New Hair!

As I get older and less stressed about things, I find myself doing some of the stuff I “ought” to have done when I was younger.

Recently I tackled dying all my hair for THE FIRST TIME.

Ohmigod you guys, I don’t know what I was thinking! I just somehow decided to do it? I met an awesome new gal through my vintage & retro group and she offered to do it. We settled on a peachy-pink colour for me.

Cutting all my long locks off last year was a pretty big step for me. Some of my friends are commenting that I seem to be going through some self-reinvention period or something. I’m inclined to believe them, but I’m not doing it intentionally. It was just time and frankly, I just didn’t care what people thought about my hair.

I’m still funemployed (but the vacation rental empire is going well) so I don’t have work to worry about. I don’t have a boyfriend and feel strangely unmotivated to find one. I was using a demi-permanent dye that would wash out and I knew my mom would think pink hair was cool. All my “OK, go for it, Ginger” boxes were checked.

So my friend popped over one afternoon and painted my hair with this dye:

Candy Pink Raw Demi-Permanent Hair Dye
From Hot Topic (I don’t ever want to go in that store again, so many memories from high school!)

Now, I have light blonde hair naturally, so we didn’t need to bleach it first and instead took a shot in the dark with applying it cut with conditioner.

In progress!
In progress!

I can’t say that it came out the way I had hoped, but it wasn’t bad! Kind of berry-swirl, if you will.

Berry swirl!
Berry swirl!

It’s fading pretty quickly, apparently because of my virgin hair. Another odd quirk I noticed is that my roots really took the dye well. They are super pink, while closer to the ends the colour fades out quite a bit. It looks like I was born with pink hair and dyed it blonde! Outrageous!

So the pink suits me ok. But the fading sucks. I’m just about to reapply the colour and hopefully it will stick around for a little longer. Then I’ll either pick another colour or just let the blonde come back.

What do you think?

 

 

This Ginger is about to snap

Man, there has been a lot going on since I last updated. Oh well.

The biggest thing eating me right now is that I am once again without a job. It’s like a frigging roller coaster over here, either famine or feast. I can’t seem to figure out exactly what it is I want to do in life, other than be my own boss. There isn’t a lot of mercy for people like me.

I started working for this property “management” place for a while. Got my first promotion ever, bought a scooter (finally!) to help do showings, and I just left on Monday, only 4 months into the job. What a ride. Glad I am out of there though, it really just wasn’t working. At all. Shit money, shit hours and I was stressed to the max.

I never really learn my lesson, do I? I jump at the first opportunity that comes along and try to make a quick buck. Things I look down upon in other people, and yet here I am. Ms. Hypocrite, you may call me!

I am still working on my other projects and some are going better than others. But I still feel like a failure in the major areas of life. Still single, still no full time self-employment, haven’t traveled in a while, haven’t lost much weight, didn’t make it on the roller derby team this season.

Pooh, I say. Damn depression is back and has sunk itself in deep this time, insidious little bastard.

There are good things in my life, but it’s hard to appreciate them when you’re forced to view them through grey-tinted glasses.

If anyone is out there, how do you deal with constant disappointment? Especially when it’s yourself that you’re disappointing the most?

Review: Your Big Sister’s Closet Boutique

With no guests, no more parties and nothing else to do, I made a trip a few blocks over to Karen Ward (Curvy Canadian)’s new plus size boutique Your Big Sister’s Closet.

Quelle suprise! It’s adorable! I’ve been there before when they were under construction, so when I was headed there today I almost missed it due to the lovely and professional-looking window display out front. I was so used to the papered windows…

Anyway, the store looks great. The space is light and bright and really lets you focus on the clothing racks around you. Karen has organized things logically by colour and then size, and has a good variety of pieces to browse through.

I felt comfortable browsing in the store. The layout was neither to sparse nor too oppressive; a difficult balance to strike in a start up boutique. There was a good, relaxed vibe in the store and Karen herself was totally pleasant to interact with. I also liked that she was wearing her own products, I found her pink dress on the rack! I just love seeing the clothes on a real body!

I’m really in love with the design selections Karen has made. As a fellow fashion blogger and avid shopper (who just spent 2 weeks clothes shopping like mad) I’ve seen just about everything. Your Big Sister’s Closet has a refreshing design and colour palette and I got that warm, fuzzy feeling while browsing. You know, the one where you feel like you really found something great?

I think the prices are reasonable for what you are getting. Most of the dresses I looked at were between $60-$75 which is par for the course these days. Almost all of the fabrics are synthetic which is a bit of a downer, but then again every retailer seems to be going that route, and these labels are no exception. However the construction was good and the designs flattering. As with all imported boutique lines, watch out for the sizing! Many of the lines run small, so you may find yourself fitting in a 3x when you normally wear only a 1x. Karen has a pretty good idea how each of the pieces fit, so just ask her if you want some advice.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular (having spent all my money over the holidays) but nonetheless I felt compelled to try on a couple of dresses that caught my eye. I had to limit myself to two because I knew that if I started, I wouldn’t stop! I just can’t get over how fresh and different the clothes there are. So much better than Addition-Elle or Pennington’s.

The pug was not amused.
The pug was not amused.

In the end I walked away with a stunner of a dark red peplum body-con dress with black contrast piping. It didn’t look like much on the rack, but once I put it on I was sold!

Taking self-portraits is waaay hard for me, but here’s a dork shot of the new dress. I like it because it looks nice, and mainly because it is comfortable! The dress is currently available in-store only for $75.

I definitely encourage all my plus size sisters to check out this new boutique. Karen’s got the right mix going with great clothing selection & quality, the price is right and the atmosphere is genial. I think you’ll really enjoy shopping there, as will I!

Here’s how you can find out more about the shop:

www.yourbigsisterscloset.com

Facebook

3126 Dundas Street West, Toronto
(647) 351-7587

 

Life With Slimband: Impending Rant

Ugh. It’s some godforsaken hour in the morning of Christmas Eve/Day and I can’t sleep.

No, I’m not excited for Santa Claus to bring me a pony or a pair of moon shoes.

Rather I am so pissed off with my current situation with Slimband that I can’t sleep and have composed an angry rant instead.

For a list of all other Slimband related posts, please click here

I’m getting fat again and am not impressed***. I have spent 2 years and over $16,000 trying to lose weight and have only had middling success. Every other day I get an email or a comment on this blog about others in the same position and it makes me so angry that Slimband as a company doesn’t care about what happens with their patients after the wounds heal.

Oh, there are some individuals in the company that may care. I have met them. Slimband discovered how much traffic I get for my articles on having the band that both they and competing clinic CIBO approached me about it. Both tried to buy me off; as some kind of damage control, I suppose. Personally I think that was a silly idea. It’s better to get me on board and on your side and use my expertise to help fix things, than just to get me to shut up. I am a mouthpiece for the people, y’all.

I thought I was getting somewhere with Slimband. They told me about a new program they are hoping to get in place for post-op patients. There were a few little parts to it that sounded promising. But overall it sounds like they still have no clue on how to do it right and fix their reputation.

That’s right, my Slimband friends. Despite your best efforts, you have a shit reputation that will continue to get worse if you don’t take some fast actions and fess up to your mistakes. Some in your company have recognized this and sought my assistance with the situation. Did you know that I have a stellar marketing and advertising background, and specialize in social media? (Duh, I write this blog and stole your Google search rank, didn’t I?) I am an outspoken fattie and made some great suggestions as to how you can develop a truly helpful post op program for patients like me. For whatever reason, the powers that be in your company nixed that idea.

And now me, and my fellow fatties are back at square one. Stranded, abandoned and not sure whether our lack of steady weight loss is our fault or Slimband’s fault. At this point I’m going to lay most of the blame on Slimband because they have thus far chosen to turn a blind eye to our plight. Which from a social media, word of mouth and PR perspective is a dangerous thing. We’re definitely more numerous than the patients that have reached their goal weight.

Want to know what my suggestions for the company were? Since I created them based on knowledge and assumptions readily available to the public, and used my expertise as a marketing consultant to craft them, they are MINE TO SHARE. You saw them here first, folks.

Weight Loss System, not just an installation of a plastic chunk

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a decent post-op program that was part of the Slimband system? I don’t even know who to talk to when I have a problem. No check ups from the company who sells you based on their 4 years of support. I recommend (and as far as I know individuals working at Slimband agree) that I come on board and help evaluate this program they want to get going. Ashamed of our inability to lose weight, many of us don’t speak up and tell Slimband what works, what doesn’t and what we need more of. I can do that. I can be your voice and help develop a kickass program to help you reach your goals.

OMG! Someone that cares and can help you! You’re not alone!

Wouldn’t it be cool to know that there is someone out there just like you, who isn’t afraid to share her story and strive for success in weight loss? I recommended myself as the Patient Champion. The person that you can contact if you don’t know where to start, and the person who cares about your plight and will get you the help you need. It’s all there, the company just doesn’t know how to pull it all together. I do. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that can actually get shit done the right way. Because I’m REAL and not drinking the gastric band koolaid. I won’t stand for anything less than happy customers.

Hell, none of these companies seem to know how to do this shit. Imagine if they actually had it all together the success they would achieve! It seems obvious to me, but then again I’m just a dumb little fattie who is $16k poorer.

Let it all hang out

Ok, screw this. Here’s the damn document I went out of my way to prepare for the folks at Slimband. It was their idea to get me on board and involved in the first place, by the way. All the info is based on the emails readers have sent me, my own experiences, anecdotal information gathered from online forums and other public online sources. Again, I am a marketing professional so I have some of my own insights to share. None of this is private or confidential, since I wasn’t given anything to go with. I could write something like this for any company. Fuckin’ Marketing 101 here, folks.

Please note that if you’re thinking of just stealing my ideas and trying to do it yourselves for whatever clinic you work for… well, go ahead. But you won’t do it as well as I would, and in the end you’ll probably fail again and end up with another herd of upset patients. But hey, if it works, all the more power to ya. I hope you can help me lose the last 80 fucking pounds I have to go.

Challenges

Poor Brand Image

Slimband is perceived by many as lacking warmth, caring and the human element. Anecdotally, many clients feel the following:

  • Abandoned after the procedure was completed. Post-op care was not as expected. “Slimband just wanted my money & doesn’t care about me”.
  • Unhappy with their weight loss results, experiencing minimal loss, or a plateau
  • Confused about the post-op process, ongoing support system and who to reach out to if they need help

These feelings toward the company may result in negative PR/Word Of Mouth, or no Word of Mouth where there might have been some if the client felt valued. Further research is recommended.

 Post-Op Program/Education

Older clients do not know what the band does and how it works. Now that the North American medical community has a better understanding of the most effective way to use the band; It is critical that patients receive a more accurate description of the band so that they can properly utilize it. (Ed. note, Slimband is aware of this also and all new patients receive the updated information. But I’m an older patient so I didn’t know until recently and was totally confused. But now I understand things better. All other North American clinics will or should inform their past patients of this new development).

This should be handled in a delicate manner; many clients may feel deceived, confused, upset, etc. by the news despite it being helpful & informative.

Additionally, the new support program should be introduced in a friendly way, and targeted to existing clients that have not experienced full success with their band.

A case study or “poster girl” for this situation would help bring some warmth back into the company, help clients relate, and be a good point of contact for clients.

How May I Help You?

Post-Op Program Consultant

As a current client and influencer/blogger, I have no trouble sharing my thoughts on the effectiveness and accessibility of a post-op support program. My experiences thus far, combined with my insight into the bandster community and my communications expertise can help Slimband create and/or refine their support system to a best-in-class program for existing and future clients.

As I myself go through the process to “get back on track” I can take notes, make suggestions and give quality feedback to Slimband professionals on the best way to approach existing clients and implement the new program of personalized medicine with each individual.

Patient Champion

As discussed previously, a friendly face for the post-op program may be just what the doctor ordered.

I am willing to have my journey through the post-op support program documented and shared with the patient community. This would be a spokesperson role, with or without patient interaction (TBD).

Known for my unbiased and straightforward manner, I can reach out to the clients who feel lost and help them get on track, while being an inspiration and encouraging trust. I would help inject some warmth back into the Slimband image.

Here are some additional ideas and thoughts on this potential role:

  • I have a marketing and customer service background
  •  Currently the exact type of client you need to assist and help satisfy
    Unique insights
  • Outgoing, positive, honest, warm and charismatic, many people trust me and will open up to me
  • My role could function as a spokesperson for the second stage of Slimband, and/or:
  • Gatekeeper/General community outreach
  • Address any concerns that bandsters have & direct them to the right resources
  • Gathering information & insights from clients, conducting surveys, focus groups, coffee meetings
  • Contribute articles & participate in online community
  •  Help Slimband provide a full weight loss program, and not just the surgery

 ***Disclosure:

The folks at Slimand are trying to help me, as a patient but are doing a very poor job of it so far which is why I’m so darn upset. I got my band de-filled, but now I’m not getting enough follow up or any of the other fancy post op support options they were promising me when we still thought I would be helping the company. I feel totally abandoned again and have no idea what to do or who to talk with to get this band shit figured out! So frustrating! My dietician is trying her best, but she seems limited in her abilities to assist me in my journey. And I’m gaining weight. This make me PISSED TO THE EXTREME.

Additionally, I AM trying to get a job with Slimband. The kind where I get paid real money because I provide real services and results. Despite the vitriol and frustration I have just unloaded, I think that if they just brought me on board, let me figure out where they’re going wrong, how to fix it, and then DO IT they could be a great company and be able to help so many people, past, present and future. A company with a good reputation is going to do very, very well in today’s social media world and bring in the big bucks. I’m trying to balance my desire to fix something broken and make it succeed with my desire to help all those past patients like me that don’t realize that THEY DESERVE BETTER.

Disclaimer: This is my personal online journal. I am not trying to sully the reputation of a company, but rather express my frustrations and personal experiences with said company. And hope that they listen to me and talk to me before getting lawyered up or anything because I think we could be beautiful together.

SLIMBAND: I BELIEVE IN YOU! MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE AND EMBRACE CHANGE! I know you can become a great, national company that does right by its’ patients. You just need a little help, is all. Call me.

READERS: I think they should hire me to get things going. Do you? Please show your support in the comments below or you can contact Slimband directly and tell them you want me (Lisa M) to help them help you. Because if you’re happy you’ll recommend the procedure to your friends. If Slimband becomes as awesome as I think they can be, then everyone is happy and new patients and money will flow in. Yay for fitting in your skinny jeans!

A B&B Without Guests

Woooowwwww. It’s so nice to have this place finally to myself! It’s the first time in months that I haven’t had guests and it feels strange and liberating. I just took a shower and not only did I leave the door open, I also pranced back to my room completely buck naked!

Don’t take the little things for granted! It’s so nice to have privacy for a change!

I love running the guest house but I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on my own. I’m so used to having people around and needing to keep the place in tip top shape, use the bathroom at odd times and remain fully clothed… it’s nice to let that all go, if only for a short while.

Things have been going well in the land of hospitality for me. I met my income goals this year (surpassed, even!) and have repeat customers. I have a few weeks off between now and my next “regular” guest who returns mid-January. I like having her around, she’s a cool older lady and is never here, so therefore a very low maintenance guest.

Having time off is a double edged sword, however. It’s nice to have the freedom. But every day that I don’t have someone staying here means a day without income. Because January and February will be so slow, I think I’ll have to dip into my savings to cover rent. When I was an employee somewhere that wasn’t an issue, but now that I don’t have a day job it’s going to be a bit tougher. Thank the gods that I’m a Personal Finance blogger and know how to save for things like this!

I’ve been trying to make money here and there and also keep myself busy. I’ve done some volunteer work with the Toronto Green Community, and also have done a little bit of modelling for Fit Zone Plus and Curvaceous Consignments. I’m trying to reintegrate myself into the plus size fashion community. I have a pretty rockin’ wardrobe but nowhere to wear it, so I mostly just wear my PJ’s. I do get dressed up to the nines if I’m going out in public, which is kind of fun. I hope there will be more events in my future!

Here’s a shot of me (and a kitten!) from a Curvaceous Consignments event. I was there to offer style consultations for the customers.

You can’t see them, but I have amazing red boots on!

Anyway, instead of people guests over the holidays, I’ll be taking care of a little pug dog instead. LOL, I make almost as much money hosting him as I do with humans… Hopefully the $400 or so that I’m making will be enough to cover all the damn bed bug covers I’m buying for the beds in my house (yes, I take care of my guests!). I’ve spent waaaay too much time researching these things, but I’m so paranoid about bugs in the city. They’re in library books now! Ugh!

Review: Made By Hand Show

Mom and I went out this dreary day to check out the annual Made by Hand Show in Mississauga. For only $2 entry fee it’s one of the more reasonably-priced shows this time of year for crafty things.

I mostly wanted to go to see if I could find any new artists to bring on board for With Heart. My inventory is getting old, but I don’t have enough free cash to bring in much more right now. I need to find newer artists that are willing to do consignment deals with me for the first little while. This way I can sell the stuff and make money, but if I don’t, then I just return the items to the artist. It’s a pretty decent deal.

So it wasn’t too bad today. I’ve been to all sorts of shows in my day, ranging from tiny church and community centre shindigs to the juggernaut One of a Kind Show every year. I do wish it was in a better location, but I guess there aren’t that many large halls in the area.

In terms of selection it was ok. There was of course a million baby stuff, soap and jewellery makers. Not a whole lot of remarkable stuff there, either. I’m looking for the really stand-out items that are worth a second look. Most of the booths were not very professional and had many of the same items, over and over. But this is the trouble with crafting and shows; there are always going to be more than enough of those vendors to go around. That’s why I created my boutique anyway, so that you could shop simply online and get the creme de la creme of handmade goodies without all the hassle of these shows. (shameless plug)

Anyway, I feel like my adventure today was fairly successful. I found some vendors with interesting wares and grabbed some cards to research them further at home. I made some personal purchases, too!

I picked up a couple of pottery mugs (replacing all the ugly ones from the set with unique & interesting pieces) and I love these. I ran out of money or I would have bought so many more things from this woman. I can’t carry these items in With Heart and that’s a shame, but at least I can enjoy them myself!

These are just stunning IRL

I also picked up some adorable cloth button earrings:

What do you think? This size was about $10 each. They came in a ton of great fabrics and different sizes. I’m thinking of getting some for the store, what do my readers think? Would you buy something like this?

The gal Jenny was pretty rad too. A bit Rockabilly in her style, she really had a nice but simple booth and her packaging & presentation were excellent. She’s not online yet but I think she’ll do relatively well.

Now I’m going to sit down and go through all the other cards I collected during my visit and decide whether to contact the artists to work out a deal for the shop.

Slimband update: 2 years later

This has been on my mind quite a lot lately. Weight loss, getting healthy, getting happy. The emails keep coming in from readers regarding my lap-band procedure. I’m currently in talks with a different clinic for some additional post-op care (yes it’s been 2 years but I still need help!) and I wanted to review my past posts, emails and comments about the process before I sign anything.

For a list of all other Slimband related posts, please click here

Here are some of my previous posts on the subject, and the comments are oh so juicy! The most recent posts are at the top.

Slimband Update: 7 weeks in
Reader Question: Life with Slimband?

The Most Heavenly Coffee: Recovering with Slimband

One day left…

Coming Soon: A New Me

I also wanted to post some of the questions that I get emailed to me (and my answers) in the hopes that this is helpful for anyone who is looking for some answers and perspectives from someone in my position.

Ginger,

I’m thinking of booking a consult for this after four years of thinking about it.  Now that you’re sort of healed up from your surgery, how are your days?  Do you really think of food less or turn to it less when you’re upset?

7/28/2011 – No, my thinking and feelings towards food really haven’t changed that much since the surgery. In fact things are going much slower than I thought they would. I think I need another fill to get to the right restriction, but I can still eat any kind of food I want, just less of it. I am also struggling with a unique situation… I am not eating ENOUGH food throughout the day, which is hindering my progress. Sometimes that can happen with the band.

However what they don’t tell you is that the Slimband is secretly a diet. If you don’t eat your boring chicken breast and cottage cheese and exercise daily, you won’t really lose much. That’s what I’m encountering.

I eat similarly to how I did before surgery. It’s not perfectly healthy but it’s not junk food all the time either. I’m down about 12lbs. since December. I am also struggling with a unique situation… I am not eating ENOUGH food throughout the day, which is hindering my progress. Sometimes that can happen with the band.

What I would suggest is that you go and get your consult since you don’t have to sign anything there. Just keep in mind that the band is not a miracle. If you don’t eat your rabbit food and exercise you won’t lose the weight. If you do, then it will come off faster. Only you can decide if something like this is right for you.

At this point I am not certain whether I would recommend this procedure or not. I need to check in with Slimband and see if they can help me some more. For now I remain neutral.

Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.

—————

Hi Ginger,

I found your blog via google when looking up gastric banding surgery. I am considering getting banded at slimband. I noticed you haven’t wrote about your experience past week 7. I was wondering how you were feeling one year + after surgery. Would you do it again?

I am about your age and would be paying for the surgery myself, so I am trying to get as much research done before signing the checks!

Thanks,

KM

16/05/2012 – Thanks for writing in. I definitely encourage doing your research! It is a HUGE decision to make!

I have mixed emotions about my surgery. I am currently down only 30lbs since the surgery which is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the weight is staying off and slowly coming off, and I also wasn’t following their eating directions. I assume that if you actually do what they suggest, your weight will come off quicker.

One thing I have also pondered is that having the band wasn’t really a massive change to my eating anyway. I was already eating small portions and trying to eat frequently and healthfully throughout the day. Having the band didn’t make a big difference.

However, a friend that I met through Slimband had pretty bad habits before the band. She could eat enough for 4 people at each meal and had an addiction to wine and coca-cola. Now she can’t drink fizzy things nor eat as much as she used to, so she dropped 100lbs in a little over 3 months. One more variable to confuse you even more is that when they did the surgery they found she had a perforated stomach (or something) that was allowing her to eat that much. When they fixed it, I think that played a large role in her weight loss as well.

I don’t really know if I would get this done again. I think my food issues are a lot bigger than I originally thought, and even a band isn’t going to solve them. Keep this in mind when you get the surgery. The band is only a tool. If you don’t work with it and change your lifestyle, it may not be as effective as you hope.

Now I am trying to refocus my efforts on getting healthy. I have reached the sweet spot on the band and am working with a personal trainer/food coach (she is awesome, let me know if you want her details. She’s lost 80lbs the hard way!) and also doing yoga so I hope to jumpstart things again.

I think eventually I’ll reach my goal weight, but its still going to take a long time!

Hope this helps & let me know if you have other questions.

Ginger –
Thanks so much for writing me back – your timing was great as I have decided to go through with the procedure and I am dropping off (gulp!) the check today.
I had have just moved to Toronto from the states and had been seeing a medical doctor for help with weight loss who was amazing – with his help, I had lost about 25 lbs over two years, but since I have been back in Toronto (10 months) I have gained 20 lbs back.  Seeing how dramatically my weight has increased without the medication has made me think that I need a more permanent solution – hence Slimband.
I am doing my best to go in to the procedure with my eyes wide open, but I am concerned that I am going to spend ALL THIS MONEY and then end up up in the same place.  I have never been able to eat for nutrition sake only, so I am hopeful if the band is in place, I won’t be as hungry and therefore won’t eat so much.  I would like to lose about 30 lbs (that would take me to a BMI of 26), and it seems like so much money for 30 lbs, but I do not think I will ever to be able to maintain that weight loss without help.
It is also difficult to get feedback from the message groups.  It seems as if everyone LOVES their band or HATES it.  It was good to get  a little perspective from you.  It is hard to trust the slimband people as it is a business to them.
Thanks again, and if you have any more thoughts, please feel free to send them my way!
KM
—————-

Sweet & Spicy

%d bloggers like this: