Biggest Loser in Trouble: How is That a Surprise?

I’m a sucker for some good inspiration. I used to watch The Biggest Loser while eating light ice cream and thinking “wow I don’t have that much to lose, I can do this.” Or “WOW that is an insane story, my life’s not too bad.” I also used to watch Intervention while drinking. I know, I’m twisted.

The Biggest Loser’s changed hundreds of lives, plus I’m sure inspired thousands more. But lately it’s come under criticism, and I hate to be the Negative Nellie here, but WHY IS ANYONE SURPRISED?

It can’t be healthy to lose 100 pounds in six weeks. It just can’t. They might be doing drugs? They might be working out six hours a day and only eating 1,200 calories a day? Nothing here surprises me.

The former contestants who are suing are just ridiculous. YOU signed up for the show. YOU were responsible for reading the fine print, for knowing what you agreed to before you participated. And YOU reverted to bad habits. The show is a launching pad and a great help, but one’s own personal health is his or her responsibility, no one else’s. They remind me of lottery winners who blow their fortunes and then blame the lottery for ruining their lives. It’s your own fault if life hands you lemons and you throw them at a wall instead of making lemonade.

So the drugs … did they force feed them to you? You could’ve said no. Why wait until now to bring it up? It seems like people are willing to compromise their morals when it’s benefiting them, but once life’s not so peachy anymore, let’s take it out on the show.

And before you get on me about all the articles about how the extreme dieting, exercise and weight loss killed their metabolisms … I’ve read those articles too. It seems like a lot of hype. If you’re super extreming it, and go home and back to higher calories and old ways, OF COURSE you’re going to mess your metabolism up.

I also read the claim about contestants being taken to the hospital. Years of neglect + sudden onset of extreme exertion = physical distress. It’s bound to happen.

Do I still like The Biggest Loser? Yes. But I do think the standards and methods are quite extreme. I much prefer the Powells’ approach of helping someone change their life over the course of a year; it’s healthier and more sustainable. Still, regardless of how you lose weight, it’s your choice. You CAN say no. Don’t blame someone else because you said yes.


Animal Makeup: An Open Letter to Cosmetics Companies

lpobeauty.comI LOVE makeup. Thank you, Captain Obvious, right? Well why have I not bought any for the past six months? Well,  I finally broke my way out of my “ignorance is bliss” mindset and decided to educate myself. And I was disturbed. So disturbed in fact that my blog has virtually been in limbo. I’ve felt paralyzed at how daunting it can be to check all the ingredients, compare them with what I’m ok with and not ok with (for example, I can handle beeswax but the stomach lining of an animal is SO not ok to me), try to figure if ingredients are an animal or a synthetic form, etc. The days of just picking something up because “ooh I like this” are gone. I’ve learned a lot and I’ll include some links and tips for avoiding animal products in your makeup at the end. But for now, this post from Beautylish breaks it down great; it was a huge eye opener for me. So it’s finally time for me to have my say, and I’m doing it in the form of letter.

Dear Cosmetics Companies,
You have been the benefactor of a good chunk of my expendable income for the past 17 or 18 years … ever since I visited my first MAC Cosmetics store in California. I was in love. The color … oh the color. So much so that, four years ago, my friends encouraged me to start a blog to share the product reviews I did for them with the world.

I have been a vegetarian since 1997. I don’t expect anyone else to live that way, to avoid leather because I do. But it’s pretty clear cut, I know what to avoid and what to embrace. Buy you have so carefully hidden the fact that animal parts are rampant in your products. I had NO idea that because of carmine coloring, I’d been putting BEETLES on my lips and eyes for years. Beetles! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So I just have two questions for you:

  1. Why do you make it so hard to determine what I’m putting in my hair and on my face?  How do I know if the musk in perfume is from beaver genitals or if it’s synthetic? I know not everyone shares my views, bur ripping an animal apart in the name of beauty is not cool with me. And putting those things onto myself – seriously, ground animal hooves and derivatives from horse urine? No thank you. I have a feeling that your answer is going to include something relating to cost cutting measures, which leads me to my second point.
  2. Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f) products are completely vegan. Their items mostly sell for $1-6 each. If the most affordable cosmetics company out there can eliminate animal products, why do we need them at all?

I can’t wait to hear your answers. In the meantime, I’d like to thank those of you that do NOT use animal products and those that provide transparency on their websites about what’s in their products.

Liz Perry

So if you’re as grossed out as I was, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. I’m about 50/50 on PETA – Im not a fan of the whole world HAS to be vegan mentality or its shock tactics. However, PETA has accomplished some really great things (exposing animal abuses, helping end animal fighting, etc.) and one thing I really appreciate is their educational aspect. I’ve been referring a lot to this list of completely vegan companies, which takes out the need to read every single ingredient. I’m a big fan of Pureology (pricy but worth it), Skyn Iceland, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, and Pacifica.

2. Sephora’s website actually has great search function. Just type in “vegan and you’ll get pages of results.

3. Companies that are awesome with transparency include:

4. There are some really great bloggers that keep tabs on what’s available sans animal parts.Cruelty-free Kitty has great listings by brand and Logical Harmony does a great job of breaking down vegan products by store and by product category (foundation, skin care, etc.). They’ve done a ton of legwork contacting the companies who don’t publicly list what’s in their products.

Husker Punch


I apologize in advance for the pun, but this Husker Punch was a major touchdown at the party I took to last week. Whether you like the Huskers or you don’t, this punch is winner. It’s easy to make, and sweet but not too sweet. Using lighter versions of the punch and soda helped with that. Plus, with some fruit in there, you almost feel like you’re hitting all the food groups.

lpobeauty.comThe fun thing about this is you can do however you want. If you want more fruit, more alcohol or more juice, play with the ratios. If you want more sugar, go with the full versions of Sprite and Hawaiian Punch. If you like 7 N Up or Sierra Mist better than Sprite, go for it. You could also do fresh pineapple … I was just being cheap since it soaks in alkie anyway 🙂

This recipe is also scaleable. Just follow these guidelines and you can make anything from 1 glass to 100 gallons (ok that’s extreme, but who knows, maybe you’re having a frat party.)

  • 1 part strawberries
  • 1 part oranges
  • 2 parts pineapple
  • 2 parts pineapple rum
  • 2 parts orange vodka
  • 4 parts punch

One final tip – be careful when stirring … the Sprite could cause a bubble over.

Why I’m Digging Clothing Rental: Gwynnie Bee Review


Clothing rental – they send you clothes, you keep them as long as you want and send them back or buy them and keep them permanently. Compelling right? I thought so.


The second dress I purchased from GwynnieBee was perfect for travel (this photo was the result of 24 hours with no sleep)

So I decided to try out Gwynnie Bee for a lot of reasons:
1. Real girl sizes – I am struggling with losing this damn weight and they offer sizes 10-32. (What size am I currently? Not telling, but it’s not a 10 and it’s not a 32.)
2. Flexibility – As I lose weight, I can choose to have smaller sizes sent to me.
3. No Commitment – Have you ever bought something based on losing weight later or taken something home just because “it was such a good deal!!” Clothing rental means avoiding these kinds of “who was I kidding” retail regret.
4. Since I am losing weight, I don’t want to load up on a bunch of clothes at my current size.

And I am HOOKED. Why? Well, first off, to give you an idea, I pay about $37 a month. That means I get one item at a time, and can send it back unlimited amounts of time within a month to get a new garment. The turnaround is pretty quick (a few days) and you can notify them ahead of time that you’re sending it back so they can get your next item ready.

Why I’m addicted:
1. Laundry salvation – A little too much fun this weekend, last night, whatever? At least I’ve got ONE clean outfit that just came in the mail.
2. Versatility – A lot of the outfits work for both work and casual (mainly the dresses).
3. Loyalty perks – On a couple of occasions, they’ve given me two outfits at a time, just for being a loyal customer.
4. The discounts – Because you pay for the service, you already get a killer discount (like $100 dresses for $50), but watch your emails – sometimes they knock more off. Also, they have a store with good deals just for members (I think these are for the items they retire).
5. Public opinion – A lot of times I’ll base which items I keep on how many compliments I get. You can’t do this when you’ve already purchased the item 🙂 I also try to only keep items that will look good as I go down in size (to a point – but they are all quality pieces, so it’s worth getting them altered down the line if needed.)
6. Prioritizing – You pick everything you want sent to you and it goes into a closet. See a pic of mine below.You can choose which items you’d prefer to have sent to you first (this is a newer feature not originally offered by the site).

Really my only major complaint is the lack of tall sizes (for pants). The sizing is pretty accurate, but until you get the hang of it, check the size charts, as every designer is different.

So what did I buy? So far, two super versatile dresses and I’m definitely buying the one I’m wearing today. Check it out!


The great pieces I’ve scored so far from Gwynnie Bee

Omaha Beer and Nebraska(ish) Wine

I love it when I learn new things just by hitting up the grocery store. One lovely Friday after work, I visited the Applewood Hy-Vee, full well knowing they give out alkie samples on Fridays. Plus their liquor store is in my Omaha top two for finding just about anything (Beertopia is the other). Little did I know it would result in a chance to drink local, my own personal version of supporting small business. Seriously though, if I can find good stuff made in Nebraska, why give my money to Colorado, California or anywhere else?

Brickway Pils (formerly Borgata Pils)
When I met Zac Triemert and he told me he brewed this fantastic pilsner I was trying, I thought he was kidding. He just said it so humbly and nonchalantly. But nope, he’s the brewing genius behind Brickway Brewery and Distillery downtown. I didn’t try the whiskey because I’m not much of a whiskey gal, but I’ve been told it’s also very good. Fun fact, the brewery is down the street from my work and his girlfriend works in my building!

LPOBeauty.com review

Brickway Pils

Sea of Red Zinfandel
So this wine is in the $17-20 price point, a little above my everyday wine. But it was fantastic. I had to have it. I also tried their red blend, which I wasn’t as crazy about, but it was still good. So the grapes come from Sonoma (because, seriously, Nebraska is not ultimate grape growing weather – we’ve had both 80 degrees and 30 degrees in the last month), but the backers are Husker fans. The red labels have a 62 on them, the year that begin consecutive Husker sellouts for the last God knows how many years.

LPOBeauty.com review

Sea of Red Zinfandel

So I encourage you to give some local love – I was given no compensation or free product, but when I stumble on a little hometown pride, it’s time to blast it out there!

I Love My Old Dog

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

What would you do if you felt a member of your family was past their prime? Would you drop them off at a shelter, hoping someone would take them in, and that they wouldn’t end up dead? Neither would I. That’s why I was infuriated when an area humane society (the one where I got two of my three dogs, incidentally), posted the following on Facebook. I know not everyone agrees with me, but pets are family.

ChewyAre you kidding me? Chewey is just 8, in good health and so freaking adorable. Luckily, he was adopted. But you just give him away because you think he’s too old? I would NEVER. I understand if the owner or the pet has major health conditions and good care is not possible. Situations happen, life happens. But this is just ridiculous.

My dogs are 4,11, and 12. I’ve had the two older dogs for 10 years, and they’ve only grown sweeter and more endearing over time. They are not going to win any dog shows and the white and gray hairs have been filling in. But adopting a pet is not a whim or a part-time gig. It’s a commitment to take care of that pet throughout their life. Anyone who adopts a pet within any other intention is simply being selfish.

Here’s a great example. I found my third dog, Anya, on Craigslist. Her owner had a baby a few months earlier, the baby had been sick and she felt she didn’t have time for this sweet puppy. Anya was just six months old at this point. So WHY would you adopt a puppy when you are pregnant, thinking oh if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get rid of her? It’s sickening.

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

I could go on and on about the ways my pups have improved my life, been there for me, and brighten my days. But truly, even if you’re not a dog person, it comes down to decency. Be  a person of your word and don’t take on commitments you can’t see through.


Dart, 11

Thank you to the Nebraska Humane Society and amazing rescue groups in our country for taking care or our four-legged friends and bringing issues like this to light.