Saturday, November 8, 2008


When hurricane Hannah separated two ultra-prosh white tigers from their mother, Anjana came to the rescue. Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS in South Carolina, became surrogate mom and playmate to the cubs, even helping with bottle feeding, according to The Sun). But here's the truly amazing part: Anjana does this all the time, having raised leopard and lion cubs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Check out my LOLdogs

This is fun. You've probably seen these making their way around the internet, captioned pictures of dogs and cats and other animals. This is actually easy to do yourself.

These are the ones I've done so far for our Beagle, Beggs, and for a puppy picture I found online.

Note that I can spell better than that, but Beggs can't. If I do one for Tommy, the Border Collie, of course his spelling will be perfect!

Check them out!


I was feeling bummed this morning because recently I'd lost 21 pounds (as of mid-September) but then gained about 4 or 5 of them back again over the past three to four weeks. I've been trying to get myself back on the rails and the harder I try, the more I obsess, and the more I obsess, the worse I eat, and it becomes the same pattern that put the 21 pounds on me in the first place. (Self-loathing => self-destructive eating => more self-loathing => more self-destructive eating...) At that rate I would soon find the weight back on me.

Another manifestation of this problem was feeling unfocused in my work. I have stacks of work on the shelf but the harder I think about clearing the shelves and getting the work done, the more distracted I get and the less work gets done.

This morning while walking the dogs I got outside my head for a moment and managed to see a way out. I have to stop focusing on the failure and focus on the goal. D-uh! Seems pretty simple, but just having that epiphany helped me feel less lost.

This worked when I ran my last marathon. To get through the last 6 miles, I focused on the mile ahead and as I reached each mile marker, I literally focused on it with my eyes and imagined it "pulling" me toward itself like a big rubber band.

The trick is not to look at the end goal (e.g. 26.2 miles for the marathon, 122 pounds for the weight goal, all that work sitting on the shelf getting older and older) but at the next sub-goal (the next mile for the marathon, the end of the week for the production goal or weight loss goal.

So I will let $[ ]k and 127 pounds pull me toward itself this Friday, October 31. Let me look FORWARD and let the goals in front of me pull me in. No one ever finished a marathon by looking down at their feet!

Another Great Girls' Night Out

Last Wednesday night, 11 of us met at the Courtyard in Marina Del Rey for dinner and drinks and then we saw The Secret Life of Bees.

The time spent together was great. We were a diverse group with interests ranging from knitting to pole-dancing (NOT the kind done at "Gentlemen's Clubs"!) and professions including acting, esthetician, nurse case manager, caregiver, sales professional, manager, teacher, librarian, marketing professional, and audiologist. A couple of us brought guests and made the circle bigger!

Stories and experiences were shared along with food and wine and cocktails.

The movie, The Secret Life of Bees, was a good one with particularly good work done by Dakota Fanning, who is now a beautiful young woman, and Queen Latifah in a more serious role than usual.

If you haven't been to one of these happy hour/dinner and movie nights, come to the next one, which will probably be in January after the holiday season. Wherever we go, and whatever mixture and number of women is able to come that night, we always have a good time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ran my 6th Marathon Last Sunday!

I ran a marathon last Sunday and felt great the next day and the next and the next! If you've ever been thinking about doing a marathon, I highly recommend it. No matter how long it takes you to cross the finish line, doing so is the BEST!

I do want to air a couple of peeves (I feel entitled since I consider myself a seasoned runner now.)

Race walkers, I love the fact that you're there but please, don't walk abreast and make us runners try to dodge you, risking injury.

First-timers - especially young ones who haven't tuned in your vocal volume -- please refrain from telling everyone within earshot your experiences. We're trying to concentrate.

That said, I really, really, appreciate all the volunteers and people on the sidelines (especially residents of the route) who come out and cheer us on, give us water, first aid, and vaseline to prevent blisters. You are the salt of the earth!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees -- Come Join Us!

Hello Ladies,

The best night for the most of us to see The Secret Life of Bees seems to be Wednesday, October 22.

The movie is playing at the United Artists Theatre in Marina Del Rey:

United Artists Marina Del Rey
4335 Glencoe Ave., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292(310) 823-3959Directions

The most logical time is the 7:20 show. The one before that is 4:10 which is too early for most of us.

We can meet for drinks / snacks / dinner in the lounge of the Courtyard by Marriott (the hotel is in the same parking lot as that movie theatre so we don't have to park twice or pay to park or need two sets of directions) at about 5:30ish.

We met there a few months ago to see Sex and the City and it was a good meeting place.

By my count, between 5 and 10 of us can make it that night. Please let me know if you are in for sure so I can let the hotel know we're coming.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Next Girls Night Out - Santa Monica and Westside

Hello Everyone,

The Secret Life of Bees, with Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys, starts playing on October 17 in limited release.

Here is a link to the official web site:

I think it might be playing at the Landmark Theatres in the Westside Pavilion as it is that kind of movie, though it is early to tell which theatres it will be in.
We had a great time the last time we went to the Landmark.

Is anyone interested in seeing it with me on either Friday the 17th or Tuesday the 22nd?

Please state your preference and availability. We will probably do happy hour at the Landmark's own bar or there is a Mexican place about a block away that has a Margarita happy hour and probably decent food/appetizers.

Our last Girls' event was great fun with brunch and The Women (very good movie) in Santa Monica. I'm looking forward to doing it again!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby Moose

This was passed on to me by a friend. I don't know who the moose's "parents" are, but he is just adorable!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wax Enthusiastic

The other day I was given a gift certificate to a waxing and skincare spa in Venice in the great little neighborhood surrounding Abbott Kinney Blvd. The name of the place is Get Waxed.

I'd been trying to gather up my courage for a bikini wax for three years. I tried it once before and it did not go well at all. This had been in the back room of a local nail salon that also billed iteself as a "spa." Lie! Nail salons are generally not "spas" even if most of them do have massaging pedicure chairs. First of all, let me tell you, if you want waxing done right, you have to go to an establishment where it is not a sideline. My manicurist does a great job with toenails and fingernails and she is a very sweet lady, but waxing simply is not her area of expertise.

Waxing, facials, and skin care using a line of products that the owner makes herself is all that is on the menu at Get Waxed.

The place is very inviting, painted white and blue, and it smells soothing. The women there are very sweet and friendly. Shayla, who worked on me, is terrific. She understood my fears and my needs and made me feel very comfortable during the process, which was very efficient and fast.

I'm very happy with the result and have made my appointment for next month. This is THE place to go, especially for first-timers or vowed never-againers like I was. I am also trying out one of the skincare products, which is so pure and natural it is practically edible. I'll let you know how that goes!

Get Waxed
300 Westminster Ave.Venice, CA 90291 (steps west of Abbot Kinney Blvd.)
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-9pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-7pm

For directions click here
To book your appointment please call 310.396.2929
For other inquiries please email

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Billboards Stole my Idea

I'm seeing billboards around town suggesting I "get a group of women together and see The Women." Hey, I already did that!

About 5-10 of us so far are going to try to make it to brunch and the movie. Brunch is at Broadway Deli:

1457 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

The movie time is currently 1:50 PM at this theatre (if that changes when new movies come out next week, I'll let you all know.)

AMC Loews Broadway Cinemas
1441 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401

I'm sure we'll all have fun and the movie sounds fantastic! Great cast of women!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lost 19 Pounds So Far!

I confess, after seeing the scale down to 128 two days ago, I did feel ravenously hungry for two days and seemed to eat nonstop in celebration, but fortunately the foods I did eat were all good for me so I doubt I'll do any permanent damage.

I lost the weight by changing my eating habits -- the usual suspects: portion control, watch the fat, watch carbs, and lose the junk and sweets.

The core of this for the past four months or so has been Nutrisystem. This was my husband Kim's idea and I never would have considered it otherwise as I don't much like structured diet plans but it actually did help a great deal because it's such a no brainer -- you eat three meals a day and a snack, trying to eat either a Nutrisystem entree or something from their "eating out" guide (which I do a lot because I just can't stomach three meals a day of packaged food.) You add your own protein, dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables, although the Nutrisystem entrees themselves are very high in protein and fiber. I like their black rice and beans for lunch (I use it as the base for a Southwestern salad), just about all their breakfasts (especially the apple or chocolate chip scones), and their pizza dinners the best. Their desserts are wonderful -- especially the almond biscotti and the chocolate brownies.

Since I've been doing a modified version of the plan I don't anticipate a change in my eating habits once I stop eating the food (if I ever do... I think I will keep buying the breakfasts and desserts forever!)

I never thought I'd say it but I do think that plans like Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, etc. work very well as long as you educate yourself on what makes them work and can adapt your own eating to that on a permanent basis. In other words, you can't just eat their food for a few months, lose weight, and then go back to the way you used to eat (huge portions, junk food, etc.) and expect to keep the weight off. You have to realize that what you put in your mouth will continue to count from now on.

Anyway, thought I'd share what worked for me!

Addicted to Twist

A new tart frozen yogurt store recently opened in West Los Angeles at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bundy. Its name is Twist and it is a self-serve yogurt place with the most cheerful, friendly people manning the counter you've ever met. They genuinely seem to love their jobs and the people who come in for yogurt! I've met three different people there and they're all very nice.

Twist is open every day from 11 to midnight and the happy people who work there tell me it'll soon be open 24 hours a day. Wow! I'm already half-addicted to the tart flavors (once you've tried them, you'll never want to go back to the supersweet flavors of the past) -- especially plain tart and mixed berry tart. And it's only 28 cents an ounce (they weigh the toppings and the yogurt together so it doesn't matter how you mix it), meaning that a heaping container of their smallest size, which I guesstimate is about 6-8 ounces' worth, is only about $3.00. This cannot. be. beat. Since I watch my calories and fat intake I'm happy to read that tart frozen yogurts are typically 20 to 25 calories per ounce, which isn't bad at all. You've got to try it! Best deal in town!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Dogs who Own Me

Yes, I know, my blog title is I love dogs. I think I'd better introduce my fur-children:

  1. Tommy is a 12 1/2-year-old Border Collie/Terrier mix. I've had him since 1997. I got him just a few months before I met my current husband, Kim, so Tommy is our firstborn. He's as bright as they come. Now that he is older, he has slowed down a bit and has, over the past three or four years, lost most of his teeth, but he is still handsome and a great companion.

  2. Polly is a 10 1/2-year-old Border Collie/Jack Russell Terrier mix (so they say -- personally I think she's about 80-percent Australian Cattle Dog. See photo to left. She is a real character. She "talks" with growls (a friendly greeting would go something like "grow-roo-roo-rooo!" and teases the devil out of the neighborhood dogs. She was a rescue from Border Collie Rescue and a birthday present to me from my husband in about 1998 or 1999.
  3. Beggs is the beagle you see in my profile. She just turned 6 years old and is every bit a beagle -- loving, wonderful with children, great sense of humor, and stubborn as a mule.

More on these guys later. They are our fur-children and the lights of our lives.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Good Clothing Deals for You and Me

Lately I've been experimenting with not only my personal style but where I might find its elements without breaking the bank. Face it -- we all love a good deal.

Deals can be found at thrift shops, designer resale stores, department store sales, and discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross. Personally, I have had no luck with Ross. Everything I've ever bought there might make it home but then when I put it on, looks like hell. The one that's worked for me consistently has been TJ Maxx, especially for shoes and tops and bras.

Let's talk about thrift shops first. If you like vintage clothes (even last decade's), and don't mind pawing through a lot of pure yuck, and inhaling the musty odor, by all means, get to the local thrift shops.

First, about thrift shops and what never to buy there. Shoes -- eww. Never. You don't know what life forms have lived in the feet that wore the shoes and you don't want to know. Sweaters - even cashmere or good quality wool will be misshapen, pilled, stained, or otherwise yucky.

Best thrift shop so far for good quality -- Jewish Council. Hit or Miss - Out of the Closet. Worst -- Goodwill. No matter which one you go to, get there early in the day when they've just put out the new stuff.

Now as for what is good to get:

Thrift shops for purses -- definitely, yes. I've gotten some great gently used designer bags at the Jewish Council Thrift Shop. They are fantastic for jeans, too. Sometimes there will be nearly new or barely used pair in your size. I've gotten a few great dresses there as well.

I haven't had a great deal of luck with designer resale shops. To me, they're overrated. If something is authentic and in good shape, you will still pay quite a bit for it.

A word on department stores. I used to work for a major department store that had a sale every weekend, as most do. Never shop there on Monday through Thursday 5 or 6 p.m. unless you want to come back later with your receipt and try to get them to honor the lowest price -- why come back twice for the same purchase? However -- trade secret -- check your local department store to see if you can get the weekend sale price on Thursday night. The sale prices are often online the night before the sale.

Got to go now. More on this later when I have time. Feel free to post your own deals.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Next Westside Women's Group Outing

Hello Ladies of the Girls' Nights Out in West LA and Santa Monica:

By majority comment, our next Girls Movie Outing will be a matinee on Saturday, September 20th at the Third Street Promenade. Tree 3

I will find a good restaurant for brunch and send a final time and place to meet once I know the movie playing times, which should be available after the 12th, when the movie comes out.I saw some people eating breakfast/brunch at Broadway Deli, which looked good to me. Attached is a link:

There was also a very nice French place around the corner, I think on Santa Monica Blvd. The pastries looked fantastic, but it is very small. Waiter

The movie will be The Women. We will probably meet at about 11 or 11:30 a.m. at a restaurant to be determined and then catch a show at 1:30 or 2-ish, depending on the showtimes.

Parking for the Promenade is available at public lots and at the Santa Monica Place Mall (which is currently being remodeled). I parked at the mall this morning and there were plenty of parking spots when I left about 12:15 today. Car 2

Please let me know if you can make it so I can make reservations for brunch (yay, mimosas!) Blurry Drunk

Friday, September 5, 2008

Supercharge Your Soroptimist Club's Fundraising Efforts

As Soroptimist club members and officers, we are all familiar with the activities we do to raise funds for the various projects that we support – including teas, fashion shows, theme parties, silent auctions, sporting events such as runs and walks, sales -- events as diverse, lovely and creative as we are! By injecting a little bit of technology and creativity into the activities we already do and utilizing online fundraising resources, we can supercharge our fundraising efforts by reaching not only our members, family, friends and the community but also individuals and corporations across the country or on the other side of the world!

Let me give you an example. I run marathons. Until now, I have run them for myself, but it has become apparent to me that this is an event I can also do for others – specifically, for women like my mother who suffer the burden of arthritis. I had already registered for the Long Beach Marathon on October 12, 2008, when I realized that every mile could be a small step toward easing that burden and contributing to Governor Cheri Fleming’s biennial project to Ease the Burden of Women’s Arthritis.

Having seen marathon teams raising money for causes such as cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, and AIDS, I contacted the Arthritis Foundation to see if they had a similar program. Although they do have a program called Joints in Motion (JIM) that trains marathon teams, none of their teams were operating in this geographical region at this time, and one of their staff suggested that I instead Google “free fundraising personal websites.” I could then raise funds using one of the resources I found that way.

I followed the instructions and found an exciting new world of fundraising possibilities. There are a number of nonprofit organizations out there dedicated to helping other nonprofits raise money for their causes by offering free do-it-yourself web pages for almost any event you can imagine. I did exactly that for the upcoming marathon, and it was easy! Please see my fundraising page at

This type of fundraising web page can be built (easily – almost anyone can follow the simple instructions) for a huge variety of fundraising events. The site can be used to promote fundraising events such as a tea or sporting event or party to people who may not be able to make it to the event but who want to contribute to the cause it supports. The funds are collected through a secure online system and are issued as checks or are direct deposited to the club on a regular basis as the donations are made. Some of the sites have a fixed fee for the service; others add a small processing charge to each donation they process online. You can also continue to collect offline donations as usual and include the total funds raised on your web page so everyone can see how well you are doing!

You can email all your friends, business contacts, and family anywhere in the world with a link to your page. You can put links to your fundraising pages on your club or corporate web site, or post a widget (a mini-version of the site) on web sites or networking pages (such as MySpace or Facebook) as well. The sites also offer sample letters and emails to corporate sponsors to solicit donations -- and a wealth of other resources such as newsletters and links and ideas. You can reach hundreds or thousands without leaving your desk!!

In setting up your fundraising pages, you will find that most if not all of the providers of these pages (for example, require that your nonprofit be registered with a database of nonprofits such as Guidestar to make sure that the funds are being sent to a valid nonprofit. They will usually provide a link to the database and a search form to see if your club is listed there. When using this, be sure to make your search as broad as possible (e.g., search by city and state rather than the club’s exact name) as there may be typos in the database. For example, for many of the SIA clubs and entities in the Guidestar database, “Soroptimist” is misspelled “Soroptomist” (I am working to get this corrected).

If your club is not already listed in the nonprofit database, they simply require documentation of your club’s nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Tax Code. For most clubs in this region who registered for 501(c)(3) status under the group filing under the Region in 2002, that Letter of Determination of Nonprofit Status from the IRS is readily available in the Handbooks you received at Leadership Training Conference this past Spring.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I’ll do my best to help direct you.

I want to stress that these online pages should not replace your existing fundraising activities but can enhance your current efforts considerably by expanding your reach exponentially. So go ahead – supercharge your fundraising efforts!

Barbara Andres
SI Los Angeles West/Santa Monica
Camino Real Region