Tag Archives: Trina Turk

Bye, bye belly

My pouch was visible when I visited Lipari, one of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily.

Close your eyes and visualize this: A toothpick that swallowed a lemon.

Now open them and you will see how I see myself, which is why I have decided to have tumescent liposuction today.

I’m 50 years and three days old. But the decision to do lipo didn’t just hit me because of my age. Those of you who know me have put up with me complaining about my belly for years. When I texted the news to a girlfriend in Chicago whom I’ve known since the 80s, she texted back:

“Awesome Girl!!! I’m surprised you didn’t do this sooner because you never liked you (sic) “tiny pouch”. lol

I eat healthy 90 percent of the time, work out four to five days a week doing weight-bearing exercises and floor work for my abs and walk the hills of San Francisco to run errands since I have no car. I’m quite pleased with the rest of my body after dropping a dress size while researching The World’s Top Destination Spas story for Elite Traveler this spring. I can’t afford to lose anymore inches. My butt is practically non-existent. My boobs have shrunk. My pencil legs are now toothpicks. Still, my belly persists to the point where it is much larger than my ass. And everyone knows you can’t spot reduce.

What’s a girl to do?

I’m 6-foot-1, 152 pounds, reed thin. My legs are so skinny I have to get all of my boots taken in. Always have.

And I’ve always had a belly too. I’ve grown as adept at holding it in as I have at breathing.

When I was in my 20s, I popped laxatives before going on vacation to get rid of my bulge. Seven, 10, 12 at a time. Whatever it took.

By my 30s that no longer worked and I went to 90-year-old nutritionist Hermien Lee, who turned me into a lean, mean, machine.

And then came my 40s. I opted for more drastic methods such as the Master Cleanser or doing a raw diet with no alcohol for weeks at a time. Being that I’m a travel writer and part of traveling is eating then guzzling lemonade for several days at a time and not eating anything cooked can only work so long for me.

Everyone knows what a foodie I am and my stomach is a bottomless pit. The way I eat, I should be 300 pounds but I’m not because I exercise regularly — plus, I have great genes. Previously, if I needed to get my belly down, all I had to do was really watch what I ate and give up alcohol. Within 10 days, I’d be looking good enough to rock a bikini like I did in St. Tropez this summer.

Kelly E. Carter, Trina Turk bikini

I rocked this Trina Turk bikini in St. Tropez this summer, holding in my belly.

But age has a way of catching up with you.

When I returned from St. Tropez, I learned that the beau would have to endure six weeks of radiation. Before he began his treatment in September I offered to give up alcohol to support him. Oh how we both love our wine! He looked at me with the most loving eyes, for it was akin to me offering to shave my head if he lost his hair. (Thankfully THAT didn’t happen.) Outside of drinking at HBO’s Emmy party, during a business trip to South Beach and in Atlanta, where I went for a funeral, I stuck by my no-alcohol edict. After the beau’s radiation ended, his belly was gone and he was down 20 pounds. My belly still stuck out like a hump in a camel, a further indication that alcohol was not what was causing me to look four months pregnant.

During a visit to the beau’s dermatologist, I spotted a brochure for tumescent liposuction. Curious, I picked it up. I thought back to a recent lipo discussion with a retired dermatologist friend from my beau’s yacht club. He tiptoed around my situation but agreed that lipo wouldn’t be a bad thing for me. And I recalled a conversation from a couple of years ago with a friend from childhood, now a medical doctor with a weight loss clinic in L.A. She told me back then that I was the ideal candidate for lipo. The brochure in hand, I looked at these before and after photos and read when the procedure should be used, the risks, how it is performed and why a dermatologic surgeon should be used.

tumescent liposuction

Liposuction is most effective for removing localized fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise. It is not intended as a substitute for weight loss; rather, it is a contouring procedure, and is optimally utilized in a program of exercise and weight maintenance.

I know a lot of you reading this may look at the before picture and ask “Where’s Waldo? Where’s the fat?” Not me! I looked at the photo and said, “That’s me!” I gave the brochure to the beau, who said if that’s what I want then fine, I could have it. But, he made it clear, he thinks I have a fantastic bod. We returned for a consultation with his doctor and scheduled my procedure for Nov. 30. This gave me license to thoroughly enjoy  myself during a decadent birthday trip to Las Vegas with several girlfriends to ring in my 50th.

Now, a bon vivant like me disdains buffets but Kitty Yancey, a USA Today travel writer whose opinion I trust, assured me in an email that the new, $17 million Bacchanal Buffet at  Caesars Palace was worth it and wrote that her story in USA Today didn’t give it justice. You have to go, she implored.

So off me and my girls went for my birthday lunch. With each plate, I reminded myself that everything I was eating would be removed on Friday.

bacchanal buffet Caesars palace

After starting at Bacchanal Buffet’s seafood station, I moved on to Italy, pausing to pick up a slider during my birthday lunch at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

At Bacchanal, I took it upon myself to gorge on fresh East and West coast oysters, prawns, shrimp and grits, mussels, grilled salmon, pepperoni pizza, meatballs, sliders, French fries, chips and guacamole, Kung Pao chicken, edamame, low mein, crème brûlée and lots more. With more than 500 dishes to choose from, I couldn’t try everything – though I wanted to.

That night, my birthday dinner took place at James Beard award-winning Chef José Andrés’ Jaleo in The Cosmopolitan. I devoured cured ham from the legendary, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain, 18-month salt-cured Serrano ham, white asparagus with idiazábal cheese, grilled skirt steak with piquillo pepper confit, traditional chicken fritters served in a shoe and so much more, knowing that it would all be gone be in just a few days.

Jaleo Las Vegas Jose Andres

My yummy birthday dinner served tapas style at Jaleo by Jose Andres in The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas.

Before I left for the trip, I went clothes shopping in San Francisco for a couple of new birthday outfits since it was Black Friday.What a frustrating experience that was! I looked longingly at dresses that I knew were not right for my body type because they hugged the mid-section. I was nearly in tears as I went from one store to another, unable to find anything despite the Black Friday sales. I admit I do a pretty good job of hiding my belly. One saleswoman convinced me to try on a dress that she said would hide the belly that she couldn’t see. I wiggled into the cute red dress and her eyes nearly popped out when she saw my belly protruding like a beach ball. Oh, she said, before finding the one dress in her store that hid a belly. But I didn’t care for the dress. I told her I was having lipo in a few days and she said she looked forward to seeing me back in the store in a few months. I waddled further down Chestnut Street and into BCBG Max Azria, where I picked up this darling shirt dress that hides my pouch, and a couple of other items that would suffice.

Kelly E. Carter, Ghostbar Palms Casino

Me at Ghostbar, on the 55th floor of Palms Casino for pre-birthday drinks.

As much as I absolutely love, love, love this BCBG shirt dress, in a few months I won’t be limited to dresses that flow. Thanks to the beau and his generous birthday present. Even though he doesn’t think I need lipo, I do. And that’s what matters.

Check back later for updates.



Filed under Aging, Beauty, Dining, Health, Las Vegas

Il meta punto di una bella vita

I’m two weeks into my month-long stay in Tropea and have settled in nicely. I’ve learned which bar makes the cappuccino to my liking and offers the best cornetto (croissant) and what time I must arrive in order to buy the latter before they are all gone. I’ve learned the best place for fruits and vegetables, the worst, and been reminded not to expect too much at the best. I’ve learned shortcuts to the beach and proud that the fastidioso (bothersome) immigrant peddlers have learned to leave me the hell alone for I don’t want a massage, jewelry or another beach towel. I’ve learned where I can get patine frittes porta-a-via (French fries to go) for those nights when I’m not hungry enough for a real meal but need something to go with my rosato wine at home.

I know the best place to walk Lucia when I need her to go immediately. I call it the poop street, although it is really three quarters of an entire square block. It seems like all of Tropea lets their dogs poop here – and leave it for others to step in. I can’t imagine not picking up after Lucia though I feel like a fool for picking up her droppings right next to dried merda (shit).

Of course Lucia is a big hit in town. Young and old Italians squeal “piccolino,” (miniature animal) and “canelino” (little dog) when they see her. They ask “che razza?” wanting to know her “race,” and I respond, “Chihuahua (pronouncing it chee-wah-wah) pello lungo (long hair).” Lucia always stays home when I go to the beach. It’s enough to carry my darling Trina Turk tote that holds my camera, Sony Reader, dizionario, notepad, hand sanitizer, wallet and beach towel without lugging an 8-lb dog up and down the 100 steps leading down to the beach.

At Bistro Noir, where prendo (I take) my cappuccino in the mornings, I now greet the locals like Giovanni and Pasquale by name and this morning asked Giovanni, “Vuoi qualcosa bere?” (Would you like something to drink?) It was barely after 11 a.m. and he ordered an aperitiv. Typical for an Italian. They start drinking alcohol at sunup in this country. I paid for Giovanni’s drink (showing my gratitude for a ride the other day and an impromptu trip to Capo Vaticano although he didn’t know me or Layne) and took a seat outside in the strong sun, to read another chapter of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help on my Sony Reader, with Lucia at my feet. I sometimes break her off the end piece of my cornetto but not today. I don’t want her expecting this every morning. Plus, she still needs to lose weight. I think she’s lost a pound but can’t figure out why she huffs and puffs as if she’s just run a marathon after I carry her up four flights of steps. (The steps are marble and she can’t tackle steps without carpet.)

After two weeks, I don’t even mind walking up the 73 steps to my fourth-floor flat. This morning when I returned from my morning walk with Lucia and colazione (breakfast) at Bistro Noir, I was halfway to the fifth floor before I realized I had overshot my floor – and only noticed  because the ceiling suddenly dropped significantly going to the fifth and highest.

I’ve been home all day. I soaked up the sun for seven hours at the beach yesterday, removing myself from my lettino (chaise lounge, or literally, little bed) only for pranzo (lunch). Givoanni mentioned today that I am a little more bronzata (darker) than when he last saw me, which was Tuesday. (I doubt he really noticed. I know I’m two shades darker but to most folks, black is black.) Yesterday was my first day in a bikini (sorry no photos) after wearing a one-piece for the first two weeks following over indulging for three weeks in Monaco, St. Tropez then here the first week. With my evil twin Layne gone, I’m dining out less, eating healthier at home and running on the beach in the mornings, thanks to Paolo being so health conscious and suggesting a run while he visited. (Yesterday, my knee started bothering me and I had to go to the farmacia to buy a brace since I forgot to bring mine.) I’ve worked myself back into bikini shape. Though yesterday put it all in perspective. There was a woman in the water, with no arms, in a bikini. At first I thought I was seeing things and assumed she just had her arms wrapped tightly in front of her. But then she turned around and I saw there were no limbs at all. How can I ever complain about my bulge in the mid-section? I need to be comfortable with whom I am, just as the armless woman is.

The water is as alluring as an exotic woman is to an Italian. But somehow today I’ve resisted it and opted to sit on the terrace and read. As I looked around I wondered– and Layne brought this up when she was here – how come no one else is ever on their terraces. During apertivi time it’s always been just us. In the mornings and afternoons it is just me. The only time I see Italians on their terrace is sweeping or tending to the laundry. Their windows and doors are open so I know they’re there. Don’t they know the beauty they’re missing by not sitting down and enjoying life fuori (outside)? Maybe they take it for granted. It’s always there. Always has been. Always will be.

When I walk through the piazza at night I think what will become of the teenagers.

Do they dream? Hope to leave this town that offers them little except, for the more fortunate ones, working in a family-owned store or restaurant? Or are they content to remain here, for it is home. Have they been anywhere? Max, the owner of MaxBar, which is the hip spot in town and offers a wide array of cocktails, told me he had never been outside of Europe. I subconsciously turned up my nose at him. Shameful of me, I know!

Now that Layne and Paolo are gone, I don’t go out at night. I spend my nights reading. Nighttime isn’t like Positano, where I could sit on my terrace or just open my kitchen windows and hear singing from the restaurant Mediterraneo across the street or the waves if I listened really hard. Instead in Tropea I hear motorinos and cars zipping by and the buzz from the locals gathered in the nearby piazza, so I come in from the terrace at sunset.

The only singing is during karaoke night. Although the other night there was some sort of talent show in the piazza.

Tomorrow I begin formal language lessons at school. I’ll go in the mornings but still be on the beach in time for lunch. I still have a difficult time understanding Italians speak their language and school will only help so much. Basically I have to go out and converse. On the beach yesterday I got the gist of a family’s conversation, enough if I had to translate. But this morning, I could only catch a word here and there between two gentlemen who stopped to chat on the street. They could have been speaking in a dialect or it could have been my brain not functioning at noon. Who knows?

I can’t say I was tired because I’ve been getting some of my best sleep in years, although I sleep on a bed more suited for an army barrack. Just proves it is not the cost of the mattress or a sheet’s thread count but one’s surroundings and state of mind that make for a good night’s sleep.


Filed under Italy, Lucy, Travel