Friday, December 26, 2008

Free Clothes!


Add ImageJustify FullI workout at Women's Workout World. One day, a very casual and brief, announcement was made stating that they were going to film a commercial for the club. They asked if anyone was interested in being in it. One of the group fitness instructors encouraged me to sign up. So I did.

Realizing that marketing is expensive and my time is valuable, I thought it would be fun to try to get a clothing donation for the commercial shoot. I only had 3 days to get the clothing! Yikes. I called all the big names (Nike, Puma, Adidas, Oprah) explaining that I'm going to be in a commercial to be distributed throughout the Midwest and would they consider sending over a couple outfits: one for me and another for friend, to wear during the shoot. I figured their logos were so commonplace I wouldn't be asked to change clothing.

Let me remind you that my main job is that of Mom for two young kids - kids who don't allow me to talk on the phone! At least not without a whiny, screaming or sobbing interruption. Or my favorite "Mom! Wipe me!".

Getting this donation is a huge stroke of luck for me. And a rare occurrence, indeed. I've learned that my only gift in life is courage (I can also burp the alphabet after a swig of Dr. Pepper). I'm not talented, lucky (like Rob and Roxanne, or Rob's Grandpa Ryan). I'm not gorgeous, naturally thin or charming. I'm not a guy magnet or impressive at parties. But I've got guts. Can't buy that. So I'm learning to use my 'gift'. Trust me I wish there were days when I had a better gift; like being able to draw, speak another language, play an instrument, smoking legs, no cellulite, etc... but I digress. This is a positive post!

There is some sad disappointment in this story which I will spare you - but really just huge doses of humility from celebrity-hungry athletic apparel companies (Puma LA - you are snobby!).

The little guy always gets ignored -- but I'm used to this as a middle child - and a twin to boot.

The happy ending is that our friends over at Turbokick (for which I am a certified instructor) sent over two outfits immediately! They rock! Their workout shorts and capris are really good. Very comfortable, lasting and funky looking. Although not cheap. The tops were kinda tight but nice and lightweight. They feel like they will move with you and not against you. Very important. Oh, and they look good. I'm so proud of Turbowear for stepping up.

I didn't doll up for this photo, nor did I put on my shoes (which will NOT be Puma - uppity west-coasters). The shoot date got rescheduled at the last minute to January. I'll give you a full report after the shoot date (hopefully I'll be able to make it after all this hustling). Next time I'm planning the photo better (spray tan, put on make-up, do hair, do push ups right before the photo and will suck it in! - I'm sucking it in the entire time during the commercial - I've decided right now!).

So what do you all think of the socks? Do they take 10 years off of me - just out of sheer daring?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Viva la Ice Painting!





I love snow! I think if it's going to be cold outside there had better be snow. Otherwise, what's the point? Fortunately for me, we've been getting hit with crazy snow here in Chicago! It's been wonderful. Peace, fresh air, drivers slowing down. Ah.

I like it when my watercolor paintings turn icy. But I like a little more play with the paint itself. Not instant freeze. I especially love painting in snowy weather. Today I had the chance to paint at Gomper's Park in Chicago. Not only is Gomps the park I went to as a kid, it is a lovely wetlands preserve. Everything was blanketed in white.

It was quite cold out there this AM. My watercolor paints froze almost immediately. I did my best to layer paint onto 300 lb paper very quickly to no avail. Here is what I ended up with. Last time I had my paints freeze they did at a slower rate (probably because it was sunny outside). Today there was no sun and I was out of luck. I figured I could put a couple of the hand warmer packets under my palette to keep it from freezing.





Palette of Slush - almost instantaneously.

View I was trying to paint:

Actual painting. After it 'defrosted' it faded even more. I like the granulation effect but the painting looks more like an extremely foggy lake scene. M aybe it's modern art - plein air style. I think I'll keep this one just for fun. Frame it, put it up on my wall and let it be a conversation piece. It's for sale in case anyone wants a painting made from ice and pigment.

After it defrosted :-(

At the top is a quick painting I did with darker values hoping they wouldn't fade after the defrost. See the frost/ice crystal formations in the paints. I painted it in about 30 seconds - really fast. Otherwise I was moving slush around.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mega logged!


My 2 year old is potty training. One thing she likes to do, on her own, is change clothes - all of them. Bless her for putting her one-hour worn clothes into her little clothes hamper. Sometimes the diaper is still stuck in her pants when placed in said hamper.

While transferring clean clothes from the washer to the dryer, I happened upon a disposable diaper. It had gone through the entire wash, rinse and spin cycles. And remained intact, albeit waterlogged to the max. They are Target brand diapers. If they can handle that kind of beating think of how well it will handle a gallon of your kid's pee. :-)

So I think Target should send me a little something-something for this shout out. Here's my letter to them. I'll keep you posted about the results.
Dear Target:
I accidentally washed a Target brand disposable diaper. It was completely intact after all the cycles of washing; to my utter amazement. I am a blogger and have many mommy friends who may give Target diapers a shot after reading about my successful, although happenstance, experiment. I spend a lot of money at your store on diapers and basically everything else. Please consider donating some diapers to me for giving your brand a huge shout out on my blog (www.beckanstee.com). Thank you for your kind consideration.

Sincerely,
Beck

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jingle Away

Thanksgiving is long past. I'm way overdue for a post. It's the crazy-busy Christmas season. A time when people get caught up in the "season" and forget the reason for the season. I'm so glad my impulse-buy holiday toilet paper doesn't have baby Jesus printed on it (Indi's impulse buy with mommy's money).
To cope with the over-marketization of shopping, gift giving, music-about-the-same-subject and overall holiday guilt, I try to keep it real and ignore all that stuff. It's hard. Especially with all those gorgeous red Starbucks cups! I like to exercise. One class I've taken at Women's Workout World (best gym ever - albeit not full of bells and whistles) - is Zumba! It's a class that incorporates different dance with exercises. To keep things interesting and fun at the gym, the instructors who teach it (Chris and Lucia) went out and got shingles to wrap around their waist during the belly-dance segment. It makes a fun exercise routine even more fun! Great for one's waistline. And being able to move my hips about like that makes me feel younger.
I'm late boarding the train of shingle-wearing exercisers. But, darn it, it's time! My girls wanted to get in on the action. They are adorable. All that hip movement. Elvis would be proud! The video of me was taken by 5 year old Indi. Warning: it might cause dizziness.
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