Posted in Uncategorized

Turkey Day

It started out like this:

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And ended something like this:

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And somewhere in the middle was:

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Posted in Techie, Uncategorized

Oh Samsung……You Just Get Me

For my first techie/gadget/gaming post…..I need to share some love.

For the past two years, I have had an HTC phone with our previous wireless provider.  This was the first “4G” phone I had, and it started off as a great relationship.  Then I discovered that the HTC Thunderbolt was just not in it for the long haul: sounds and rings stopped working, the alarm was iffy, the WiFi died, and the battery was weak at best (down to 0% in under 5 hours with little use).  The network connection issues my provider had did not help matters in the slightest.  So we decided it was time to break our contract and move on.

Enter….the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

When you read reviews, they all call out it’s enormous size.  Yes, it is a gigantic phone.  It earns the title “Phablet”. And I have only had this device for a few days….but there are some things about it that I really love.  Samsung got these things right….just for me.

1.It’s huge.  Too huge to be a one-handed device.  Having had so many joint issues in my right hand from typing and crochet for years, having a phone that WON’T let me do things one handed is perfect.  No more single-thumb typing.

2. It’s huge.  Too huge to be a phone-to-the-ear type of phone for very long.  This means that to be very efficient, I MUST use my headset more often.  And while I have gotten better with the headset on the phone, my husband will happily point out that I could still do better and that I could use a headset in general far more often.

3. The battery is amazing. My old phone would need to spend all day on the charger to keep going.  This phone takes normal use and will not use half the battery in a workday.  AWESOME! A full day of regular use (calls, email, text, some games, Twitter, and internet surfing) put me down to 35% after 16 hours.

4. It’s fast.  The response time to type, select anything by finger or stylus, and move through screens is terrific.  Apps load more quickly, and even phone boot-up is faster.

Only time will tell if I kill this phone like the last one, but so far this is starting off as a beautiful thing.  It is definitely not a device for everyone, but I highly recommend looking at one if you are in the market.  Go try it out – don’t dismiss it.

Posted in Crafting

In Which Girly Girl Gets A New Lunch Bag…..

My daughter L.O.V.E.S Monster High.  As an alternative to Barbie…..I can get behind this.  Everything she could find for school this year in the Monster High theme, she went with: backpack, lunch box, notebooks, headphones, and anything where the colors reminded her of characters.  But a week ago, her beloved Monster High lunch box went missing.  It was very tragic….and not another one has been easily found.  So, while I know that I could probably pop onto Amazon and order one…..Crafty Mom decides to make something instead.

I used a pattern from The Long Thread that I found pretty quickly thanks to Google.  It was easy to follow….and finding the website has provided some great inspiration!  However, I did not have the exact materials suggested, so I improvised.  I used 100% cotton that was supposed to become a crop jacket for Girly Girl, a cut up tablecloth from the dollar store that had been used at our wedding reception last month, and scrap fleece from making scarves for my nieces a million years ago.  My original idea had been to use a zipper to close the opening, but I did not have a separating zipper handy…..so there is velcro instead.

 

TaDa!


Posted in Food, Noms, and Tasty Stuff

Happy Noms Accident

Yes….I am spending the space and time of my first advertised post on my new blog space to review a less-than-healthy food choice.  Directly following all my healthy living choices.  Somedays….you just need unhealthy.  Don’t judge.

Today for lunch we decided to depart the office building and head down to the food truck pod down the street.  This corner has struggled with getting trucks in and being regular, and it seems someone has finally taken the reigns (http://www.2ndandpikeeats.com/).  I went for a grilled chicken sandwich at Nomad Curbside while my co-workers opted for Off the Rez tacos.

I will be brief with my review.  Nomad was great with accepting cards as well as checks, slow with the service, and got my order wrong.  And if getting a bacon burger like this instead of a chicken grilled sammie is wrong….I don’t want to be right.

Sure, I had to wait what felt like too long to get my food…..but my co-workers had to wait just as long before they ordered.  The burger was fantastic and I will totally splurge there again.  Hope more Seattle-ites support the local businesses like this and these folks all stick around!

 

Posted in Healthy Life

My Heavens That’s a Lot of Water (Life Changer Post #3)

A very big adjustment for me over the last few months has been water intake.  We all know that water is good for us and necessary, but actually staying properly hydrated is more difficult than it sounds.

The human body is mostly water…..75% water in fact.  This means that to function properly, we need to consume quite a bit of water every day.  But what does water actually DO for the body?

  • Helps regulate body temperature
  • Moisturizes the air in our lungs
  • Lubricates joints
  • Flushes toxins from the body

There are LOADS of things water does for us…..these are just a few.  Because water is so vital to keeping the body functioning properly, you can imagine the effects of dehydration (even at slight levels) can be pretty rough

  • Tiredness
  • Migraines
  • Constipation
  • Dry Skin
  • DEATH!  If dehydration is greater than 20%

These days, drinking enough water can be a little tricky. We live in a soda, alcohol, coffee filled world and it’s easy to forget about the humble glass of water. Coffee is my favorite, and my mother drinks nothing but soda, so I know well that it takes planning and thought and care to make a requisite aqua quota.  Here is what I suggest for making it to 3 liters a day.  YES! THREE LITERS!

  1. Find a water bottle you can carry with you and that has good measurements on the outside.  Take the quantity guess work out of what you are doing.
  2. Find a logging solution.  Write down your quantities, use a counter app on your phone….whatever.  Just get it recorded every time you finish a glass or a botttle full so you don’t lose track.
  3. Add a few drops of lemon and/or lime juice to a bottle of water. This was the biggest change maker for me, and killed all the soda cravings I had during the day.
  4. Add a couple of mint leaves or cucumber slices to a botttle of water.  Adding a little flavor in a natural way like this will really make a difference.

The first few days of working toward the 3 liters is the toughest.  After only about a week, you will most likely lose the craving for soda and other drinks plus the syrup used for soda will feel like a sticky coat on your tongue that is just nasty.

You may think “I cannot possibly drink that much water!  I will drown” or “too much water is reported to be bad for you, so I cannot do this!”  BUNK!  Yes you can, and while too much water can be harmful…..”too much” is many gallons per day.  When you reduce your fatigue, increase your energy, and your body starts to function more smoothly, you will realize that this is just the right amount of water.

Posted in Healthy Life

Veggie Solutions (Life Changer Post #2)

Ok folks, let’s talk about acutally implementing healthy eating changes and getting some traction on this wellness “thing” we all want to do.

When I got down to business about getting healthy and losing weight and all that jazz, adding in vegetables was an obvious thing I needed to do.  The need to eat lots of veggies is not news to anyone.  But somehow, it gets tricky to do in real life.  No lie….there are a LOT of salads in my life these days, but here are a few tips I have for adding the essential rabbit food to your life.

1. Make a protein shake for breakfast and add spinach!  It will make every shake/smoothie look gross, but the taste is fine and the benefits are amazing!

2. Clean and cut celery right away from the store, then package it up in grab-and-go bags for work or school.  Celery is amazing for snacks and to add to any lunch quickly.  Find a no-sugar peanut butter to add (1 Tbsp) and it will save your afternoon munchies.

3. Get a cucumber and slice it up.  Cucumbers will cure that “need to crunch” urge that often drives us all to chips or crackers.  Sliced up with a little salt is great; or let them sit for a 20 minutes in some vinegar and salt for a quick “pickle” type of snack.

4. Add kale or spinach to any soup for lunch.  These leafies are easy adds to any canned soup and give that extra health boost.

5. Fix baked potatoes in the microwave.  Keep them small, but this is an easy lunch or snack.  Be sure to poke the potato all over with a fork, then cook in the microwave.  Add some low fat cheese and some broccoli….and lunch is amazing.

6. Corn on the cob…..in the microwave!!  Take a clean cob (fresh or frozen) and wrap in a damp papertowel.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on if frozen, and check often) and you have delicious corn on the cob anywhere.

7. Keep frozen veggies.  Even when I think I have enough, I still buy a bag of frozen veggies to keep at home.  Then any meal, you are prepared.

8. Make a big salad.  Get all of the salad makings you love at the grocery store, make a giant salad in a bowl and home, then separate into single serve continers for the week.  If you use zip-lock type bags, you can get a great sized serving in the bag, zip it mostly closed, press as much air out as you can.  Then use the trick of sticking a straw just into the top, zip closed to the straw, then suck out the air – and as you do, pull the straw out and zip closed quick.  Instand vacuum packaging!  And salads like that will actually stay in the fridge for a week with no problem.

So….those are some tips I have for adding veggies in.  The health benefits are amazing and there are tons of experts to tell you all about it.  But from a practical side, I can say that these little tricks will make it so you have fewer cravings, you are always prepared, and the stress is taken out of the equation.

Posted in Healthy Life

My Life Is Being Overtaken! (Life Changer Post #1)

The last few months have turned my world upside down! And it turns out that a lot of things I had going on were really in the wrong direction, and upside down is just what I needed!

The first, and probably biggest, thing has been FOOD.  The mere concept of food is what has taken over my life.  All our plans revolve around eating lately, and it’s actually been in a good way.  In June I reached a final breaking point with my weight and how I felt, and I decided to really get a grip and make the changes I knew were needed.  At the same time, one of my best friends (Jen……I luvs ya) kicked off a fitness/health challenge.  Turns out two months of competition is just what I needed to really get my butt in gear. And through this challenge period and finally having wellness “click” for me, I have learned so much! And all the mystery about eating right has disappeared for me….so I wanted to share a few things about how to make it less of a mystery for others too.

When I decided to join in the wellness challenge and really get a grip on my health and weight, I followed the eating plan that was in the Game On Diet book that our challenge was based on.  It’s a great, basic, consistent way of eating.  And it goes along with Jackie Warner’s instructions that I had read before……not to mention the advice that every doctor and nutritionist had ever given me (and that I somehow didn’t follow).  Our challenge lasted for one month…..and then I did another right after it, so I had two solid months of following the same plan:

1. eat 5 times a day. 5 TIMES!!

2. eat a carb, a lean protein, and a healthy fat at every meal

3. eat buckets of veggies (not quite buckets…..but it did feel like that)

4. cut out the processed stuff: sugar, non-whole grain carbs, caffeine (except 1 cup of coffee in the morning) and go for ORGANIC whenever possible.

5. exercise (break a sweat) for 20 minutes every day

That was it!  In doing this, everything became so achievable and reasonable.  Having a supportive fiance helped – he didn’t play the game with us, but he did do all the things with me and it made all the difference.  I struggled with my weight and how to make changes…..and when it sunk in 2 years ago that I had over 50 lbs to lose, it became overwhelming and felt impossible.  And with all of these changes, I am halfway to my goal and it’s taken less than 3 months.  What felt like a lifetime to accomplish, is now right around the corner!

So…..for anyone out there that feels like they can’t take on big changes like this to adjust your weight, your blood sugar, your mood, you cholesterol (oy!  mine was terrible)…..I want to let you know that you really can, and it’s WAY easier than you think.

1. Check in with a doctor.  This is not negotiable!  But it’s also easy and painless….the doc is going to tell you what you can’t see, but need to work on.  And a good doc is like the coach who is there to keep you on the right path and help fix you up when you get knocked around.

2. Don’t try for changes until YOU are ready for it.  When you look in the mirror and say “I am so ready to do this”….that’s when you should.

3. Face the facts and be prepared to sacrifice.  It feels hard to give up a mocha in the morning, but you can do it and it will change your life.  Skipping cigarette breaks may feel impossible…..but the reward is worth it.

4. Make the plan.  This is a big reason our team challenge worked for me….there was a clear plan and it basically told me what to do.  If you have an IDEA of what you want, but not the PLAN…..you won’t make it.  Write down what you are going to do, eat, and practice, every day.

The PLAN is why my life is overtaken by food.  I plan out what I am going to eat every morning, for every meal of the day.  And where I can, I plan it out for days at a time (like dinner one day is lunch the next).  Thinking about what I am going to eat, when I am going to eat it, and where I can or cannot eat, takes up a lot of time while I get ready for work and sometimes on my commute – but that time spent planning and making myself prepared has saved me more than once from a burger for lunch or some fast food tragedy for dinner.