Sunday, December 18, 2011

Warm Up With Quinoa

As much as I love my morning smoothies, they tend to make me cold when I drink them. That, combined with a super sweaty body works great in the fall/spring and summer, but not so great in the cold of winter. But with fruit so scarce this time of year, I still wanted to use my frozen berries, so I created

Quinoa Fruit Cereal

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
140g frozen berries/fruit

I measure/weigh the quinoa and berries out in to storage bowls beforehand and stack them in the fridge. When it's time to eat, I transfer one of the bowls to a microwave safe bowl and zap it for 2 minutes. Then I add a little soy milk and a lot of cinnamon. It sort of tastes like a fruit cobbler. SORT OF! I like to eat this with a side of plain Greek yogurt, green tea, and my fish oil.

I get my fiber (fruit + quinoa), I get a filling portion of protein (yogurt + quinoa), and I get antioxidants, minerals and such (fruit + cinnamon + quinoa) AND I don't start the day off freezing to death.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Start The Insanity

As you know, I don't do exercise "programs" as prescribed by the creators. I believe that pushing yourself to extremes for 30, 60, or 90 days is a recipe for burnout, frustration and injury. I prefer to take the routines included in the program and fit them into my ongoing program. Let's call it Fit365.

But because these exercise programs are so frustrating to people, friends have been kind enough to gift them to me. One of these programs is INSANITY.

Mostly a cardio program, INSANITY is essentially a series of sports drills. It's easy to follow along, there are no complicated moves like in TurboFire, and since you basically do the drills over and over, just at a faster pace, you don't have to think too much. (Which some days, is just what I'm looking for.)

INSANITY is a HIGH IMPACT program. Unlike most programs, there is no one doing a low impact version of the exercises. So I just make up my own modifications (like I do if I am taking a class) and yes, I still get very sweaty. In general, the program reminds me of my high school sports training which, interestingly enough is how I got my ouchy knees. I am always conscious of getting a good workout while not going too far.

Shaun T. talks a lot, but because he is breathing hard and panting so much, some how it comes off as adorable. (He pants so much, that Beachbody has added a subtitle option to the DVD menu.)

At around 15 minutes all the guys start taking their shirts off. This is good for motivation but bad if you find yourself stopping what you are doing to stare at their ripped bodies. The ladies start off scantily clad, there generally is nothing left for them to shed and still make it a family friendly DVD.

All in all, it's a nice basic program. And a nice complement to P90X (which is mostly strength training). I'm very grateful to the friend that gave me her discarded copy. And I plan on using it a lot. I would have never shelled out $150 for it, so I'm happy I was able to get it another way.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Don't Masque Your Man

I was reading Redbook magazine the other day when I saw an ad for a product called Masque that made me do a double take. Masque is a "orally dissolvable, flavored gel strip...that conceals any unpleasant flavors associated with your man and his subsequent climax."

What the heck? A gel strip to mask the taste of semen?

I'm used to the marketing ploy that women should be given favors for sex ("Expect flowers tomorrow."- Masque) and the misguided notion that a women's vulva/vagina should look and smell like fruit (Exotic Kiwi!) flowers (White blossom!) and rainbows (Sporty Fresh!).
(These are actual scents from Summer's Eve, and FDS.)

BUT, never in my brief 36 years have I ever heard, read, or seen anything in the mainstream media that would ever suggest that anything regarding the taste, smell or look of a naturally occurring male sexual function needed to be fixed. I am dumbfounded.

I'm not saying I disagree with the notion that semen can taste "bad", I'm just saddened that a company is turning it into a full fledged issue. And cashing in on it at $4 a sucralose filled strip. Each strip only lasts 15 minutes, so no pressure boys, but you'd better get to it quickly!

Getting complaints that your semen tastes bad? Is your partner reluctant to even give it a try? Here's a tip: Stop asking about it every 5 minutes, take a shower before bed, stop smoking, and stop eating crappy food. Yes, that's right! The same thing that helps with fitness, heart health, mood, cravings, depression, pretty much anything, helps with less than lovely tasting semen.

And if your partner still isn't interested, know that for various reasons some people just don't like it. There is nothing wrong with you and there is nothing wrong with your partner. Each person has their own sexual preferences and those needs to be honored.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bring It With You

I have been looking for a personal cooler for a while. My old lunch one is way too small for the amount of food I like to have on hand, and our big one is way too big. I've been making do by filling an old brown paper gift bag (ironically labeled "Martin"). I fill it with plastic containers of chopped veggies and other snacks for when we go to play board games at Guardian Games, to work related game nights, or to the mall (which is a handy place to play board games in the heat of the summer).

But I finally found a keeper: The Thermos Raya 9 can cooler.

(The dots are correct, the color is not.)

It was tested throughout Thanksgiving and came through with flying colors. I am currently eating around 1,100 calories a day in order to lose weight. It can be hard not to eat when those around you are, so I munched on celery, carrots, and radishes while my family gorged on Brie and crackers. I love the happy dots and I love that I have control over what I am eating in any situation that comes my way.

FYI: There are also coolers that stay cool by plugging in to the cigarette lighter in your car. If I drove a lot for business or pleasure, I would get one in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be Sensible About Your Sensitivity

I've been blogging now for 4 years (Happy Anniversary to me!) and I suppose it's time to clear something up. I'm not really Anal Retentive. Yes, I've been called A.R. a million times, but what I really am is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). According to Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, 1 out of 5 of us is Highly Sensitive.

I was always pegged as a shy girl (it really depends on the situation), I still have memories of hating New York City because of the crowds, and I have a magical reaction when listening to music. But I never knew what was going on, just that I seemed to be different than others.

Many years ago, my Mom totally called it. She even bought me the book by Elaine Aron. But how did I react? I missed the point entirely and was instead offended that she would suggest such a thing. Even though Aron talks about being a HSP in a positive way, the world had already taught me that being sensitive was a bad thing.

Fast forward a few years to another book: Human Dynamics by Sandra Seagal & David Horne. After reading through the various personality types, I quickly found myself: Emotional-Subjective. To paraphrase: master of interpersonal communication, highly intuitive, often overwhelmed by too much stimuli.

I cried when I read the description. There on the page, I read explanations for things I could never understand. There wasn't anything wrong with me! I wasn't broken. It was just my personality type. And thus began my process of understanding and embracing my personality traits.

So now I try my best to amplify the positives and reduce the negatives.

For example:

I am highly sensitive to caffeine: So I normally avoid it. However, in the days before my menstrual cycle, when my body needs extra energy, I use it to help my body along.

I am highly sensitive to images in TV/movies:
I avoid violence on screen and instead get a daily dose of anything that makes me laugh. Preferably out loud.

I am highly sensitive to stress and endorphins:
I have added monthly massages and almost daily exercise to my life because it reduces the stress and releases those feel good endorphins.

Embracing my true self has made all the difference in the world for me.

If you think that you or a loved one are a HSP, I highly suggest you
take the self test, grab her book, or just peruse her web-site.

The Human Dynamics book is worth its weight in gold and I will forever be grateful to the person who brought it into my life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fill Your Arsenal

My current exercise program consists of:

2-3 sessions of weight training (30-60 minutes depending on # of reps)
4 sessions of cardio (30-60 minutes depending on intensity)
Stretching after every workout.

My weight training workouts come from the 12 programs I have complied in a notebook. They are usually from fitness magazines or based off of exercise DVDs. (I tired of the trainer, but not the moves.) I cycle through these every 6 weeks. There are only so many weight training moves, so most of the workouts just use different "props" (medicine ball, body weight, resistance bands, etc.) but that helps stave off boredom. And I am ever mindful of adding more weight or more reps so that I continue to challenge myself and build muscle and endurance.

For the cardio, I have now collected 4 Beachbody fitness programs.

While I did buy the TurboFire DVD set and the Turbo Jam Cardio Party 2 DVD, the rest came from friends who were inspired by the infomercials, ordered the set, but then never used it because they felt it was too difficult or that they didn't have enough space in their house.

So when it's a cardio day, I pick one of the DVDs from my arsenal. I've been cycling through the Turbo Jam, TurboFire, and Insanity sets, since P90X has a limited amount of cardio. (And Tony Horton drives me insane.)

No, I'm not doing the exercise programs as "prescribed," but I'm not looking for a program for 60-90 days, I'm looking for a program for life. This keeps the routines varied, keeps me from getting bored, and keeps me moving!

If you have multiple Beachbody DVD sets and want to follow a more structured approach, there are various hybrid programs, e.g. the P90X/Insanity Hybrid that you can find for free here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Squeeze In Your Omega-3s

I finally decided to start taking fish oil supplements. But I'm not a huge fan of fish and after a recent episode where I threw up my POM Wonderful smoothie because the Flax seed oil I added to it had gone bad, I wasn't really looking forward to taking more oil.

Which brings me to Coromega Omega3 Squeeze (orange flavored).

I learned about it from the Women's Health Magazine supplement that comes with your magazine order. The reviews on Amazon were outstanding, so I located some at my nearby Walgreen's and squeezed away.

I've taken it now for 3 weeks.

Flavor: It does taste somewhat like a creamsicle, but the citric acid has a bit of a kick to it. Doesn't taste like fish at all, no fish burbs at all.

Mood/Body changes: Nothing yet. But I think I need to have it in my system for more than 30 days before anything really happens.

Would I buy again?: Of course! If I don't feel any changes after 3 months I may re-evaluate, but I actually look forward to eating this fish oil!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make Your Smoothies Wonderful

I have been a fan of POM Wonderful ever since it came out years ago. Pomegranate juice is wonderful for you for all sorts of reasons. Although the juice is available all year round, I like to buy it in the fall. It's a nice change from all the apples and pears I'm eating and it's often on sale. I continue to buy POM Wonderful because they don't use fillers (apple juice, white grape juice, etc.) just Pomegranate juice (and the other juice mentioned on the bottle).

That being said, it can be a hard juice to drink. It's quite tart. I used to make Pom spritzers, (some juice + sparkling water) and this year I'm making smoothies.

POM Wonderful Smoothie
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) POM Wonderful (I prefer the 100% Pom or Pom/Cranberry)
  • 140 g. (1 cup) Frozen berries/cherries (I prefer Trader Joe's Very Cherry mix)
  • 113 g. (1/2 cup) 1% Plain yogurt
  • Splash of water
  • Tbsp of ground Cinnamon
Throw it all in the blender, blend and enjoy!

Makes one serving:
Calories ~ 235, Carbohydrates- 50

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Count On It

I made turkey stock from a Thanksgiving turkey a while back, and recently also made ham stock. Making stock is so incredibly easy (put cooked carcass in pot, cover with water, simmer for 2 hours, strain out bits, skim off fat) and it tastes so good that when we recently bought a rotisserie chicken, I made stock out of that too!

Normally I would make a soup out of the stock, throw in some veggies, some beans, some meat, some pasta and call it done. But since I am currently on a reduced calorie diet I had to think up a new way to assemble it. I thought about preparing each soup individually. This way I could count the calories/carbohydrates for the beans and pasta. And I thought about just letting it go. But then it dawned on me! Why not add something to the soup that is easy to count out ... pot stickers*!

So, this weekend we will be having chicken and pot sticker soup with sauteed mushrooms, and bok choy. I can cook it all up at once, and can easily count out the pot stickers to determine calories and carbohydrates.

Problem solved!

* tortellini or ravioli will also work, but depending on size, may take longer to count out.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Listen To Yourself

I realized the other day that half of the spam emails I get are about getting smaller ("Lose 15 lbs. in 2 days!") and the other half are about getting larger ("Gain width and inches with this potent pill!") The implied urgency of these emails, along with main stream media backing these messages up (Rogaine for eyelashes? Really?? Don't we have other things to spend our time on?) can make your brain a hectic, anxious place.

How about we cut out all the noise and just listen to ourselves?

I bet you will find that these "problems" don't really exist after all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

I had a job interview yesterday at an ad agency in Portland, OR. and hours later find myself baffled at something that happened. Was I amazed that I could hear dogs barking off and on for the four hours I was in the office? No, I knew it was a dog friendly office, and frankly, Portland is a dog friendly town, so while it was a bit different, it certainly wasn't unexpected.

Was I baffled by the fact that my interviews took place inside a huge art installation, made of sticks and branches, aka "The Nest"?

From Interior Design

No. While it was certainly trippy, it wasn't unexpected. So what was this thing that was so shocking? This thing that I'm still baffled at right now?

Well, one of my interviewers has a daughter with the same name as me. Same name, same pronunciation, everything. I have never met anyone with my name before (abbreviations and fake names like Lia19 do not count).

When I was little, if I wanted to see my name in print, I was forced to cut the "Lia" out of Parliament Lights cigarette magazine ads. My favorite countries included SomaLIA and AustraLIA. And my favorite song was, Leah, by Roy Orbison (even though he spelled it wrong).

Since then, I've only seen my name in mainstream media three times. Lia Huber, writer for Cooking Light Magazine, Lia Sophia (a jewelry company named after the founder's two daughters) and more recently a guest on the Dr. Oz show. It was so strange to see my name on TV, that I literally couldn't change the channel. Even as I squirmed uncomfortably while he told TV Lia that the "Real Age" of her vagina (due to poor diet, being overweight, etc.) was 87, I still stayed on the channel.

So even though these thoughts raced through my head, I did not share them with the interviewer. Instead I finished the interview and told him to tell his daughter that she has the most beautiful name ever.

But to get used to being called Lisa.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Watch it, Tiger

I have lots of tricks to combat muscle and back soreness (massage, foam roller, Pilates videos, heat packs, ice packs, and Advil) and now I've added another one to my arsenal: Tiger Balm. I originally heard about Tiger Balm from a friend, when she heard me complaining of extreme back pain (turns out, I had broken a disc in my vertebra, and needed surgery for the fix) and heard of it again recently, on Dr. Oz.

Essentially, it is a herbal version of Icy Hot (only, it never gets cold). I have found that you have to put just the right amount of the ointment on, to get it to do its thing. And its thing? A burning sensation (in a good way). It feels like I have a heating pad on my back even though I don't. And it's great for when I want to be mobile because trying to tie the heating pad on to my back with ace bandages doesn't work so well.

The only drawback is, it "may stain cloth" scratch that, IT DOES STAIN! So skip the red version and get the white one, and you won't have to sit on towels for fear of staining the couch.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Knowledge Transforms

In three short months I have gone from someone terrified of guns to someone that loves "shooting holes through paper." And I owe lots of it to Mark and Mike at Cascades Firearms Training they were patient with me during the day long NRA Basic Pistol Course, and didn't push me when I was terrified to touch the open and unloaded guns sitting on the table. Because they were so patient, I was able to get comfortable with a situation I had only seen in movies and on T.V. (i.e. being near a real gun). And eventually, we went to the range and I was able to actually shoot. Yes, I was nervous (my blood sugar skyrocketed from the stress), but they didn't push me and I stopped when I'd had enough.

Their knowledge, attention to safety, and respect of firearms made me trust them, and thus trust myself. And that has made my journey in to plinking (shooting paper targets) that much sweeter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Can Take It With You

On a recent family trip to The Wayfarer Resort in Vida, OR I packed many things. Clothing, food, books ... the usual stuff. But my two new favorite additions were my Polder Pocket Size Digital Scale and my Turbo Jam exercise DVDs. I used the digital scale multiple times a day (as I do with my full size one at home) which meant I knew how much insulin to bolus and my blood sugars stayed consistent (which makes life so much easier).

Thankfully, the weather was nice enough to go for a walk every morning, but just knowing I had a back up in case of rain made me feel confident that my exercise routine would continue (which also helps my blood sugars stay consistent, which makes life easier).

So don't dump your fitness and health routine if you are going on vacation, take it with you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thank Your Honey

One of my pet peeves is a "public" bathroom that does not have a hook for bags. I often have to go to the bathroom, and I often carry a bag. I've managed to balance my bag on things, hang it on doorknobs, etc. but was pretty much baffled with how to manage a port-a-potty, "Martin can you hold this?" was as good as it got.

Then one day at The English Pit (an outdoor shooting range in Vancouver, WA) while I was using the facilities, I looked up ... and behold ... there was a hook (and a mirror). I haven't done a lot of research, but I can say that not all port-a-potties have this lovely hook. So far, only Honey Bucket brand ones do.

And so I say, thanks, Honey.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Library Loves You Too

I have always had a deep love of the public library system here in the United States. I'm a bit of a book addict and I love having a huge supply of books without having to actually store any in our house. And now, just when I didn't think I could love my library any more, it has gifted me with a way to feed my need for new workout music and my intense dislike of having to pay for it. Enter: freegal music!

With my library card I am able to download 3 songs a week for "free" (granted: the taxes I pay for the library go towards paying) from various Song Music Entertainment artists.

For my first week, I chose:

Hall and Oates: Maneater
Adele: Rolling In The Deep
Britney Spears: Toxic*

I use the Fort Vancouver, WA library system, but check out your local library to see if they are participating in this program!

*My intense love of this new program supersedes my embarrassment of adding Britney to my playlist.

Monday, August 22, 2011

De-Green Your House

Here in Vancouver, WA we are not only blessed with green outside of the house (moss) but inside as well (hard water). Almost every sink, shower and toilet we have has green stains in it. When we moved in to the house, we thought perhaps the previous owners were using the tub to die things green. But I did some Internet searching and found out they were mineral deposits.

So, I tried the gentle approach: soap & water, vinegar, baking soda, but nothing could remove the stains. I tried Oxi Clean, I tried bleach, and then I tried CLR. While CLR did make a dent on some of the stains, it was not a slam dunk. What finally turned our toilet from nasty green and brown to a sparkling white was a pumice stone and about 2 hours of elbow grease. I used the bathroomstone by Earthstone, it was only about $4, but it did such a great job I would have paid $100.

As for outside, I scraped up the big moss with a paint stirrer, then swept the concrete patio. I applied Oxi Clean and water to the patio, brushed the solution around, let it sit for an hour, then hosed it off. It certainly made a difference, but it didn't make it all go away. So I had to use chlorine bleach mixed with water on the trouble spots.

All in all, I'm happy with the results, and I'm happy to know what actually works!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It Has Nothing To Do With You

I usually try not to post things late at night, but after a day of nursing a wicked cold my mind is swirling with various topics. And the best way to get it to quiet down is by getting one out.

In the past few years I have a handful of friends who have essentially freaked out on me. After asking my opinion about weight loss or health, and not liking my answer (to lose weight you need to reduce the calories you are eating) they have called me names, unfriended/blocked me from various social networks, and stopped talking to me. And as much as these actions sting, I know that they have nothing to do with me. Each person is scared and/or in pain and it's much easier to lash out at someone than to stop and hear the truth (you are the only one responsible for the choices you make).

So I back off and hope that they find those magical tenants. That they need to put themselves first in life, that accepting responsibility opens many doors, and that they have the power within them to attain the goals they want so desperately.

And every once in awhile, a friend returns. And I bask in the glow of their new found self. And it makes me hopeful that more will do the same. Not because I want to hear that I was right, but because I want to hear that they found their happiness.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Be So Blind

This story is almost too embarrassing to tell. But, I will tell it anyway. When my husband and I moved in to our house over 8 years ago, I found a stash of extra vertical blinds in a closet. Over the years, some of the blinds in the windows have broken or gone missing. I would remember that we possibly had some extra ones in the closet, but it seemed like such a monumental task. How would I get the little notches cut in the top of blinds? How would I cut them to length? It was just way too complicated. So I ignored them.

Well today, I finally actually opened the package of extra blinds. Turns out they already had the notch cut in them, and that you can cut vinyl blinds with your trusty scissors (thank you, Internet). So, it took me 15 minutes to fix/replace the four blinds that were missing. And I now have an empty shelf in the closet.

While I am embarrassed that it took me 8 years to be sensible and actually open the package, mostly I am glad to have them finished!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Contemplate Calmness

Although I usually didn't use Twitter or Facebook very much on the weekend anyway, I was still wondering if I would suffer from withdrawal symptoms after deleting both accounts.

The only side effects seem to be calmness and random thoughts that have no place to go. Occasionally I will remember that I forgot to grab a email address from my Facebook account or realize I won't be able to see updated pictures, but then I remind myself that I am working on strengthening relationships in real life, and that there are other ways to get this information, if I really need it.

When I am on the computer (to study for my HAM radio exam, pay bills, etc.) my time is much shorter and I don't feel so drained afterwards. And that pull that I used to feel in the back of my mind, wondering if someone needed me for something (in the form of a Twitter/Facebook message) is gone.

If I am truly needed, I can be easily alerted.

The false sense of urgency and importance has receded and that makes me much calmer. My desire to write blog posts has returned, and for that I am grateful.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Toss Out Twitter

Yesterday, after almost four years of daily use, I deleted my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I deleted them for two main reasons:

The Shift Away From Unique Content

I was dragged kicking and screaming on to Twitter but thoroughly enjoyed it for many years. I was able to make connections with people I would not have otherwise met, I learned new and exciting things, and I laughed a lot. When Twitter added the Lists feature (essentially a popularity system) I knew things were heading in a direction I wouldn't enjoy. When Twitter switched to New Twitter, I immediately switched back. It was becoming too commercialized, too ad focused. Content was also shifting away from original content. People were linking their numerous other social media profiles and their various smart phone applications to their Twitter/Facebook accounts. My Twitter and Facebook streams were becoming fields of automatic messages. And to me these messages screamed, Look at me! Look at me! Validate that I am important!!! The escalating noise eventually drowned out any actual signal.

The Way I Was Using It

Although I cut my use of social media a lot in the past year, I still spent at least 4 hours a day on it. I didn't like how I was spending my time: looking at other people's children instead of doing the work it would take to have some of my own, sending out quick updates to online friends but never finding the time to actually call a friend. Recently, and much to my disgust, when my husband was frustrated with me, I actually thought, "It's OK that he's upset, because I have friends on Twitter that think I'm funny."

What began four years ago as a neat way to connect with people had turned into a hollow excuse for not having to be alone, a way to keep me occupied so I wouldn't have to think about whether I was living the life I wanted. And this constant barrage of information made me tired, so tired that when I did have the opportunity to see people I was already half drained.

Deleting the Facebook account was easy. It took me longer to decide to delete my Twitter account. I was actually shaking when I did it, like I was cutting away a safety net.

So today marks the first day of my silence on social media. The first day of re-establishing and nurturing relationships in "real" life. I considered deleting this blog also, but have decided it will stay. I enjoy sharing things with people, I just needed to eliminate the garbage, slow the merry go round down and spend more time with myself.

FYI: Sherry Turkle wrote a fabulous book about many of the issues I just talked about: Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Enjoy The Silence

Please do not panic, nothing bad has happened to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have deleted them because they were no longer useful to me.

More on this in the future ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cut P90X Down To Size

I've said this once, I've said it about a bizillion times, P90X is too hard.

But you saw the infomercial and want to get in shape so badly, so you purchased the program and it has arrived at your home. Well, you have three choices, you can 1) Open it, realized it's really hard and never look at it again 2) Jump in to the program full throttle, then either hurt or exhaust yourself after 30 days and abandon it. OR you can do the smart thing and 3) Cut it down to size.
(My suggestions are in bold.)

P90X Classic

Weeks 1-3, 9-11
Day 1: Chest & Back (~60 min), Ab Ripper X (~10 minutes)
Cut down: do 30 minutes: stop at the final exercise of the first round, Back Flys. Weeks 1-3, skip Ab Ripper, weeks 9-11, do it.

Day 2: Plyometrics (~60 minutes) Cut down: Weeks 1-3: do 30 of DVD, Weeks 9-11: do full DVD.

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms (~60 min), Ab Ripper X (~10 min) Cut down: do 30 minutes of Shoulders & Arms, stop after Upright rows. Weeks 1-3, skip Ab Ripper, Weeks 9-11, do it.

Day 4: Yoga X (~92 minutes) Cut down: Weeks 1-3, do it for 30 minutes, weeks 9-11, do it for 60.

Day 5: Legs & Back (~60 minutes), Ab Ripper X (~10 minutes) Cut down: do 30 minutes of Legs & Back, stop after Switch Grip Pull-Ups. Weeks 1-3, skip Ab Ripper, weeks 9-11, do it.

Day 6: Kenpo X (~55 minutes) Cut down: Weeks 1-3: do for 30 minutes, weeks 9-11, do full DVD.

Day 7: Rest or X Stretch Cut down: Same

Weeks 4,8,13
Day 1: Yoga X (~92 minutes) Cut down: do for 30 minutes

Day 2: Core Synergistics (~58 minutes) Cut down: do for 30 minutes, stop after Prison Cell Push-Ups

Day 3: Kenpo X (~55 minutes) Cut down: Do full DVD or other cardio for 60 minutes

Day 4: X Stretch Cut down: Same

Day 5: Core Synergistics (~58 minutes) Cut down: do for 30 minutes, stop after Prison Cell Push-Ups

Day 6: Yoga X (~92 minutes) Cut down: Do for 30 minutes

Day 7: Rest or Stretch Cut down: Same

Weeks 5-7, 10-12
Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (~60 minutes), Ab Ripper X (~10 minutes) Cut down: do for 30 minutes, stop after Lying Triceps Extensions. Do Ab Ripper X.

Day 2: Plyometrics (~60 minutes) Cut down: Do full DVD or other cardio for 60 minutes

Day 3: Back & Biceps (~60 minutes), Ab Ripper X (10 minutes) Cut down: do 30 minutes of DVD, stop after Static Arm Curls, do Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Yoga X (~90 minutes) Cut down: Do it for 60 minutes

Day 5: Legs & Back (~60 minutes), Ab Ripper X (10 minutes) Cut it down: do Legs and Back for 30 minutes, stop after Switch Grip Pull Ups, do Ab Ripper.

Day 6: Kenpo X (~60 minutes) Cut down: do DVD or other cardio for 60 minutes

Day 7: Rest or X Stretch Cut down: same


It's not too late to dust off your P90X program and get in better shape. Just be smart about it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lace Up And Silence Tinnitus

Tinnitus is "the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound..."

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes, the most common being noise induced hearing loss.

Can you imagine, an almost constant noise in your ears, when there is no actual noise? Earplugs don't stop it, earmuffs, pillows ... all useless. And the stress from not being able to stop it? Why it just makes the tinnitus even worse. And on and on it goes. This is how it is for my Dad. And he's had to deal with it for years.

Recently he's decided to do something about it and has joined the American Tinnitus Association. And this Saturday, he will be walking to raise money to fund more research.

You can join the walk in Portland, OR this Saturday June 25, 2011, join a satellite walk, or donate online.

Any way you choose, your help will make life easier for over 50 million people in the United States that suffer from tinnitus.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Share It With Your Friends: Part 2

Well, the PDX Geek 5K was a huge success.

Did we have an enormous crowd show up? No. We had 6 people.

Were they smiling afterwards and begging me to do this again sometime really soon? Yes. And for that, I consider it a success.

Here's a photo from the day: (Photographer is Marcia Hollander, my mom, and 5K Participant.)

(L-R: Mark Dilley, his wife Sylvia, Martin Wehner, Gina Anzaldo, Lia Hollander)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take The Roads Most Traveled: Part 2

I had a wonderful time at the 140 Characters Conference NW interviewing Bekki Witt of Tri-Met and Jeremy Bertrand of WSDOT. Don't believe me? You can watch it yourself! If you are short on time, I suggest you skip to 15:26, that's the part of the video that makes me laugh the most.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Simplicity Is Brillant

I've been known to read one or two business magazines, and I'm always delighted by stories of companies making it big, solving problems, or helping customers. Well, last week I opened my Fast Company magazine, the "100 Most Creative People In Business" issue. I read about Conan O'Brien, read about Oprah, read about Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos). But the article that stopped me in my tracks, that actually brought tears to my eyes was the one about Neil Powell, executive creative director at London ad agency BMB NY. After a plea from UNICEF on behalf of mothers in Uganda, Powell and colleagues designed a blanket for infants that also educates their mothers about how to best take care of them.

This is simply brilliant.

Powell is currently traveling through Uganda and handing out the blankets. You can follow his journey by following his twitter account: @infoblanket.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blast Through Your Fears

This weekend, my husband and I are taking the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course. Yes, you read that correctly. We are going to learn how to properly use guns! We've been talking for awhile about learning how to shoot. I am scared of guns and I'd like to know how to properly handle it if I ever came across one. In addition, my husband and I both want to learn a new skill. I loved archery when I was younger, so I'm sure once I get over the nervousness of actually handling a gun, I will love shooting at the target.

We are going to Cascades Firearms Training for a full day course and will be putting ourselves in the capable hands of Mike and Mark. We will be bringing some equipment (hat, earplugs) and will rent some on site (gun, possibly more ear protection).

Interested in taking a gun safety course? Here's the full list of courses the NRA offers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Have Your Way With P90X: Month 2

Today starts month 2 of P90X LIA. Am I glad that I altered the prescribed P90X routine? Oh my god, yes. I was able to get through the month, always challenging myself, yet never injuring myself. And that is exactly what I was looking for. Have I seen a difference in my body, even though I haven't followed the program exactly? Again, yes. I do think a lot of that has to do with my cleaner eating, but increasing the number of push ups I am doing from 20 to 100+ a week has made a big difference.

After a month of using the P90X DVDs, I have a better understanding of what is on them, so I've been able to alter the program even more. For example: Legs & Back is about a 60 minute DVD, so I split the routine in to two parts: A & B. I will do part A for a few weeks and then part B for a few. This increases my ability to use the DVDS, and will hopefully alleviate boredom for a few more months. Unfortunately, after doing the Kempo DVD about 8 times, I am now bored of it, so I need to take it out of rotation for awhile.

So, here's month two of P90X LIA:

30 minutes of Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
30 minutes of cardio (Turbo Jam DVD my friend Stephanie is letting me borrow)

60 minutes of cardio

30 minutes Legs & Back (Part A)
30 minutes cardio

60 minutes cardio

30 minutes Ab Ripper
30 cardio

Week 1-3 I will start with 13 reps of everything (push ups, etc.) and then increase as needed. Week four I switch out the strength training for yoga/pilates but keep the cardio.

I look forward to stretching out this routine as long as possible, but I already have eyes for another DVD set in the Beachbody stable: Insanity.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Share It With Your Friends

I had been talking with my friends Gina Anzaldo and Dawn Foster about organizing a Geek 5k for the Portland, OR area for a few years. They both love to run, and I was interested in organizing an event that got people moving, rather than just having them sit in front of a screen. Other things got in the way, time passed, and nothing was ever done.

Until now. Well, last month, but whatever... a few weeks ago I was inspired by my friend, Josh Bancroft's I'm Done Being The Fat Guy blog post, inspired to get that PDX Geek 5k up and running.

So, please join us on Saturday May 28th at 8:00 am PDT for the first ever (that I know of) PDX Geek 5k. Full details here.

And if you can't join us, please do find some time on Saturday to get up and move. It will improve your mood and your health!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Try It Both Ways

I've been going to Portland Beer and Blog for years, and now, thanks to Sean Wiese, I can go to Vancouver (WA) Beer and Blog too! Although I don't partake in the "beering" I do like to talk about blogging. As noted in a recent article in The Columbian newspaper written by Sue Vorenberg:

At the April meeting, group members new and old shared beer and spinach dip as they compared smartphones and talked about what sort of applications they use to tweet and blog.

“My advice, always be prepared to blog when the blog post starts in your head,” Hollander told those sitting around her table.

That drew a slight wince from Anderson.

“I seem to get my best ideas when my hands are unavailable,” she said.

But Mary Rarick, who came from Portland to check out the meeting, had a solution.

“I wrote a blog about that — and then I found a product where you can actually write while you’re in the shower,” Rarick said.

Wiese said he hopes more people will come out and join the conversation at Beer and Blog’s May meeting this week.

“All you have to do is show up, buy a beer and hang out,” Wiese said.

Like Sean said, please join us at Vancouver (WA) Beer and Blog, we'd love to have you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Take The Roads Most Traveled

This Thursday, I have the pleasure of moderating a panel at the 140 Character Conference NW, titled, Sometimes The Sky Falls, Sometimes It Doesn't. The two panelists are Bekki Witt, Public Information Officer of TriMet

and Jeremy Bertrand, Web and Social Media Manager at The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

I was able to meet with Bekki ahead of time and had a great conversation about how TriMet uses social media to help its customers. I was also able to talk with Jeremy by phone, fill him in on what Bekki and I talked about, and get his feedback.

I look forward to hearing what they both have to say at the conference. If you can't join us in person, you can still watch it live!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cheat With Weight Watchers

I am not a member of Weight Watchers, and I have never used Weight Watchers, but I have lots of family members who have found great success using it. So I was delighted to find Weight Watchers Magazine at my local library. I'm able to get Weight Watchers approved stories, recipes, exercise routines, and ideas all for free!

If you've always wondered about Weight Watchers, reading a few issues can give you a taste of what to expect. They do not explain the program in detail, but you can get a feel for the attitude of the program and see photos of others that are doing it.

They really try to make the magazine fun and interesting, the Jan/Feb Issue 2011 even has a Bollywood inspired (Bhangra) exercise routine included. Give it a try!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take A Break

Eating lunch at your office desk is a bad idea. I know you think you are saving time, or impressing the boss with your work ethics. but research shows that your ability to think critically is compromised when you work and eat at the same time. Not to mention, how your brain gets fried and you don't even taste what you are eating!

On your lunch break, get away from your desk and eat your lunch in a different area (preferably outside, weather permitting). You can focus on your food, clear your head, and get prepared for the rest of the day. I have found that some of my best ideas come to me when I step away from my work.

Yes, you have a job to do, but your most important job is taking good care of yourself.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Have Your Way With P90X

My lovely friend, Jessica, lent me her P90X Extreme Home Fitness program (retail price: $140.00). The program consists of 12 workout DVDs (plus 1 DVD with 2 bonus 30 minute cardio workouts). It also comes with a nutrition guide but that really didn't interest me (to be clear: nutrition is super important to fitness, but I've got my own thing going).

There are 3 basic plans that Tony Horton (the instructor) suggests that you can create with the 12 DVDs.

1. P90X Classic (suggested for men)
2. P90X Lean (suggested for women)
3. P90X Doubles (has extra cardio)

Well, I didn't like any of those programs, so I've created my own:

P90X LIA (Lite with Increased Aerobics)

M: 30 minutes P90X Chest + Back, 30 minutes P90X Kempo

T: 60 minutes cardio

W: 30 minutes P90X Legs + Back, 30 minutes P90X Kempo

Th: 60 minutes cardio

F: 30 minutes P90X Core Synergistics, 30 minutes P90X Kempo

SN: 60 minutes cardio

Totals: 1.5 hrs strength training, 4.5 hrs cardio per week

I will do 10 reps of each strength training move (push up, pull up (modified), etc) for the first 3 week period, then add more reps as needed. For the fourth week, I will swap out some of the strength training with Yoga* or the P90X X Strength DVD.

And it all begins TODAY!

* Tony babbles non stop on all the DVDs, and the ones that do NOT have a CUE/MUSIC feature (basically, you only hear him when he is about to cue) like the P90X Yoga and the 2 bonus workouts are useless to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spice It Up! Part 3 of 3

While technically, not a herb or spice, Wheat Germ, does fall under the minimal calories. carbohydrate added vs. high nutritional benefits umbrella, so I am including it in the experiment.

Experiment #3: Wheat Germ

Today, I added 1 Tablespoon of Wheat Germ to my morning smoothie, it added 25 calories and a nominal amount of carbohydrates but added all sorts of good nutrients and minerals, including Vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorus, thiamin, zinc and magnesium, as well as essential fatty acids and fatty alcohols.

Smoothie Recipe:
1 Tbsp Wheat Germ
140g Frozen Cherries
8 oz plain soy milk
113g plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp Unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
5 ice cubes

And it tasted just as good as usual.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spice It Up! Part 2 of 3

As you know, I like food, I like it a lot. So, I've been experimenting with adding herbs & spices to my food, thereby adding taste without extra calories or carbohydrates.

Experiment #2: Chinese Style Five Spice Powder

Five Spice Powder is made of: Cinnamon, Anise, Fennel, Ginger, Clove, and Licorice Root. You can find it any grocery store.

I normally add cocoa, cinnamon, and ginger to my morning smoothie, but a recipe in Weight Watchers Magazine, for Chocolate Spice Cupcakes, where they use both the Five Spice Powder and some chocolate, inspired me to add it to my morning smoothie. I expect it to have quite a kick!

Update: The Five Spice Powder is a wonderful addition to the smoothie. I used a heaping 1 tsp the first time, and it was yummy. It reminds me a little of what Chai tastes like. I may add more Five Spice next time, to really bring out those flavors.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spice It Up! Part 1 of 3

I like food. I really like food. I refuse to eat junk, which pretty much leaves me with whole grains, veggies, lean protein, and fruit. I like these things, but I also like to change things up a bit, so I am playing with herbs and spices. Herbs and spices usually add zero calories and carbohydrates but lots of taste to a meal, and often have antioxidants and other good for you stuff.

Experiment 1: Mrs. Dash

I always thought that Mrs. Dash was a mish-mash of chemicals and additives (not something I'm going to add to my food) but I kept hearing good things about it in various fitness magazines. So I finally picked up the bottle and read the ingredients when I was at the grocery store:

Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb: Garlic, Onion, Spices, (Black Pepper, Parsley, Fennel, Basil, Bay, Marjoram, Oregano, Savory, Thyme, Cayenne Pepper, Coriander, Cumin, Mustard, Rosemary, Celery Seed), Carrot, Orange Peel, Spice Extractives.

See? Not scary at all! We eat a lot of steamed veggies, and I plan on using Mrs. Dash on them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Listen To The Robots

The other day, I was working on my resume and started wondering if there was a way to broadcast it in a different way. While I was doing the dishes (where I often get my best ideas) I thought it would be funny to have cartoon characters read out my resume. I found this site, where they let you input the text, and use their "cartoons", and had a little fun:

It was fun to make, it makes me laugh, and hopefully so do you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Divide And Conquer

Lately, I've been dividing my time between organizing the PDX Applications For Good Code-A-Thon, looking for a Community Manager job, and getting this body o' mine into even better shape.

I have found that all 3 need a solid foundation to ensure success, but results are seen the quickest when organizing an event. You make a checklist and you check things off. Easy.

Getting a body into shape can be a slow process, but you often feel small changes, like sore muscles, which let you know you are heading toward your goal. You stick to your plan, adjust as needed, and big changes will be seen and felt.

Job searching, however, can feel like swimming against a tide. Should you focus on online job postings? Should you focus on creating contacts? Are any of your tactics even working? So I apply what I've learned from fitness, to job searching: set goals, be persistent, move forward. And when I get angry or frustrated about having to job search again, when I thought I was set for quite awhile, I use it to fuel my workouts. I know that eventually, I will hit that wave, and the ride to the beach will be swift.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Go For Faux

Every year for the past 6 years or so, my husband and I have been attending the Portland, Oregon, Faux Film Festival. This year it runs from April 1-3, 2011.

It is always a great time. We do suggest you bring a blanket though, as we have frozen through 5 of the last 6 shows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coloring Is Calming

I've often heard that coloring in a mandala can have a calming effect, so I was delighted to read a recent article in Scientific American about Mercy Corps of Portland, OR. They have actually created a coloring book for that exact reason. This basic coloring book is then tweaked a bit to take into account the kind of disaster and the culture of the people affected. For example, books recently send to Haiti are entitled, My Earthquake Story.

I hope the good people at Mercy Corps are currently working on a coloring book for those children affected in the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review Your Year

So it has finally happened, I have turned 36. As I look back on year 35, I have once again learned, and or re-learned important lessons. Here they are:

1. Health comes first

Always, always, always! No amount of $, no TV show, no taste of engineered food, is more important than your health. Make the time to eat real food, to exercise, and to find peace.

2. Be Aware of Danger

Crying in the bathroom at work because a co-worker's actions have affected you negatively? Not acceptable. It's time to make a change.

3. Things Aren't Black And White
There can be great things that happen, even if the situation stinks. Enjoy, embrace, and celebrate those things. But be aware when things have gone to far (#2).

4. It's Not About You

People that freak out because you are focused, organized, smart, calm, quiet, tall, female, fit, young, etc.? It's not about you, it's about them. You cannot do anything but be true to yourself and move on.

5. Enjoy Every Day

Every day is a gift. Treat it and yourself in the best way possible.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Be Flexible

Ok, time to change my workout routine, again. I no longer need to get up at 5 am and I'd really like to deal with the last extra 10-15 (?) lbs I am needlessly carrying around.
So, new plan:

M, W, F: 50 minutes incline intervals on treadmill, then 10 push ups (done at local community center)

T, TH: 50 minutes weight training circuit (done at home)

S/SN: 60-120 minutes walking

I will do this for a month, then add more cardio/strength as needed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Run An Illegal Facebook Contest: Get Shut Down

Run an illegal contest, promotion, etc. on your Facebook Page and it could get shut down. That's right, all your hard work, your connections, your photos... poof! Gone.

Here are some quick examples:

Did you add?

"This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [disclose any way that you plan to use the user's information]."

No? Then it's illegal.

Do you notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages? Yes? Then it's illegal.

So how do you prevent this from happening? Easy, just follow the

Facebook Promotions Guidelines

PS- To report a Facebook page that is running an illegal promotion, just click on the 'Report Page' link on the bottom left of its page.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Be Above The Mob

I recently realized that I didn't know the difference between the words: scapegoat and sacrificial lamb, so I did some investigation.

The main differences are that while the scapegoat is just punished, the sacrificial lamb is actually killed. Also, the scapegoat is often used to deflect blame by the actual wrong doer, while the lamb is usually chosen by all involved.

But in both cases, the parties involved have transferred their own insecurities, issues or sins onto the scapegoat or sacrificial lamb hoping that this will erase the problems. But of course, it never does. So the parties must find another scapegoat or lamb and then another...

This investigation also uncovered a word I was not familiar with: mobbing. Essentially it is bullying done by adults.

In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as " emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace."[7]

The authors say that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organised production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually "exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication".[7]

I am always fascinated with how people interact with each other, so I look forward to learning more about mobbing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rip It Apart And Put It Back Together

Well, my grand plan of exercising for 30 minutes in the morning before work, then exercising 30 minutes in the afternoon has failed. Between meetings, low blood sugars, high blood sugars and general office stuff, it just wasn't happening. Without the consistent exercise both my stress level and blood sugar level went up. So last week, I finally said, "ENOUGH!"

The new plan: work out in the morning for an hour, then take a 30 minute break in the afternoon: I can stroll to the nearby park or just sit quietly in one of the many community rooms at work. The only trick is, in order to do all this, I have to wake up 30 minutes earlier. As in 5:00 am. But I am worth it and so it will be done.

New schedule:
M/W: 50 minutes strength training/10 minutes foam rolling
T/TH: 50 minutes treadmill, 10 push ups
Weekend: Optional 2 hour hike

I'm not sure yet what to do with Fridays. I've been too tired in the morning (it is my day off) to get up and workout, so I will go forward with this schedule and perhaps add Friday back in when things get normalized.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Content is Key

So you are starting a web-site, a blog, even just a Twitter account. How can you make it interesting, how can you build an audience?

Here's the secret:

1) Be yourself
2) Create interesting content

That's it. Stop with all the name dropping, the fancy banners, linking to a million other places.

Just be yourself and share interesting content.

It really is that simple.