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.


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

Aren't you glad you asked?