The End of My Knee Modeling Career

Or Knee Surgery Is No Fun

April 9, 2014
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Let it be known that I am not an athlete. I do not compete on the crucible of the turf nor any other test of strength yet I still managed to find myself in an orthopedic surgeon’s office hearing the dreaded words, “you’re most likely going to need surgery.”

The knee is a funny, knobby, sexy (to some) thing, but for me a major source of pain. At age 17 I dislocated my right patella (fancy talk for knee cap) and from there I was off to the hobbling races. Somehow I made it through college climbing the endless foothills of Appalachia, icing every so often if things got to softball sized. It was only when I turned the dreaded 25 and wanted to stave off the southern spread that I began to notice more problems. I never ran, neither treadmill nor pounding pavement, because of the knee, preferring to use lower impact elliptical machines instead. But I hated the endless purr of the machine and craved something else. I turned to yoga, which I adored…until POP…no, that didn’t feel right. Ok so no more yoga, how about Pilates?

Things were going great…until they weren’t, until I couldn’t walk in my beloved heels without fear of  tipping over. No matter how much strengthening of the muscles around the knee (a PT strategy used to avoid surgery) I was going no where fast. A serious discussion with the doctor, and an MRI, commenced.

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There’s a New Yoga Pant In Town

May 10, 2013

If you’re a Lululemon faithful shopper you may have noticed that their product quality has gone down hill over the past year. When I started yoga I bought 3 pairs of crop pants and have been wearing/washing those same pants for 2 years now without a problem. The problem, unfortunately, came when I wanted to buy more! If you don’t live under a rock you’re aware of the sheer yoga pants scandal but worse still is the pilling fabric and bad design (hello camel toe!) that the new pants all have.

While browsing luluaddict, a must read blog for the Lululemon enthusiast , I noticed a 50% off coupon for Yogasmoga, apparently I wasn’t the only one fed up withe Lulu’s crappy quality.  I perused the Yogasmoga website and was impressed, while the company doesn’t have retail stores yet they have received a lot of praise and seem to be really focusing not just on selling yoga pants but giving back to the community that helps make those pants, too! (that’s a big deal after what we just saw in Bangladesh)

So with 50% off I bought a pair of Run Jump ‘N Play Crop pants (normally $88). With free (yay!) 3 day shipping I paid $38. I pnotelaced the order 5/6 and the pants came in the mail 5/9–SO EXCITED!

I’ve purchased TONS of things from lulu so I’m used to the drill. Open the box, clothes are thrown in little to no care (and you get ANOTHER free bag, goody). This was not the case with Yogasmoga. To me, it’s the little things that count, little things like a handwritten thank you note accompanying my order.

I only got to try the pants on real quick before I had to run to work this morning but the fit seems great and I’ll put them to the test tomorrow morning during a vinyasa flow class. My only complaint? I wish I had ordered more! I can’t wait for more styles to come out! I didn’t order a tank because they seemed on the short side. I like my tanks long so I don’t have to worry about yanking them down during class.

Hopefully a further review of how the pants hold up during class and beyond will follow but for now, I may have found myself a new lemon :)

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Aerial Vinyasa

or How to Get Seasick Without the Boat

May 1, 2013
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On my recent trip to New York City I was determined to squeeze in at least one yoga class since I would be missing two out of my normal 3x/week classes.  Because NYC is the land of all things painfully cool and bleeding edge I wanted to try a class I wouldn’t have access to back in Buffalo, magically the seed of an aerial vinyasa class was born (think yoga plus cirque du soleil).

I scoured the Internets and decided that Om Yoga Factory would be the studio of choice for the class. It was close to where we were staying and the class was $20, decent by NYC yoga standards. I watched all the youtube videos, read all the testimonials I could find, and assured myself this would be THE coolest thing ever. (Spoiler alert: cool did not follow)

I desperately wanted to love aerial vinyasa. I wanted to love the feeling of flying upside down. I wanted to magically hold warrior III for hours on end supported by the silks. I wanted to cocoon myself in the hammock during shavasana. None of this happened–and I can’t blame it on anyone but my weak tummy. I get car sick and plane sick and train sick and boat sick and if it were physically possible to get nauseous from standing still I would probably develop that ailment as well.

Granted I had several factors already working against me walking into the studio (migraine induced tummy ache, eating right before class, and taking a cab to class) but yoga is supposed to be soothing, I WOULD work through it! And I DID…right up until the “OM” stopped vibrating off the walls and the instructor told us to pull ourselves up to stand in the hammock. Then I noticed the swaying. “Ohhhh this feels spicy,” the adorable instructor called out as we lowered and pulled ourselves up 3 more times. “No,” I thought “spicy is what’s rolling around in my guts right now threatening to come back up”

I’ll spare the rest, it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t even dare curl up in the silk hammock for shavasana, I just laid on the safety of my immobile mat alternating between hot and cold sweats, wondering when the last time those hammocks were even washed (ew).

As we bowed namaste I turned to my friend who had been such a trooper taking his first EVER yoga class and quietly said “I’ll be right back, I need to puke” then ran to the bathroom and did just that.

If you find yourself in NYC (and have a stomach stronger than 1 ply toilet tissue) I really do recommend trying the class. I’ve been doing normal (read: ground based) vinyasa flow for two years now and I used arm/shoulder muscles in the aerial class I never used before.

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Botox for Migraines

or Bees, Now Available in Syringe Form!

February 13, 2013

You always remember your first…my first migraine was in middle school, 6th grade, after staring into a light board in technology class. I remember stumbling to the nurses office, throwing up in a tiny school issued trash can, and most likely having the nurse call my mom to come get me. I wasn’t properly diagnosed with migraines until I left college in 2006 when I visited DENT Neurologic Institute.

I tried a variety of medications, the usual cocktail of “triptan” type drugs, which at times took the edge off but didn’t provide full relief. Meds alone weren’t working and the next option was the needle. There are several options here and it all depends on what you’re willing to pay (sad face), what your insurance company is willing to pay (double sad face), and most importantly, what your doctor recommends.

Seriously, I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on TV, so you should talk to a real MD before considering shooting paralytics into your skull.

I didn’t do much (read: any) research before my visit for the injections because I didn’t want to freak myself out. I only knew there would be 31 injections done in approximately this pattern.

20130213-131917.jpg

As I sat waiting for the injections that imagine was the only thing I could think of.

“Ready? 3…2…1…”

OH MY LORD OUCH. It hurt. Anyone who says different is lying. And it continued to hurt. First there is the relatively tiny jab of the needle followed be a bee sting sensation of the Botox. And so it continued. Jab jab jab, 31 times, 31 little bee stings. Fun!

I was told I could operate as usual, wash my hair (some injections are in the hairline), apply makeup, go to yoga, etc. But as soon as I walked out of the tiny room of torture and saw my boyfriend waiting for me, I cried. So instead of yoga I went to McDonald’s and got a shamrock shake.

Other notes from the doctor:
• The first treatment is the least effective with the second and third becoming more so
• I’d notice “changes” around the fifth day, including being unable to furrow my eyebrows

Well I’m on day four right now and I haven’t had a migraine. I’m sore at one or two injection sites near my left temple and my eyebrows still seem to be working, but they feel…lazy and tight(?)

I’ll continue to update with progress and should someone stumble upon my blog with questions about migraine hell please ask!

Update:

It’s been just shy of two weeks now and I have yet to have a migraine but I have had headaches maybe 3 or 4 times but they’ve been manageable and I haven’t had to take Maxalt for them. The only side effect is that my left eyebrow is completely immobile while my right eyebrow moves when I try to make a “shock” face. (Picture The Rock doing “the people’s eyebrow”)  This is of great amusement to friends and family.

 

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New Year New Blog

or Blog, What Blog?

January 6, 2013

What blog indeed!

It was a school project, then a editorial outlet/place to post pretty things, and then it was nothing.  So in the spirit of picking the confetti out of my hair and sopping up the remaining champagne with the remaining Christmas cookies (hey, that sounds like a yummy dinner idea) one of my 2013 resolutions is to post on this blasted blog at least once a month.

So here goes nothing!

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A (Clothes) Horse of a Different Color

March 23, 2012

Flashback: I’m meeting a event planner at a cute hotel downtown, she walks down the trendy suspended staircase, I do the normal outfit appraisal and…OMG she’s wearing the top I almost wore today!

Such horrors have been happening more often, probably because I’m stuck in super boring shopping rut. I shop at the mall, I hit Banana, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, J Crew, so on and so forth. I leave looking like every other 20-something preppy working gal in Buffalo.

So when a friend of mine asked me to check out the latest venture he’d been helping out on…AN ONLINE CLOTHING STORE…I was only too happy to oblige. Sandro is the fun little NYC boutique you dream of, except you don’t have to shlep into the city to shop there. And really, their motto says it all: at Sandro we believe that fashion should be obtainable yet stylish as well as effortlessly modern. That’s my fashion motto!

So like any good editor I checked out the site and simply fell in love. Crisp, clean layout, and LOTS of white space. There is an adorable blog that actually shows girls how to wear the clothes out in “the wild” my personal favorite post explains how to wear one top two ways.  What clothing company is going to show you how to stretch your dollar further?!

There are a few changes I suggested, but it’s a new site, I wouldn’t expect them to have every last kink worked out. I’d love to see humans in all of the clothing instead of mannequins. But we all know those skinny bitches aren’t cheap (said with love!) so it’s something they’ll work on. Also, in speaking with the writer of the site, they seem to currently be lacking a consistent “voice”. I’m probably the only crazy editor who notices this but we’ve been exchanging emails and she’s been SO open and receptive to  suggestions, I have no doubt things will be amazing in no time.

NOW the good stuff. I ordered a gorgeous patch pocket skirt in surf (gorgeous Mediterranean blue). These patch pockets are *everywhere* from Marc Jacobs to Victoria Beckham.  I’m always a little nervous about buying things online the first time. Size always makes me nervous but quality is always a big x factor, too. Needless to say I shouldn’t have worried about either. The skirt fits beautifully and the quality of the fabric and stitching is gorgeous.

I paired the skirt with black tights, a simple black long sleeve tissue tee by H&M and my latest obsession in shoes Sam Edelman Portney pumps in calf hair leopard print (yes, I. Die.)

But wait, there’s more. Remember way back when before Gilt Groupe blew up and got too big to care about its packaging? Let us all hold hands and pray to whichever goddess there is for this sort of thing that Sandro never EVER commits that cardinal sin. Because I don’t care how lame it sounds (marketing exes, pay attention) stop throwing my orders into lame brown boxes without so much as a piece of tissue paper. See below, you’ll understand why I’ll be ordering from Sandro again.

 

That’s tissue paper, a velum thank you card, AND an envelope with my order information. Little touches…

Disclaimer: I’m not Rachel Zoe and while she might swear she never takes free stuff in exchange for a review, I have zero qualms about it. I did indeed receive my skirt from Sandro free of charge on the condition that I would look through the site and provide my feedback as a consumer (and lord knows I shop a lot!) I did not, however, promise a blog post, that’s just an added bonus for my being truly and honestly impressed with the site. Seriously, you guys went above and beyond my expectations. Keep up the amazing work!! xoxo B.E.

 

 

 

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Crunchy Granola

How I found my inner hippie

September 17, 2011

Secret confession time. Through much of high school I was a majorette. A baton twirling, parade marching, rhinestone wearing majorette. Don’t knock it until you you’ve tried it–it’s one hell of a work out!

Then I went away to college and managed to stave off the freshmen 15 for 4 years by walking up hill both ways to and from class. (Don’t believe me, check out the Morgantown terrain.) So it wasn’t until after college when I got my first desk job that I started to notice a…southern spread.  I inherited the Italian schnozzola, rear, and hips but not the boobs? Thanks mom, peachy.

Lots of excuses ensued. Gym memberships are expensive, I started a new job, then another, then I went back to school, wrote a thesis, on and on. More important than the increasing pant size, I just wasn’t feeling so great. Eventually, with the help of my current job and its larger paycheck, I joined a small boutique gym in Williamsville specializing in Pilates, Stretch Fitness. I never knew you could get such a kick ass work out laying down!!! (This is a family blog folks, let’s try to keep it clean) Several of the trainers at Stretch also do yoga and recommended I give it a shot.

I had been dying to try yoga but was always scared of being the “loser  yoga kid” who fell and looked like a moron. I did some research and found a studio in Buffalo that offers a 6-week yoga intro course. Six weeks with only loser yoga kids just like me!! It took one class and I was totally addicted.

If you know me at all (cracks me up that I write as if people read this) you know I’m not exactly the crunchy granola hippie type. In fact, driving my gigantic SUV to the studio does feel a bit anti-yogi at times. But there is something very simple and pure about yoga that I haven’t found anywhere else. I recently graduated from my 6-week intro course and went to my first “big kid” class. WOW, was I nervous. I swore everyone in was going to know I was new, that I may as well hang a sign around my neck. But walking into the studio I remembered the best thing about yoga–your practice is just that–yours! There truly is no judgement, no peering over at your mat neighbor and smirking at her half assed down dog. If you’re huffing and puffing and sweating through warrior one, it’s nice to know that everyone is working right along with you, no questions asked.

For someone who constantly strives, no, LIVES, for perfection, even entertaining the thought of suspending judgement has been a real challenge.  Accepting it? That’s going to be a life edit.

 

For those interested, I very much recommend East Meets West Yoga, located on Elmwood in Buffalo.

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Is Customer Service Dead?

Don't bet on it

February 16, 2011

I’m a fanatical shopper – an online shopper, a brick and mortar shopper, a sale shopper, a full price shopper – if you’re selling, I’ll browse your wares. Within the past year I discovered the wonderful and addicting world of the online sample sale. While there are literally hundreds of these sites, allow me to save you some time and a cluttered inbox. Skip all other sites and go directly to Gilt Groupe.

Here’s why

Plenty by Tracy ReeseI purchased this gorgeous Plenty by Tracy Reese coat from a Gilt sale. List price was over $350, Gilt price (with some credits) was $123. The price alone should be enough to get you to gallop over to Gilt, but it get’s better.

The coat arrived in all it’s glory and I wore it for a week or so without incident. About 5 days later, I went to button my coat and the unthinkable happened…a button came off. Maybe it’s a curse, from Target to Kors, coat buttons never seem to stay on, but I was really bummed. Complicating the matter, the coat is beautifully lined, rendering an at home fix next to impossible.

Through teary eyes I sent a tweet to the folks at Gilt Customer Support. What, if anything, could they do? Within an hour I had an email from Gilt, apologizing for the faulty fastener and offering a full refund (including shipping). The offer was fantastic, the apology sincere, and most importantly, the response was timely. Only problem? I really loved my coat and didn’t want to give it up. I figured it was a long shot but I responded to Liz, my Gilt customer service rep, and asked if perhaps instead of returning the coat, Gilt would reimburse me for the cost of the repair. Again, within an hour (I just re-checked the time stamps) I had a response. No problem, they’d be happy to reimburse me the tailor fees.

I was stunned.

So I took my coat to my local tailor where the grand total came to $4.00.  I won’t be sending Gilt a bill but I am thrilled to say they have a very loyal customer for life.

Thank you again to the Gilt Customer Service Team. Liz, Caitlin, Rodney, and Katie, you guys rock!

Update: I sent a quick thank you to Gilt, they responded (3 minutes this time) again apologizing and, for my trouble, offered free shipping on my next purchase. I can’t say it enough, Gilt Groupe customer service is spot on and a shining example for all other e-tailers.

Photo from gilt.com
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Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

February 15, 2011

Not so much an extreme makeover, more like a reorganization of the by-laws.

The initial intent of my cyber home was to have a place to publish dissections of articles pertaining to the world of journalism/media as well as a place to kvetch about editorial pet peeves. But…I’ve realized I need to expand my boundaries. Yes, this breaks the first rule of “serious blogging”, finding your niche and excelling in it. But let’s be honest, my readers (hi mom!) aren’t going to remove me from their Google Readers if I throw in a post or two about a “stuff of legends” shoe sale or a Suburbanite’s wistful dreams of city living. Besides, my mom doesn’t have Google Reader, so my follower count can really drop too far!

So the name stays the same, and I will still be the Buffalo Editor, you’ll just get a little sample of some of my non-media interests as well.

-B.E.

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Curb Appeal for Your Online Real Estate

August 17, 2010
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I live with a graphic artist / web designer, so in addition to killer Adobe Photoshop requests produced on demand, I also get to witness the shock of a potential client after they’ve received a quote for website re-design.  I never quite understood why they were unwilling to invest the money to update from the GeoCities page created by the CFO’s nephew to a sleek, customer focused site. Oftentimes I chalked up their unwillingness to a lack of money and forethought; they’re a small business, why have a fancy website?  Turns out, it’s not only the little guys who think they can get away with a bare bones page.

An interesting article by Jennifer Modarelli asked the same question; why do companies cheap out on their websites?  Modarelli has witnessed the same scenes I have, but on a much larger scale.  “I have actually met with billion-dollar companies with 10-plus-year-old sites that want to do a redesign, but do not want to invest more than $75,000 to $100,000″ even when their class-A office space cost “considerably more to build”.

I tried to think of examples. What big business spends money on making their real-world buildings look impressive, but settle for a shack in the virtual world? Banks. Banks love spending money on marble and columns and glass, anything to portray strength and security to their customers.  Do you get that same feeling after visiting the United Bank website? Keep in mind, United is a publicly traded company with $7.5 billion in assets and 113 full-service offices in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.

Modarelli points out that the folks in charge haven’t realized that websites are much more than “a simple marketing asset, like a piece of collateral” (although frankly, looking at some bank brochures, they could use some work, too). A website, she explains (and I agree) is just another place to do business. It’s probably safe to assume customers are happier doing business in a well-appointed office instead of a dark alley.  Modarelli, who works for a design firm that specializes in digital media, ends her article with the suggestion of heading towards the nearest agency with an open mind (and wallet).

But I wonder, do the “experts” even have it right?

Some of Buffalo’s top design firms lack a positive Web presence.  They tend to forgo time tested SEO rules in favor of lots of Flash and maze-like navigation.

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