Monday, August 29, 2011

One designer managed the impossible ...

Late again, I know. Let's not dwell on it. : )

The challenge was OK on Thursday. I must admit, I get a bit of pleasure out of watching the designers' faces when they learn they will have to work in teams. (Bwahahahha) The big question: Who will get stuck with Bert, who is doing absolutely nothing for the AARP community, let me tell you. What a stodgy piece of work he is. I loved when he was looking directly at the four boxes on the counter filled with the designers' challenge clues, and poor Viktor is like, "They're right there! Can you bring me mine?" or something. And Bert's like, "What are you talking about? This counter is filled with stuff; I don't see any clues."

Anyway, back to the challenge. The designers worked in teams of three to make sportswear that would go well with a line of sneakers Heidi was involved with. ...Just as an aside, does anyone else raise an eyebrow when, so often, these judges are getting free work out of these designers? They're like, "Design us some stuff that we can sell and make a ton of money off of, and your reward will be that your name will be associated with my millions in profits, and we also will not humiliate you on the runway ... this week."

So who did we like? We'll get to that. There are more pressing matters at hand here. Because not another word can be written on this subject until we address the elephant in the room -- literally, the elephant -- which was the poor model that had to walk straight-faced down the runway wearing Anthony Ryan's camel-toe shorts. The short elicited the funniest and most accurate criticism of the night from Michael Kors: "You've managed to achieve the impossible. Those shorts are tight and baggy at the same time." I was rolling. The shiny shorts ballooned around the hips and were pulled tight just in the crotch. I was appalled. I was taken aback. And then I was just pissed that he wasn't the one who went home. Just look! Look, I say! How? How is that possible? NO part of this "garment" fits. Not one single part. WHY?

Now, I'm not saying I wanted to see yet another chiffon blouse from Danielle. I didn't. But I didn't throw up when her outfit came down the runway either. Still, she was the unlucky designer Thursday to be auf'd.

So back to who we did like. ... As much as I hate to admit it, I liked Bert's blue, Grecian top. That's all I'm going to say about it, because I think he's a pukey person, and I don't want to give him too many props. And plus, I think it was too fancy to go with sneakers, so there.

Bryce was my top pick of the evening. Super cool dress. Casual enough to go with sneakers, fashion forward with the snaps on the side, and could easily be dressed up with heals. Well done!

Viktor won the challenge, which is fine. His motorcycle jacket was really cool. I didn't care for the wrinkled gray dress underneath, but it wasn't awful, and it had a nice silhouette.

I must say, I hope the challenges get a little more interesting without being circus-like. The stilts? Worst in challenge history. The sportswear? Snooze. They need to start thinking about materials instead of gimmicks. The funnest challenges are the ones where they design beautiful clothes out of newspaper or produce. Creative, ultra challenging and the designers are never happy about it. How fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ninazilla on the workroom rampage

OK! I'm all set for Thursday night -- all caught up on "Runway" -- and this time I will actually be home for the viewing.

Just wanted to update since I did finally see the last episode. First of all, Nina is so difficult! I knew she would be since she's kind of a jerky stickler as a judge. But talk about not giving any creative license to the DESIGNERS. Isn't it always her who says, "Listen to your client, but in the end, we want to see your vision. You are the designer; you make the choices." I guess only when the client isn't Nina herself, eh? Jeez!

Even though Becky didn't make it to the top, I stand by my original choice as her being the appropriate winner. I loved her dress. I was pleased with Kimberly's, too, though. It just seemed that Nina practically made that outfit for her. She was going to do a dress, and then Nina said she wanted pants. She was going to do a blue top until Nina said she didn't want the whole thing blue. So at least Becky arrived at her garment all on her own.

I also stand by Julie as the loser, which was actually what happened. The chick just ... doesn't ... get it. BAD.

I'll be back Friday this time, I promise!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Totally behind on Runway

So, for the past two episodes of "Project Runway," I have forgotten to set the DVR to record. And, to my dismay, it is not OnDemand, so I'm having to try to catch it in reruns later in the week, and then I forget to blog because it's the weekend ... It's a whole to-do.

So, friends of 'Runway,' yet again I have missed "Runway" and am waiting for the newest episode to appear in reruns.

HOWEVER! I'm going to offer preliminary commentary based on viewing the fashion slideshow on

So here's what I understood about the challenge from the LA Times: If you're a Nina Garcia fan, Thursday's "Project Runway" was a party all for you. It was certainly a party for Nina, who was still a judge, and was the only client, for whom each designer had to make a work-to-industry-evening-event outfit. And in case that wasn't enough all-about-Nina for you, the winning designer's work would be showcased in an ad featuring Nina on top of New York City cabs.

Well, OK. Not a particularly interesting challenge, but after last week's fiasco with the stilts, I'm fine with a tamer one. (What an absolutely ridiculous episode that was with the stilts. Talk about a circus stunt, with creepy models and even creepier garments. The judges railed on designers for making outfits too costumey? Are they serious? The pants are 10 feet tall! Good grief ...)

So, anyway, without reading about who won or lost, here's who I think rocked it in the Nina challenge.

Becky's was my favorite dress. I liked the wrap-dress affect and the splattered black fabric. But I suspect that it's a little too hip for Nina. She seems more of a solid gray or navy fabric kind of gal. Or black. Or something else boring.

I also really liked one of my pick's, Bryce. Gray and black fabric, like she would like. But those shoulders are a little too modern for her, me thinks.

Kimberly's gold wrap shirt was OK, too. Didn't go well with those blue pants, though. Weird.

So who sucked? EVERYONE ELSE. If I had to pick one, I'd say Julie's insane, asymmetric mess of a dress will be the loser this week. She's had numerous shots, and she's been terrible the whole time.

I'll update when I actually watch the show. Until then, auf Wiedersehen!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"It looks like she's nursing triplets" - Michael

Ah! I'm a big sucker for these crazy types of challenges where the "Project Runway" contestants have to go into unusual stores and make dresses out of produce and such. Last night the designers went into a pet store and had to make garments out of leashes and hamster bedding and aquarium beads and wee-wee pads. Loved it! So fun.

But I must say, the judges had it all wrong ...

I'm usually not one to argue with my picks doing well. But Oliver did not deserve to win. First of all, the judges railed on several contestants for using "fabric-like" materials, including an umbrella and pee pads, in a challenge that called for more unusual, creative materials. Yet, Oliver constructed his entire top out of a dog bed -- HELLO, FABRIC! -- and he won? I don't get it. I also don't get how they didn't nail him for the fit of that dress. The bottom was made out of hamster bedding, which is cool, but the muslin underneath he constructed it out of ballooned out. It looked boxy.

I definitely thought Anthony Ryan's bird seed dress was the best. The sunflower-seed collar was to die. Loved, loved, loved.

Then, on the flip side, they had Fallene in the very bottom. She almost went home. And I LOVED her dress. They kept calling it Autumn-ish and pumpkin-like and boring. She used aquarium kelp, cut it all up and glued it to the skirt, which I thought was plenty inventive. And it looked so cute. Any girl would want to wear that dress. Totally flattering.

I definitely agreed with who they sent home. The headline comment about nursing triplets was about Joshua's garment. The top was oversized and matronly, and he made it out of an umbrella. So there wasn't anything special about it. Utterly forgettable.

In the battle of the wee-wee pads, I'd definitely say Viktor is the winner for best use of that material. His purple cocktail dress was AMAZING. He dyed and manipulated that "fabric" to the point that you couldn't tell what it was. My boy, Bryce, on the other hand bombed with his flouncy, blue princess two-piece. As Heidi said, and I would agree, "I want to pee all over those wee-wee pads."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

50 pounds will be my public legacy

Besides the word "bravery" -- which women throw at me a lot, shocked I would be so bold as to write about weight loss publicly -- there's one word that meant the most to me during the past seven months: honesty.

I truly believe that the reason so many people have followed my public weight-loss campaign since New Year's Day is because I didn't hide my struggle -- I showcased it. I don't want to read articles written by women who have it all figured out, who say how easy it is to lose weight on such-and-such a program, or who say, "If I can do it, you can do it." That only makes people believe there's some kind of secret to learn, and when they do, they'll be thin in no time.

And so the last thing I wanted to do was pretend that losing weight is something I somehow 'figured out' in a few months time. The truth is, I still struggle with it every day.

This is my final column for a while. (Seven months seemed like long enough to talk about the same thing over and over again.) So, it's natural to want to look back and share what I have learned. That's actually something I get from a lot of women: "Tell me what you're doing." "What am I doing wrong?" I even got, "Let me follow you in the buffet so I know what to eat."

People, you might not like this, but here goes ... I've learned that losing weight is a difficult balancing act. There is no one right way. And the only "secret" I've learned is the same statement nutritionists, dietitians, doctors and skinny trainers everywhere have been shouting to whoever will listen for decades: eat healthy and exercise to lose weight.

I know, I know. It's an awful thing to say to people who have struggled with every yo-yo diet imaginable. But it's the honest-to-God truth. The only way to lose weight is to decrease your calorie consumption, and it also helps create a calorie-deficit to exercise.

Trust me, I know that even though the statement is simple, the practice is not. I set a goal of 77 pounds lost in seven months, and I did not achieve it. I'm leaving you with a 50-pound loss, which is the same as two months ago. I'm not confused by this. I know why I haven't lost anymore. I eat too many calories.

But people don't realize how delicate the calorie balance can be. If my body needs 1,800 calories to break even for the day -- meaning that's the amount I need to maintain my weight, given my activity level -- then it's very easy to go over that amount, especially if you're trying to eat enough to lose weight at a healthy speed.

Let's say I make it to 6 p.m. with a 1,500-calorie total for the day. One big bowl of cereal, one beer, one bad snack can push me over the edge of my "break-even" calorie total, resulting in a small gain. I think there's a stereotype out there that people who are overweight are constantly snacking, when, in reality, they may just be consuming slightly more than what is needed to break even.

Regardless, I didn't make 77. And I'm extremely proud of the fact that I am OK with that. Before this journey, and even in the middle of it, I would have felt terrible, like I'd let myself and all of you down. But now, in a way, I think it's one of the best ways I could have ended my public journey.

This should very much still come across as a struggle, because it always will be. As my former trainer once told me, she's in incredible shape, and she still writes down her calories every single day. She always will have to. And so will I.

In a strange way, I'm glad this journey didn't end with me reaching my goal weight quickly and saying the dreaded words, "If I can do it, so can you." Because, you know what? I would have gained it back and alienated my readers who are struggling with weight loss in the process.

I couldn't think of more wise words to end on than those recently written to me by a reader. I hope those of you who have lost weight and struggled right along with me can take these words in, too.

"You can't force it, or it won't last. The fact that you've maintained a 50-pound loss for months now means that you've learned to balance, and that is a big deal. Keep learning, enjoy your body the way it is now, and when you are ready, push forward. Until then, focus on maintaining what you've accomplished and celebrating that."

Good plan.