Saturday, June 29, 2013

Make A Playlist

A playlist makes all the difference on a fitness walk.  Way back in the day, my sister and I would meet up after work and go walking.  Can't say if it was started for physical fitness or to de-stress after a long day on the job.  We walked for hours four to five days a week and I eventually lost thirty pounds because of it. Those thirty pounds managed to find their way back home (home being my belly, hips and thighs).  Since we were two people, we walked and held a conversation that usually begun with how our workday went then on to soap operas or whatever we watched the night before on tv so basically there was no need for a playlist.  

Nowadays I usually walk on my own, so having something to listen to is a must.  On my very early morning walks I usually turn off the playlist and listen to all the birds.  I love listening to birds.  I read in the SELF magazine a list of songs they suggest are great for workouts.  Personally if I had to listen to BeyoncĂ©'s Who Run The World Girls, I'd purposefully step out into oncoming traffic!  

Choose songs you like. Songs that are uplifting, that have a quick beat you can walk brisk to. Have a variety of playlists for different days or different types of weather.  Or even use the walking time to catch up on an audiobook (I've been stuck on the same audiobook all year so maybe now I'll finish it.) Or listen to some podcasts.  But don't walk with the volume up so loud you can't hear yourself think.  Always safety first, especially if you walk alone.  

Currently, my favourite playlist is the album Come Around Sundown by Kings Of Leon but I'm putting together a few more playlists all roughly an hour in length even if my walk falls short of an hour at least I'll still have a variety of songs to listen to if I should be walking longer than anticipated.  

As for the SELF magazine playlist... It's in that photo, just don't waste money on buying the magazine unless you're 18-25 years old. It falls flat for someone in the 40+ category.  I sometimes wish I hadn't nagged Zinio to deliver it.   Seriously.  




 
 


Pedometer

I set the goal on the step counter as 10,000 steps.  I'm constantly reading that a person should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day or more to maintain good health.  Since I enjoy walking on a regular day, be it going to the store or heading to work, I set the counter at this number preferably to achieve this goal on an "exercise walk" because on most days I forget to clip on the pedometer to clock every single step I take in a day.  And another thing, it shakes when you ride the bus (potholes and bad roads) and then when you go to the bathroom, if it's clipped to your belt loop, it shakes when you drop your pants (just saying).  So an accurate reading for wearing it all day isn't going to be easy especially since I usually take public transportation to work.  Suddenly I figured hey, lets see if I can get 10,000 steps on the exercise walk instead.  I would, if I walked for an hour or more but so far that's not happening but it's a goal to aim for. 

Yesterday I achieved 56% of my goal by walking 5,622 steps on a walk that took me 4.49km (aka 2.79 miles).  I hadn't checked how long I walked but it was over 30 minutes. 



Friday, June 28, 2013

Tools

Even though I'm constantly getting off track, and yes, my "plateau" is considered off track, I'd taken this weight loss journey seriously. 

Aside from my trusty ipod touch that not only contains a playlist but ahandful of apps to help me stay healthy (providing I use them regularly!).  I've invested in a few pedometers too.  I just ordered two from China on ebay.  I had purchased one about a month ago but lost it on the bus.  I'm sure the woman who was eyeballing me saw it fall and kept it for herself.  Little does she know it's kursed with karma.  

I got ripped off purchased the Curves pedometer from Avon about the same time I ordered the lost one from ebay.  The thing I like about the Curves one is it tells you the percentage of your goal, and also the distance you travelled in either Km or Miles.  The thing I liked about the one I got from ebay is it listed the calories burned and the distance in Km or Miles (but did not show a percentage of goal reached.)  Another thing i liked about the one i got from ebay was the price.  Compared to the Curves one, it was practically free!  I also purchased the Curves double decker food carrier but it's only really good for dry veggies and not moist ones like cucumber slices that are juicy because the bottom container doesn't really lock shut!  And you can't use just one of the two dishes because the top one contains the lock lid that seals both containers so you really have to consider what you'll pack in it first.  It's not really made well but for snacks like dry veggies it'll do.  Truth be told I still prefer to take my veggies to work in a mason jar, it takes up less space and my sandwich packed in one of those tupperware containers that are shaped like a slice of bread (bought that at the Dollarama!).  I also take soup in a mason jar so I have no intention of buying the Curves soup container.  And no, this is not an advertisement for Curves, its an advertisement for mason jars but Curves just happen to have stuff that I need at this stage of the game...or at least I thought they did.  

I use a digital scale to weigh myself.  We have a love/hate relationship most of the time.  We're not really BFF's, we're more like frenemies.  One day it'll eventually tell me the number I want to see and we'll run off and celebrate together in Vegas.  Until then, he'll continue to lie to me, and I'll continue to give him the evil eye, call him a liar and be all dramatic while doing so.  And the Oscar for Best Actress in a Drama goes to....

I have a good pair of running shoes.  Not just ordinary on sale BOGO sneakers, but real made-for-running running shoes that offer support to my sexy feet.  

Only thing missing is some descent looking athletic wear.  I seriously look a hot mess when I'm out there!
 



Made To Measure

It actually occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn't take the scale at it's number, but I should measure myself and check to see if I've actually lost inches even if the scale stays at the same number or perhaps jumps up a bit.  I'm aware that muscle will make a person weigh more so if I'm doing some weight lifting to tone my arms and building muscle somewhere-anywhere else on my body, chances are I may be gaining a pound or two and losing a couple of inches!  This is like a forehead smacking moment for me like in the V8 commercial, I could have used a measuring tape! *smack*

I'm really feeling motivated even though yesterday I broke out in a super major case of hives? rash? crazy stupid red bumps all over my face, neck, arms, upper chest and hands.  Basically, if it was exposed to the sun, it is now exposed to rashy hives.  I was told it's a sun allergy!  huh?  Well, it's not beating me down because I'm taking Benadryl and using Calamine lotion containing antihistamine.

This weekend I'm going to measure myself.  Monday just happens to be Canada Day so I get a day off (my rashy hives say thank you Canada!).  I'll also weigh myself and then in two weeks I'll do another measurement but I'm addicted to the scale, you know, the love/hate relationship thing.

Motivated... yup that me!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Giddy Yup!


Alright. I guess I should begin by saying I've once again fallen off the wagon. It's like the same old story on a new day but that was last week. This week I've received what I was lacking. MOTIVATION!!

I was getting moody about my weight and my inner pipes began acting up again so I knew something had to be done. I desperately needed to get back on my hores.... I desperately needed some motivation because unlike most folks, I don't have the "support group" who meet up every week or so to go walking or to discuss our weight loss goals. It's just little ole me.

That's it, that's all.

Since my ipad mini (or as I like to call it, my minipad) has become an extension of my left hand, I took to the internet in search of blogs by ordinary joes who have that extra belly weight they want to shed and skipped to professional blogs because they only show the skinny chick with the abs of steel. No, I need to see a real person with real weight and read about their real weight loss journey. The ups, the downs. The success and the failure.  The falling off the wagon and the getting back on the horse.

I stumbled onto quite a few sites and added them to my blogger reading list so that I can view them offline on the minipad with a reader app that at this minute I can't remember what it is but will mention them in the next blog I do.  After reading some of the blogs, and a couple of magazine articles which, again, I'll comment on in another post, I set a goal.

Wow I set a real goal!!!  I know, I can't believe it either!

I'm taking a 12 week "challenge" to walk (or jog) for 30 minutes a day, five days a week... in addition to what I already do on a regular day. This past Saturday I went out in the morning rain for 32 minutes walking around the neighbourhood and got soaking wet. Sunday evening, Tony accompanied me for a walk around the hood that lasted only 25 minutes but we were walking very quickly. Monday we had thunder storms and I wasn't going to be a fool outside in the storm and get my butt fried by lightning. No, that just wasn't happening. Tuesday I went for a 27 minute very brisk walk in the morning and Wednesday I just amazed myself. On my way home from work Wednesday morning I was talking myself OUT of walking! Seriously!! I'm my own worst enemy.  When I arrived home I just felt so guilty I put on my sweats and went out for a brisk walk that turned into a jog and before you know it 47 minutes later, I was still out there jogging! I had to tell myself to go home and get some sleep.

It seems that taking photos of what you see while out and about and blogging them is something that keep folks motivated so lets give it a whirl. I'm on week one of 12 so lets see.

Now you know the plan.... I'll post a real blog tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One, Two, Three, Trilogy

Am I the only person who's tired of the whole "trilogy" thing?  Maybe it's always been out there and I'm just now noticing but it seems every book I start reading turns out to be "BOOK ONE OF THREE".

I first noticed it with.... the Fifty Shades series by E.L. James.  I thought book one was pretty awesome and should have ended right then and there... woman calls the man a psycho or something along those lines and then walks out on him.  No happily ever after ending but a simple reality check!  I'll admit my jaw hit the floor when that turned out to be the last page.  Sure I was left wanting more from the book but doesn't everyone feel that way after every book?

Then came book two.  Sigh...  so I read it, then book three and I wanted to burn it.  It was like The Good (book 1), The Bad (book 2) and The Ugly (book 3).... ok that may be a bit harsh, more like The Good, The Not-So-Good, and the Down Right Stoopid.

And speaking of stupid... 

Then I stupidly read Bared To You by Sylvia Day, which, as it turns out, was book one of the Crossfire Trilogy.  Bared To You was a pretty good book, I did enjoy it even though it was similar to Fifty Shades.   Since I was a glutton for punishment, I also read book two...  now book three is available.  Not going to happen!!!  Especially since I read some of the reviews over on Amazon and folks don't seem to think it's a good read.  I'm afraid to read the third book because I may get ticked off and toss the book out the window when I'm done only to realize it was a digital copy and it was my ipad I chucked out the window... so... no.

I also read books 1 & 2 of The Blackstone affair by Raine Miller, please don't ask me why.  Book one was also pretty good with story lines that left you wondering what's the big secret and it ended on a similar note as Fifty Shades.  I thought that was pretty cool too.   I did know a second book was waiting on my pad to be read and since I was curious to the secrets these characters had I fell for it.  I can say with 100% certainty I will definitely NOT be reading book three.

Now, once again I've fallen into the trap.  I'm on book two of three.  I read Temptation by K.M. Golland and am struggling through book two.  Book three is not going to happen here either, not for me.  I can't be paid enough to sit though a third novel with this billionaire.  If he says 'hunny' one more time.....  Not to mention this book is a combination of Fifty Shades and Indescent Proposal.  Obviously the woman ends up with the rich dude right.  Maybe in book three she goes back to her poor ordinary joe husband like in the movie but I doubt it.  And what about her kids!!!!!  The thought of a third book is getting me angry all for nothing. 

I'm rather tired of the trilogy books because they all seem to be a copy of the Fifty Shades theme.  Time for something new that doesn't involve a young powerful billionaire. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hello Plateau


It's happened again...  I hit a point in my weight loss where I'm stuck and can't seem to lose any more pounds.  I'm still exercising, still counting calories, still trying to eat more fiber, drink more water to keep the internal pipes working well but there I am, on a dreaded "plateau".

Lately I've just been way too tired to go jogging after work.  Haven't been getting enough sleep, most days I function on five or six hours of sleep which isn't enough and it catches up!

I'm in need of a new strategy.

I'm also in need of more sleep and more will power.  I guess I'll wander over to some weight loss blogs and get motivated and maybe find some ideas as to how I can kick this plateau in the butt.

Wish me luck.... those last 20 pounds are going to be shed before next summer, though I'd prefer to shed them even before the end of this year!!!  Ugh!!!



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Etsy & Ebay Compared

It's convenient to have the Etsy & Ebay apps installed on the ipad to keep track of items I may want to purchase. Though I can keep track of everything on the pc, the ipad has become an extension of my left hand (or so I'm told), and both apps are completely free and user friendly!

Over the past couple days I've been using both shops quite a bit.  Not buying too much, but more like searching and adding to favorites or watched lists for further inspection, or for reference to see if I can pick them up at Walmart or the Dollarama and save myself some pennies.

The similarities: 

The "favorites" on Etsy somewhat mirror the "watched items" on Ebay. I've been searching both sites for the same thing and whichever site has it for free shipping the lowest price has better chance of getting the sale.

Both shops are able to be filtered by price or shipping (in my case, shipping to Canada). 

Both have a large variety of craft supplies that can be found by a single or multiple search word(s). 

In my case, both display the Canadian Dollar amount converted from the USA Dollar. 

Both show whether or not the seller ships internationally since most shops are located in USA.

I'm somewhat on the fence about Etsy's shopping cart.  I like that combined shipping rates are stated point blank on the item listing so if more than one item is purchased the buyer will already know what added cost to expect but that doesn't appear on the app though, only on the pc website so I guess the app needs an upgrade.  Payment is immediate after checkout on Etsy but I haven't encountered what happens if purchases from multiple sellers are added to cart?  As for Ebay, the buyer has to make sure to contact the seller and request multiple item shipping and pray that the added fee will be reasonable and not just the same shipping quote multiplied by the amount of items purchased.  But since I don't buy that much from either shop, it's not that big a deal though I still am quite confused as to how a small pack of stickers can cost $7USD shipping when they could fit into a standard size envelope with a tad of bubble wrap for about a buck seventy five.  *shrugs shoulders*, in cases like that I save the item to search for in Walmart or Dollarama or for sellers located in Canada where they'll only charge a buck for shipping which makes a whole lot of sense if you ask me.  Just saying. 

Both shops provide seller feedback percentage and allow sellers to provide feedback to buyers as well though my second purchase in Etsy still has yet to receive feedback for shame on the seller. I never understood why sellers beg for positive feedback but then they just don't bother to leave you any feed back as a quick payer or friendly buyer.  hmm... go figure.

Anyway, I don't really have a favorite amongst the two as yet but Etsy is holding it's own alongside Ebay where craft supplies are concerned, maybe even surpassing Ebay altogether.




Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting There

Believe it or not, I'm still trying to wrangle all my scrapbook ideas into one book!  So here's how I've progressed thus far:

  • I've searched the internet for many layout ideas including finished pages, to determine how I can set up our holiday photos.
  • I stored all the reference pages in a binder I recycled out of the trash at work.  Hey, it was practically new!  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Duh!!
  • I've purchased pretty much all the items I'll need to get the scrapbook underway.
  • And obviously, I got all the photos printed while on sale of course!
So basically I'm all set, now I just need to get started.  I have a good idea as to how the first page will be set up.  According to the "how-to" blogs and pages I've read, I should try not to be so chronological in posting the pages which I'll sort of take into account - instead of posting what happened at what time of day, I'll just go day by day and group them that way since each day we were on a different Caribbean island, so it sort of makes sense in my crazy mind.

I'll be sure to post a blog about the first page when it gets completed, if it ever gets completed!!  I'm sure that once I get started the rest of it will fall into place.


note:  photo courtesy of The Fun Times.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Etsy Experience

Alright, here is an update on my experience with purchasing on Etsy...

I'M ADDICTED!!!!   I LOVE IT!!!

Ok, yes, my first purchase was a scrapbook kit, my second purchase was also a scrapbook kit, and my third purchase was a set of vellum quotes with some stickers.  I'm getting ready to start the scrapbook from our 2009 summer vacation and then I have to get things together and do one for our 2012 vacation once the photos are picked up from the print shop.  Husband is eager for me to get started, funny, I'm doing all the work while he dictates!

Anyway, on Etsy I did as I always do on ebay, search for the item I'm looking for from multiple sellers and pick the one with the best price (including shipping) also taking into account the sellers feedback percentage.  Seems pretty much everyone on Etsy has great feedback numbers, which is a good thing!

I received the vellum and stickers in the mail a couple days ago, and the scrapbooks came yesterday.  I'm a happy customer.  I still have only searched and favorited scrapbook supplies but need to check out the cross stitch and plastic canvas supplies as well as YARNNNNNNNN.....  oh glorious yarn!  *delighted sigh*  I really don't understand my yarn fetish.

Happy crafting!!! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Highway Robbery!

Well finally after haggling with an ebay seller, we managed to agree on a shipping charge that ... increased....  LITERALLY over night! 

Let me explain.

I saw a craft item that retails for well under a dollar each, up for auction bid on ebay.  The auction was for a small "lot" of three items so retail would be less than three bucks right.  I placed my highest bid taking into account the cost of shipping, what the final invoice payment would be for this small lot.  Surprisingly enough, no other bids came in for the item, which is a first for me, usually at least one other person jacks the price up by a couple cents before I win or I end up losing the item.  This time around I won the item. 

Obviously, as I would hope, ALL ebayers would know to fully read the entire advertisement before bidding or buying.  

I did that. 

I read everything, even clicked on the second tab where shipping details are to get shipping information to my postal code.  The shipping information was there.  I always check because some items listed as "free shipping" do not ship to Canada for free!  Or the shipping is listed as the top of the line Purolator/FedEx/Xpress Post rate and not "real snail mail" regular package rate.

I went to pay for the item that I won only minutes after winning it ... but I could not complete the payment transaction - I had to now "contact the seller for shipping".

Huh?  Well that's never happened before?  What's up with that!  I thought.

So I waited to get the invoice from the seller so I could make payment through the invoice.

The next day I got the invoice with increased shipping cost.  Apparently the seller changed the shipping cost OVER NIGHT...  the price of shipping jumped from just barely over three dollars to slightly over fifteen dollars!  FOR AN ITEM LESS THAN A BUCK?  SERIOUSLY??!!  Three Worthers Original Butterscotch candies weigh more than the lot of items I won. 

No, uh-uh, that's just not happening.  I contacted the buyer immediately and TWO DAYS LATER the buyer got back to me stating that shipping cost increased as per the United States Postal Service.  I fell off my chair laughing, surely the seller can't be serious.  So I estimated a zip code from where the seller information stated the item would ship from, went into my craft stash and pulled out identical items, weighed them and searched USPS for a delivery rate based on the weight.  Let's just say, it was far far less than the fifteen bucks, and slightly less than the original shipping the item had when I bid on it.  Ok sure I expect the seller to add the price of packaging materials to the shipping cost and that would explain why the initial cost was higher than estimated by USPS but to later increase that to over fifteen bucks?  For real?

I contacted the seller, gave them my findings from USPS and waited another 48 hours to get a reply which told me that I should pay the shipping and if its overpaid then I'll get a refund. 

What? 

Well that's just not happening, and here's why:
  1. the international shipping rate that was listed more than doubled overnight after winning the item.
  2. it took two days to get a reason why it doubled.
  3. it took two more days to get a new invoice that still had an insane shipping cost.
  4. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck.

Another message sent to seller finally got the shipping back to what it initially was when I bid on the item. 

Now, who wants to bet I get the item in the mail all mashed up... if I even get it at all!