Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Help Them Help You

When I get sick, I turn into a Zombie. The minute my brain fills with goo, I can't think, I have a hard time talking and I generally just want to sleep and sleep and sleep. This leaves my husband clueless as to my well being. And because having Type 1 diabetes complicates everything, it makes him worry that something really bad is going on.

Also, he never gets sick. He's been sick maybe once in our ten year marriage, so being sick is foreign to him.

We'd talked before about making this scenario easier for both of us, but once I got better, other things caught my attention and I forgot again until we were stuck back in the same situation.

But no more...

because I have created the Illness Indicator.




It's a one page check list that I can use to let him know what is going on with my health. It covers all the bases, both normal medical and diabetes specific (ketones, etc.) and has a handy section reminding him of foods I like to eat when I am sick.

I went over it with him to make sure everything made sense, printed it out to make sure it worked well (enough space to actually check off the boxes, etc.) and now have a stack in the cabinet ready for the next time I feel sick.

I encourage you to make your own so that you can help your loved ones, help you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tweak What's Needed

I officially have 4 weeks of work finished. 4 weeks of 4, 11 hour days (10 paid work, 1 lunch). There were a few adjustments that had to be made but overall all my plans work perfectly.

Having my outfits ready to go was utter brilliance, however, also pairing shoes with each outfit was overkill (especially since I ended up wearing the same 3 pairs over and over).

Having all my lunches made and in the freezer, made it much easier to get out the door in the morning. I then heated them up at work and added a huge green salad (provided by work). They kept me well fed and nourished and ready to get back to work.

I also:

Moved my wake-up time back a half hour to give me more wiggle room. (I didn't like feeling rushed in the morning.)

I found a calmer drive to/from work. (Avoiding a major highway connecting Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA.)

and

I integrated my afternoon workout right into my schedule. Everyone I work with knows that I will be at the gym/outside from 3-4pm so they can plan ahead if need be.

All these little tweaks made things work out even better than expected. I look forward to heading back to work in 2011 refreshed and ready to go!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hug A Community Manager Today

Yes, that is my job title: Community Manager (aka: Online Community Manager). And what, you say, does a Community Manager do?

A community manager actively monitors, participates in and engages others within online communities. These communities can be on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, intranets, wherever groups of people come together to converse and interact with each other... A community manager acts as an ambassador for your organization, whether that person is an employee or contracted to manage your social web presence. A good community manager gives a human form to the faceless corporation.
-David Armano
(Excerpt from Fire Your Marketing Manager and Hire A Community Manager)

Did that help a little? If not, go ahead and read the whole article.

And for extra credit, here's 10 Fresh Tips For Community Managers

Ok, I'll take those hugs now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stock Your Arsenal

Would you like to look inside my Community Manager box of wondrous and useful things? I expect to stock it up even more after a few months of work are under my belt, but so far this is what I have:

Books
Jono Bacon, The Art of Community
Dawn Foster, Companies and Communities: Participating Without Being Sleazy
Patrick O'Keefe, Managing Online Communities

Blog Posts
10 Fresh Tips For Community Managers
Community Manager Tips (Series)

Twitter Hashtags
(For searching out conversations about community management.)
#cmgr

You are welcome.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trim It Down

My leisurely days of working out have come to a close, because I have a job! I have calculated that I have about 30 minutes to workout each morning. I took a look at my normal strength training program and have cut anything that was redundant. I tested it today, and it took me about 30 minutes.

Here it is:


5 minutes of warm up (dancing, jumping around etc.)
Forward Lunge Raise (6 lb medicine ball)
Chest Press Crunch (black resistance band, 2 lb hand weights)
Triceps-3 Way (black resistance band)
Scorpion Planks
Walk Out Push Ups
Raised Kicks
Oblique Crunch on Stability Ball

I will do this routine 3x a week (M, W, F) and each week I will add 2 reps. For example: Week 1: 15 reps, Week 2: 17 reps, Week 3: 19 reps and so on until I hit the end of six weeks. Then I will create a new program to follow.

So my full exercise program now includes:
Strength training: 3x week (30 minutes at a time)
Cardio 6x week (30 minutes at a time, 2 in the morning: T,TH and 4 at work: M,T,W,TH)
Optional: 2 hour hike/cross country skiing

I've 10 lbs to go to hit my "goal" weight, so this ought to do it, plus, it's so FUN!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If You Can't Wear A Uniform At Least Plan Ahead

I am child of Catholic high school which means for 2 glorious years (I transferred in from public high school) I got to wear a uniform. I truly enjoyed my sleep when I was younger and any excuse to get more was a good thing. All I had to do was grab a fresh shirt and underwear and pick up the skirt I had thrown on the floor the night before.

As I begin my new full time job, I don't plan on being able to sleep in, but I do plan on working out before I head out the door. And in order to do that without having to get up at 4 am, I need to eliminate time wasters. Therefore, I went ahead and laid out my work outfits for the next 2 weeks. (I work a 4 day week, 10 hours per day.)


(Outfits Are To The Right Of The Red Line)

To make it even simpler, I added jewelry, stockings (in a plastic bag) and clipped an index card (suggesting a shoe) to the outfit with a clothespin.



I may just rotate these 8 outfits over and over or perhaps I'll swap some things around. Either way, I don't have to think about it until 2 weeks from now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Follow The Madrid Protocol


Martin and I were visiting his family in Madrid, Spain a few months ago and within six hours of touchdown at the airport I already had to pee really badly with no bathroom in sight. (Public bathrooms are not as plentiful in Spain as they are in the United States and bar owners aren't keen on drop ins.) We eventually tracked down a bathroom in a supermarket. The toilet had no seat, but hey, at that point I was not picky, but I learned my lesson. After that, I enforced, what I call, The Madrid Protocol. Simply put: if there is a bathroom where you are, use it before you leave.

We have carried this protocol back with us to the United States. We often visit Portland, Oregon, as it's just a 15 minute drive away from our house, but sometimes the bridge connecting Oregon and Washington is raised, or there is an accident, or a truck of snack goods has overturned, so I often invoke the Madrid Protocol before leaving.

So far, so good. Although I do have a bladder made of steel, I'd really rather not test it's true strength.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Make It Real Simple

While heading toward the library self check, I happened to see this book on the NEW! shelf.


Real Simple: 869 new uses for old things

Both my mother and I had been Real Simple magazine subscribers back when the magazine launched. Our interested waned after it turned into a big shopping catalog (to be fair, most magazines are just big shopping catalogs) so I was delighted to see a collection of what I actually like about the magazine: new uses for old things.

I had already heard of many of the tips. For example, I've been clipping my earrings through the holes of my watch band (when going to the gym) since Field Hockey practice in High School (you can also loop your bracelet or rings through the watch straps to keep them contained).



But I like reading through the examples because it encourages me to think up even more ideas on how to use things different ways.

I won't buy the book (because I don't really buy books) but I highly suggest you give it a look see. The last section: 10 New Uses For This Book, is especially clever.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Book Review: Spice (45 illustrated reference cards)

"This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on the Eco-Libris website." --Text suggested by Eco-Libris campaign.

------------

I received the Spice deck from Ghigo Press. The deck is made with 20% recycled paper and printed with soy ink.



While the deck is beautiful: glossy box and cards, sharp color photographs of the various spices on the front, the real gem was the witty and informative writing on the back of the cards.

As I perused the cards, I found myself quietly laughing from such statements as:
"BAY LEAF Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, bay leaves come from the branches of the tall laurel tree. In the ancient Greek world the highest honor for a champion athlete was to be crowned with a laurel wreath. In Rome, Caesar was said to have found the ritual appealing as it concealed his creeping baldness..."


and

COCOA
"... The Aztec King Montezuma first introduced the glories of the cold cacao drink to Cortes and the Spanish Conquistadors. After destroying his empire, they returned to Europe with the wonderful spice in tow..."


The Spice cards also inspired me to add Cinnamon to my morning smoothie, and I look forward to learning more about and experimenting with the spices described in the deck.

The Spice deck would make a great gift for anyone interested in food (so, pretty much everyone) and it's only $15.95.

Ghigo Press also makes beautiful decks for Wine and Coffee lovers. (All 3 decks also come in a full size calendar version.)



Everything Ghigo Press sent is beautiful and I'm grateful to have been part of this campaign.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Give A Wave

I wave hello to my former neighbor when I drive by his grave in the Veteran's Cemetery.

I wave hello when I drive by the surgery center in the hospital where I had my back surgery almost one year ago.

I wave hello when I pass by the exit off the highway to my husband's office.

My husband says I'm adorable, but I know I'm a little goofy.

It makes me smile to take a moment and be grateful for what I have.

Good thing I learned to drive on a standard car, since my right arm is waving so much.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have A Do Over

When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, 21 years ago I was told things like, "There will be a cure in 5 years.", "You won't be able to fly a plane.", "You are going to go blind if you don't check your blood sugar." and "Don't tell people about it, they will treat you differently." Those comments were confusing and depressing.

Here's what I would have rather heard: "Lia, Type 1 diabetes will probably be part of your life forever, but if you accept it and work with it, rather than hating it and fighting against it, you can lead a happy, productive life. Yes, you will need to be organized, yes, your body will work differently, yes, there will be some things you either can't do or can only do with lots of training, but at the end of the day, your success is up to you."

And then the doctor would give me a list of Type 1 diabetics that refused to let their diagnosis stop them from achieving their dreams.

Kris Freeman, U.S. Olympic Cross Country Skier
Chris Dudley, XXX and current candidate for Governor in Oregon
Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Anne Rice, Author (Interview with a Vampire)
Scott Verplank, Professional Golfer
Nick Jonas, Musician, The Jonas Brothers
Ghostface Killah (Denis Coles) Musician, The Wu-Tang Clan
Adam Morrison, NBA basketball player
Jay Cutler, NFL football quarterback
Gary Hall, U.S. Olympic swimmer
Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999
Mary Tyler Moore
Elliot Yamin, Contestant on American Idol
Crystal Bowersox, Contestant on American Idol
Brandon Morrow - SP Toronto Blue Jays
David McGill - principle bassoonist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

That would have made the experience powerful and positive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grind It Up

If you've been around here for a bit, you will notice that I am cheap and don't like to waste things. AND I like good food. This doesn't always go together. So when I found myself with two loaves of heels in the freezer (AGAIN) I decided to make something new out of them: bread crumbs.


This has to be the easiest recipe in the world: Add bread to food processor and process.

If you want fresh breadcrumbs (best for adding to meatballs or for topping a casserole) just throw the bread in the food processor and process away.



If you want to have dry breadcrumbs (best for coating chicken, fish, etc.) just toast the bread first. Since you will probably have a lot of bread crumbs after this process, do remember that both types freeze really well.


(L: Fresh R: Dry)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Close The Book On Book Club

I have a confession. I'm a book club drop out. I held on for about a year before I had to face facts.

Fact 1:
I read so quickly (and so many books) that by the time the group meets, I can't remember the story line anymore.

Fact 2:
Book club members don't agree with my practice of abandoning a book. (If it doesn't draw me in after a few chapters, I won't finish reading it.)

Fact 3:
I don't need more to read. (4-6 books and 6-8 magazines a month is plenty, thank you.)

Fact 4:
Having members taking turns picking books at random does not work for me

While I miss seeing my friends, I don't miss the book club. But if they want to start a walking club, they know where to find me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Go For Ghigo (Press, that is)

On the suggestion of my friend, Jackie I signed up for the Green Books Campaign 2010. Essentially, Eco-Libris is encouraging bloggers to band together and write a review about a book published in an eco-friendly manner. All posts will be up on November 10, 2010.

Here's the crazy part, the books are free!

Because I've become more interested in cooking, I signed up for Spice: The World's Great Flavors And Their Stories reference cards made by Ghigo Press of Venice, CA (printed on recycled paper and with environmentally friendly inks).

This is what they sent me:



Holy cow! 4 beautiful calendars and 3 fabulous gourmet reference decks. I was quite overwhelmed with my bounty. I have yet to open the SPICE deck but I'm very excited.

It's not too late to get in on the Green Books Campaign 2010. All information is here.

Want to get your hands on these beautiful calendars or reference cards? They are available at Amazon, Borders, Walden Books or Calendars.com.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Try Out Some "New" Equipment

It's time to switch up my weight lifting/strength routine again. And this time I'm adding some new equipment. Did I get new expensive stuff? Of course not! I'm making do with what I already have and dipping into the recycling bin for others.


Equipment: Theraband (left over from my physical therapy), SPRI band (purchased for $10 last year) and file folder (free).

Exercises:
Plie side squat with front raise (I have added the front raise to the exercise and am using the file folder in place of the towel or gliding disk you put under the foot you are sliding.) (8 lbs.) Instructions available in October 2010 issue of Shape Magazine.
Dual Resistance Press (Green SPRI band and 5 lb dumbbells)
***
Bent over "bar rows" (Using 2 13.5 lb dumbbells instead.)
Bridge Chest Press (8 lbs)
***

Rear Raise Kickback
(Using 2 8 lb. weights instead of bar)
Decline Push-Ups
***

Plank on Stability Ball
(Week 1=30 seconds, Week 2 & 3=50 seconds, Week 4 & 5= 70 seconds.)
Circle Crunch (Use black Theraband)
Footwork Angel (Use green SPRI band.) Instructions available in October 2010 issue of Shape Magazine.
***
Oblique crunch with weights (3 lb. weight in each hand)
Swissball Back Extensions

As always,
Week 1 of each exercise= 15 reps, 30 seconds for plank (30 mins)
Week 2 & Week 3= 15 reps X2, 50 seconds for plank (60 mins)
Week 4 & Week 5= 15 reps x3, 70 seconds for plank (75 mins)

***1-2 minutes of light cardio activity at the end of each grouping of exercise

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Take A Photo Before The Work Is Done

I often eat my lunch while watching The People's Court and if there is one thing that Judge Milian has drilled in to my brain, it's that you should always take a picture before work is done to your house or car. In case any damage is done during installation. [Added per request of my mother.]

So, when it was time to send the water heater to the big metal recyclers in the sky, I took a photo.



Turns out all went well, but it's always nice to know you have photographic evidence.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Experiment On Yourself

Because I have Type 1 diabetes and because I use a One Touch Animas Ping Insulin Pump I get to stick an insulin pump infusion set needle in me every 3 days. (That's down from 8-10 insulin shots a day.)

I've never really had a problem with the infusion sets before, every once in a while I hit a vein and the site stung for a bit, but that's been the biggest problem. But now that I've lost a substantial amount of weight, the needle on the infusion set is actually hurting when it goes in. I'm at 37.3% body fat (still considered overfat) and adding the weight back on is not an option, so I've decided to experiment a bit.

There are many infusion sets, but the two suggested ones for my insulin pump are the Unomedical Inset (straight) and the Unomedical Inset 30 (angled).

Left to Right: Unomedical Inset and Unomedical Inset 30


I've been using the Unomedical Inset for the past 7 years. So, I thought I'd try out the Unomedical Inset 30, since it is suggested for lean adults and children. (Bored yet?) Since I still have some pockets of fat below my shoulder blades I am now alternating between the Insets on the back and the Inset 30s on my stomach.

UPDATE: Both kinds of sets hurt. The solution I've found is to place an ice pack over my skin for 60 seconds before inserting the infusion set. This may involve me lying on the ground on top of the ice pack for when I am using the Insets in my back. Stay tuned....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Find A New Friend

In my quest to read every book ever written about sustainability, I recently read Catherine Friend's The Compassionate Carnivore.



The book was well written. But after reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, there wasn't much new to me material. However, what I did enjoy were her stories of living on a farm with her partner, Melissa. So I was delighted to find out that Friend had written a book on that subject: Hit By A Farm: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Barn.



Hit By A Farm is part love story, part coming of age story and part laughter as medicine. I highly suggest you get yourself a copy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Business Is A Gamble


I recently read, Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years in Brand Building at Procter & Gamble, by David Dyer, Frederick Dalzell and Rowena Olegario. At 476 pages, it was quite the hefty tome. The jewel of the book was hidden back in the epilogue: Principles of Brand Building. They held true then, and they still hold true today, no matter your business.

10 Principles of Brand Building


1. Do the Right Thing

A commitment to good products and a commitment to improve communities in which you operate.

2. Cultivate a Passion For Winning

Strive to outdo rivals as well as yourself.

3. Sustaining Brands Is a Never-Ending Challenge

If brands are neglected, they will wither.

4. The Consumer Is Boss

The consumer must be at the heart of everything you do.

5. Individuals Make A Difference

The interests of employer and the employee are inseparable and individuals should be treated with dignity.

6. Discipline Counts

Gather a mass of data, analyze and reflect on it before developing a plan of action.

7. Innovate Constantly, Everywhere

8. Lead Change
Companies do not sustain success without anticipating and leading innovation and change.

9. Alliances Create Advantage


10. Partner with Customers

While I enjoy reading the newest business books, I also enjoy the older ones for they still have things to teach us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do What I Can't

The simple truth is that I cannot do anything to reverse/cure/get rid of my Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed 21 years ago this month. 21 years ago, they told me there would be a cure in 5 years, so please excuse me if I no longer get excited every time there is a "breakthrough". I am perfectly fine living the rest of my life as a Type 1 diabetic. My insulin pump makes my life easier, my attitude makes my life wonderful.

I'd thought about raising money for the JDRF in honor of my 21st year of diagnosis, I briefly thought about having a party. But what I really want. What I really, really, really want, is for everyone I know to do everything they can to prevent themselves from getting Type 2 Diabetes. And if they have already been diagnosed, doing everything to reverse/lessen it.

Even after 21 years, I still remember being the terrified 14 year old who found herself in the Intensive Care Unit, saddled with a chronic disease with no cure. So if not for me, do it for her.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Make Every Exercise A Core Exercise

It's been about six weeks, so it's time to change my strength training routine. My push ups, planks and ab exercises are all going to get harder. And rather than increasing my weight amount this time, I'm going to actually decrease it, but add more stability work.

Each exercise is done 15 times (*= 15 times each side):

5 minute warm up

Lateral lunge with one legged biceps curl (13.5 lbs)
Step ups (bench is 10.5 inches high) with overhead shoulder press (13.5 lbs)

Rear lateral raise on stability ball (8 lbs)
Dumbbell fly on stability ball (8 lbs)

Skull crushers on stability ball (8 lbs)
Stacked feet push ups

Wingman (3 lbs)
V Tucks
Corkscrews*

Oblique V Ups*
Superman on stability ball*

This routine is done 3 times a week.

Week One: I do one set of each exercise
Week Two-Three: I do two sets of each exercise
Weeks Four-Five: I do three sets of each exercise

Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Save Your Life With Your Cell

When my husband I go cross country skiing, we usually leave the cell phones in the car (no reception). The June 2009 issue of Backpacker Magazine has now taught to never do that again.

Please read the entire article, but here are some hi lights:

* A text message requires less power and can transmit over a weaker connection
* Make sure your emergency contact knows your phone number AND carrier, which will save rescuers valuable time.

Worst case scenario, you can use your cell phone to start a survival fire.

See you on the trail!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Draw A Line

Some people call me lazy, some people call me brilliant. (Only the ones that call me brilliant survive.) Originally to aide in treatment of my low blood sugars, (instead of trying to measure out Gatorade/Powerade while my heart is pounding and adrenaline is coursing through me) I drew 8 oz marks ("mustaches") on the outside of our *well loved* plastic cups. All I have to do is pour and go.



I realized recently, that I've also been using the mustache glasses for other things. I want 8 oz. (one serving size) of Chocolate Soy Milk but don't want to get out the measuring cup? Bingo! I use the mustache cup. I want 8 oz. (one serving size) of apple juice? Bingo! Mustache cup.

I suppose I could also just drink out of one of those glass measuring cups, but even I have my limits, that would be truly strange.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Learn From Your Grandmother

Even though all of my Grandmothers have long since passed away, I still remember many of the things they taught me. (Grandmothers are smart.) So I was delighted when I came across Erin Bried's How To Sew A Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew. A light, but educational book, it would make a perfect graduation/off to college or wedding/commitment ceremony gift. The intended audience is women, but the majority of the tips are non-gender specific.

One of my favorite tips from the book--

Topic: How To Knit A Scarf:

If you poop out early, either set aside your project for later or cast off and congratulate yourself for making one amazing pot holder.



Go call your Grandmother, she'd love to hear from you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take A Closer Look


I'd say I've lost about 15 lbs in the past year. And according to the height/weight charts I have 15 more to go (but the exact number is debatable). I definitely have subcutaneous fat (I need it to insert the needle of my insulin pump infusion sets) but the amount of it is lessening. I have yet to read what it actually feels/looks like to be losing fat and gaining muscle, and it's taken me a few weeks to come up with a scenario to share with you, but here it is.

Ok, picture a 10 X 10 X 5 inch sheet of Jello (Lemon flavored). It wiggles, it jiggles, etc. This is me a year ago.

Ok, now put a cookie sheet under the Jello and slice it down to 2 inches high. Take a spoon and lightly carve out some of the Jello. This is me 9 months ago. The cookie sheet is like a wall of my developed muscles, and the reduction in Jello is a reduction in overall fat due to weight training, cardio and food management.

Ok, now every 6-8 weeks, poor warm water over the Jello and watch the whole thing shrink just a little. This is where I am now.

It's not glamorous, but it's what happens. I thought someone should explain it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reach A Little More

Martin and I have been playing MahJong (which means "sparrow" in Chinese) together for about a year. His recent interest in the Portland, OR MahJong Society has enabled us to play even more than usual. There are many, many types of MahJong, but we've been playing by World Series of MahJong rules (WSOM). I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the nuances of the game, and thankfully everyone in the Portland MahJong Society is very patient.

So on Sunday, we all met at a campground near Mt. Mood, set up our tables and tiles and played.



Martin and I ended up sitting with two foreign exchange students from Japan, and played the Japanese version of MahJong, often called Riichi. It was a little more complicated than WSOM MahJong, and I had to stretch my brain a bit, but everyone was patient and helpful and we ended up having a lot of fun.

One of the Japanese exchange students asked me if he thought Americans knew what MahJong was. I replied that I think most people have heard of it, and know that it involves tiles, but don't know how to play.

Am I right? Do you know about it, but not how to play?

If you'd like to learn, please join us at the next Portland, OR MahJong Society Meet Up!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do It Like DT


As you know, I enjoy reading fitness books. So I was especially excited to learn about Dara ("DT") Torres' new book, Gold Medal Fitness. So, excited in fact, that I tweeted about it.



And much to my delight, she replied:


She asked me to let her know what I thought about it, so I figured I'd cover all my bases at once by posting my thoughts here.

Gold Medal Fitness:

Grade: A

A solid, thoughtful book about health and fitness. Dara speak honestly without any need to be all "Hollywood" (see: Jackie Warner) or "badass" (see: Jillian Michaels). She comes off as logical and practical.

The Gold:
* Discussion/exercise examples of Ki-Hara resistance stretching (just this is worth the price of the book).
* Discussion of Rest & Recovery
* Discussion/exercise examples of using three planes of movement in your workout

The Disqualifications:

* 6 of the 15 strength training exercises require a cable machine of some sort. This means you must go to a gym to do them. If she mentioned that you can recreate most of these moves at home with a SPRI type athletic band, it would make the routine more flexible.

*Dara provides 15 weeks of strength training exercises, but she does not talk about what to do during week 16+. (I know that most people stop a exercise routine after month 2, and no fitness book I have read ever talks about next steps, but I'm still holding out hope.)

What I'm Taking From It:
* 17 Ki-Hara Resistance Stretching Exercises
You can get her Resistance Stretching DVD or flashcards to help you even more.
* Exercise: Rainbow with Medicine Ball or Weight
* Exercise: Smith Press Crunch
* Exercise: Star Push Up

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kick It Around

Imagine if you will, a child in South Africa plays soccer with her friends for an hour. Then goes home and plugs her LED reading lamp in to the ball so that she can study.

Science fiction? Not any more.

Meet the sOccket, the soccer ball that converts energy in to electricity. It works much like the shake to light flashlights. It's still in the prototype stages, but exercise & free electricity? Sounds like a winning idea to me.

It should be available for sale in the Western areas by the end of 2010, and they will be distributing it to developing countries at little or no cost by using a 'buy one/give one' plan.

Learn more about the sOccket here.
Sign up for their mailing list (to be notified when it goes on sale) here.


(I'm waiting on permission to use a photo of sOccket.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apologize & Learn (For Tamar Weinberg)

Yesterday I had a chat (via Twitter) with Tamar Weinberg about her book, The New Community Rules. To make a long story short, it didn't go well. I'm pretty sure that by the end of it, she thought I wore a pointy black hat, cast spells on people and rode around on a broom (because I sure thought she did). A connection that should of been win/win ended up feeling negative. I have zero interest in negativity.

So, I took some time to think about what happened and realized that I was unfair to Tamar. I wanted to apologize but also wanted both of us (and you, dear reader) to learn something from this.

---------------------------

Dear Tamar,

THE APOLOGY PART:

I realize that I was unfair to you yesterday. I had researched the 4 most popular books on Community Management and your book, The New Community Rules, came up. When I saw that it was published by O'Reilly, I got really excited. I know that O'Reilly publishes many of its books in PDF for free. My current salary (none) does not enable me to buy books, so I was excited that I might be able to read it now, and not have to wait weeks and weeks for the library to get it. I'm also from a Open Source background and was still flying high from the community and collaboration of the Community Leadership Summit 2010 and OSCON. I stand behind everything I said about not really being able to lock down a book, and that you could expand your readership exponentially by offering it for free.

But, in retrospect, I realized that I did not contact any of the other authors of the books I found. Only you, because your publisher was O'Reilly. And in this, I was unfair to you. I should of treated you all the same. For this, I am sorry.

THE LEARNING PART

I can see from your blog comments, and from the reaction I got from you, that you have been asked many times if there is a free version of your book. I can't make that question stop, but I can suggest some ways to make the exchanges more fun.

Here's our exchange:




You have a potential reader that has taken the time to track you down, wrote a heartfelt message, and has stated that she is honest. Rather than sending a short, curt message, this is the perfect opportunity to Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.

My suggested response:
I'm so glad you are interested in my book! Thanks for checking with me, but no, there is no free & *legal* copy of it.


This sort of response would of left a positive message while also educating about the situation. Most people would probably stop the communication there, but let's assume they continued (like I did).




You still have a potential reader that is asking thoughtful questions, and suggesting things she thinks might help you. Again, I suggest you Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.

My suggestion:
Thanks for thinking of me. The licensing of my book is not up to me. :( Sorry you can't swing the $. Have you tried the library or sharing with a friend?


I know you are thinking, "Why suggest the library? You will lose a possible book sale!" Well, if you look closely, you can see that I never had the intention of buying the book. I suggest you think beyond money. You want to create evangelists, but they don't have to all buy the book. The conversation could of ended there, and on a positive note. Instead it unraveled:







I hope you take this apology and these suggestions to heart. I truly want you to succeed Tamar. And if you now think I am the queen of the witches, that's fine. My hope is that someone had read this and learned something helpful.

All the best,

Lia Hollander

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learn The Art of Community

A few weeks back, someone mentioned that with my background and skills, I would be a perfect Community Manager. It sounded like an incredibly fun job, so of course, I began to do more research. I immediately thought of Dawn Foster (friend and Community Manager of MeeGo) and began devouring her series of blog posts on 'Community Manager Tips'. From there I moved on to Jono Bacon's The Art of Community (O'Reilly). I found the book to be incredibly helpful, so I let him know via Twitter.




Soon after these exchanges, I learned that the Community Leadership Summit 2010 would be happening soon in Portland, OR. And guess who was one of the organizers? Well, Mr. Jono Bacon himself. So of course, being a good community steward, I invited him to a local tech event that was going on before the conference. And he said yes.




I quickly alerted everyone that I knew had RSVP'ed to the conference. To Marshall Kirkpatrick, editor of Read Write Web, and also to Rick Turoczy, of The Silicon Florist. I unfortunately had to leave Beer and Blog before Jono got there, but the hug he gave me on Saturday morning when we finally met in person, more than made up for it!

The conference was wonderful, I made some new friends, and learned even more about the trials and successes of being a Community Manager.

I said this to everyone I saw at the conference, and I will say it again: I highly recommend reading Jono's book. The free PDF version is: right here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rule The School


Schools out for the summer! You know what that means, right? No, not that. It means EMPTY PLAYGROUNDS! (Well, at least in the early morning anyway.)

Playground equipment is perfect for doing a cardio circuit. I scouted the location first, so that I could come up with the exercises and decide what equipment to bring, and tried it out on Thursday.

Playground Cardio Circuit

5 minute warm up (walk to the elementary school, carrying 6 lb. medicine ball)
5 Wall Throws (Threw the medicine ball against a cement wall and squatted to catch it.)
5 Hop Ups* (Grid painted on ground, used it like an agility ladder.)
5 Hazard Runs* (Ran through yellow diagonal lines painted on ground.)
5 Modified Pull Ups (Used the chin up bars on the playground structure.)

Then I repeated the circuit. I went a total of 45 minutes (which ended up being 5 times through) then walked home (cool down).

*My names for them, since I made the exercises up.

You can do whatever your heart (or imagination) desires, just be sure to get your heart beating fast (I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I was working hard enough).

To increase intensity:
Increase the number or reps you do per exercise. For example, the first time I did this routine (Thursday) I did 5 sets of each exercise before moving on the next one. On Tuesday, I did 6 sets of each exercise.
Run between each 'station'
Carry light hand weights

Have fun!

NOTE: The former teacher in me would like to remind you that we don't run up slides. Thank you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Share The Road


I've ridden my bike through the streets once or twice, but I am by no means a cyclist. Now that the weather is nice there seem to be more bikes on the road. I've always wondered what 'Share The Road' really meant. I'm happy to do it, but just how would you like me too? I recently read numerous issues of Bicycling Magazine, and although I saw lots of interesting stuff, I did not read about what drivers can do to be safe. So, I emailed the magazine and was given a link to a recent article.

Here's the gist:

FOR THE DRIVERS
1. Slow down when passing bicyclists
2. Leave at least 3 feet between you and the bicyclist
3. Always check before taking a turn (especially a right hand one)

FOR THE BICYCLISTS:
1. Ride is single formation
2. Use hand signals
3. Make eye contact

That's easy enough, right? See you on the road!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ramp It Up


Just wanted to give you a update on my current weight/strength training program.
I include the amount of weight I lift, because I think it is important. All the fitness magazines show programs with dinky weights, which is unhelpful.

This program is done 3x a week.

15 One legged squats with front & side raise (8 lb. dumbbells)
15 Stand Up Curls (18.5 lb. dumbbells)
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 One arm rows on a stability ball (18.5 lb dumbbells)
15 Chest presses (18.5 lb. dumbbells)
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 Skull Crushers (8 lb. dumbbells-I could do more, but it makes me uncomfortable to have that much weight near my head.)
15 Plank Push Ups
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

Plank Toe Touch (30 seconds)
15 Double Leg Stretches
15 Drawbridges
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 Hip Cross Overs
15 Prone Cobras

For the fast few months I had been doing:
One set of each exercise for Week 1 & 2
Two sets of each exercise for Week 3 & 4
Three sets of each exercise for Week 5 & 6

This gave me ample time to get my muscles up to speed, prevented injury and still helped me make gains in muscle. But I have decided it's time to go back to what my trainer originally prescribed:

One set of each exercise for Week 1
Two sets of each exercise for Week 2 & 3
Three sets of each exercise for Week 4 & 5

It's been 8 months since my back surgery, and I'm ready to push a little harder.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chalk It Up For Agility

You know what an agility ladder is right? Yeah, that's what I thought. Here's a photo for reference:



They are used to increase hand and foot coordination of athletes of all types. I see them as a easy way to increase the intensity of my cardio workouts.

Now an agility ladder costs about $50, and I am *say it with me now* extremely cheap. So, as much as I like the idea of adding intensity to my workouts, I don't like detracting from my bank account (and cluttering up the house). The weather has been very nice here lately and I have no interest in working out indoors if I don't need to, so I have created the chalk agility ladder:



Each rectangle is 12" wide and 16" long (my feet fit fine, but you might want to make your spaces a little bigger) and I ended up making it 18 feet long. I used some chalk and a yard stick and it took about 6 minutes to make.

I plan on doing my 45 minutes of cardio on it tomorrow. The amount of things you can do with it are quite amazing. Here's a great video showing a few of them:



Enjoy!

NOTE: The ladder ended up being a little on the small side, and the rain has now washed it away. But I have new *evil* plans for it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Upgrade Your Pleasure

I like chocolate, I really, really, like chocolate. But I know it's not smart to eat it constantly. I tried to eat less by eating well, inferior, chocolate products, and that did not work at all. So, this year, I decided to upgrade instead. I always watch portion control (often measuring out my allotment) and try to be mindful of what I am eating.

Instead of M & M s or Peanut M & M s, I have Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds (Trader Joe's makes some good ones).

Instead of store bought/brand cookies, I have a Kashi's TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie.

Instead of Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes (basically total crap) I have the occasional artisan cupcake at a bakery. (Occasional= 1x year.)

Instead of regular chocolate bars, I have Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs (75% Cacao).

I try to avoid milk chocolate, since it just makes me want more. But if I am dying for some, I skip the American brands and go for Milka (available at Amazon, Cost Plus World Market & Target). WARNING: Once you go Milka, you won't go back.

I try to stock small quantities of these items at home at all times (freezer, back of cabinet, etc.) and often promise myself some "quality time" with them if I skip a dessert option that has been offered to me when I am out of the house. It works every time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just Let It Go

When we moved in to our house 7 or so years ago, the front flower beds were filled with bunched and twisted roses. I eventually ripped those suckers out and replaced them with nice, calming, low maintenance lavender. But every year, no matter what I did, gigantic stalks would rise from the flower bed.




I noticed that my neighbor, Frank, had them too, but didn't yet make the connection. While he left his in, I was always yanking the whole thing out. (I'm pretty sure they are Allium.)

Then one year, Frank mentioned that there used to be garden where our house now stood and that he had planted many things in it. Realizing that he had put the Allium in my yard, and that he probably didn't want to see it pulled out, I would wait until he was inside to remove it. (Since the lack of 4 feet high plants are so easy to miss.)

This year, Frank is gone. He now resides at the cemetery across from the V.A. Hospital. His house is up for sale, and they are slowly de-Franking it. I'm fully expecting his bird houses on his fence to be thrown away next.



So this year, in honor of Frank, I am leaving the Allium alone.
Not that yanking them out every year even did anything anyway!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Win At Twitter

Many companies on Twitter are failing miserably. Sure they spout out a "new" tweet every few hours, but they fail to connect, they fail to enlighten, and they fail to engage. Without these things, a Twitter account is just spam.

You don't want to be spam.


I've been consistently tweeting since February 2008, and I've seen it all. Here are the ways to win.

Four Simple Ways To Win At Twitter:

1. Have a fabulous product
2. Have fabulous customer service
3. Connect with customers
4. Give something of value to your followers: humor, enlightenment, ideas, etc.

(More on #3 and #4)
Let us know who and where you are. On Twitter, you don't want to be seen as a "corporation", but as a friend. This means, your followers should know who they are talking to. Once a follower can "picture" you, one of the walls has been taken down.

Tweets shouldn't be all business, all the time. This is boring. Instead give us some insight on what it's like to work at your company, what you do for fun, anything that might make a connection.

Engage with others, stop trying to close a sale all the time and just ask questions, get to know what your customers enjoy. This should not be a one way conversation.

And finally: do not fall prey to the thought that you should be tweeting all the time. Do what works best for you and be consistent.

Homework: Study @Zappos and apply the principles you see.

And finally (yes, I know I already said that) HAVE FUN! If you aren't, your followers aren't either.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Challenge Yourself On The Cheap


Every six weeks I change out my weightlifting/strength training exercises, and increase my weights by 5 lbs.

Currently I am doing:

Squats with bicep hammer curls (18.5 lbs)
Dumbbell dead lifts with shoulder press (18.5 lbs)
Rear lateral raise (8 lbs.)
Dumbbell fly (8 lbs.)

(and 7 other exercises that, for the purpose of this blog post, will not be mentioned.)

In 3 weeks it is time to switch exercises and up the weight by 5 lbs. But, instead of doing that, I thought I'd try to challenge myself in a new way.

So rather than increasing the weights, I will do the exercises on one leg. This increases core work and generally makes your body work harder. Eventually, I will probably spring for a BOSU, but at $120 a pop, I can hold off for a while.

So in 3 short weeks I will be doing:

One legged squats with bicep curls
One legged dumbbell dead lifts with weighted front raise
Rear lateral raises on a stability ball (one leg in the air)
Dumbbell flies on the stability ball (one leg in the air)

(Plus the 7 other exercises that don't involve weights.)

I will probably have to decrease the amount of weight I lift, but I'm pretty sure my body will enjoy the challenge.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Keep Busy

I'm waiting for a very important call. I've been waiting 8 days. And I'm starting to go a little crazy. I've done what I can to contact them, so now all I can do is wait. I find myself switching between being grumpy, being excited and being angry. I know no one is doing this to be mean, but it kills me to get zero updates at all.

So, I try to distract myself by:

* Helping others *

Did you know that the Salmon Creek (Vancouver, WA) Farmer's Market opens on July 15th? Well, everyone that follows me on Twitter and Facebook does. I think I posted about it about 100x times.

* Looking at silly things *

My new personal favorite is Happy Chair Is Happy (finding faces in inanimate objects).

* Reading and doing research *

I've read 3 marketing/sales books in the last 4 days.

* Watching engaging television *

We are currently on Season One of Battlestar Gallactica, and we devour it 3 hours at a time.

* Applying for jobs *

I gotta keep moving forward. *sigh*

* Celebrating other's accomplishments *

I love hearing about people getting new jobs.

* Enjoying the great outdoors (with elephants) *

We spent a great day at the Oregon Zoo.

Ok, that is all. Hopefully I will get a answer soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everyone Needs A Squishy Ambulance

In response to the fact that people don't want to put their mouths on strangers, and research that indicates that chest compression is the most important aspect of CPR, both the American Heart Association and The American Red Cross have new campaigns:

Hands Only CPR
(American Heart Association)

When an adult has a sudden cardiac arrest, his or her survival depends greatly on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of those people who experience a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location get that help. Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse. That’s why the AHA has simplified things.

Watch this short video and save a life.


CPR For Everyone
(American Red Cross)


In any life-threatening emergency, the most important thing a bystander can do is call 9-1-1 right away. If you witness an adult that suddenly becomes unconscious and shows no signs of life (normal breathing and movement) and you are not confident in your ability to perform full CPR, Compression-Only CPR should be performed." says David Markenson, MD, Chair, American Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness.

You can buy a nifty practice kit (with a squishy ambulance) for only $9.95.

Educate yourself. You have no excuse not to.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stop Using Your Energy To Fail

Back in January, when everyone was flush with New Year's Resolutions, I urged you to take it slowly and make it stick. How many of you listened? How many of you forged ahead and succeeded? How many of you forged ahead only to crash and burn?

If you did crash and burn, know that you have just gifted yourself with a lesson. You can, you will, try again, but this time with new tools.

#1 MOST IMPORTANT SECRET TO SUSTAINING WEIGHT LOSS/FITNESS

Figure out why you keep failing.


If you just jump to the next fitness program without figuring this out, you will most likely fail again. And again, and again. Take better care of yourself NOW by figuring this out.

The day I was able to flip the switch, was the day that I admitted to myself that I was overweight and that it WAS NOT O.K. and that I alone had the power to change it.

I starting making myself and my health a priority over EVERYTHING ELSE in my life.

You can be trim. You can be healthy.

Take all the energy you've been putting in to failing (argue with me all you want, but you know I am right) IN TO WINNING.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Keep Good Notes

When I go on job interviews and mention that I have read over 15 books on sustainability/energy efficiency, the interviewer's eyes usually bug out a little. So, for your reference, here are a few of the books I have read:

*The Clean Tech. Revolution, Ron Pernick & Clint Wilder
(Great book, quick read, hi-lights different clean tech industries.)

*The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
(Great book, but big.)

*Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
(Beautiful, lyrical book. Must read.)

*The Business Guide to Sustainability, Darcy Hitchcock & Marsha Willard

*Strategies for the Green Economy: Joel Makower

*Sustainable value : how the world's leading companies are doing well by doing good, Christopher Laszlo
(Horrible book, but at least had list of other books to read.)

*Sustainable Living for Dummies, Michael Grosvenor

*Making the good life last: four keys to sustainable living, Michael Schuler

*The bridge at the edge of the world : capitalism, the environment, and crossing from crisis to sustainability, James Speth

*BEYOND LIGHT BULBS : Lighting the Way to Smarter Energy Management, Susan Meredith

*GONE TOMORROW : the hidden life of garbage, Heather Rogers

*Leading Change Towards Sustainability Bob Doppelt

*The Sustainability Handbook William Blackburn
*Green to Gold, Daniel Esty & Andrew Winston

*The Truth About Green Business, Gil Friend
(Great book.)

*Energy Efficienct Homes for Dummies, Rik DeGunther
(Used as my bible during home energy audits.)

I've also seen a few movies, here is a sample:
* An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore
(Great film, moved along quickly, informative but at this point, dated.)

* The 11th Hour, Leonardo DiCaprio
(Not sure what the point was, it was disorganized with a few bright spots of inspiration.)

*One Man, One Cow, One Planet: How To Save The World

*The Garbage Warrior, Oliver Hodge
(Very interesting.)

*Food, Inc, Robert Kenner
(Beautifully crafted, but not a lot of new ideas.)

*No Impact Man, Colin Beavan
(*Yawn*)


Aren't you glad you asked?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Use Your ABCs

One of my aerobic routines involves a hill near my house. (I used to call it the hill from hell, but now it's my best friend. It's interesting how things change.)

So this hill is quite steep, and again, closely located to my house. So it is my new *hill of choice*. A few weeks ago I started walking up and down it 10 times, making sure I was huffing and puffing and really working hard. But then, the hill got easier. Which meant it was time to up the intensity. So I added 5 jumping jacks or 5 invisible jump ropes (i.j.r. for short) to the bottom, top and middle of the hill. And I made myself go up/down the hill 15 times.

I had a difficult time keeping track of how many times I had gone up and down the hill. I kept stopping to count how many jacks or i.j.r.,I was doing (5), then forgot how many hills I had done. So, I decided to use the alphabet. I wanted to do 5 jacks, etc., so instead of counting 1,2,3,4,5 I "counted" A,B,C,D,E instead. I was able to do 5 of each exercise AND keep the total number of hills I had done all in my head at once.

It's worked well so far, and I look forward to applying my new little trick to other situations.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Break That Habit

The day before my back surgery, I decided that while I was healing, I would change a bad habit of mine that had been bugging me: crossing my legs.

(I had originally pondered attaching half a tennis ball to my knee with a rubber band, thus making it impossible for me to cross my legs, but *lucky me* the surgery came first.)

First I made sure I knew why I wanted to change the habit:

It's not good for my back or thighs. It puts pressure in places I don't want it to.

Then I decided how I would change this habit:
Uncross my legs whenever I found myself crossing them.

It was easy to stop crossing my legs the first few weeks post surgery because it was somewhat painful to do so. Once things got back to normal, the urge came back. And I had to continually fight it. And once in awhile I still do, but for the most part, the habit has been broken.

Next up... not sleeping scrunched up on my left side. (It's borking my shoulder.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Refuse To Die Of Heart Disease

I believe I've stated this before, but I'll do it again. Statistics show that because I am female and because I have Type 1 diabetes, I will most likely die of heart disease (heart attack). Yes, well, statistics be damned, I utterly REFUSE TO DIE OF HEART DISEASE!

It's not that I don't want to die. We all die. That's just how it goes. But I refuse to die of something so stupid and preventable.

So what am I doing to prevent heart disease?
*Don't smoke (never have)
*Eat good food (lots of fruit & veggies)
*Exercise at a high intensity 6 times a week (3 cardio, 3 weight training)
*Reduce stress
*Watch my cholesterol levels (lipid profile)
*Positive outlook on life

And the fact that I'm having quite a lot of fun getting stronger and reveling in the post exercise endorphins. That's a bonus.

Need more info on preventing heart disease? Check out the American Heart Association.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Be So Frosty: Energy Audit #4

As you know, I've been doing residential energy audits for "clients". Audit #4 was at a lovely 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home built in 1908. Yes, that's right, 1908.

Among the long list of recommendations I sent over after the audit, was a suggestion to get rid of some refrigerators. I say some, because they had 3. One in the kitchen and two in the basement. Now, I don't believe in tossing (or recycling) things just for recycling's sake. So here are some guidelines to follow to decide if it's time to retire an old refrigerator.

Find the model number tag on your fridge. (Photo help.)

Put your info in to the Energy Star Retirement Savings Calculator.

(In general refrigerators made before 1980 cost $150 more a year to run than new Energy Star ones. Refrigerators made before 1993 can cost up to $50 more a year.)

Keep in mind that many utilities will pick up the offending appliance for free and give you a credit on your bill. (For example: Clark Public Utilities in Vancouver, WA will give it's customers a $30 credit.)

Is it really worth paying X in order to keep a six pack of beer cold? It's your decision.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Power Down: Home Energy Audit #3

As you know, I've been doing residential energy audits for "clients". My third one involved a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home built in 1949, its two human inhabitants, and its 2 furry ones.

I did my usual thing, tested the water temperature, checked for holes in insulation, did an interior inspection and exterior inspection, pet the doggie (in my mind because I'm allergic) and moved on the next step. That's when the ravishing owner (Hi Owner!) said,

"Hey! So we never turn our computers off. Do you think this adds to our electrical bill?"

Yes, yes it does.

(From Energy Savers.gov)

When to Turn Off Personal Computers

If you're wondering when you should turn off your personal computer for energy savings, here are some general guidelines to help you make that decision.

Though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, this small amount of energy is still less than the energy used when a computer is running for long periods of time. For energy savings and convenience, consider turning off

* the monitor if you aren't going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes
* both the CPU and monitor if you're not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours...


Full article continues here

Power down people, power down!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ask & You Shall Receive


I was reading the May 2010 issue of Inc. Magazine when I came across an article about a new company based in Salem, MA that produces Bubble Chocolate. Essentially, they aerate the chocolate with hundreds of tiny air bubbles which makes the chocolate taste extraordinary.

So I thought to myself...

I'm from Massachusetts... (Go Red Sox!)
I like chocolate (and am tired of the one I constantly chomp on)...
They need help with social media and I know LOTS of AWESOME people that use social media.

So I hatched a plan. I contacted the PR Agency that Bubble Chocolate uses, and told them if they gifted me with some chocolate, I would hand it out to my friends. (My friends that use social media as if it were oxygen.) AND BUBBLE CHOCOLATE SAID YES!

So, they are shipping me 16 bars of Bubble Chocolate (1/2 milk & 1/2 dark). One will be saved for me (that's my percentage), one for my book club, and one for my Mom. But the rest? Those I will break up and hand out at the InnoTech Conference in Portland, OR on May 6, 2010.

All I ask is that you Tweet/comment on Facebook, upload images to Flickr, upload images to YouTube etc. about Bubble Chocolate to thank them for their generosity. The more buzz you help me create, the more they might *send me more!*
And really, what's better than high quality, chocolate for free?

Can't attend the InnoTech Conference? You can still get in on the action: see if Bubble Chocolate is having a free tasting in your town, buy it at Whole Foods, or buy it online.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eat A Lime



A friend from my hometown recently moved to this area. She has an adorable 4 year old daughter. I think I managed to say hello first, before blurting out "Captain Bogg & Salty! You need to go see Captain Bogg & Salty!" But then I realized, why stop at just telling her?

I will tell all of you!


Captain Bogg & Salty is a Portland, OR based Pirate Band. Having no children of our own, Martin and I were lured to a concert with the promise of hanging out with a friend's child. I expected a painful 2 hour ordeal, but it was actually quite enjoyable.

(I used to work in a Children's toy store, so I know all about horrible Children's music.)

Start here for a bit of a taste, or take a bite by buying their music here (I suggest the album: Pegleg Tango). And try to catch them live, it's quite the electric experience.

Pirate clothing is optional, but highly suggested.


Original Hat tip: CamiKaos

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hack Up Jillian Michaels


Whoa, whoa... slow down. I don't mean hack her to pieces. I mean hack her DVD workout video, 30 Day Shred. I'd heard a lot of good things about it, and I generally like her style, so I watched the DVD last night. But I have some issues:

(Goodness, what a big surprise!)

1) I think expecting someone to work out hard for 20 minutes a day for 30 days in a row is just plain foolish.
2) I think the DVD is too short. (What happens after day 30?)
3) Some of the moves are too high impact.
4) She never, ever talks about proper weight selection.
5) Weight is a horrible indication of fitness

So, I decided to hack it. (Hack=re-configuring or re-programming of a system to function in ways not facilitated by the owner.) And I thought I'd share it with you.

1) Use the proper amount of weight. Do the Level #1 workout first with your best guess of what weight to use. If it feels too easy, go up the next weight available to you. When the last 3-5 reps really burn, (but you can still hold good form) you have found your weight of choice.

2) Do the workout 2-3 times a week. Allowing time for your body to rest for 24 hours between sessions. (Extra cardio sessions are recommended.)

3) Hack it up!

For weeks 1 & 2, do Level #1.
For weeks 3 & 4, do Level #1 two times in a row. (Allow for the fact that it will take 40 minutes.)
For weeks 5 & 6, do Level #1 three times in a row. (Allow for the fact that it will take 60 minutes.)

Weeks 7 & 8, up your weights by 3-5 lbs and do Level #2 once.
Weeks 9 & 10 do Level #2 two times in a row (with the heavier weights).
Weeks 11 & 12 do Level #2 three times in a row (with the heavier weights).

Weeks 13 & 14 up your weights by 3-5 lbs and do Level #3 once (adjust high impact cardio as needed).
Weeks 15 & 16 do Level #3 two times in a row (with heavier weights)(adjust high impact cardio as needed).
Weeks 17 & 18 do Level #3 three times in a row (with heavier weights)(adjust high impact cardio as needed).

Will this hack take longer to sculpt you? Yes, probably. But pushing too hard, too fast, leads to injury and frustration and GIVING UP! I refuse to do that. And you should too. This hack is for life long fitness, so if it takes a bit longer, BUT IT STICKS that's fine with me.

It is your responsibility to be conscious of how hard you are working. If you are bored YOU ARE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.


Extra credit:
You can start again (Week 19-20) with this hack. Just up your weights by 3-5 lbs. And follow the program outlined above.

For Level #1:
Do more difficult push ups, if you've been on your knees, go on your toes. If you've been on your toes, stack your feet.

Add a 3-5 lb weight to the crunches. (Hold it in your hand for regular, twist and bicycle crunches, hold it between your knees for reverse crunches.)

For Level #2:
Do more difficult walk out push ups: stack your legs before doing the push-up portion. Add 3-5 lbs weights to your crunches.

For Level #3:
You should get the idea by now, use your own creativity to make everything harder.

Extra, Extra Credit: When you've memorized the moves, turn off the DVD, blast your own tunes and do them on your own. (About 15 reps per set.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It Doesn't Much Matter If You Match


I've been taking my own grocery bags to the grocery store for over ten years. I've been grumbled at:
"These canvas bags are hard to get the groceries in to"
I've been complained to:
"These bags say Trader Joe's, you are at Safeway!"
I've been yelled at by a dude in a car:
"Hey, this isn't Trader Joe's!" [loudly] "Hmmrpm, but I guess at least you are using reusable bags." [quietly]

Did all the grumbling and complaining stop me? Hell no. I ignored the grumblers, I told the complainers that if it was a problem, I'd be happy to just leave all my groceries on the conveyor belt and leave the store. (That always shut them up.) And I just shrugged my shoulders at the car dude and kept loading up my car.

I "shopped" around for the best bags (waterproof, good handles, sturdy) and I found the Trader Joe's ones to be the best. I even had a friend bring me some of her's from California so I'd have a set of 5. (Who says I'm A.R.??)

My point: Your reusable bag does not need to match the store you are shopping at.

Go make me proud!