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Manolo for the Big Girl | Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The HELP! Edition

Hey everybody!

It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness. You all know how this works. I post a picture that’s begging on a street corner for a funny caption. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner, and we all do a triumphant cha cha of victory in her honor.

This week’s image comes from the family album from from Purgatory file, and it looks a little like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Calling All Lesbians

Friends, I have been remiss. I’ve been editor of this blog since April of 1841 and during that time, I’m not sure I’ve done a whole lot to purposefully include my lady-lovin’ ladyfriends, and I know you’re out there.

I was at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown San Diego last night for Ash Wednesday services and I met a wonderful lesbian couple who had been married and whose nuptials fell victim a few days later to Prop 8.

The mind boggles. I plan on getting married at least once and the idea of having my wedded bliss yanked from me is so far off my radar I can’t even find it with GPS and a compass.

It made me think.

I know next to nothing about the lesbian big girl experience, especially not the single lesbian big girl experience. All but one of my lesbian pals are in long-term committed relationships (insert Uhaul joke here) and none of them are particularly big.

The plight of the Chubby Gay Man in the non-bear community is one I’ve heard all about (over and over and over, often while sitting next to me on the couch drinking chocolate bourbon milkshakes and watching Girls Will Be Girls) but my female friends of Dorothy are usually too busy living satisfying, productive lives in healthy, normal relationships to pour their hearts and livers out to me. Hmph.

So consider this a call for submissions. If you’ve got something to say; I want to hear it.

I usually put a hundred word limit on the comments, but for this post, have at it. Alternately, if you want to email me that’s fine too. I’ll post some of the more thought provoking comments either tomorrow or next week.

Oh, I’ll be monitoring the comments carefully, so visiting trolls might as well give up now.

Pancakes and Self-Care

Happy Feast of Saint Buttersworth!

It’s Shrove Tuesday, more popularly known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras and Pancake Tuesday. People everywhere will be getting their flapjack on in order to get all their indulgent behavior out of the way before Lent which starts tomorrow for the Western Church (those Eastern guys with the awesome beards and whatnot have their own schedule. Also better baked goods. Schisms ruin everything fun).

It’s common for people who observe Lent to also observe a Lenten discipline.

Back in the olden days it was usually giving up something; meat, chocolate, booze, swearing…you know, pretty much everything that makes life fun.

That never really worked for me.

I’d give up the lot and come Easter morning…nada. I hadn’t evolved in my spiritual journey one bit. The only thing I got out of it was a habit of swearing like Wally Cleaver. Gee Willickers!

More recently the trend has been towards adding something beneficial to your life, often in the form of volunteering and study.

I’m all about that, especially the volunteering because most of us should be ashamed at how little time we dedicate to the poor and needy people of this world, but in addition to service and study, I’m going to try something a little new this year.

I’m going to work on my self-maintenance.

(photo courtesy of the wonderful and amazing Lady Mechanic Initiative of Nigeria)

This whole relocation thing has been a tough row to hoe and I’ve let myself slip the way so many of us do when we have supposedly bigger fish to fry (because apparently it’s also folksy idiom day here at Manolo for the Big Girl).

I’ve found myself making less of an effort each morning to dress “just so” or to do my hair or makeup.

Why bother? I don’t have many posh parties or elegant soirees to attend, heck, I haven’t been to a restaurant that has more than three walls in a month, I’m not going to be here long enough to need social currency (I’m moving farther south in May) and I’ve already got the single best looking man in the entire country wrapped around my little finger, among other places and he’s certainly not going anywhere. Why not traipse around in the proverbial bunny slippers until three in the afternoon?

Because habitual self-indulgence is bad for you.
Continue Reading…

Talkin’ ‘Bout My G-generation

One day back in the mid eighties, a terrifying fact was discovered: America was getting fatter. Nobody knew quite why, though theories abounded. Fast food, soft drinks, computer games, viruses… everybody had a clear and obvious reason why it had happened. And there was an equally obvious cure. After all, never mind the fact that every single long term study of dieting since the first ones in the nineteen fifties had shown that no matter the structure of the diet, no matter the behavior of the dieter, while most lost weight in the short term, well over ninety per cent would wind up as fat as or fatter than when they started dieting within five years. It was what could be done. Therefore, no matter the futility, no matter the well-documented health issues of repeated cycles of dieting and gaining weight back, we must diet.

Funnily enough, the years of yo yo dieting did not result in a thinner America. We kept getting fatter overall. Then, one day in 1998, the BMI chart got fiddled with to make millions of Americans ‘fatter’ without gaining a single ounce. The rhetoric of fear of fat grew exponentially. It became impossible to turn on the television, read a magazine, or even log onto Yahoo mail without being subjected to fat hate, fat fear, and an increasing number of diet ads.

Today the panic is so ingrained that people honestly believe this level of hate against the fat is simply the standard human nature dating back before the Stone Age, all evidence to the contrary aside.

But a funny thing happened in 2002 that hasn’t been so widely publicized: obesity rates in America leveled off. What’s more, they’ve remained roughly level ever since.

Again, nobody seems able to explain it. All the interventions have proved ineffective, and yet obesity rates are no longer growing.

I have a theory about how and why this is happening. I also predict that sometime in the next oooh, ten to twenty years obesity rates in America will begin to fall.

Continue Reading…

The Art of Sloth

Not this kind of sloth:

Not this kind of sloth… though I am a big fan.

No, I’m talking about this kind of sloth:

You know the sort of day, when there’s just an air of non-mammalian sloth in the wind. Those days when you get out of bed reluctantly and then realize you don’t actually have to go anywhere or do anything unless you seriously want to.

I had a couple days like that this week. Mr. Twistie finds a day like that about once every three or four years, and only while we’re on vacation somewhere. He’s not good at sloth. I am.

So what do I do on these lazy days? Well, I’ll snuggle back under the covers for a while and ignore every attempt on the part of Jake the cat to wake me. Then I’ll roll out of bed late in the morning, start myself a pot of coffee, and read my email as I caffeinate.

Depending on my mood at that point, I’ll either grab a book, decide to spend the day watching the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice again, pull down my lace pillow and toss bobbins, or go back to bed. Some lazy days I’ll get ambitious and bake a pie or a batch of scones, both of which are low-pressure baking projects. Cookies require more ambition from me.

Bubble baths are great for lazy, slothful days. Nothing clears my brain like sitting in warm water surrounded by bubbles and rubber duckies. There’s a reason I’ve always felt a strong, spiritual bond to Ernie.

And every once in a while, I take my lazy day to dress up in my Stevie Nicks best, choose my most fabulous chapeau, and treat myself a good lunch at my favorite neighborhood bistro. The one where the owner loves me not only because I’ve been a devoted customer from almost the time she opened, but also because I have baked her birthday cake for the past two years. After all, most people seem afraid to cook for chefs, but they deserve birthday cake, too.

Lazy days are days to be good to ourselves in whatever way pleases us most. So what do you do when you have a slothful day at your disposal?

Cold Shoulders, Split Sleeves and the Church of England

Happy Friday, gang, how’s tricks?

Today is the hap happiest day of the year, or at least of recent memory because the loud and mysterious construction that’s been going on the past few days somewhere in my general environ has blissfully stopped. Three days straight of BANG…BANG…(silence to lull you into a false sense of relief)…BANG!!! They only stop from 2:00 to 2:45 which is when the local private school gets on their Hendrix-at-Woodstock loudspeaker and calls out random combinations of numbers and colors for a half hour.

They call the numbers in this infuriating monotone that prohibits any insight as to what Yellow 23, Red 16, Yellow 31 etc might actually mean. I’m guessing each combo stands for a student, but WHY? What are they DOING and MUST they sound their barbarically amplified yawp over the rooftop of Villa Plumcake when I’m trying to execute some quality hammock napping? Kids ruin everything fun.

Anyhoodle, as I was puttering around the kitchen making grapefruit marmalade (because apparently I do that now) I saw several stylish women walk past my window, all wearing either split-sleeved or cold-shouldered tops.


(click photos for links)

Now, my first memory of the cold-shoulder top was a big fuss over Hillary Clinton wearing a Donna Karan dress with the shoulders cut out in 1993 and friends, I have spent the past 40 minutes looking for pictures of that dress and just cannot find anything better than this.

Immediately a surge of shoulderless shirts crashed into the local malls and I believe I either owned one or tried one on and, looking at my 14 year-old self in the mirror went “Nope. This is not for me.”

The cold shoulder is the cousin of the split sleeve and I am sensing a comeback of both.

I can’t say I’m happy about it since it’s been my experience that split sleeves on a woman are Indicative Of Things.


The handful of women I know socially who’ve worn them in the past few years always end up being trouble for me, or at least trouble my soul. One of the offenders failed to wear the appropriate undergarments to her husband’s ordination into the Episcopal Priesthood. I’m STILL traumatized. WTF? Did she get hit on the head with the anvil of sartorial stupidity and wake up thinking she was Unitarian or something? This is the Church of England, put on a damn bra.

And yet, I’m prepared to admit my unpleasant experiences wrt: split sleeves might be stopping me from appreciating what can technically, maybe, be a good look for a big girl. I’m too young to have worn them the last time they really came around, in the 1970’s and I have seen them executed well a few times –mostly in cotton lawn– on a big girl or two, though it’s entirely possible for it to be a fluke.

What’s your opinion on split sleeves? Cold shoulders? Am I missing out or should I trust my considerable gut and let this trend pass me by? Put it in the comments and have a great weekend!

You Asked For It: Crock Pot Cheesecake

Alright, back in the day when Twistie was doing her Recipe of the Week or whatever I know a lot of you didn’t like it because you felt it reinforced some stereotype about The Constantly Eating Fat Girl and honestly, it wasn’t my thing either, but Twistie can do what she wants on weekends as long as she doesn’t a) Feature any of that woodland magickal faerieeyeeie Stevie Nicks nonsense she knows I hate b) Besmirch the good names of John Wayne, John Waters or Julia Sugarbaker or c) Mess with Texas. It’s that simple.

Still, a mess of you asked for a recipe for my Crock Pot cheesecake, and never being one to deny my readers anything I am humbly obliging the request.

This makes a dense, creamy cheesecake. Using a mixer instead of an immersion blender –my KitchenAid is still stateside and I just got a cool new immersion blender. It’s magenta!– would probably make for a fluffier end result.

CROCK POT CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup toasted pecans, ground
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temp (neufchatel works okay, too)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used this instead of cream because I made a gallon of yogurt and am trying to get rid of it)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely zested lime or lemon peel

Instructions:
Fill your slow cooker with enough water to come at least halfway up the sides of whatever you’re using as your pan. We’re bain marie-ing this baby, because cracks in cheesecake are wack (RIP Whitney).

For the crust, mix all ingredients together and press into the sides of 7″ springform pan. For the filling, dump all the ingredients in a large and blend the heck out of it for five minutes with your awesome new immersion blender OR beat the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy, adding the additional ingredients and beating that for three minutes. Pour into your slow cooker, cook covered on high for about 3 hours until the edges aren’t shiny and the center is just set (mine took closer to 4, but check at 2). Turn the Crock Pot off and let cool for an hour before refrigerating.

Notes: I didn’t bother with the crust because they don’t sell graham crackers here and also eating cheesecake for the crust is like reading Playboy for the intimate body hair. I also didn’t have a springform pan that fit in my current slow cooker, but since this makes a small cake, I just used the biggest glass mixing bowl that would fit comfortably. It worked like a charm and was cooked evenly all the way through.

Make it, enjoy and thank you for being a friend!