Sunday, December 27, 2009


So, it's only been a few days and I've already decided to change my workout schedule. I've decided to try and match it a little more closely to what my trainer had originally put in place.

M, W, F: 60 minutes treadmill (or walking hilly streets outside)
T, TH: My "I'm not allowed to jump" intervals

2 sets of 10 bicep curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 hammer curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 concentration curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 shoulder shrugs (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 20 triceps dips

I am not allowed to do any other strength building exercises (crunches, lunges, etc.) so I will start with these and add more as my physical therapist assigns them. And each week I will either add more repetitions or more weight.

By doing the treadmill program and the interval program, I won't get bored quickly, I will continue to increase my upper body strength, and I will continually challenge my muscles.

(I may however wear out the rug on the stairs.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Make It Harder (But do it slowly.)

Four weeks ago (one week after my back surgery) I was told that I was allowed, no, encouraged, to get up and walk around as much as possible. This would help me heal (among other lovely side effects of exercise). I had already been making myself walk around the house for ten minutes at a time, so once I had the formal go ahead from the nurse, I hatched a plan.

I had learned from my initial fitness quest (7 months ago) that I needed to add things slowly, and that I needed to mix things up to keep things interesting for me and my muscles.

So that week I walked inside/outside for 30 minutes 5 days a week and did some medically approved weight lifting for my arms three times a week.
Each week, I upped the walking by 10 minutes and either upped the weights by 2 lbs or upped the reps by 5.
So this week, I am up to 60 minutes of walking and 2 sets of 20 hammer curls (10 lbs.), 2 sets of 20 bicep curls (10 lbs.) and 2 sets of 20 triceps dips.

With my second post operation doctor's visit under my belt, and a number of restrictions lifted (hot tub! heating pad!) I'm ready to spend the next 6 weeks with a new plan.

Because I still cannot jump or run, I will use the incline function on the treadmill to increase the difficulty of my workout.

60 minutes on treadmill

0-12 minutes: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
12-15: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
15-18: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
18-30: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
30-33: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
33-36: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
36-48: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
48-51: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
51-54: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
54-60: Cool down

For weeks 2-3, I will increase the time that I do the heavy incline by 1 minute. Then after I am doing the heavy incline for 5 minutes at a time (Week 4), I will increase the current 4% incline to a 6% (after the initial 8 minutes of warming up).

I will also increase the weights I am lifting by 2 lbs every 2 weeks.
At the beginning of Week 5, I will assess how the program is going and make any changes as needed.

Sometimes this process seems very slow. But when I get frustrated, I just remind myself that the doctor "stripped muscle and drilled through my bone" and that slows me down to a reasonable pace.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Continue Your Journey

5 weeks ago today
5 weeks ago today I was about to go in to surgery
5 weeks ago today I was scared out of my mind and arguing with the anesthesiologist
5 weeks ago today I was outfitted in scratchy green socks and a cotton gown
5 weeks ago today I had my first surgery ever

Today I did 60 minutes on the treadmill
Today I walked on it backwards and sideways
Today I cranked the incline up to 10%
Today I walked out of the gym wanting more

Monday I meet the doctor for my second post operative appointment
Monday I will ask gross questions like,"Did you actually cut through my muscles to get to the disc or where you able to push them aside?"
Monday I will find out if any of my current restrictions are lifted

Monday I will make any necessary changes and continue on this journey.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Get Paid To Recycle

What now? Someone will pay me to recycle?


Ok, technically, the money has to go to a charity, like your local school, but still, this is MONUMENTAL!

(You can pick any charity, you just need to supply a name, contact info and a valid tax ID#.)

TerraCycle, originally an organic fertilizer company, but now a "multi-category, eco-friendly powerhouse" collects items like chip bags, drink pouches and lotion tubes, that would otherwise be headed for a landfill and makes them in to useful products like backpacks, pencils and clipboards.

Here’s how it works:

1. The team leader signs up online at
2. The team leader creates a collection team
3. Begin collecting! The team leader is immediately able to access posters and shipping materials through their TerraCycle profiles.
4. Once you have collected the minimum pieces of waste (it varies by program), download a FREE UPS shipping label and use it to send the waste to TerraCycle via UPS.
5. You can track your collections and donations online by signing in to your TerraCycle account.

(Above quote taken from

I highly suggest you get as many friends & family involved and pick an item that you are already buying on a regular basis. Buying things, just so you can recycle them makes no sense.

I'm thinking of joining the Aveeno Tube Brigade, the Kashi Package Brigade, and the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Simply Your Skincare

When I went off hormonal birth control I started getting acne. I did not appreciate this. So, I bought various lotions and potions to try and make it go away. Nothing really worked. I have since gone back on hormonal birth control to help with painful ovulation (Who knew!?) and the majority of the acne is gone. However, as someone who has had clear skin for the majority of her life, and also has the tendency to obsess about something, I knew I wanted to do more.

But now, I'm actually doing less. My new "skin care routine" involves a whopping 4 products. I've pared down, as suggested by Ellen Marmur, MD in her book Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide To A Lifetime of Healthy Gorgeous Skin. Rather than just listing products she thinks you should buy, she tells you what ingredients to look for. So I went through what I already had.

So now--

When I get out of the shower, I apply Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer SPF 30 (which Marmur also happens to use) to my face and neck (daily moisturizer with SPF of 15+). At night, I wash my face with warm water and a washcloth and then apply Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (regular moisturizer without SPF).
PLEASE NOTE: I normally wear zero-to minimal make-up, so there is not much to wash off my face.

If I do have a breakout, I apply Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment (acne spot treatment with Salicylic Acid). And once a week I use Mary Kay Timewise Microdermabrasion (at-home dermabrasion).

(I also have various sunscreens for when I will be out in the sun longer.)

The other benefit of simplifying your skin care is that you have less bottles and tubes banging around. It's quite peaceful to only see what you need.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bounce Back

I actually slept through most of the night last night. There was no fence destroying storm (on the plus side, our yard looks enormous now) to keep me awake, the extra down comforters kept my corpse-cold toes warm enough for me to sleep, and I was able to ignore the discomfort from my incision.

This means I currently have the most energy I've had in the last 3 weeks. I am taking note of all the appointments I had to cancel, window shopping on-line for lingerie (shouldn't a scar be bathed in silk?), telling my walking partner that I'm back on for Tuesday, babbling on and on to my poor, sweet husband, and thinking about bikinis. Bikinis? Seems I've never had one. That's a damn shame. I'm going to have to do something about it.

I know that the energy high I am on right now will not last all day. I fully expect to crash. But with my first post operation appointment on today's docket, and stacks of books waiting for me at the library, I am all smiles.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rest Up

Here's a little math problem for you.

12 phone calls to my primary care physician to get an orthopedic referral
1 orthopedist that "doesn't think I really need a MRI"
1 very uncomfortable MRI
back pain trailing down my left leg, with numbness

What does that equal?

Well apparently it equals "emergency" lumbar back surgery. So, it may be quiet here for a bit while I recover. (I'm currently 5 days post operation already.)

But I promise I will be back. (Oh gosh, really bad unintentional pun.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Work It Out (At Home)

While I have found some classes at the gym that I like (kickboxing, Zumba), they aren't scheduled when I want to exercise (6:45 am), and getting to the gym, getting changed, etc. wastes 30 minutes. So I like to exercise at home. The trick to exercising at home is variety. (Actually, that's the trick to exercising in general.)

So, for you, dear readers.

5 Fabulous Exercise DVD Resources:

1. Collage Video
Hands down, the best workout video resource I have ever seen. They have reviews, they have clips, they have everything. If the DVD you want isn't on their list, it's not worth doing.

2. Netflix-live streaming
Sure you've streamed movies, but did you know you can also instantly stream workout videos? Just click on the Sports & Fitness genre. Most of the movies they stream are from The 10 Minute Solution line, but all those videos are stellar. (You aren't able to mix up the 10 minutes segments like you can with the DVD, but it's great nonetheless.)

3. SwapADVD
Swap DVDs for just the price of shipping. I've ordered over 10 videos, and shipped about 7, and every transaction has been positive.

4. Fitness Magazine's Create A Video Workout/Video Workouts
You will need to create an account for the personalized Video Workouts, but the viewing of all workouts is free.

5. Exercise TV
Watch various workout videos all for free! You can also sign up (& pay for) access to more videos.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

I.D. Yourself

You are out there hiking, biking, rowing, walking. Feeling the sun, rain, wind, snow in your face. But what happens if (god forbid) something happened to you? Would anyone know who you were? Or about your medical condition?

Well, then you need a RoadID. It's a stainless steel ID that is engraved with your contact info and then attached to a bracelet or shoe tag. Pictures here.

(Gosh, this sounds like a commercial.)

I've had mine for over 7 years now, and I love it. It's inexpensive, it makes me feel safer, and it lets me leave my driver's license at home.

Please consider getting one for yourself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do the Math

So, I've been exercising and eating consciously for 5 months. Yes, it's nice that I am now a size 12, yes it's nice to fit in my wedding dress again, yes, it's nice to day dream about buying a bikini. But none of that is really important. What is? The fact that I am actually healthier.

Because I am a Type 1 Diabetic, there are stringent cholesterol numbers I am supposed to aim for.

So, in the past 5 months, my total cholesterol has dropped 37 points, my HDL has gone up 6 (this is a good thing), and my LDL has gone down 19 points. My numbers are now all below (or in the case of HDL) higher than the targets. This means I have reduced my heart attack risk. And according to the Living to 100 life expectancy calculator, I am going to live to 97. (That's a lot of years to wear bikinis.)

Yay me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tell the Truth

From time to time, I get requests from companies to try their products and then blog about it. I usually pass, because I wouldn't normally use the item they are hawking, and I don't want to be beholden to anyone (but myself). So when Katie Lewis of Rocket XL contacted me about Vaseline's new Sheer Infusion with Stratys 3 body lotion, I was going to say, "No Thank You." But then I realized that I was almost out of the current lotion I bought at Costco 6 years ago (I'm not even kidding). Katie assured me that Vaseline was only interested in brutally honest reviews of their product. So I said yes.

Here I go...

Vaseline Sheer Infusion Body Lotion with Stratys 3

Design: Beautifully designed, with one of my favorite (and so A.R.) things being that the stripe behind the type of lotion, e.g Mineral Renewal, matches the stripe on the cap of the bottle. The bottle also has a nice curve to it.

Packaging: No excess packaging, and in a HDPE 2 bottle with a screw on top which I will easily be able to recycle.(These are things I look for when shopping.) The flip top works well and the bottle fits nicely in my hand.

Feel:It's a medium weight, white cream that quickly absorbs in to the skin. I can put clothes on immediately without any problem.

They are definitely fragrant. (Not something I'm used to.) I like the scent of Botanical Blend the best.

Price Point:
At 6.5 fl oz. I would guess that they would retail at $8.00. And amazingly enough, they retail at $7.99. But you can get them for even less with this coupon!

Ingredients: The first ingredient, and therefore the majority of this product is water. Stratys 3 is not an ingredient (like I originally thought), but rather three seperate moisturizing ingredients that work together. It also contains methylparaben and propylparaben, so if you are avoiding parabens, you will want to skip this product.

Does it work? Short term I would say Yes. I will need to use them for a longer period of time to really know if there is a difference in my skin.

Would I buy it?
If I saw the lotion on the shelf (and needed lotion), at the price of $8, I would probably buy it.

But time will tell the ultimate truth.

All images used with permission.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pass On Your Prose

When I packed books for our honeymoon in Europe, I vastly underestimated how many I would need. After plowing through all of them in the first week, I was craving books, and craving English.

When we got to Hotel Reutemann in Lindau, Germany, we asked the concierge if they had a book exchange area. He pointed to a wooden chest behind us. And in it I found Margaret Atwood's, The Handmaid's Tale, IN ENGLISH!

I snacked that book up so quickly!

It was the only book in English I had for the next two weeks. The other hotel's book exchanges were empty.

So when we went to the Czech Republic 5 years ago, I bought 12 used books, and shipped 3/4 of them ahead to my mother-in-law's house. I read them all and left them with her, for her to read, and for her to give to others that wanted to practice their English.

So, with Martin and I going to Washington D.C. soon, I'm planning another trip to the used book store. I never feel comfortable taking library books with me, and I like leaving the books behind for others.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Luxe Your Life

There have only been 2 times in my life when my body has changed drastically in a short span of time. The first being puberty, and the second when I was 14 and lost 20 lbs in a span of 4 weeks (and was subsequently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes).

So, with no plans on ever getting pregnant, I figured my body would pretty much stay the same for the rest of my life. As you know, I have been exercising a lot and there have certainly been changes in my body from that, but I never thought that something as fundamental as a bra size would change. Even as my bra kept popping off every time I raised my hand, even as the straps kept falling down no matter how many times I tightened them, it didn't occur to me that perhaps something had changed. I just blamed the bras.

Finally, I cried mercy and headed over to Nordstrom's for an intervention. I was professionally fitted. The attendant then brought me 30 different bras to try but I just stood there in shock.

After being an "average" size all my life, somehow I had transformed in to something that required the word double. I eventually recovered my composure and quickly fell in love with some garments from Betsey Johnson (who happens to be from my hometown). They were only about $20 more than my usual brand, and are much better constructed.

So I'm slowly turning into a lady who only buys fine things.

But really, what do else would you expect from a girl who had a silken baby blanket?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Make It A Habit

I am utterly and fabulously addicted to exercising. It's only been 3 months, but it has gotten to a point where I actually crave it. It has taken me a few tries to find the best time, the right frequency, and the right mix of exercise, but I've found it.

How do I know it's become a habit? Martin and I are going on vacation to Washington D.C. soon and I am packing exercise clothes and my MP3 player. That is a first for me. (I've also already scoped out the hotel gym.) My plan is to bang out 30 minutes on the treadmill before breakfast and then head out for a day of exploring D.C. on foot.

If you do it right, exercise is hard. But if you do it for the right reasons, it is truly worth it.

Keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rest In Peace

On Saturday, my neighbor, Francis ("Frank") Reagan died. He had been ill for a while, so when I glanced over at his yard on Saturday, and saw that his flag was at half staff, I knew we had lost him.
(A neighbor later confirmed.)

Frank had an incredibly generous spirit. He was always plying us with tomatoes, cucumbers, and one summer, pounds and pounds of plums. We would often come home to a bag of tomatoes hanging on the door knob. (Once he hung it on the handle of the garage door and we almost accidentally made tomato sauce.)

We often talked politics and when he learned of my own interest, he started dropping off his New Yorker Magazines. They were dotted with his finger prints, hi-lighted passages and notes in the margins.

Over the years he told me about what it had been like to live in the area. How the place where my house stood used to be a community garden, and about how he planted the first plants in my yard when they built the house.

Although Frank was always quick to say "Howdy, Neighbor", his wife, never acknowledges me. (So I just let her be.) I was delighted the day Frank told me how much she enjoyed the scent of my lavender wafting through her kitchen.

Since we moved in I have seen the ambulance come for Frank at least four times. And each time, he would come back, a little worse for wear, but happy to continue on with life.

Frank will live on, in the plants he planted in my yard over 10 years ago that continue to disrupt my own plants, no matter what I do. In the fact that I remember the name of the nearby elementary school, Franklin, because his name is in it.
And in the fact that when me moved here, to a new state, a new city, he showed me what a neighbor was. And that made me feel at home.

Here is his obituary.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Keep It Clean

We humans make things really dirty. One might even say that our biggest contribution to the earth is grime. That being said, some see a reason to play in that dirt. Fast Company just did a wonderful story on Paul Curtis aka Moose, and how he transforms dirty tunnels and walls in to art, using just stencils, water, and brushes.

His art is full of looping, organic forms all set with a backdrop of dirt and grime.

The most powerful image from the article for me, however, was not the photos (although they are wonderful) but the thought that in only a few weeks, the art would be reclaimed by grime and no longer visible.

What a waste.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Be Blatant

Yesterday I attended the Northwest Environmental Business Council's Climate Change: Positioning Your Business conference in Portland, OR. Simply put, it was wonderful. But the high point was attending The ROI of Carbon Management session put on by Virinder Singh of Hat Trick Energy & Environmental Consulting, Sanjay Kapoor of s2 (S squared) Sustainability Consulting, Brad Ouderkirk of Ecos Consulting, Alan Zelenka of Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, and Kevin Wilhelm of Sustainable Business Consulting, and author of Return on Sustainability.

While it was certainly informative and fascinating, I got the biggest kick when they described what they do. Because, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING. I was so excited, I found myself almost tipping over the table I was sitting at. I wanted to ask them the best way to get noticed by a firm such as theirs (in the current climate) but I felt it was off topic.

But don't worry I have a plan.

Until then, let me take the time to be as blatant as possible.

I want to work at a sustainability consulting/eco-efficiency firm in the Pacific Northwest area. I want to help businesses save money, energy and time by helping them with GHG/Efficiency audits, strategic planning and reporting.

And if I don't get hired soon, I may start creating fictional companies, just so I can run audits on them. Yes, I am that obsessed with efficiency.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Be Consistent

I would say I've had very good luck with the Chiropractor. Everything she has done has helped, and on her insistence of an x-ray, we learned how close I am to being able to star in a Carnival Freak Show!

My only problem is with one of the exam rooms. Exam room #2 to be exact. The room itself is fine. Not enormous, but big enough for both of us. The problem is the wall. Someone very thoughtfully painted some inspiring words on the wall.




Yep, that's right, STRENGTH, not STRENGTHEN and it drives me crazy. I haven't spoken up yet because I'm afraid the doctor will think I'm more of a nut that she probably already thinks I am.

But one of these days I may just smuggle in a paintbrush and some paint and fix it.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So I've adjusted pretty well to the news that I have an extra lumbar vertebra. (It's been almost 68 minutes.) I'm zipping back and forth between thinking that Mother Nature is a tricky lady, and composing new slogans for bumper stickers/t-shirts:

My spine can kick your spine's butt!

My backbone is better than your backbone and I've got the X-ray to prove it.

My brother asked me how I was feeling, I told him that it felt like a rug had been whipped out from under me (again). But that it made a lot of sense and that I was happy to know what has been going on all these years.

Sometimes I think that evolution is neat and that the human body is amazing. But sometimes I think that Mother Nature gave me an extra back bone on purpose. That somehow she knew I would be a tender soul and that I would need the extra support.

Either way, there is still no way in hell I am ever going to see the Body Worlds exhibit.

(Although I do expect them to call any day now. I'm sure they don't have a Type 1 Diabetic with an extra lumbar vertebra yet!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Get To the Root of the Problem

"Alrighty, let's look at these X-Rays" my lovely chiropractor says. "Hmmm, that's weird. Have you ever broken your back?"

"No," I said, "I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that."

"Ok, but something here isn't quite right." She pulled off the x-ray and popped up another. "Oh, I see, you have an extra lumbar vertebra. It's rare, but it certainly happens."

Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaa? I thought to myself, swallowing hard. "An extra what?" I squeaked.

"Let's get some better X-rays done of you, but I'm pretty sure you have an extra lumbar vertebra."

And in my shocked, scared (and trying so hard to hide it) classic Lia way I then said, "I hope this doesn't mean you are going to start charging me more. You know, since I have more bones than everyone else." And she laughed. (Which helped me keep from crying in front of her.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Make Concessions

In a social situation, when someone learns that I am diabetic, the first words out of their mouth are usually, "Are you supposed to eat that?"

Don't do that. It's not helpful and it just makes me want to punch you in the solar plexus.

All diabetics (Type 1, Type 2, Type 1.5, Gestational) can eat any kind of food they want. The trick is to know how many carbohydrates are in what you are eating, and to plan your insulin accordingly. HOWEVER, there are certain foods that frankly, will screw you and your blood sugar up for hours. Two of these include pizza and baked goods.

Pizza, with its evil, cheesy, crusty, goodness can make your blood sugar drop initially (the fat keeps the carbohydrates from being absorbed) and then shoot your blood sugars sky high for hours afterwards. It's so tricky to deal with, insulin pumps have a special setting called extended bolus, square wave bolus, etc., just to try and master it. (But we all just call it the pizza bolus.)

I don't eat dessert regularly, but when I'm at a friend's for dinner, and they've made a lovely dessert, I usually want to have some. Because I haven't a clue about the carbohydrate amount, the initial yumminess is usually followed by hours and hours of nutty blood sugars (that often keep me up all night long). So the last time this happened, I decided I'd had enough.

No more dessert at night.

(I'll just take it home and have it during the day.)

I was going to swear off pizza altogether, but then my lovely husband pointed out that if I only had pizza at lunch (and did a better job of carbohydrate counting), I'd have all day to manage the blood sugars.

So, like I said, diabetics can eat whatever they want. But it's smart to eat it at the right time.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Know What Your Time Is Worth

I now exercise about 6.5 hours a week. An hour each weekday morning, plus an hour walk with a friend and another 30 minute walk with another friend. We all have 24 hours in a day, and I believe we should use them to our benefit. So, for your enjoyment, things I am happy to skip in order to exercise:

1. Watching TV
2. Surfing the Internet
3. Checking Twitter
4. Stressing out about stuff
5. Talking on the phone
6. Sleeping late
7. Fancy and elaborate outfits/make-up application
8. Hanging out at happy hour/drinking beers for hours.
9. Hanging out at coffee shops for hours.

How about you? Is there something you can give up in order to get moving?

I promise you that it will be worth it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Know Your Goal

Yesterday, I met with my trainer, Kara Carlson, of Northwest Personal Training for the 2nd (official) time. I'd been working hard for the last 4 weeks, even when I was in pain (non-exercise related). My clothes were getting too big, I could both feel and see myself getting smaller, so I was not at all concerned when the scale showed no weight difference from last month. Kara did the measurements of my body, and reported that I had lost from 1/2 to 1 inch everywhere she measured (and she measures lots of places). That I had reduced my body fat by 2%, and that my blood pressure and pulse rate had all gone down. All good news.

I think she worried that I would be discouraged that I hadn't met my goal weight for the month, but I was not. My true goal is to make exercise a daily habit, and in that arena I have succeeded with flying colors. Even when I wasn't feeling well, I made myself get up and exercise. It's become addictive, it's become a craving. It is part of me now and I never want to let it go.

So today, per Kara's suggestions I increased my outdoor walking routine from 30 minutes to a full 60. As I hit my second loop of the hill, my glutes were burning, my heart was pounding and I thought to myself. "This is really fucking hard."

But for that hour I felt strong, I felt energized and I felt alive.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Laugh At The Labels

The business world is full of acronyms and phrases and lots of them make no sense. Years ago, I thought an elevator speech was called an elevator speech because the networking group I was in made you stand up when you did it.

When I heard about a SCRUM, my first thought went to rugby. Not a bad guess, since that is exactly where the term is "stolen" from.

And until recently, I misunderstood the phrase (about motivation): carrot and stick. I pictured a carrot tied to the stick, and placed just out of reach of the person, in order to urge them to move ahead. When it fact, it means to reward the good behavior (yum! carrot!) and punish (fwap! ouch!) the bad.

I think I misunderstood the carrot and stick idiom because I believe that if you praise the good behavior, offer helpful comments, have a clear vision for your team, and work hard, the punishment phase is not needed.

So, go ahead and laugh at all the labels that have been created to help our companies (the consultants and authors that keep making them up sure are. all the way to the bank in fact.) Just remember to treat others the way that you want to be treated. Nothing else really matters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Consider Your Entire Environment

A few weeks back, I had to head in to Portland, OR at night to attend Green Drinks (a green networking event). Normally I try to group my Portland visits together, but in this case I only had one event to go to. I had a few options on how to get to Portland. I could drive my compact car a mere 15 minutes, park outside Ecotrust (look Spencer, it's one word!) and then drive home after the event. Or I could drive 5 minutes to the MAX (subway) station, take a 30 minute trip to downtown Portland, then take the Portland Streetcar another 20 minutes to the stop near Ecotrust.

Now granted, I'd love to not put another car on the road, but Vancouver, Portland, you are not making this easy for me! In fact, you are actually making it harder for me to take public transportation. And since I am currently reading Fight Back: Arm Yourself with Mental and Physical Self-Defense by Dominick DiVito, I was also very aware of another environment: my physical one.

If I parked at the park and ride at the MAX station, because of the time, I would probably have to park at the overflow parking lot. And while lit, it is across a busy street from the MAX station and is not patrolled. Not really a place I want to be by myself at 9pm at night.

So I drove in to Portland. And felt with every thread of my being that yes, I did the best thing possible for the environment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

See It Through To The End

A few summers ago, Martin and I decided to watch Richard Wagner's The Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen). Our library had the complete set of the Metropolitan Opera's performance. So we watched it. All 7 discs. All 14 1/2 hours of it. (Not all at once of course.)

It was a wonderful experience. I hadn't heard that much German since my honeymoon (only this had subtitles!!!), and I finally understood what Valhala meant. I enjoyed making Martin sick by saying, "Hey! I know this music. It's from that Pork commercial! (or) It's from that Bugs Bunny sketch!" And of course, I enjoyed using the word "Fafner" in a fun new way. (Sorry, but what happens on the racquetball court, stays on the racquetball court.)

So this summer, it's Bond. James Bond. All 22 of them. It's been truly fascinating to watch Bond evolve. We've learned a lot along the way. For instance, James Bond actually gets married (albeit quite briefly). Although, I've seen enough women saying, "Oh, James" to last a lifetime, and I'm kind of sick of shark tanks, it's been a great run. Plus, I realized that the bathing suit that Daniel Craig wears in Casino Royale

Oh, sorry. Got distracted there for a minute....

Right, so the shorts that DC wears are almost identical to the ones that Sean Connery wears in Thunderball. (Sorry, couldn't find a picture.)

I'm not sure what we will do next summer, I think we are running out of outrageously long series to watch on DVD. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Know Your Limit

Some might say that I like Kashi's food a little too much (but that's just because he wants more of the cookies). I can't help it if I love their TLC: Stoneground 7 Grain party crackers and their TLC: Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies. And the fact that they are based in La Jolla, CA, hometown of some of my family, and the town next to where I used to live, sure doesn't hurt.

But apparently I do draw a line. I went online to see if I could find coupons for Kashi and I found that Kashi has it's own online community. Um, ok. I guess I should applaud them for trying to expand their market, drawing in users, and making what really is just a series of ads, in to a social networking site. But I'm not signing up for anything just to get a few coupons.

So, Kashi community, you go ahead, spend your time answering quizzes, and learning about boosting calcium.

I'm gonna go take my cookie and sit outside.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Immerse Yourself

Ok, to be fair, if I heard that someone read 18 books on a particular subject, I might think they were a bit obsessed. But since, that someone is ME, I will say that rather than obsessed, I am a voracious researcher. (Yeah, I like that!)

So yes, I've read 18 books about sustainability consulting, eco-efficiency, green living, etc. I've learned a lot, and I'm also astounded at the number of books on the market in this genre. I keep reading them, but I keep finding more. As with most books, I get them from the library. And whatever books I request, that can't be found either at my library or through interlibrary loan, the library ends up buying. So now, the Fort Vancouver Washington Library system has quite an extensive green collection. (You are welcome.)

The problem with reading 18 books about a particular subject is that you tend to read the same thing over and over. But I soldier on (and heavily skim) because I like hearing different voices talk about the same subject. And sometimes they disagree (I like that the best!).

So, I have to go now. There are two books waiting for me on the bedside table, and 2 more being held for me at the library. Must. Continue. On.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Be An Attention Whore. (Or Not.)

As you know, I joined an online DVD swapping service called SwapADVD. Since I had some extra credits, and since I was curious, I ordered Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease.

I knew that the DVD had zero aerobic attributes, I wanted to see the striptease part. I find Carmen Electra intoxicating at times, and I wanted to see if I could learn anything useful from her. And by god, I did.

Five Things I Learned From Carmen Electra
Subtitled: How To Make Sure Everyone Looks At You, You, You, All the Time.

1. Hi-light your favorite body parts with your clothing.

It's hard to ignore breasts that are clothed in a white top with a black mesh top very tightly layered over.

2. Put Your Hands Where You Want People To Look

She constantly moves her hands: in her hair, along the curves of her body, constantly, constantly, almost frantically moving them.

3. Need More Attention? Make Some Noise.
She makes you slap your butt at least 3,000 times in the video. At first, I was very annoyed by this but then realized that the noise immediately draws your attention.

4. Always Have A Plan
Everything she does, is choreographed. If she gets on the floor, she has a graceful way to get up. The only problem is, that once you realize this, she starts to resemble a really boring robot.

5. Music Makes It Complete
Watching the routines without the music is excruciating, and not just because she makes you do the routines over, and over,and over. Once the music is added, it becomes much more lifelike and convincing.

While I did learn some things from the DVD (gotta make everything edu-macational), I have no interest in pursuing them. So, I put the DVD back up on SwapADvd and someone has already requested it.

So, Jennifer C., good luck. I hope that Carmen doesn't bore you as much as she did me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strong Is Sexy

Today was my first official workout day with my trainer, Kara Carlson. This time, Northwest Personal Training was full of people, and although I was initially worried I might not be able to hear Kara's directions with the other 10 or so people working out, it wasn't a problem.

We started with measurements. She measured me in places, no one has measured me before. But hey, the more measurements, the more information you have, and information is a great thing. She (very nicely) commented that she was surprised that my body fat was as high as it was. I said, "It's the height. That's been my problem. I used to tell myself that it's Ok that I weigh this much, I'm tall."

I don't care that I am currently on the border of obese. I know things are changing. I bought a new dress the other day, size MEDIUM, I keep finding "divots" on my body where I've lost fat, and Martin commented the other day that there seemed to be less of me. So I know I am on the right track. Oh, and I feel fabulous.

As she measured me, I was able to show her my insulin pump and insulin pump site and I'm sure she was surprised with how small and fancy it looks. I hope that dispelled any worries she might have.

Soon enough, we headed out to the floor and started the routine. Since I know that I need to actually fatigue my muscles in order to make progress, I agreed to up my weights. Turns out I can lift 12 lbs (when I thought I could only lift 8) per arm. That felt pretty awesome.

I've never had someone be with me before, so it was lovely for her to hand me the weights, hold parts of me that needed to be stabilized, and to check and offer suggestions for correcting my form. It left me free to just focus on lifting and breathing.

Later on we did some core work and I was delighted to find out that the exercise she had chosen for me was too easy. She quickly corrected that. But it felt great to feel so strong!

Strangely enough, one of the best parts of the workout was when she helped me stretch. She pushed, pulled, and put her body weight on parts of me that I simply can't do myself. That felt great.

Because I had skipped the aerobic part of my workout this morning, due to the record heat, they let me jump on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It was boring (I hadn't brought my music) but it was fabulous to workout in the air conditioned comfort.

So, I have my exercises (complete with explanations and graphics) to follow for the next four weeks. Because Kara is evil (in a good way) she wants me to up my set each week.

This should be very interesting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Learn From Trash

Last week, I read Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage and was privileged enough to join the Green Drinks, Vancouver, WA affiliate on a tour of the Waste Connections West Van Materials Transfer Station located in Vancouver, WA., led by Terra Heilman, Waste Reduction Coordinator.

There was a lot to see, and a lot to digest, but I have come up with the 5 most important things I learned from both the book and the tour.

Safety First!

1) Create Less Waste

I include recycling in this, because the definition of waste is something you pay for twice. Once when you bought it, and once when you paid someone else to get rid of it. Choose items with less packaging, compost anything you possibly can, borrow items from friends, and stop buying so much stuff.

Truck moving co-mingled recycling (from businesses).

2) Know Where Your Waste Goes

Things don't just disappear when you put them out by the curb. It's both fascinating and enlightening to know where it goes. For example, my trash gets compacted and barged out to a landfill in Oregon, where it will sit for years and years. Why should I care? Because we will eventually run out of landfill space. Then what?

3) It's Only Recyclable If There Is A Buyer For It

Each recycling facility recycles different items depending on what kind of buyers they have. My transfer station can recycle milk and Tetra-Pak cartons because there happens to be a plant nearby. If you fill your recycling bin with things that aren't authorized, they will just take the long trip to the landfill. Avoid buying products made of items that can't be recycled locally.

Sorted Recyclables

4) Spend Time Wisely

Rather than complaining, or harassing your recycling station about how they don't recycle every darn thing you buy, spend time encouraging your neighbors to recycle. I know it's frustrating that innovation hasn't kept up with our ideals, but we need to deal with it realistically.

5) Don't Put Plastic Bags In Your Recycling Container

Plastic bags gum up the sorters, and then everything has to be stopped in order to cut the bags free. This is a huge waste of time and money. Put the plastic bags in the trash, or better yet, don't use plastic bags at all.

Teeth On the Brand New-Yet To Be Installed-Sorter.

Itching to take a tour of your own waste facility? Try calling the number on your monthly bill and asking. You are welcome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

As you know, my trainer, Kara Carlson, wants me drinking 3 Liters of water a day. And since, sometimes, I do what people suggest, I am trying my best to do it.

So of course, I created a system to track my water intake. Kara wants me drinking 3 Liters, which equals 4 refills of my water bottle. (Yes, I measured.) Now, some people track how many bottles they drink by putting the target number of rubber bands (e.g. four) on their bottle, and then shifting a band down the bottle with each fill up. I tried that. It looked messy. (Even when I made my rubber bands into a lovely colored pattern.) So I came up with something even better.

I took a cling (those things PBS, The Sierra Club, etc. send you in the mail to try and get you to join) and snipped it into a small square. Then I put a number: 1,2,3,or 4 on each side of the square in Sharpie. So I start the morning with the 1 right side up, and each time I re-fill the bottle, I turn the square to the next number. It's worked like a charm, and doesn't make the bottle look crazy. It's also easily transferred to the other identical water bottle I have.

Now, if I could only fix my new habit of going to the bathroom every hour!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Find Your Motivation

I am not what you would call a morning person.

I skipped make-up and fancy hair dos in High School so that I could get more sleep in the morning. So when I woke up this morning at 6:30 am (Quick- someone catch my mother before she faints from the shock.) my pep talk to get up and exercise did not include anything about how these past 7 weeks of exercising makes me feels great, how I am losing weight, reducing insulin intake (this is a good thing), and building strength. I didn't even summon the image of my lovely personal trainer, Kara, telling me that I could do it. Nope. What got me out of bed? I told myself I could take a nap later on today.

So, if you'll excuse me. I've got a promise to keep.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bust Through Your Comfort Zone

I've always secretly wanted a personal trainer. I wanted someone that could focus on me, tell me what I should be doing (exercise wise), but it's always felt so extravagant that I've never looked in to it. (I also had enough of being yelled at from playing field hockey in high school.)

So last week, I finally decided to step up. After spending some time figuring out exactly what I wanted. I went to Northwest Personal Training's website. The gym is quite close to my house, and I always see their trainers walking around Downtown Vancouver. Northwest Personal Training was offering a free week of classes or a free hour with a personal trainer, so I signed up online.

Days later, I arrived at my appointment early, and was able to peruse the club. It had an intimate feel, but was packed with equipment. It's divided in to: weight room, group exercise room, and then locker rooms. I was pleasantly surprised to see full size hairdryers, fluffy towels, and hair products a plenty in the Woman's locker room (I think I just might move in.) They even provide free locks & keys to borrow so you can lock your stuff up.

Then I met my trainer, Kara Carlson. Smart, funny, and beautiful, we hit it off right away. How could we not? She told me that she had read my blog for research! We went over the paperwork I had filled out prior, talked about my desire to not be yelled at, and my tendency to talk back (I blame the exercise instructors on my DVDs.) and then hit the gym for some tests.

She noted that my left shoulder was much higher than my right, and told me about the wonders of massage therapy, and suggested I get one STAT. (That's when I decided she was my new bestest friend.)

I won't bore you with reports of my spectacular form, but I will tell you what she had me start implementing.

1) Increase water consumption to 3 Liters a day.
2) Adding another cardio/weight lifting session to my weekly routine.
3) Upping the intensity of my cardio session.

I came away from the session with Kara extremely pumped and excited. I see her again next week, to get my official exercise plan and I'm giddy with anticipation!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Suck It Up

This is Sarah Reinertsen

She is, among other things, the only female amputee to have finished the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.

This is
Melissa Stockwell

She is the first female U.S. soldier amputee of the Iraq War, a marathon runner, and a record setting U.S. Paralympic Swimmer.

This is Aimee Mullens

She is a U.S. Paralympic athlete, model, and actress.

So, please tell me again. What's your excuse for not exercising?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pay Less Dough For Your Bread

My husband has been eating the same kind of bread for about 10 years now: Oroweat's Master's Best Winter Wheat. He is picky when it comes to bread, it can't be too bready, can't be too tough, and Winter Wheat has fit the bill.

And I love Oroweat's english muffins, I switch off between the Flax and the Double Fiber. So when I got a coupon in the mail that told me there was an Oroweat Outlet in Town, I did a little happy dance.

Located at 618 Grand Avenue in Vancouver, WA 98661 and directly across the street from the Washington School for the Blind, lies a building that must have once been a gas station. I figured it was a new place, but the cashier told me they have been there for 40 years.

At Fred Meyer's (local supermarket) Oroweat Winter Wheat costs $4.29
at the outlet it cost $2.39.

So I bought two of each of the bread and the muffins, used my buy one get one free coupon, got my *NEW* frequent customer card stamped AND because I spent $6, I got ANOTHER free thing of bread (Whole Wheat hamburger rolls-which we eat all the time).

Now, it certainly doesn't make sense to take a trip to the outlet in addition to the supermarket each week, but by buying a bunch, and freezing it, I am set for quite awhile.

This location also has products from Bob's Red Mill, Entenmann's, Boboli, and Thomas (to name a few).

I do realize that not everyone lives in Vancouver, WA, so I urge you to try and locate an outlet near you.

Just remember that it's not a good deal if a) you weren't going to buy it anyway and 2) it goes bad.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hit the Trail with Kids In Tow

It's summer, the weather is beautiful and days seem to stretch on forever.
REI wants to help you and your kiddos get out and enjoy nature with their Passport To Adventure program. REI lists 5 hiking and biking trails in your area, gives you directions, and a description of what the trip will be like. You can download and print out the passport for your kiddo, and get it stamped after each trip (you have to go to the store for this). Three stamps earns them a prize and a certificate.

Don't have a REI store nearby? Print out the passport anyway, find local hikes yourself, and come up with your own stamp/reward system for the kids. And while you are at it, make one for yourself!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keep Your Eyes Open

Last night July 4th, 2009 the neighborhood fireworks started around 9 pm. Because setting off fireworks is legal in Vancouver, WA *sigh* people had been setting them off every night for a few days. Much to my delight, it hadn't been that bad. Both Martin and I were able to actually sleep and function this week.

But last night, it was loud. So loud that I couldn't sleep. So I went upstairs with my laptop to try and distract myself while people blew up their hard earned money (for no good reason). I got about 15 minutes in to Burn Notice (TV show) when fireworks went off diagonally across the street from my house. There were a bunch of teenagers, lighting them off in the middle of our not very wide street. I could hear the clink of glass bottles, and the sound of more being opened with a bottle opener.

After the first one went off, I considered closing the window, but when they lit the second one, it fell over somehow and I saw it sending sparks up the street in all directions, towards various parked cars. It even caught another neighbor's law on fire in two spots. One of the girls screamed and ran over and patted out the fire with her hands. At this point the whole street filled with smoke.

I decided (since these are the same neighbors that lit our backyard on fire from their fireworks two years ago) to go sit outside. So I turned on the front lights, walked outside and around back to get the hose. I dragged it to the front of the house and hooked it up. At this point the teenagers scrambled behind a white mini-van parked in the driveway, trying to hid behind it. What they didn't realize was that 1) glass is see-through and 2) they were standing directly beneath a street lamp.

The street was littered with little weights w/ parachutes (I guess they are what popped out of the fireworks). So I grabbed a chair, pointed in their direction, sat down in my driveway and kept watching my show. After about 10 minutes, they finally stopped hiding and one of them smashed a glass bottle in the street in front of their house and they all went inside.

10 minutes later two girls walked out of the house and hopped in a blue/green hatch back car and drove away (in the direction opposite from me). About 20 minutes after that 3-4 guys walked out of the house and got in to the white minivan (I had already made a mental note of what kind of car it was). They sat in the car for about 2 minutes, as if deciding something, and then revved the engine. Then they pulled out of the driveway and started driving towards me (it would have been easier and quicker if they had driven the opposite direction-away from me). They slowed a little bit as they passed by, then sped up to my neighbor's yard waste container, which was sitting at the curb about 15 feet away from me.

The driver yelled and then shoved the yard waste container over with his hands and peeled off down the street. I'm 100% sure he thought it was my container and was pissed that I had ruined his fun and wanted to a) show off and b) vent some anger.

But what he didn't realize is that he was right beneath another street lamp and I could see his license plate perfectly.

When I woke up this morning, most of the fireworks mess had been cleaned up, but the container was still knocked over.

I'm glad the mess was cleaned up, but it still bothers me that that boy both a) felt the need to get back at me for sitting on my driveway and b) was willing to do it in front of me.

If he is capable of this when he knows someone is watching, what is he going to do when no one is watching?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Swap That DVD

My husband and I own a whopping 12 DVDs. 8 of which are workout DVDs and 4 of those, I don't really use anymore. Rather than leaving them to collect dust, and because I'd love to get some new ones without paying much for them I looked in to swapping them.

My first stop was Swaptree, a place where you can swap DVDs, books, CDs, and video games. I played with the demo, but was disappointed that I couldn't actually search through the current listings. But because I could swap various items, not just DVDs, I signed up. Once I signed up, I searched through the listings and saw that Swaptree had hardly any workout DVDs, and none that I wanted.

Also, after investigating, I realized I don't have excess books or games to swap, so I moved over to SwapADVD.

Here, you can actually search the listings first and I found many more exercise DVDs, so I signed up.

Upon entering my DVDs, I was notified that two of them were already on some one's list, and was asked if could send them in the next two days. So I printed out the shipping "envelopes" and will mail them today. Because I only had 4 DVDs (if you enter 10 you get an automatic credit) I will have to wait for my sent DVDs to be received before I am eligible to get any myself, but I'm O.K. with that.

All in all, I think that swapping DVDs is a great idea, and I pick SwapADVD as my favorite swapping service.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cap It Off

In August, I started collecting caps for my "Great Aveda Experiment". They claimed on their website they they would happily take rigid plastic caps from soda bottles, water bottles, etc. (Full description: here.)

So I started collecting them. And collecting them. And collecting them. Last week, I finally had the gallon bag filled to the top. (It weighed 768g. The gum package is for scale.)

So I headed off to our local Aveda, Vata Salon, at the Vancouver Mall, in Vancouver, WA. I had to go there anyway. Two birds with one stone and all that.

I really wasn't sure what would happen. I had tried to call ahead to see if they participated in the program, but all I got was an answering machine. I was prepared to be laughed out of the store.

When I asked the man (with the perfectly spiked hair) if they participated in the Aveda Recycle Caps program. He said, "Oh yes, of course! People drop things off all the time." So I handed over my gallon bag of caps and exited the store. I checked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't just dumping my bag in to the trash, but he was working away at the computer.

So, will I continue to collect tops? Hell yeah. That was easy!

Note to Aveda: if I had earned some sort of coupon or % off for bringing in tops, I would have lingered a bit in the store, instead of booking out of there. Just saying.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If You Can't See It You Won't Wear It

A few months ago, I decided to tackle my closest. While it was certainly organized, it wasn't yet super-organized. So I did a little experiment to see how truly anal I am. First, I started with my shoes. I went through all the pairs. Decided which should stay, which should go, and then snapped a pic, printed it out, and slapped it on the box. The result:

Then I went through my clothes, weeded out things I never wear, and thought it would be a kick to hang everything by color! I'd only done this once before, when I was killing time waiting for my boyfriend to arrive from the airport.

So, I figured, I'd give it another go.

I know it seems crazy, but it's actually been a great way to have my clothes organized. I can see them better, and I'm more likely to wear some color, and not just black, black, black.

No, I won't come over and do your closet. I'm still worn out from doing mine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Go, but Go Loco

The commute. Something I have been able to avoid for years, but with my new job search going on, something I will probably be facing very soon. While I'd love to be able to walk or bus to work, it probably just isn't gonna happen. Enter Goloco.

The brainchild of Robin Chase, founder of ZipCar, Goloco is like carpooling on steroids. You can use it for daily office commutes, finding out what your friends are up to, and hopping a ride to the nearest big city. It's free and it's adorable and I plan on using it once I know exactly where I will be heading each morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Play's The Thing

For the last few years, Martin and I have been enjoying free Shakespeare performances put on by the Portland (Oregon) Actors Ensemble. They perform outdoors, in various parks around the city.

A few weeks ago, we watched a truly creepy (in a good way!) performance of King Lear. It was performed in Cathedral Park, under the St. John's Bridge.

They have more performances coming up, and we highly suggest you grab a picnic, some chairs, and a blanket and join us for one of Portland's most wonderful summer traditions!

Don't live near Portland, Oregon? Go to Play Shakespeare and look through the links for your country and town. You are sure to find something close by! Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speak Up For What You Want: Part 2

I recently contacted various magazine companies asking them to consider using recycled paper and these are the responses I got:

I'm not surprised with their responses, and I truly appreciate that they responded. What I'd really love to see, is a price quote for using virgin paper vs. recycled paper. Not that the magazines have to prove anything to me, I'm just truly fascinated and perplexed.

Body + Soul, Fast Company, Shape, Ready Made, Ms. Magazine, and others can swing it, why not Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine?

I consider Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine vital resources for learning about cutting edge businesses, and strategies for tackling business issues, how can it be that they can't tackle this one?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Speak Up For What You Want: Part 1

I was watching PBS recently (we don't have cable, so I tend to watch PBS a lot!) and saw a documentary about faith and environmentalism. One of the snippets involved an activist group that was trying to get major magazines (National Geographic, The New Yorker, etc.) to switch from using virgin trees, to using recycled paper. This idea intrigued me, and I've been checking every magazine I see now for either the FSC Recycled logo

Or a note on the title page inside stating that the magazine is printed on recycled paper (any % will do).

Of the 4 I subscribe to, only 1, Fast Company, uses 100% recycled paper. If any magazine thinks that using recycled paper will take away the quality and luster of their magazine, all they need to do is pick up a copy of Fast Company. It has a great look, and a lovely feel. (Plus, great articles!)

So, I decided to get vocal. Rather than just sending an email that will only be viewed by one or two people, I decided to also ask the magazine companies, via Twitter, if they would consider switching to recycled paper.

So, I tweeted to:

USAA (It's the magazine sent out by the banking/insurance company) @usaa_news
Entrepreneur Magazine, @EntMagazineAmy,
Inc., @IncMagazine,

My next post will show the results.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Feel Good About Ditching Your Old Phone

The new iPhone 3GS release date was announced today, and Twitter is ablaze with people lusting after it. While I don't understand the need to have the newest shiny object out there, I'm not here to judge (well, not today anyway).

I'm here to inspire you to recycle your old phone, rather than just letting it gather dust.

5 Ways To Sell/Recycle Your Old Phone:

Send any brand of phone to Apple for free recycling (they also take iPods).

Sell your old/broken phone (plus other electronics) to

Donate/recycle it with ExPhone.

Sell your phone to GreenPhone and they will also plant a tree.

Or, pop your Zip Code and "Cell phone" into the handy search function at and find a place nearby where you can drop off your phone.

Don't forget to recycle the original packaging that came with the old phone.

Enjoy the new one until the next model comes along, then repeat.

Image courtesy of William Hook and used under the Creative Commons License

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Ok To Skim

I've been reading lots of books about food in the United States and I thought I'd give you a whiz-bang snippet of what I've read.

What To Eat, Marion Nestle

Granted, I read this book about 2 years ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy. What I do recall: its an enormous book (the hardcover is 9.3 x 6.4 x 2) and she methodically tells you what to eat and why. (I took lots of notes.) Highly recommended, but I suggest you pace yourself.

Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, Morgan Spurlock
I figured there was nothing left to talk about after the movie, Supersize Me, came out, but I was wrong. Although I heavily skimmed this book, he did have some neat things to say. Including giving props to an elementary school in Olympia, WA that grows their own food. When I told my teenage niece about the mention (she lives in Olympia), she scoffed. "Oh yeah. That school. Mine didn't do that." The main points of Spurlock's book were that schools in the United States serve crap to our kids, and that fast food joints sell more chemicals than food.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan

Another big book, but definitely worth reading. I learned a lot about farming correctly, and how the United States "demands" farmers grow too much corn, and then invents things to use up the supply (e.g. high fructose corn syrup, feed it to cows, make ethanol). Some of his stories got a little long winded, but that is what skimming is for.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is one of my Mom's heroes. I once had to take a picture of my Mom standing behind Jane Goodall, because my Mom did not want to bother Jane by asking if she would pose for a picture. (We were at a book signing.)

I abandoned the book after 5 pages. After reading Pollan it felt like I was reading a book written for first graders. Back in to the library bag it went.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver
Far and away the most beautifully written, almost lyrical of the bunch. Never lecturing, but certainly skewering things, such as being vegetarian because you don't want "animals to suffer". Normally, I hate, hate, hate, it when recipes are added to novels, but the authors did a great job of adding them more as side notes, then as text. (And I found myself scrambling for pen and paper to remind myself to jot them down later.) I did skim (I always do) but it is truly a beautiful book. Highly recommended.

I suggest you read, in this order: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, What To Eat, and then The Omnivore's Dilemma (assuming you've made it through the first two).

Or, you can just sit at your local farmer's market and let your eyes and nose tell you what you should be eating.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Make A Memory

At 18, I got a tattoo. After picking the design and location of my choice, I got on to the chair. My friends waited on the other side of the curtain and the whirring of the needle began. I knew that everyone would ask me if it hurt, so as he applied the ink, I created a mental image in my head. One that I would remember forever. One of a sewing machine, with my hand going back and forth underneath its needle.
(Yes, that is what it feels like.)

A few months ago, my big toenail fell off. Well, it didn't really fall off, so much as it peeled away from it's lower layer revealing pink skin beneath. According to the Internet, this sort of thing happens when there is an infection. I thought back and realized that I had recently gotten a pedicure with a friend. The place had always given me pause. They re-use their gloves, there is no sterlizing machine within sight--all bad signs--but my friend had been going there for years without incident, and I, not having seen her in a long time, wanted so badly just to be with her, that I went along. So now, as I watch my toenail slowly grow back in, I imprint this lesson in my mind.

I recently spent some time with my 14 year old niece and told her both stories. The tattoo story didn't faze her (her mom has many of them) but the toenail story had her asking all sorts of questions on how to find a good, clean salon.

But the best part of all, was when I told her the second part of the tattoo story. How after getting the tattoo, I hid it from my parents for years, hiding it under clothing, and constantly having dreams that I had been exposed. When I finally got up the courage and told my Mom, my anti-tattoo, Mom, she had said:

"Oh, that's pretty. I've been thinking it would be nice to get one on my ankle."

So now, I have a new memory. A memory of walking around Capital Lake in Olympia, WA with my 14 year old niece laughing our asses off at the silliness of assuming you know everything about a person.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stop Forgetting

In Middle School, my best friend N. dumped me for boys. I still saw them as friends to play sports with, she saw them otherwise.

In High School, 5 of my friends stopped talking to me after they saw my modeling portfolio. (I can only guess this is the reason, since they never told me.)

In College, my friend I., the one I went to camp with every summer, and her friend, spent 2 hours making fun of me because I didn't like to party at school.

Also in college, my roommate stopped talking to me when she decided that she was no longer straight.

And recently, a friendship that was truly intoxicating, has come to an end. I fear we burned too bright for too long, and simply have nothing left.

My point? Friendships and relationships ebb and flow. The only constant in all your relationships is you.

I need to stop forgetting that part.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Green Your Sex Routine

Six easy ways to green your sex life.

Because don't we all want our sex lives to be sustainable?

1. Practice safe sex

Unless you are trying to get pregnant, birth control is the way to go. If you are in a new relationship, make sure you have some barrier protection: condoms, dental dams, etc.

2. Inspect the packaging
Lubes, sex toys, etc. Buy the ones with the least amount of packaging. Make sure you recycle everything when you are done. Embarrassed that your neighbors will see your lube bottle in the recycling bin? Don't be. You might inspire them.

3. Buy the good stuff

High quality, long lasting, toys are good for you and for the environment: Fun Factory, Tantus.

4. If you aren't going to use it, don't buy it.

Lingerie gifts at every holiday? Goofy sex "toys" for bachelorette parties? If no one will use it, don't bother buying it.

5. Use Rechargeable batteries in your toys

6. Explore your closet (or a friend's) for new outfits/tactile sensations.

You are welcome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Love the LEED

Coming to Portland, Oregon? While you are here, feel free to revel in our LEEDy goodness. What's LEED? It's a rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council and stands for: The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

We have a number of buildings in town that are LEED certified, but I want to hi-light just three:

200 Market Building
The first legacy (re-furbished) office building in America to earn the Gold LEED certification.

Ecotrust's Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center

The first gold-rated LEED building in Oregon and the first gold-rated LEED historic restoration in the nation.

Historic Portland Armory

The only historical building in the nation to have earned a platinum LEED rating. And home of Portland Center Stage.

All of these building are easily accessible by The Portland Streetcar or by foot.

Do you feel the need, the need for more LEED? Sign up for the Portland Green Pedal Bike Tours. Cruise around town on bike, while learning more about Portland's commitment to sustainability.

I promise you, you will return home with grand thoughts of recycling rain runoff and salvaging building supplies dancing in your head.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Know Thy Title

Do you insist on organic food? Only travel in vehicles that will damage the environment a little less than regular ones?
Have various re-usable bags for various purposes? (Oh wait, that one is probably just me.)

Well, you are consider a LOHAS. That's right, LOHAS= Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. You are being targeted, studied and marketed to. There is even a conference that teaches companies how to attract your attention and dollars!! While I don't necessarily think all this consumerism is a bad thing (although, if they give away as much crappy swag as a normal conference, my heart will throughly break) I just wanted to let you know.

It's your job to cut through all the greenwashing: the companies that just slap the word green or all natural on their product or service without any real attempts at sustainability.

Don't be fooled. When picking products, use your brain not your heart.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Two great things go great together.

Cue the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial from the 1980's...

"Hey your peanut butter is in my chocolate!"

"Hey your chocolate is in my peanut butter!"

(And they lived happily -if a bit sticky-ily after...)

I thought all this was a bit contrived until it happened to me. My two new loves: Rescue Me and Ray Lamontagne. TOGETHER! and not just once, but TWICE.

Rescue Me: Season 2: Episode 2 uses LaMontagne's Trouble.
Rescue Me: Season 2: Episode 12 uses LaMontagne's All the Wild Horses.

Shocked that I wrote all this down? Shame on you, you haven't been paying attention at all. (Look at the name of the blog for god's sake.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Consider the Environment

There seems to be a new trend in email signatures, people are adding

It's another symptom in the greenwashing of the United States. Consider the environment? What the hell does that even mean? Do you think I need to be scolded like a child because I can't think for myself?

For a moment, I amused myself by pumping up the severity factor:

PLEASE CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT BEFORE PRINTING THIS EMAIL: For each email your print out, one baby seal gets clubbed.


PLEASE CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT BEFORE PRINTING THIS EMAIL: Or we will take away your iPod. Yes, all of them.

But guilt is not a motivator. Isn't our nation of overweight, lazy, couch/computer potatoes that don't call their Mothers as much as they should, proof enough that guilt doesn't work?

If we really want to CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT we can do two things:
1. Stop buying so much crap. (Three laptops? A new car every year? Really??)
2. Get our butts away from the cellphones, SmartPhones, Laptops, and Television and GO OUTSIDE.

So here it is, new and improved and even more green!