Can We Talk? (#3)

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I‘m just going to come clean and confess.

I’ve had such a bad case of blogging ADD lately that I’ve worked myself into a corner (bed)

   My computer desktop is a mosaic of partially finished posts I can’t quite ferry into port.

Meanwhile, Life’s clipping by at an almost comical speed and the end of each day sounds a chastising gong;

‘You didn’t accomplish enough!’ gonggong

February 6th and already my New Year resolutions are in the “Fail” column.  I know that’s pretty much a given, but man, Feb. 6 is early-even for me.

Nike Fuel Band , slimpaley.com

My Nike Fuel band has registered this just once since January 1st :-(

I’m not proud, but there it is.

I think it’s broken.

The re-design of Slim Paley remains inert and that, my loyal readers is truly just the tip of the iceberg.

Patagonia slimpaley.com

Speaking of icebergs, I’ve yet to go through my Patagonia pics to write the two more travel posts I’d been planning.

 I sit down at my computer, commence a blogging and then perhaps Pinterest, sultry siren that she is, curls her comely finger at me.

BTW, did you read this on Remodelista? How I learned to Love Pinterest by Diane Keaton (don’t read it ’til you finish my post!)

See what I mean? You peeked, didn’t you?

(I know I’m not the only ADD person around here )

Then, oh, I don’t know…the phone rings, the dishwasher breaks, my credit card gets hacked, more emails & texts pop up.

 I go back to editing photos…hold the phone, wouldn’t this look great Waterlogued?? Wow-that looks so cool-I should have it printed!

In fact, I should print a bunch of them as gift cards, or maybe a book of Waterlogue photos on Artifact Uprising

Are you Waterloguing your face off?!

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“Oh my — In the past 24 hours, I have Waterlogued EVERYTHING … old family snapshots, my friends’ houses, flowers, palm trees, sunset/sunrise, postcards, impressionists’ paintings, my toes, and on and on. Truly an impressive amount of fun for $2.99. Did you know that the creator has two other photo editing apps: percolator and popsicolor? Percolator looks kinda klimt-y.”

(Thank you to Slim reader Susan Hodges for her comment above on my last post)

Are you also aware of the oil painting App Glaze”?

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and, and, and,

 That book mentioned in the NYT’s this Sunday sounded fabulous, I should download it on my Kindle-whoah-what’s this? A choice of a free book a month as well as one from the Amazon Prime Lending Library…what else should I get? I’ve never read “Middlemarch” and this one recommended on Instagram looks good!

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This could be the answer to all my problems

Wait, is that the time? I have to get to physical therapy!

797142e90277f393a9e3d0769fc426d3 I continue to make good progress-this is just about my range at the moment.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that it’s hockey season (I’ve switched allegiance from the Vancouver Canucks to the LA Kings who are killing me-nope, I take it back, they just scored! I have to go on Twitter for a minute)

Yes, I am watching hockey as I post.

K, I’m back. We won! Where was I?? Oh, and the Olympics are starting tonight.

Are you going to be watching?  I’m torn. I’m worried that Sochi’s like the kid who has a birthday party and nobody comes. Crap cake, bad party favours.

I want to support the athletes (not just the hockey players!) BUT it’s  just…

Let’s face it, it’s another thing to DO.

It will keep me from…DOING other things!

And believe you me,  I haven’t even touched on all the boring sh#%

Not going there.

Is it the weekend yet??

Have a Focused one :-)

x0xSP

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Past chats

Can We Talk?  07/09/2012

Can We Talk?? (#2) 11/12/2011

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Ice Capades

Perito Moreno Glacier slimpaley.com

The Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

PeritoMorenoglacier slimpaley.comSo. It’s bloody freezing everywhere, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m usually loathe to touch on the subject of global warming-not even vaguely my area of expertise (still actively searching for that) but who knew “warming” would translate to the coldest winter ever?!  My older son lives in NY, so I worry. He’s thin. Well, truth be told, my younger son lives in California and I worry. He’s tall. I’m my mother’s daughter-that’s my job.

Meanwhile, I’m finally, semi-partially-settled back into normalcy since returning from our family’s South American holiday. It was a wild ride. From 92 degrees with 110% humidity in Buenos Aires to strapping on crampons and glacier hiking in Patagonia, I felt like a contestant in “The Amazing Race”-without all the histrionics of course.

OK, there was the slight to medium-sized hissy fit I threw when my iPhone slid out of my pocket and down a deep crevasse on the glacier…

the glacier that ate my iPhone

But who could blame me?! It was brand new…wa wa. I hadn’t bought a new phone in a really long time (I’m one of those “but what if a new one comes out right after I buy the new one?”) I didn’t get insurance because I never lose or break things, wa wa.

Let’s just say it took me several minutes to recover.

Perito Moreno glacier, Patagonia slimpaley.com

But back to Perito Moreno.

The Eolo hotel, El Calafate, Argentina

We stayed at a most charming hotel, “The Eolo” located on a 10,000 acre ranch aprox. 25 minutes outside of the small town of El Calafate. From there, we drove to Los Glaciares National Park and boarded a small ferry to a cove left of the glacier.

Glaciares National Park  Slimpaley.com

There are a few small structures where you may picnic sheltered from the wind and watch ice move…which it does at a rate I’m forgetting, but a lot faster than you’d think. Just in the short space of time we were there, we saw a major caving off the front of the glacier, a mighty cracking noise followed by a tremendous boom and then startling silence.

Perito Moreno Glacier, slimpaley.com

The Perito Moreno Glacier is over 19 miles long and almost a 100 sq. miles in total. The average height above water is 270 ft, with depths reaching 550 ft. Part of an ice field that is the 3rd largest source of the world’s fresh water, it’s also one of only 3 Patagonian glaciers that is actually growing. Experts aren’t quite sure why.

Perito Moreno glacier, slimpaley.com

PeritoMorenoglacier slimpaley.com

Hiking to the glacier is a startling reminder of how even the wreckage of Mother Nature can be starkly beautiful

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Do you see those tiny black dots on the glacier? It’s the group of hikers ahead of us.

As the photos attest, it wasn’t the most ideal of weather conditions, but we did get lucky in that it wasn’t windy.

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This was the last stop, where the guides helped you put on your crampons before climbing onto the glacier. There was also a bin full of soaking wet gloves in case you didn’t bring any. They didn’t mention the gloves were “left” & “right”   Just saying :-(

And off we went…

cramponing glacier slimpaley.com

Our fellow Amazing Race contestants

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Some people just know how to pack.

Whatever.

glacier hiking slimpaley.com

It really wasn’t that scary, but once and awhile you had to jump over stuff like this and imagine what it might be like if you slipped.glacier crevasse, slimpaley.com

This is the crevasse I passed through just before “The…INCIDENT” as my family likes to refer to it.

glacier slimpaley.com

As the entire trip had been conceived and planned by my husband, I hadn’t any preconceived notions of what to expect. I just let the entire experience roll over me and I must say it was exhilarating.

Especially when towards the end, we crested this peak and what to my iPhone-less eyes did appear…

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A COCKTAIL BAR!!!

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Whiskey…with plenty of  very fresh ice

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Our guides divvying  up our rewards

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Seriously-I don’t even drink whiskey but Mama was so happy to have her nice brown drink.

I removed my mouldy second left glove, toasted Ernest Shackleton and all the courageous Antarctic explorers who had gone before me…

and thanked my lucky stars I was getting back onto a warm boat and not crawling into a dank seal-skin sleeping bag in a wind torn tent for the next year and a half.

Phone schmone.

And you know…whiskey isn’t really that bad

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Stay warm, cozy and open to adventure.

xx SP

For an icy blast from the past, click here

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Ode to a Grecian Yearn

Greece window

Room with a View

One of our family’s favourite places in the entire world to holiday is Greece.

I started going when I lived in London in the 80′s.  My husband and I honeymooned there, and over the years we’ve returned many times with our two boys.

We are extremely blessed to have wonderful old friends there who graciously share their slice of heaven on earth with us during the summer.

I will readily admit I’m not nearly clever enough to comprehend what has happened with the Greek economy. I haven’t spent any time in Athens in several years, other than to pass through the airport, so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like there now.  All I can say is with the perfect weather, azure skies and sea, food one dreams about for the rest of the year and lovely, hospitable people, Greece simply can’t be beat as one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.

greece, Slim Paley

And I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a little slice of heaven…

fried fish & french fries

and the food… O M G

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Can you hear the song of the cicadas??

“Welcome back, Relax. Welcome back, Relax” (I speak Cicadian)

Their constant refrain, an audible perfume that instantly awakens your sense memory.

real Greek salad

I adore Greek salad, and it’s never quite the same anywhere else.

Except perhaps Vancouver, with their large Greek community, they know you never, ever add lettuce.

 (substitute “quelle horreur!” in Greek here)

Blue window shutters

It’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a smidgeon of their property that isn’t utterly divine. The family patriarch has a passion for design and attention to detail that knows no bounds. Every time we come home from visiting I am so filled with inspiration.

It gets my husband very worried.

But it’s not just the ambience…

fried aubergine

 Did I mention the food yet?

fresh mango sorbetMy friend helps herself to a serving of their house-made mango sorbet.

Do ya think they know our boys like sorbet?!

FYI, no dieting in Greece. It’s against the law.

Besides, everything is fresh, fresh, fresh so who cares about caloric intake?

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Just a quick aside-how do women in Europe get away with wearing lashings of jewelry with their bathing suits and look so chic?

Something I’ve yet to master. Mine gets burning hot, covered in sunscreen and looks like I’m trying way too hard.

But I digress…

Don’t get the wrong impression-it’s not all about food, drink, lazing about and angsting over my aquatic jewelry quotient.

Some of us manage to get pretty damn sporty.

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Younger Son wake boarding in Porto Heli (where Aman Resorts has just opened the “Amanzoe”-though we didn’t go see it)

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My ridonkulously adorable god daughter heating up the courts with her style.

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Older Son’s girlfriend “C” or, as she is now known  “The Donkey Whisperer” working her magic.

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Younger Son getting some “air” on the soccer pitch

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There are grapes to be picked for making wine…

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Books to be devoured daily by The Boyfriend of The Donkey Whisperer

cocktail bar, Greece

Cocktails to be mixed.

the cats in Greece

But I won’t be disingenuous, there’s a mighty high degree of relaxing going on in Greece.

Just as it should be on one’s hols.

Breakfast table Greece

The outdoor breakfast table before the first hungry morning shift ambles in.

Chicken coop

Breakfast eggs hot off the …ah… super fresh

Greek yoghurt & fresh fruits

and that Greek yoghurt, honey & figs right off the trees with a great cappuccino

Blue table setting Greece, Slim Paley

Seriously.

HEAVEN!

fresh greek salad

I’ll have a little glass of chilled retsina with that please

wine grapes, Greece

pink bouganvilea

Even the bougainvillea looks so much brighter in Greece than in California.

greek pastries with honey

Home-made pastries for desert.

Remember…worrying about calories-a Felony in Greece

sail boat in Greece

Sometimes we can even bring ourselves to leave our friend’s property, and tool about the islands

This pretty sailboat was in a bay we stopped in for lunch one day.

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Where of course I had to order my regular. And those teeny, tiny little fish sprinkled with salt and lemon that you munch like french fries.

Gone before I could get a pic.

Port of Hydra, Greece

Pulling into the port of Hydra in the late afternoon.

Squid hanging in Greek Tavern

Fresh squid/octopus? (difference??) hanging outside a tavern on the island of Spetses

traditional old Greek restaurant kitchen

Another one of our favourite spots to eat is a centuries old house in the hills where the proprietors, a lovely couple, make the food in their house kitchen and serve it outside on their porch.

very old kitchen in Greece

So charming and authentic. Is this not what traveling to distant lands is all about?

Not a Starbucks in sight.

Sunset in the Greek Islands

And to cap off the day with a cocktail while the sun slinks behind neighboring isles…

Negroni cocktail, Greece

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

cats in Greece

But why do the summer holidays always have to sneak by in the blink of an eye??

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I hope YOU are enjoying a languorous  August!

Happy Days xx SP

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Anniversary at Amangiri

UtahSouthern Utah

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Happy First Week of August!

Here in Santa Barbara we continue to wake up to grey, gloomy skies

morning after morning, after morning.

Sure, it clears by mid-day most of the time but at the risk of sounding like a TV commercial, it makes such a difference to start the day off with sunshine don’t you think?!

We had no such problem in Utah earlier this year, where we traveled with a few close friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

The colour of the sky in the photo above is true, no filter, nada.

flying over Lake Powell

Arriving by air you catch an amazing view of a turquoise Lake Powell and the striated cliffs of the surrounding canyons.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

My girlfriends check out the view as we arrive at the entrance of our hotel.

The Amangiri  has been on my Travel Wish List since it first opened 4-5 years ago so I was thrilled to experience it on such a momentous occasion.

And I do believe hitting the 25 year mark in marriage these days can be considered momentous!

The hotel was everything we had hoped for and more.

First off, may I say that the huge pool area is outrageous and was built around a boulder that’s about 9 billion years old.

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OK, I don’t remember exactly how old it is but something really mind bendingly crazy.

You can see why I never considered being a geologist. Or a museum docent.

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(photo via Amangiri)

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The hotel sits in such a harmoniously unobtrusive manner that it’s barely visible until you’re almost directly upon it.

Way to go Amangiri architects.

Seriously.  I’ve had chin hairs more prominent.

cactus flower

The dashes of ultra saturated colours you glimpse here and there in the desert never fail to enthrall me.

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Like all Aman resorts, the rooms are low-key, tasteful and chic.

Here, my hat with the bag, hat & walking stick the room provides.

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Stargazing bed, Amangiri Hotel, Utah

A star gazing bed on the roof of the only two-bedroom suite in the resort.

And you definitely want to be gazing skyward in the desert night.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

The complex is single-storied and designed so every room has both a beautiful bathroom with soaking tub, and a terrace with a fire pit facing out to the spectacular views.

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Two of my favourite words

spa

The spa does not disappoint. In fact, the technicians, despite their average age of, oh I’d say 19 (?!) were truly fantastic.

As were the yoga classes.

cocktails

Cocktails were generous, despite being poured in Utah.

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One cocktail and a 90 minute massage later, a spa-selfie is in order.

Do I really have to get dressed for dinner??

I dropped my phone on the concrete floor after this photo.

Relaxed much??

U.S. desert

The architecture, interior courtyards & walkways are full of interesting angles, shifts of light

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and spare, desert appropriate landscaping.

There isn’t a superfluous detail

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yet around every corner or slatted wall there’s something wonderful to discover

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The jacuzzi “amphitheatre” where we watched a movie projected against the wall one night.

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Peeking through the slats

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If relaxing poolside with a book is not your thaing, there are plenty of opportunities to get all sporty, including some great hikes…

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In the distance you see the cave we hiked to from the hotel.  (Peer pressure)

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Slim Paley Instagram

My instagram shot from the cave interior

photography lesson

The Amangiri also offers a 3 hour complimentary photography lesson and hike.

Here, my silhouette shot of the instructor

rock formations, Utah

who imparted some really interesting tips about lighting and composition…

In addition to a plethora of geological information that I’d completely forgotten by the time we drove back to the hotel.

But these mountains and rocks are like really super ancient and form and deform in fascinating(ish) ways at a pace I can relate to.

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On a more serious note, we also fell madly in love with how skinny we looked in our shadow selfies :-)

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is just a short drive away, so one day we rented a boat and explored. I had NO idea of the vastness of the lake. It looked nothing like what I was expecting!

Lake Powell, Utah

Unfortunately, it clouded over a little that afternoon but the scenery was breathtaking nonetheless.

We docked the boat at one point and hiked to Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Utah

One the U.S.’s National Monuments, Rainbow Bridge is truly a site to experience.

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A couple of the boys hiking back from Rainbow.

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For the more adventurous in our group, there was also a rock-climbing excursion (pinions, clamps, helmets, the whole 9 yards)

The pay off was traversing this suspension bridge at the top.

Super.

Don’t strain your eyes looking for me in this photo.

I’m back at the spa. Looking for the piece of my phone.

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Desert ‘Roses’

Amangiri hotel Utah

As night descends  on the Amangiri, a thousand lanterns light the labyrinth of paths and destinations where one can enjoy cocktails, dinner, or a movie under the stars.

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and when it’s time to retire, simply hook the  braided horsehair “Privacy” rope across the entrance to your suite.

(Genius. SO stealing this. Not the actual rope, just the concept)

Slim Paley

We shall see you again beautiful  Southern Utah.

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Until then, thanks for the wonderful memories.

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 Amangiri is located in the south west corner of the State of Utah, in the area referred to as ” The Four Corners”

The closest airport is in Page, Arizona, about a 25 minute drive from the hotel which provides complimentary shuttle services there and back.

For more information and photos of Amangiri click HERE

Happy Travels and Happy Weekend!

xxSP

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*PS. I have no affiliation with, nor receive any compensation whatsoever from The Aman Resorts.

Sadly.

Even though I’m a really loyal client. And I never took that rope.

~

Gluten, I Hardly Knew Ye

gardenias & berries

Chilled white wine, lush sweet berries, the scent of freshly picked gardenias wafting over a beautifully set table beneath a lemon arbor…

roses

Fluorescent pink roses against a garden wall

lumpmeat crab

Great friends, non-stop laughs and plates piled decadently high with delicious warm weather delights, including a massive platter of fresh crab meat.

Summer Perfection, right?

Except just look at that crispy white French bread.

Filled with naughty gluten.

And oh I just wish I could show you a photo of my gluten-free for 3 months lunch mates’s tiny little ballerina waist.

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I hadn’t seen my friend in awhile and I was totally gob-smacked by the transformation. I was so jealous happy for her.

So much so, that I only had 1 1/2 pieces of that bread (only because there was cheese) and decided to try going gluten-free for 3 weeks myself.

Not right away mind you, but a couple of days later.

I’m 6 days in and so far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

Now all of you long time S.P. readers (bless each and every one of you) know diet & exercise is not exactly a recurrent theme on this blog.

Other than the exercise post I wrote a week or so ago, I think I also mentioned going for a run once this year.

The only productive thing that came of it was I bought some better bras. Never ran again. Dude, it was hard and I ran out of breath.

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I did keep up my coconut oil “pulling” for a few months but that fell by the wayside with traveling so much. I will definitely start doing it again, for the meditative benefits alone, if for no other reason.

If you missed that post, you can read it here  but of course oil pulling hardly counts as exercise.

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I stopped Pilates too long ago to even admit, though I still adore my pilates trainer Kristi Cooper and derived a great deal of perverse pride in being her longest lasting, worst client ever. Literally.

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Her. Remember?!

Kristi now has the uber-successful website “Pilates Anytime” and I like to think that in some infintesmal infintesimal small way my laziness and bad attitude contributed to her turning to web-based classes and she’s never looked back.

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I DO still love yoga and my yogini Denise Zeverdes with whom, I just realized, I’ve been practicing for 7 years.

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However I’m afraid to do handstands (my wrists are like twigs) it has to be on days it’s OK for my hair to be frizzy and my pitiful “OM” in class is a constant source of embarrassment.

WTF?? How does everyone else “OM” so loud for sooo long??!

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But let’s back track, as I believe I was on the subject of tiny waists…

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I really wanted to share the amazing results of another  good friend’s commitment to getting majorly Bathing Suit Ready this summer.

Now as you can see in the photos below (which she so graciously permitted me to share) Ronda wasn’t exactly battling a big weight problem,

but after having two babies, she was sick and tired of the constant yo-yo of diet and exercise regimens that never seemed to ‘stick’.

One day, along with a couple of friends, she simply made the decision to work with a trainer, keep a food journal, and religiously follow everything her trainer told her to do.

Without question, without cheating.

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BEHOLD!

diet & exercise

Yes, she’s tall and has gorgeous legs, but don’t be a hater. Ronda worked super hard to achieve these results in just a few months!

PS. I always assume these type of photos are photo-shopped or totally fake but these are 100% real.

Before & After shots

Most importantly, she feels empowered, looks amazing and has kept the weight off.

 Way to go Ronda!!

And yes, she is a lot younger than me. I have young friends because I’m cool :-)

And refuse to grow up.

fangocrema cellulite mud cream

What’s not so super cool is that I thought I might cheat my way to Ronda’s results with an aggressive regimen of GUAM cream.

I got caught up in the incredible Beauty Department of Liberty’s in London.

Even though the only words I could read on the box were “CELLULITE”, “Quick and easy to use mud-based cream” and “Guam”

I mean, I’ve been to Guam. What could go wrong??

skin test patchSo, you might be thinking that due to the “strong” reaction the test patch produced on my arm that I’d reconsider this ‘Get Svelte Quick Scheme’

Uh uh.

Instead, I thought- yes! This is going to burn fat off my thighs something fierce!

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In fact, for the sake of the blog, i.e. YOU, I’ve been applying it to just one leg and, er, cheek, to see if I’m able to measure any discernible difference after a few weeks.

So far, nada.

But if you happen to see me around town with one leg like Gisele’s and one like Melissa McCarthy’s, you’ll know the reason why.

In the meantime, I remain your gluten-free, pink thighed Slim(ish) Paley.

Any diet/exercise/gluten-free secrets YOU care to share?!

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*Ronda’s Santa Barbara based trainer’s name is Andrea McLarty

Denise Zeverdes’ Montecito Yoga

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Black & white & “Soleil” photos via Tumblr