was completely relaxed. Her assistant phoned me to tell me that we'd meet in the lobby restaurant, and sure enough, Marlo simply walked in, alone, at the appointed time. 

She'd already had a jammed morning with TV show appearances and a live video chat on her new website, marlothomas.com, and she was hungry. She ordered a diet coke and a chinese chicken salad. I stuck to the diet coke because I needed to take notes. After swapping iphone apps (Marlo introduced me Dragon Dictation - check it out!) we began talking in a down to earth way about her very extraordinary childhood and groundbreaking career.

Many of us know of Marlo Thomas as the charming and perky Ann Marie in the 1960s sitcom, That Girl.  But when preparing for our meeting, I was reminded that she has also been a leading feminist for her entire life.

That Girl was the first show on television centered around a single woman, living on her own and pursuing a  career. In the early 70s Marlo challenged traditional gender stereotypes by creating Free to Be... You and Me, a children's album, book and TV special featuring songs and stories from many of her famous friends. With her friend Gloria Steinem, she founded the Ms. Foundation for Women. 

Over the years she has performed in films, on Broadway, and on some of the hippest shows on television (Friends, Ugly Betty). She's a devoted spokesperson for St. Jude Children's Research hospital, founded by her father, comedian Danny Thomas. Now, with her new book and website, she continues to show a remarkable staying power and relevance that few celebrities can claim.

But most of all, she's a genuinely nice person who wants to connect. As she told me,

"My dream for my website is that I will begin conversations that engage a large group of women and they will talk to each other, not just to me. And that's what's happening and that's what I find exciting. As I look back on all my projects I'm constantly trying to get people engaged. I want to build communities, I just find it so much fun."

You can order Marlo's book by clicking on the cover, below. And definitely check out her new website: marlothomas.com. It's Forty Fabulous!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fashion Basics - Take clothes you already own and turn them into 3 great looks!

Think you've got nothing to wear? Well think again, because in this quick video, Midge Wegener (a stylist from one of Michelle Obama's favorite retailers) shows us how to take basic items we already own and mix them with a few pieces to create a variety of fashionable looks.  If you want to  take your wardrobe and jazz it up, dress it up, or bling it out - for Fall or the holidays - click here for inspiration.