Nicki Anderson
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Does the word "Step" diminish love?

By Nicki On October 19, 2014 2 Comments
Dad, giving me away.

Dad, giving me away.


I was 9 years old when I first met him. He was a loud, gregarious sort. His accent was funny, so were his clothes. Worst of all, he really liked my mother. My father had decided to set up house with his new wife and my mother was looking to set up house with a new husband. It was the 70’s, that’s how things worked.  This man came in to our lives through one of the most important men in my life, my Uncle Billy. If he was favored in the eyes of my Uncle Billy, he had to be a good guy.

I’ll never forget that Christmas Eve in 1971 and he was there.  My biological Dad was not happy and I didn’t get it. “Wait, it’s the holidays, aren’t we all supposed to get along?”  Clearly not.  So Jim, the new man in our life, took a back seat, let the emotions fly between my parents and looked at me and said, “It’ll be alright darlin'” Ugh, I hated that term, I hated that accent, I hated that man and the fact that he was in my home at Christmas.

My mother married, “that man” in 1972. My sisters cried, I was oblivious. He seemed decent enough, despite the accent and the fact that well, he wasn’t my “real” father. Shortly after their marriage, my mother, “that man” aka Jim and my middle sister and I moved to Texas. Talk about a culture shock. From a suburb of Chicago to the heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, it was tough. My sister was gorgeous, she was immediately a welcome Yankee and soon had a serious boyfriend. I on the other hand, was unibrowed, void of any self-confidence, and an awkward Yankee that had no idea  of what was to come. It was probably just as well. I, like my new “Dad” figured what ever will be will be.

As I grew into myself, which I thought would never happen, “that man” turned in to my father . Jim was attentive at all the right times and understanding of my painful teen years. Jim never doubted my talent and capabilities even though I did constantly. As my sister moved up and out, I stayed and graduated high school desperately wanting to be a singer, which I knew was my calling. Jim told me all the time, “Go for your dreams darlin’!”  The term that I used to hate, now became a term of endearment.  Jim never, ever lost faith in my abilities no matter what I wanted to do, he was my biggest cheerleader.

As I grew, married and had children he proved to be an amazing Grandfather. He loved my children as if they were his “blood” grandchildren. To him they were. He never missed a birthday or a graduation. He always boasted about his grandchildren and at every turn, bragged about his “daughter.”  How I used to hate when he referred to me that way. But as our relationship shifted, his role in my life gradually changed and I realized he wasn’t trying to prove anything, he was simply taking ownership of what be believed to be true. I was his daughter and my children were indeed his grandchildren. When he fell in love with the love of his life, she too became a wonderful addition to his world and to mine.

So that brings me to the question in the title, does the term step-parent diminish the quality of love, care, and devotion that is given to a step-family? In some instances perhaps, in mine, not at all. Jim stepped up to the plate regardless of my angst ridden teen comment, “You’re not my real father!”  He would patiently respond, “I know darlin’ but I will always love you as if you were my own.”  Who says that?  He did.

So here we are. I just spent a weekend with him as he’s waited for cancer to make the final call. Jim never like finality. Cancer consumption is a terrible thing to witness. The passion filled, optimistic, “things will work out” guy, was dying. A 250 pound strong, full of life man was now down to 140 pounds asking me, “Why can’t I get my energy back?”  I quietly shared, “Grandpa, cancer is tenacious and very selfish with its territory.” He didn’t buy it and I tried to.   He never once complained. When I’d ask  if he was in any pain, he’d calmly reply,  “No darlin’ I feel fine. It’s just these darned knees.” This was as the bag connected to his liver continued to drain.

During my last weekend with him, we talked about family, my kids, and his beloved grandchildren.

The gift of my last week with Grandpa/Dad/Jim

The gift of my last week with Grandpa/Dad/Jim


He mentioned time and time again how proud he was of me. I looked at him holding back the tears as I witnessed his daily deterioration. I wondered why technology continues to jump forward with incredible inventions, yet we still can’t beat cancer.  I wondered why cancer takes the good people? Likely not a fair statement, but mourning makes you think of all kinds of inappropriate thoughts. I know that cancer is not discerning as it takes old, young, strong, smart, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles,  artists and writers. It doesn’t discern.

I write with a heavy heart and a love for someone I initially thought had no place in my life. I write this realizing what an absolute privilege it was to know a man that despite the anger of this world, and the ugliness of it all,  always remained positive. Some (including myself now and again) accused him of being “pollyanish” but if that’s the worst of what he leaves behind, I consider myself a very lucky recipient of his love, respect and upbringing.  In my experience, “step” means a step up.

You will be missed, Grandpa Jim, Dad, Grandpa. I love you.



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Charlie Trotter’s Quiet Inspiration

By Nicki On November 7, 2013 4 Comments

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Over 10 years ago I bid on and won an auction item that made a dream of mine come true. I won a day in the kitchen at the infamous Charlie Trotter’s restaurant. I felt like I had hit  the jackpot.

I showed up at  the restaurant at the requested time,  11 a.m. I was expected to work until 8 p.m.

When I walked in to the restaurant, I gave them my name and I was brought up to Charlie Trotter’s office. I’m thinking I’m going to be vetted or something to make sure I wasn’t some lunatic coming in to the restaurant. To my surprise, in walked Charlie Trotter.

He extended a hand and  half jokingly asked, “What made you want to pay for a day in my kitchen?”  I told him about my love of cooking and how I admired his journey and accomplishments. I finally confessed, “I’m just a big fan and wanted to see the inner workings of your shop.”  I then went on to share that I owned my own business and was hoping for some business insight. When he heard it had to do with health and fitness, we chatted about that.

After a few minutes I was escorted out to change in to my new kitchen attire. I felt so important, so cool. Once in the kitchen I felt almost as happy as I am at the beach. Water and food, two of my favorite things.

By 8:00 p.m. I was exhausted. The kitchen was tense, constantly busy and I learned more about cooking in those 9 hours than I ever did in any cooking class or “how-to” cookbook. It was incredible. I couldn’t wait to get home and try out some of the things I learned.

At one point, Charlie came in to the kitchen and the yelling started. But what I found interesting was when he left there was no rolling of the eyes or disrespect. Charlie Trotter demanded perfection because he wanted his guests experience to be perfect.tour10

At the end of the day, Charlie Trotter was dedicated to people having a great experience. He knew they were spending a lot of time and money there and he wanted to make sure they would leave anticipating their next visit.

A couple of years later, I repeated my Charlie Trotter experience. He was even friendlier the second time around. I was able to attend their staff meeting, (that was interesting) and interact with some of his chefs. I wonder now, what chefs I might have been working with back then that went on to greatness because of Charlie Trotter? Charlie made me feel comfortable and welcome. I’ll never forget that.

When I owned my studio, I would always tell my staff that if you go off and open your own studio, or become a great trainer, I will be proud of you. I will be proud because I hope that it was something you experienced under my tutelage that made you better, stronger, more business savvy and successful.

That is what Charlie Trotter did for me. In just two visits to his restaurant and my brief conversations and full day observations I was reminded what a brilliant talent he was, not only as a chef, but as a  businessman and philanthropist.

I will treasure  my conversations with him and my time in his kitchen. I will always admire his ability to change the rules and make them his own with the end result being satisfaction for his customers, staff and hopefully for himself. Her deserved that.


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.


Sometimes it’s more about the finish than the win

By Nicki On November 4, 2013 No Comments

IMG_0658About 8 weeks ago I was at a community event and ended up fracturing my toe. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sprawled on the ground spectacle, rather a moment of internal screaming, followed by a variety of stars  and then an out  loud, “Sh@t! That going to leave a mark!” Then I realized something far more serious. I was in the throes of training for a half marathon, I just broke my toe. Double sh@t!

Let’s go back a bit. I never thought myself as competitive. As a kid, I loved letting other people win. Perhaps being the youngest of three girls I figured I didn’t have a chance, so I just gave in.

That all changed when early in my twenties I was at a karaoke contest. You would have thought that the lives if my children were on the line. I was going to win that contest, period. I concluded that my competitive spirit had been stifled far too long and was ready to make up for lost time.

Fast forward, I love winning. Seems silly but nothing makes me happier than winning. Be it a business venture or family card game, I’m in it to win it.

Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, every race  I run to win my age category. People in my running circles remind me that it’s about the finish. Internally, I’d roll my eyes and think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I have written some columns and blogs about respecting my body and honoring its limits as well as its possibilities. But I don’t always heed my own advice, I tend to focus on the possibilities and um, winning. However, fracturing my toe set me back, significantly. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with making up for lost time.

However, this past week I completed my  longest run before tapering  prior to the 1/2 marathon  November 10th. Early in to my run I noticed a young woman (I live on a college campus) walking with two canes. Immediately after that I saw a  young man wheeling down the college walkway in a wheelchair. It hit me. The fact that I can just lace up my running shoes and go run is a gift. I have no limitations. O.K. so a broken toe, really?

I decided to acknowledge my setback and not head in to next week’s event to win (my age group) rather  simply to finish.  Sometimes just finishing the race has to be enough. I’d rather finish pretty than win ugly.2010 Hot Choc Run033

As of today, I’ve trained the best I can. I appreciate that the real win comes in the training and my dedication to finish the run.  As much as I love to win, I suppose getting to the starting line is a win. Finishing is simply the bonus.

Here’s to many brilliant finishes!


Melissa McCarthy’s Coat

By Nicki On October 26, 2013 12 Comments

melissa mccarthy elle


It’s been all over the news. The front cover of Elle magazine featuring the lovely, belly sore funny Melissa McCarthy.  For some reason the cover made news. Apparently, people are up in arms because Melissa isn’t showing any skin. Oh my!  Yep, people were actually upset that some of the previous celebrities on the front of the fashion mag were scantily dressed, so why not Melissa?

First of all, I can’t believe this is even an issue. But it gave me something to write about.  Second, we all want to wear things that flatter us, no matter what size we are. Further, we all have our own unique tastes in what we like and what we don’t.  Melissa is a rubenesque woman. She’s not an idiot.  Why would she want to wear something that doesn’t flatter her? And don’t get me wrong, there are  plenty of curvy women out there that do fashion justice. But for Melissa, she felt sexy, hot and beautiful wearing the coat. According to  McCarthy, ” “What I found so bizarre is I picked the coat. I grabbed the coat. I covered up. I had a great black dress on but I thought, it comes out in November. I was so sick of summer. I live in Southern California. I was like, ‘Give me a big coat to wear. Give the girl some cashmere!'”

People tell me all the time that I don’t dress to flatter my figure. I’m small, 5’2 and as for size, based on manufacturers it’s ever changing. But the point being apparently some friends think I should wear more form fitting clothes. To be honest,  I’m not comfortable wearing clothes like that. One of my friends once said to me, “With those little legs, I’d be wearing skirts all the time!”  Yeah, well I hate skirts, dresses and anything where I have to worry about crossing my legs or shaving them.  I’m a big believer that no matter the figure, you have to wear what makes you feel good.

I won’t say that there aren’t times when I do sport a dress, or little skirt but when that happens, it’s for something extremely special. But I do take a “selfie” and send it to my friends showing that every once in a while I do take a risk. :-)

Feeling awkward in a dress.

Feeling awkward in a dress.

Some of the criticism surrounding the cover is that her body was covered because if they showed it, the magazine wouldn’t sell. Now I don’t know about you,  but personally that’s a really crappy thing to say and if you’re the one saying it perhaps you’re the one that wouldn’t buy the magazine. Just sayin’  That thought wouldn’t even cross my mind.

Personally, I’m not a big  magazine buyer unless it’s got food on the front of it. Beauty magazines make me depressed and scared. The people wearing the clothes have been cropped, air brushed and God knows what else to make them look flawless. And some of the fashions I would be more likely to wear to a costume party than out on the street.  So, I simply avoid those magazines and get my fashion advice from Pinterest. (Yes, I’m addicted.)

At the end of the day, I’d probably be more likely to buy this issue of Elle Magazine because the woman on the cover doesn’t intimidate me. She looks like she’s having fun, wears that coat amazingly well and is relatable. Come to think of it, if more magazines were like that I might actually have to put Pinterest on the back burner.

What do you think? Was she covered for comfort or covered for sales?

The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments



Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.


Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.


Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.





Don’t let good health trump intelligence

By Nicki On October 17, 2013 4 Comments


I did it. I finally made an appointment for the dreaded colonoscopy. I know, I know,  the procedure is easy, breezy,  it’s the prep that sucks.  Trust me, I’m not counting the days until I get there.

To be honest,  I could care less about the prep, the taste, the potty runs, I’m struggling more with the fact that I now fit the criteria for getting a colonoscopy. Truth be told, I’m also overdue for my mammogram.

I tell myself all the time, “You’re fine, you’re healthy, no need to get those tests done.” However,  it really doesn’t matter how healthy I am, I need to smart about taking care of my body.  Especially, because I preach all the time about the importance of regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Screenings are just another piece of the prevention puzzle.

I remember when I had to get my first mammogram. I thought how silly it was  because there is no history of breast cancer is my family. However, statistics show just 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary.  So, I look at these tests the same way I look at insurance.  I hope I never have to use it, but paying the premiums keeps me covered.  With the screenings, I hope I never have breast or colon cancer, but the tests keep me covered.

I do know some people, and I won’t name names that refuse to get either procedure done. They have their reasons and I respect them. However, I don’t care if you are a fitness God or Goddess, there are numerous contributors and triggers to disease.  No one is immune to cancer, it is tenacious and an equal opportunity disease.

So, if you haven’t set up your screenings, it’s never too late. Well, actually it could be so don’t wait, debate or vacillate, set your appointment, get it done.

Once you get it done, and your results are clear, then you have full bragging rights about your health. But until the tests are done, you’ll never know and there is nothing worse than not knowing.

Have you had your screening?

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.


An overdue coversation with my body

By Nicki On October 7, 2013 9 Comments
Everyone's body is different.

Everyone’s body is different.

Me: We need to talk. Let’s have a seat, this conversation is long overdue.

For years you did everything I wanted. You got up every morning without pain or creaks. You ran up and down stairs with little effort. We took an exercise class and you responded with the good kind of sore which prompted me to do it again. At which point you made it very clear,  too much exercise and you don’t get along. I got the message.

For quite some time we worked together liked a fine tuned machine. I did anything I wanted physically and you accommodated.  But all of a sudden you stopped. I found myself questioning activities, wondering if you would come along for the ride or teach me a lesson by making the next day’s simplest of tasks painful.

Provide specifics you ask? Why sure.

I used to run like there was no tomorrow. No discomfort or pain, I just ran. Recently my hips hurt, I get twinges in my knees and well quite frankly, every  morning I wake up it takes a good 10 minutes to work out the stiffness. Honestly, I’m not so sure you get how frustrating this is for me.

Another example. you know how I love to write, I’ve been writing for years. All of a sudden the joints in my hands are sore after too much tapping on my keyboard. Hey, if you want me to give up writing, you’ve got another thing coming. But come on,  a little reprieve would be nice.

Most recently I was out in my garden doing some weeding and there it was, the back pain everyone talks about. I’ve always been good to my back, so why the zinger?  Was it something I said?

So, it seems that if you’ve got a beef with me, now is the time to get it off your chest so we can continue this relationship and feel good about it. O.K. I’m done, now it’s your turn.

Body: Well, I’m not quite sure where to start but let’s start with basics. I think I’ve given you a pretty good ride so far. Despite the periodic abuse during your younger years, you’ve been pretty good to me. But the running, you never should have done that marathon. That pretty much did me in. I can only support you so much before I have to kick in “conserve mode” in order to preserve you for the next 50 years.

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I feel like I’ve been more than fair to you. You still run, you still take stairs 2 at a time, and you’re pretty active. At the halfway point in your life, that’s impressive.

Rather than telling me everything I’m doing wrong, how about a pat on the back for what I do right? I think we have a great understanding. You take care of me, I take care of you, pretty simple.  If there’s aches and pains here and there, get over it, some of my other body friends are in far worse shape. But that comes from the partnership, they don’t have a very good one with their owners. I think we have a pretty good one.

After all these years, we’ve worked well together and I foresee that relationship continuing as long as you keep on respecting what I can do and honoring what I can’t.  All body’s have limits and though I certainly  like to be challenged from time to time, don’t be stupid. I’m the only body you’ve got. Treat me well and I will reciprocate.

Me: I stand corrected. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I look forward to a long, healthy relationship. And most of all, I’m lucky I have you. Thank you.

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 10/7/13)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!


Exercise is great, but what if you don’t like it?

By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments



My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.

After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%!  Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.

I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.

The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after,  set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also  plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.

Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay.  See if some of these may help you.

1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good. one-workout-away-good-mmod

2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.

3. We all want to fully engage in our lives.  I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the  more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.

4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself  in the arss and just do it!  You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.

5.  Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers.  None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what?  Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.

6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.”  If you say that it’s because you  haven’t found it yet.  Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming?  Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.

7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you!  So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things.  Carve out some me time, even if  it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.

8. Find a role model.  My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face,  a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.


9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot.  By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.

10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk?  Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.

I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st,  because statistically those resolutions are short lived.  Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?


Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!


Garanimals for Adults?

By Nicki On September 23, 2013 8 Comments
Princess Kate is that friend.

Princess Kate is that friend.


We’ve all got that friend. Or  maybe, you’re that friend. The one that effortlessly puts together outfits no matter what the occasion and always looks fantastic. Whether it’s a quick run to the store, or out for a casual evening with friends, every outfit is fab and flawless. How do they do it?

There is not a single fashion gene in my genetic makeup. Nope, when it comes to fashion, a comfy pair of jeans and t-shirt is my go-to wardrobe. I’ll push the limits and wear it as often as I can.

I have been known to have friends over only to look through my closet and help put outfits together.  When I’m forced to shop, I’m a mannequin shopper. I see what looks cute on a mannequin and I find the pieces and like magic, I’ve got an outfit. However, that doesn’t always work in my favor as mannequins have no boobs, hips, waist or butt.

As fall brings it cool nights and temperate days, I’m thrilled to make the shift from t-shirts to sweatshirts and jeans. Trust me, it’s a wee bit traumatic making that shift, fashion change is tough for me. However, I adore comfort.  At this stage of the game, it’s function over fashion. Did I mention I adore black? ‘Sigh’

I know how to be comfortable, but fashion, not so much.  Even with my workout gear I look boring. I have a friend who always looks adorable. Me, I look like I’m going to work out somewhere in my basement but hey, I’m comfortable.

You know what I would love? If someone would create Garanimals for adults. Remember Garanimals?  It’s a clothing line designed to help Moms mix and match their children’s clothing. Hello? What about adults?

How cool would that be?  Just match up little tags and in no time at all, you’ve got  a wardrobe requiring zero fashion sense, simply the ability to match animals on the tags.

But wait a minute, why not adultify(I don’t think it’s a word, but it makes my point) Garanimals? Instead of animals it could be Garwineables. You match Merlot tags with Merlot tags, Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Or what about matching region tags with bottles of wine tags. Ooh, I might be on to something. Just remember, you heard it here first!  Not to mention, I could handle that kind of shopping!

How I love black. Easy, timeless.

How I love black. Easy, timeless.

So what about you? Are you the one who can throw anything on and look fabulous? Or like me, are you clinging tight to function over fashion?

If you’re like me, I have found a couple of  fun sites that make shopping, or getting  ideas about fashion manageable, Polyvore, Stich Fix.  If you’ve found others, please share I need all the help I can get.


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.



Julie Chen- It’s about the viewers, not your ex-boss

By Nicki On September 19, 2013 2 Comments


This past week the cat was let out of the bag, Julie Chen had plastic surgery. Apparently someone had some explaining to do and it seems the  best explanation was racism.

Chen said that getting her eyes done (upon further review, the nose is not the same either, but I digress) was because of a racist comment a prior boss made. According to Chen, here’s how it went down.

Chen: I want to fill in as an anchor.

Ex-boss – “You will never be an anchor. You’re Chinese. You’re not relatable.”

Yes, yes, no doubt it’s a racist comment. But was HE actually racist or was he being blunt? Truth be told, she wasn’t the anchor ideal, but her boss didn’t create the ideal, you know who did? The viewers. Viewership is king. If a television stations loses viewers, someone’s going to get fired.

The hard truth is whether you’re black, white, old, young, wrinkled, whatever, there is an ideal that either makes or breaks a television show.  It is the viewers that have set the precedence.

I think we can all agree that there is a television ideal out there. And to be quite honest I think it has a lot less to do with race and more to do with likeability and the “it” factor. Oprah Winfrey is a great example of that. She is a likeable person, someone you feel you could go out to dinner with and have a blast. You can bet she’s got plenty of stories about racism, but to my knowledge she never had plastic surgery.  Yet she’s been wildly successful.

From a woman’s perspective I believe that once a TV anchor hits a certain age, they’re no longer desired as a key anchor. I’ve watched the change here in Chicago. Men seem to stay until they’re 90 where women rarely if ever hang on to their lead anchor spot much past their early 50′s- if that.

The truth of the matter is that it comes down to cashola. Youth, beauty and sex sells. Therefore, anyone older, not fitting the mold, or not getting ratings is going to get passed over or fired, period. Is that discrimination? Absolutely! But what are we going to do about it?

Well, some like Chen get plastic surgery. Is it wrong? Honestly, I don’t care that she had the surgery I just don’t want to hear that she did it because that was the ONLY way she would be accepted and be successful. There are plenty of people out there, Black, Hispanic, Asian that have made a fantastic career for themselves and likely without surgery.

Here’s the truth, we the people ultimately dictate what sells. So if Julie Chen has a beef with someone, perhaps she ought to stop pointing the finger at her called out racist ex-boss and take it up with viewers. They get the ultimate vote on who stays and who goes. (Reprinted from

What do you think?


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.


Miss America- Racism is alive and well

By Nicki On September 16, 2013 16 Comments



In 2008, I voted for Barack Obama. Political preferences aside, I voted for 2 simple things (yes there were others) but it was hope and change. It was my hope that his appointment as President was an indicator that racism might be fading and perhaps our country would focus on the possibilities versus the color of the President’s skin.

In my naive mind, I believed that the votes that got President Obama into the white house would be the same votes that would bring about unity as a country allowing us to move forward as a whole nation versus a fragmented one.

Enter stage right- Reality.

This past weekend Miss America 2013 was crowned. Though I don’t typically watch the pageant, I happened to catch the tail end of it when channel surfing. I saw the potential winner and said to my daughter, “She’s gorgeous, I bet she’ll win.”  Sure enough she was crowned Miss America.

Nina Davuluri, the 24-year-old who now wears the crown is a native of Fayetteville, New York. She was on the dean’s list and earned the Michigan Merit Award and National Honor Society nod while studying at the University of Michigan. She graduated with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science. Her father immigrated to the U.S. over 30 years ago. Nina is as American as I am.

While watching the end of the contest, I was flipping through my social media channels and there it was. The hate, the venom, the inexcusable comments showing up on Twitter and Facebook.

Some of the comments included, “Wait, I thought this was Miss AMERICA?  “What’s American about a Muslim becoming Miss America.”  Other posts called her a terrorist and and Arab. While another post  commented, “This is not India, it’s America.”  13087964-standard

The more I read,  I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  Many of these posts were by young adults. I was shocked. I switched over to my FB page and unfortunately, someone I know, a father of young children posted, “Miss America? She doesn’t look American. ” I immediately removed him from my list, but couldn’t help thinking about his young children and his post, “She doesn’t look American.” WTH?  The beauty of America is diversity. However,  just as love, compassion and acceptance are taught in the home, so too is racism.

When I lived in Texas, people often mistook me for Mexican (I’m Portuguese). I wasn’t able to go to some sleep overs because the parents didn’t want a Mexican in their home. There were times when I was treated poorly at restaurants as well as grocery stores. I know what racism feels like and I don’t like it. But more than that, I don’t get it.

My grandparents migrated from Portugal back in the 1900’s. The United States was built on the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants.  Read the history books. Guess what Mr. “This is America, where’s the American,” we are ALL descendants of immigrants and this country wouldn’t be where it is today without them.

The simple part of me wants to say, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Then the realist in me recognizes that it may never happen.

I had hoped to raise my kids in a world of acceptance, compassion and unconditional love. Call me Pollyanna. I had also hoped that by the time my kids starting having kids, racism would be something of the past.

Dr. Kings dream that people should not be judged by the color of their skin rather the content of their character is a a dream I have too. It’s unfortunate it remains a dream.

What do you think?


Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.