A New Newbies' Sample Pack At Possets

Quite a few people can’t make up their minds about what to try at Possets. There are a lot of perfumes and making a choice is hard to do. Every year I revise the contents of the Newbies’ Sample Pack and pick the most popular Possets to combine and offer as a mini collection. This year we have: Morgan le Fey, Madame X, Hatshepsut, Abraxas, Silver Amber, and The Great Psychiatrist of Babylon! In addition I put in two more Possets samples so you get an abundance of perfume for a miniscule price. Take a look.

Calorie Creep

I think there really is a movement by the food companies to put more and more calories in everything, it doesn’t “just happen”. Case in point, my husband and I loved the Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom ice cream bar as an after dinner treat. They were big and only have 60 calories a piece! That was our end of the day reward.

Then, they stopped being stocked in stores in my city. They were replaced by the Blue Bunny raspberry swirl bar which was half chocolate dipped and only 70 calories. OK, that in only 10 more calories and it really was great. Of course, they disappeared from stores about a year later, and in their place is the 80 calorie store brand ice cream bar which looks like the original ice cream bar.

Wait a minute, we have gone up 20 calories after two iterations here. What is up with that? The price has inched up, too. There are alternatives, but EVERY one of them is more than 80 calories per serving. Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow don’t seem to offer much under 100 calories, and nothing like 60 calories. So I am being frog walked up the calorie ladder.

I guess they think I will figure that what’s 10 calories…what’s 20 calories more? Right. Wrong. Look, if you want to gain weight, all you have to do is overeat just by a little bit over time. That will add up and you don’t lose weight by eating more calories.

Grrrr, so what did I do? I got a box of blueberries and a container of Fage Greek Yogurt and am going to eat that (in 60 calorie portions) as an after dinner treat.

The Latest New Possets Permanents

At the end of every season we vote on which of the seasonal Possets should become permanent. This time we were positing on Dark Revels (Yule) and the voting has ended. Sweetbaby, Gingerbaby, and Silver Ginger were all chosen to become a regular part of the Possets’ line. The rest will stay up until February 1 (through January 31) and then will retire. All this is by Eastern Standard Time, USA.

In addition to that piece of news, Possets now has the 100% Natural Blends sorted out into their own little area which should make life much less confusing for everyone. I tried to integrate them into the rest of the group but clients kept on getting them mixed up, and so I think it’s up to me to fix that.

Voting On Possets Dark Revels Collection Ends Tomorrow!

This is the last day to vote for your 3 favorite Possets from this year’s fabulous Dark Revels Collection for Yule. The top 3 vote getters will become permanent additions to the Possets Line! Go here to vote!

A Fabulous Low Calorie Vegetable!

cauliflowerTonight my husband said a most¬†uncharacteristic¬†thing,”How about cauliflower? On the grill!” Well, I had never had grilled cauliflower and so I took up the challenge with gusto. I have to say it was DELICIOUS! So, I highly recommend that you rush out right now and purchase a head of cauliflower and fix it thusly:

Take the cauliflower and cut off the stem and the leaves. Wrap in wax paper and microwave for about 4 minutes. Transfer it to aluminum foil (with two overlapping sheets which are going to be big enough to fully wrap the cauliflower. Salt the head and sprinkle with your favorite rub (I found the famous Jan’s Rub was a perfect compliment), then turn it upside down (the cut stem up). Cut 5 thin pats of butter and put them around the bottom of the cauliflower and let them melt into the head.

Enclose the cauliflower in the aluminum foil and put it directly on a highish grill. Let it cook for an hour, flipping it at least once. When you take it in to serve, stab it with a two pronged fork and make sure it is tender and it should now be quite tender.

Cut it up and serve it and prepare for some serious compliments. This is just the berries and there are very few calories to it. I would recommend less rather than more butter as butter really flavors things so easily, and it does add calories.

Enjoy, this is a real gem of a recipe from every point of view.

Fabienne lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 years ago and kept it off. She is going to write a series of essays about how she did it and how she maintains it on this blog, brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness) where the fabulous Yule perfumes are still available for sale at fabulous prices! See for yourself!

Simple Truth: Read The Label

I don’t have anything against Kroger. I like their store and it’s an old Cincinnati tradition. I have been shopping there ever since I arrived in Our Fair City. However, Kroger decided to hop on the healthy/natural/organic bandwagon with their Simple Truth line of foods which are now featured in my neighborhood store since it’s January, and we are all being good after a holiday feast of gluttony and culinary debauchery.

The Kroger Company kindly sent me a page of coupons for their Simple Truth foods. These victuals are wholesome as hell, bursting with nutrition, and so simple that even I can appreciate their lack of guile, or so they would have me think.

Fine, I needed some peanut butter and since the Simple Truth coupons are going to expire in a couple of days I thought I would get a jar of their brand. I found a wondrous display and picked up a jar of crunchy peanut butter. I flipped over the jar and read what was in there: organic peanuts, palm oil, cane sugar, and moar.

Now wait one cotton pickin’ minute, Kroger. I expect peanuts and maybe salt, but what is with the palm oil and SUGAR? I don’t need no stinkin’ sugar in my peanut butter.

Then I want to read the list of ingredients in the Simple Truth peanut butter, to make sure I have not missed anything else and I go to their website. Wow, it’s organic! Wow, it’s natural! Minimal processing and picked by virgins. Great, so, give me the nutritional information. Nope, you can’t have it. Sorry, “no results found”. Hmmmm. This IS a simple truth: you are going to get the same old stuff you always got with a new label and a new price tag.

I only inspected one of the products, I will admit, but my profound disappointment upon looking closely at that basic foodstuff cooled my off further exploration. You can be sure that Simple Truth is more expen$ive than Normal Crap (I guarantee it…and why not, if it’s not highly processed then it should be¬†exorbitantly¬†priced, makes PERFECT sense, not).

So, I am going to continue to do what I normally do, buy good peanuts and dump them in my food processor and grind them into peanut butter. Simple and I don’t have to do anything strenuous to get what I want and I know it’s fresh that way.*

I like simple foods now. I do believe that the more you fool with something, the more calorie filled it gets (one of Life’s Iron Rules) but I am deeply mistrustful of wild claims by grocery chains and have taken to cooking a lot of my own things from scratch.

One GREAT tool for keeping your meals simple is the grill. Done right your dinner (vegetables as well as meats and fish) are much more low calorie and high flavor than any other method of cooking. More about that later.

But for now, my friends, I am going to leave Simple Truth alone. It’s not bad, and it certainly isn’t any more dishonest than anyone else, but I don’t want to find more sugar in an already high calorie food, and don’t see why oil must be added to an already oily spread.

*Alas, Trader Joe’s (a store I just love) has some of the most stale nut butters this side of Baalbek and I have no idea why.

Overdoing It

VigorOne of the most dangerous things you can do as a dieter and fitness fan is to overdo it. In our society we are in love with the extreme and so you see people who work out at the most vigorous routines every day, eat practically nothing, and eventually they have a habit of disappearing forever. Don’t let that be you. I have seen the overdoer after a couple of years and they really ruined the experience and sometimes their health, too.

One crucial fact you need is to know what your limits are and to be able to measure how close you come to the limit. At the very least you should consult a chart to tell you what your target and upper heart rate are when you exercise for your: height, weight, age, and gender. Find those numbers and stick to them.

Now how would you know what your heart is doing as you exercise? Get a heart rate monitor. A good one is from about $60-100 on the average, and you can get a good one at a local sports store (like Dick’s), a big box ¬†(like Target), or on line (like amazon.com). Though they are not free, they are critical to your success. Look at it like it’s an investment, because that is what it is. I like the kind which counts calories while you exercise as well.

Get a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. The ones which you touch to get your heart rate interrupt your workout too much. I have found that Polar makes an excellent monitor, but I have a New Balance which I am very pleased with, too. But my favorite is the Digifit app for iPhone (and I am sure for Android, too) with its Polar Bluetooth chest strap. You buy the strap for about $65 (amazon.com) and it broadcasts your heart rate to your phone. It will give you a marvelous picture of where you are regarding your heart rate and calories burned, also a graph showing you your rate over the course of your workout which can be an invaluable tool to stay in your target range.

You might feel macho for going over your target heart rate BUT that is not a wise idea. At the very least you will feel so wrung out, and that the workout was so unpleasant, that you might not want to continue. At worst, you might develop a heart problem and that is 100% counterproductive. So, monitor your heart and stay in your limits. That will keep things fun and productive for you, and keep you coming back.

Not every class or trainer is right for you, too. So, try them out but don’t let either one bully you into going too fast. If you find yourself inching into the danger zone, pull back and say something. If your trainer or class¬†doesn’t¬†adjust to your needs, find another one. You are not there to please them, it’s the other way around.

And don’t be ashamed if you do pull out of an overly strenuous class or trainer session. You are not really meant to be beaten on ESPECIALLY by yourself. There are plenty of classes and trainers who are right for you, go out and find them!

Also, for the¬†under-eating…please don’t. You need ready fuel to go on with. I would again suggest that you use a fitness app like Sparkpeople, LoseIt, or MyFitnessPal to keep track of your calories and to¬†encourage¬†you to eat good food in moderation, not quit eating or fill up on junk food. Again, punishing yourself isn’t going to¬†yield¬†big benefits, it’s only going to hurt you and that gets you no where. You may think that the pain indicates that you are making progress but that is false.

I guess the big message of this blog today is that even though you have strayed a bit and picked up a few unwanted pounds, being smart and gentle with yourself is going to get you to your goal faster and better than being cruel to yourself (starving and working out too hard). You don’t need to punish yourself for gaining weight, and it comes off faster and easier in the long run with a bit of kindness and good sense.

Fabienne lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 years ago and kept it off. She is going to write a series of essays about how she did it and how she maintains it on this blog, brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness) where the fabulous Yule perfumes are still available for sale at fabulous prices! See for yourself!

Stealth Foods, Not Health Foods!!!

NikeOh the new year. The healthy year. I give out with my best big toothed grin, secure in the knowledge that there are loads of healthy and delicious things to eat and I can say goodbye to cookies, candy, pie and ice cream forever and “lose weight and feel great!”

Right, so the first thing I get is a big box of delicious sweet and succulent dates! They are chock full of fibre, minerals, and vitamins and best of all—they are naturally sweet!! Same with all dried fruit, right? So stock up on those delightful yellow pineapple slices which have a thin sugar coating, the kiwi fruit ever so slightly dipped in sugar (to keep them fresh), and mango…mmmm. Follow this up with some really boss dark chocolate covered goji berries and acai berries! Yummmmm.

Next, if you must have something crunchy, haul out the granola bars or the Cliff Bars, or the Power Bars (“packed with protein”). Munch munch munch.

And, any kind of whole grain is good for you, too! So, get some of those wheat chips with the bits in them and pile it high with tapanade, goat cheese, or other sorts of cheese.

Yogurt! Yogurt! It is said to balance the flora and fauna in your intestines. It is the staple of a healthy diet so don’t mind if it’s full of healthy honey, jolted with jams at the bottom, or is full of fruit that you thought was really candy, eat up! It won’t hurt you!

Oh, and don’t forget the olive oil! Olive oil is full full full of good fats, so you can have as much as you want and not gain any weight.


If you want to lose weight, you have got to stop eating as many calories as you have been and to do that you have to make sure that you are eating real healthy foods instead of Stealthy Foods. So, read the labels and be surprised. Basically, the sweeter it is, the more fattening it is. I was horrified to see that ONE date carried 70 calories! Two of them = a can of Coke! Wow. That was putting on the weight while thinking I was being good. Wrong. Have a date but know what you are consuming and stay within your calorie budget.

Same with dried fruits, some of them normally are sugar coated. The ones which have soft watery bodies can be coated with sugar and they will be preserved BUT they are horribly fattening. All of the fruits mentioned above are prime examples: pineapple, mangoes, kiwi, and bananas and cherries are sugared up to make them last so don’t indulge. Also, things like the humble raisin is high in calories. Oh, and don’t eat those cute and tasty fried veggies or veggie chips either unless you want to be tomato shaped, they are full of grease and have as much pudge power as potato chips. Goji berries and other faddy stuff is a no go, especially when they bang on about it in dark chocolate which might just be as calorie full as milk chocolate, some of it is so very very sweet you won’t believe it’s dark! Avoid.

Same with power bars and whole grain anything. Check that label and compare it to what you have for a budget. I bet you will go for something else after you behold the massive lard producing load. Protein bars are really packed with calories and unless you are a 7’2″ weightlifter, avoid them.

Whole grain, what a bountiful idea! Fills you up and gives you “the goodness of grain”? No, it’s just chewy starch. Yes, that is what it is. And that “goodness”=calories.

Lots of yogurts are great, but take them in moderation and be sure that you check the calorie count on the outside before you put them inside. As long as you stay in bounds, it’s fine but be honest with yourself. I think the Greek yogurts give you the most protein for the calories, and try to cultivate a taste for unflavored, you will save HEAPS of calories. Heaps!

Last, I am going to attack olive oil. This one has really slid under the radar. You wouldn’t dare to dive into butter on your bread, right? Butter is baaaaad. But happy olive oil is good. No, olive oil has all of the calories of butter so if you are on a diet, avoid fats. The only time they seem to get neutralized is when they are brushed on things which you grill and give up their unctuous goodness so that the heat can penetrate the surface of what you are grilling. They get burned away then and the calories go up in smoke. But ingest them and they make a bee line for your fat sacks.

So there, I have taken a swing at a bunch of goodies we all like to eat in lieu of the junk foods we love to hate to love. BUT in general, you just have to eat less and move more. Alas, there is no way around that one. You might want to investigate a program (and app) like www.loseit.com or others like it if you want to effectively lose weight and keep it off while knowing what you are really eating.

Fabienne lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 years ago and kept it off. She is going to write a series of essays about how she did it and how she maintains it on this blog, brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness) where the fabulous Yule perfumes are still available for sale at fabulous prices! See for yourself!

Your Biggest Secret Weapon In The Fight Against Fat

Despite all of the gimmicks, pep talks, expensive programs, self¬†flagellation¬†and stuff sometimes it just doesn’t work. You take off some weight but not enough then…again comes the holidays. Alas! Your weight ratchets up and your only consolation is that everyone else is in the same boat.

Your mental attitude is the one thing which will allow you to lose weight, and to rethink the amount of food you eat every day. We just eat too much in America, and that goes for other places, too. Learning to be satisfied with less food per meal, and then not eating between meals is crucial as well.

When I was 30 lbs heavier I was hungry all of the time, practically. I had to take myself in hand and ask myself if I was really hungry or if I was just using food as entertainment/comfort/whatever. I also had to psych myself into believing that I was not hungry. It can be done and you will get good at it if you practice. If I distracted myself as well, then I would be even more successful at it. Sometimes at work I would think I was hungry but then I would think that I needed to ship 10 more packages before I got to the end of my current backlog. I  would go and ship product and forget that I was hungry! It worked. If I was really hungry then it would not have so I think that shows me what was real and what was habit.

Even after I had lost the weight I wanted to lose, I would use a distraction to stop me from sliding back into the old habit of eating too much. I also use the technique of thinking that I am not hungry and won’t be until dinner time. That works very well. Give it a try. I think your mind is your most formidable weapon!

Fabienne lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 years ago and kept it off. She is going to write a series of essays about how she did it and how she maintains it on this blog, brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness) where the fabulous Yule perfumes are still available for sale at fabulous prices! See for yourself!