Friday, February 27, 2009

Daily Routine - recap

The WINNER is: RENEE D!!!! please contact me

Let's take a breather this weekend and just let it all sink in before I share more on Monday ...
Remember it's good to change things up once in awhile! Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and it's so hard to get out. By just changing one thing - like having breakfast in the morning, can make a positive change in your day and before you know it you are slowly working your way out. Other times we need to do something differently because what we used in the past, may not work for us RIGHT now.

Those of you who are drinking more water - GOOD for you!!! Now some of you have expressed that you are more thirsty than ever. Here is my theory and I picked this up from watching Dr. Oz:
  • When people eat too much and don't drink
    water, their bodies become used to getting their water through
    food instead of drinking it. So they get the feeling of HUNGRY when their bodies
    need water. Which makes them eat more, but not drink anymore
  • If you have been drinking soda and eating salty food and only
    getting your water through food for a long time, you may be very
    dehydrated, so it may take a while before you've replenished your
    body's supply of water. When you are used to getting your
    water through drinking, you will generally feel thirsty more often than a
    body that is used to getting its water through eating.
  • When you start drinking more water from your bottle, you will feel
    thirsty when your body needs more water, because your body would really
    rather you drink the water than eat it, it gets into your system
  • You may be flushing out toxins. Things like
    breathing polluted air, preservatives, smoking, not washing off
    your makeup, drinking caffeine or alcohol, or taking many medications. For many of the toxins, not all,
    the most effective way to get rid of the toxin is to flush it out. Toxins that you can't flush out with water get removed by
    sweating or going #2. Depending on how much toxins you have you may be extra thirsty, even if you aren't dehydrated anymore.
Speaking of water - check this new find out, personalized glass water bottle: Love Bottle

It's good to see that there are many of us turning 40 this year and some of you who have already turned 40! Let's embrace this together - I am actually pretty excited and of course I am going to share why. This is taken from an article written by Laura Randolph about some advice from Oprah Winfrey on turning 40

Basically, if I understood Oprah correctly, it all comes down to
this. At 40, something magical happens to you--something liberating and
rejuvenating and exhilarating. You acquire a healthy disregard for what
other people think. You gain the confidence to define yourself boldly
and on your own terms. You don't accept anyone else's judgments but
your own. In short, you stop living your life for other people and
start living it for yourself. The force is with you because, at long
last, it is in you.

"Before I turned 40, I
used to always worry about what everybody thought about everything,
Oprah explained to me. "I get thousands of letters a week, and I used
to pick the ones who didn't like something about me and call them and
try to make them like me. I tracked one woman down because she didn't
like my earrings

In her pre-40 days,
when it was her, not just her earrings or her clothes or her hair, that
people didn't like, their criticism could send her over the edge. "I
remember years ago I had a long conversation with Sidney Poitier and I
was just weeping to him
," she told me. "And as I sat there crying, he
said, `You have to remember you are carrying people's dreams, and when
you are carrying people's dreams, oftentimes they put burdens on you
that are not yours to bear. You have to decide what your dream is for

And that is the lovely,
liberating, life-changing lesson that, as Oprah put it, "you just don't
get when you're 28,
" but, at 40, you see with crystal clarity.
And she was right. If life really begins at 40, it's because that's
when women finally get it. The guts to take back their lives. Seize the
day. Glorify the new season and seasoning--the spice of experienced
Black womanhood. It's their time and the time is right for a little
I don't think this is something that miraculously happens the very day that you turn 40, it has been happening over time. Laura Randolph put together a list for her girlfriends: 40 Things every Black woman should have by the time she turns 40. Whether Black, Asian, White, Hispanic or purple this is a good list that can be adaptable, my commentary is in RED:
1.) Peace of mind (and a piece of property).

2.) A will. very good idea, especially if you have children

3.) Willpower. we are working on this right??

4.) A savings account in your own name (and an IRA in the name of your future security).

5.) A mammogram. very important, I can't stress this enough

6.) A manicure (not to mention a pedicure, a facial and a massage--all on the same day). what did I tell you???

7.) A set of matching luggage. i find this one pretty funny, not sure why, maybe because I don't have any.

8.) A ticket to some exotic place to unpack it.

9.) A great hairdresser, gynecologist and stockbroker.

10.) A passionate, fiery, unforgettable love affair. not to be confused for extramarital affair - in your single days

11.) A little black dress that makes you look five pounds thinner. you could do a total of 10 if you wore some spanx!

12.) A sense of humor, style and purpose.

13.) A selfish streak.

14.) A spiritual foundation that gets you through a very bad night without going crazy.

15.) A facial foundation that gets you through a very long day without going ashy. or shiny or flaky

16.) A good bra. yes! every woman should be wearing the right size by getting fitted.

17.) A good spa.

18.) A library card (used often). i need to get on this one

19.) A credit card (used sparingly).

20.) At least one person in your life who says: "You call, I come."

21.) Good body language (multilingual!).

22.) A broken heart and the knowledge you can survive it.

23.) A cause celebre (domestic violence, infant mortality, save the whales--your choice).

24.) A personal relationship with God. or some spiritual sense

25.) A personal trainer. lol!

26.) Selective amnesia ("What Saturday morning meeting?").

27.) Gall.

28.) A good skin-care regimen. i need to meet this Laura gal, I think we could be good friends

29.) The ability to converse on any subject without benefit of concrete knowledge or access to facts.

30.) A shocking secret.

31.) A pair of silk pajamas.

32.) A lifetime membership in at least one organization dedicated to
uplifting Black folks (e.g., National Council of Negro Women, the
NAACP). or volunteer with an organization that helps people or animals through tough times; YWCA, Humane Society, Girls & Boys club, Meals on Wheels...

33.) The phone number of someone who is good with their hands.

34.) At least one drop-dead, don't-speak-to-me-because-you-know-you-don't-know-me gorgeous photo of yourself.

35.) A friendship that has stood the test of time.

36.) One last chance to tell the guy you were crazy about in your 20s who
treated you like cigarette ashes on the floor what you were too dumb to
know when he walked out with your heart in his hands: "Thank you, thank
you, thank you." OMG how many of us can relate?? Have you seen "he's just not that into you" yet?

37.) A soul mate.

38.) Faith, hope and a good fantasy.

39.) A dream.

40.) A plan to make it come true. this makes me smile :)

I can see a scrapbooking layout developing from this list...

Giveaway today is:
  • Two wonderful books by Carol Wingert and Tena Sprenger
Winner will be announced on Monday morning before 10 am PST - be sure to leave a comment to enter in the the random drawing. Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Healthy Living

I started posting my daily routine here.

Products that I use from Advocare and how/why. These are also the products that have worked for me and the ones that I feel good about promoting. When I try new products and see good results I will let you know. Click on images to make them larger.

Advocare MNS Max 3 - There are 14 strips each having four packets. I take this as my dietary supplements: Vitamins A, C, D, E, B-6, B-12, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, omega-3 fatty acids, astaxanthin, calcium, citrus flavonoids, green tea extract, lutein, lycopene, guarana, biotin, oolong tea, taurine, lactobacillus acidophilus, bifdobacterium, bifidum, artichoke, magnesium, zinc, chromium. This is sold as a weight loss management but I feel that it offers more than that, it adds to your overall health. It is on the expensive side but if you price out individual bottles of each of the listed vitamins then having to figure out how much, then putting them into some is well worth the money to buy it this way. I can easily take the packets I need with me wherever I go.

Advocare Catalyst - I take this first thing in the morning with my MNS3 packet. I also take this to help my muscles recover from my training sessions. It really helps for this - there have been some days where I know if I didn't take these capsules I wouldn't have been able to walk! Now some of the other gals at the training gym say that this is butt burner. I don't have a butt so I definitely don't want this burning off anything back there - but hopefully it's burning off the back boobs and other places! It would be great for those of you that are just starting to work out again and are sore the day after and even worse the next day. When you are that sore sometimes it discourages you to go back and exercise, so starts the vicious circle!

Advocare ThermoPlus - I started taking this in addition to the MNS3 supplements to support my metabolism. After taking it consistently for four months now I can say it is helping. The only reason I say that is because I haven't been exercising as much, eating the same amount and I am not gaining any weight. So I think it works great in conjunction with the MNS3 supplements.

Advocare Spark Energy drink - This helped me get over my morning caffiene habit and also the soda! I use it to take all of my morning supplements. You can drink a Spark whenever you feel mentally groggy or drained. I find that I don't need anything around 3pm when I have one in the morning. This comes in packets so when I travel it is very convenient and helps me deal with any time change. I do water mine down: 1 scoop in 12 oz water.

A-Supreme - I am more excited about this product than anything because I was a skeptic about it. When I was working out full time with the trainer my belly was still not flattening. It didn't matter if I did more core and ate less, etc. Then he told me about A-Supreme and I started taking it and there were results! It does help with the cortisol that your body produces when stressed, which then turns to belly fat. I will be honest and tell you that I do not like the taste - it tastes like cough syrup. I take it first thing in the morning and wash it down with Spark or water.

Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes - A typical day: rushed morning, needed to exercise and get on a conference call - which meant no time (or I didn't want to make the time) to make my smoothie. So instead of skipping breakfast (bad) I made a quick shake and I add a scoop of my Green's First.  Easy - was able to drink it during my call, all was good. Now fast forward...working away, head down in work and when I finally look up I realize that it's 1pm, I have a call at 1:30 pm and I have to finish some content before then. NO time for lunch and I am too hungry to skip...make another quick shake (no Green's First) and have an apple.
Perfect. Dinner is a regular dinner- but now I am trying to eat it at least two hours before I go to bed. No more late eating! Bottom line is I always make sure that I have good options - either the smoothie or the shake. Weight Watcher points: 4

Afternoon Snack - When I am pressed for time or know that I am going to be out and about I will take a shaker along with me and put one to two scoops of the Muscle Gain Protein shake in it and grab a fiber bar. Then all I need to find is some water and this pair together will hold me until dinner!

Sometimes you can just get burnt out of shakes and smoothies, I know I have been there! I also try to have these in stock (they are great for travel too) Breakfast bars or the Meal Replacement bars. Good alternative for those that don't like the taste of the shakes.

As with anything these Advocare products do not work alone - you still need to incorporate exercise and drink lots of water. I know, I wish it was a wonder pill too! Before I was doing Yoga two to three times a week (minimum of once a week), training twice a week for an hour and riding my exercise bike 30 to 45 minutes a day doing interval training five days a week.

Right now (11/5/09) I have been walking and trying out the P90X dvds in hopes to have a review for those of you that don't want to go to a gym or hire a personal trainer.

This is a smoothie recipe that my nutritionist gave me and it is one of my favorites. There are so many variations and twists that you can make with this. Using a hand blender (this is what I have):

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Whole FAT yogurt (yes, whole fat - less sugar and you eat less of it! I am big fan of Nancy's organic) Now if you are trying or don't do dairy you can add 1 cup of almond/rice milk.
    Remember my detox days from January??!
  • Handful of berries (1/2 cup) I use frozen fruit because you want it 'slushy', my favorite is blueberries (costco) and mango (trader joes)
  • 1 to 3/4 scoop of WHEY protein powder (do not use soy based) I use the vanilla Trader Darwins Whey Protein Powder from Trader Joes because it is very inexpensive. Sorry, I know not everyone has a Trader Joes...just make sure whatever you get has no soy and don't pay over $12 for 16 oz
  • 1 scoop of Green's First - this is something that I added to this recipe, not neccessary. I get this from my esthetician and it insures that I get all of my vegetable/fruit servings and then some. It has helped my skin over the last three years!
  • Add a little bit of water - less than an 1/8 of cup, this is just to make it a little less thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil. I do the flax seed oil because of less caloires and I need to get my Omega 3s
  • Then stir in 1 teaspoon of Psyllium whole husks, you can get this in the health food section. It is a fiber supplement. ONLY add this if you are committed to drinking your daily water intake for the day.

This is not a snack smoothie! With the whole yogurt, oil and protein powder you will be FULL, I promise. Play around with this recipe and once you do it once or twice you won't have to look at the directions and it should only take five minutes to make. This smoothie is what I
usually have when I am not traveling. I have also been known to have it for lunch too! 

Update: For fellow WW people this smoothie ranges in points depending on your variations, five to seven points.

Target Heart Rates
The table below shows estimated target heart rates for different ages. Look for the age category closest to yours, then read across to find your target heart rate.

Age Target HR Zone

50–85 %
Average Maximum

Heart Rate

100 %
20 years 100–170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98–166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95–162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93–157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90–153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88–149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85–145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83–140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80–136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years

78–132 beats per minute
155 beats per minute
70 years 75–128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

Daily Routine - maintenance

SORRY! Has been a busy day and couldn't get to the computer - the WINNER is: CAROLYN MAYUMI!!!! please contact me
You are probably thinking 'what is maintenance and what is she going to write about now?' I thought we would lighten it up and discuss what I call maintenance. This is what I consider vital in anyone's daily routine and we all do most of it: skin care - including face, hands, feet, arms & legs, and our mouth. I think that this kind of maintenance is SO important and even more so since I will be knocking 40's door down this summer! Who else out there is going to be 40 this year???

Since we are on the topic of 40 let's start with the face. I have to
admit that I am starting with some good genes - 100% Japanese. But
before you discount this I am of the sun worship generation - I spent
every sunny moment outside when I was little and when I was a teenager
I used baby oil so I could get even more tan. I even went to the tanning beds
- Tropical Breeze tanning salon. College - well just more of the same,
I don't think I owned a bottle of sunblock until my late 20s. Now you
can see why I am freak about skin care and I have only been doing it
for about 10 years the 'right' way. Okay back to the face...
Here are five tips for your face, from my estehtician and good friend Aleta Fouks (if you live in the Portland, Oregon area I highly recommend going to Aleta!):
  1. ALWAYS ALWAYS wear sunblock on your face - 30 spf, everyday sunny or cloudy
  2. Be sure to cleanse your face at night. You need to wash off the pollution, oils, makeup etc from the day
  3. If you have dry skin cut out washing your face in the morning - just use a non alcohol toner on your face
  4. Just because someone else can use a certain product doesn't mean that it's going to work for your skin type. Sometimes using the wrong product on your skin can make matters worse. 
  5. Drinking water is important for your overall well being. Just like we discussed a few days ago. Water will help cleanse your system, detoxifies, which makes for 'cleaner' skin.

Make an appointment with an esthetician. You need to find out from a PROFESSIONAL what your skin type is and what your skin is doing right now. I don't recommend the make-up counter girl for this. The dermatologist (your health insurance may cover this) might be okay as long as you don't get sucked into doing chemical peels and buying tubes of Retin-A, see tip number four above.

My skin is more on the dry side, sensitive and I have some adult acne - not bad but just annoying since I am going to be FORTY. Most all of my facial products are by Dr Temt, and I purchase this from Aleta. I used to get facials once a month and just starting this year I am going to be going every other month. Unfortunately like many out there, we (Kirk and I) are making some cut backs. I hate to do this and I won't ever totally cut facials out - but I will make choices to cut things that are less important,like do I really need the three DVD Netflix membership or a facial?

My night face regimine: I wash my face with Chamomile Cleansing oil and then I put on eye cream, under eyes and on the lids. Then I apply, to my face and neck, an anti aging serum and night cream. I don't skimp on my night cream (by Dr. Temt) and a jar of night cream goes a long ways because you use very little. I rarely miss a night - even if we are getting in late. Night is when your skin is repairing so get a goods night's sleep for healthy skin. For my lips I put on some Burts Bees or Nivea lip balm and then I take a baby toothbrush (you know the ones that you get for babies) and actually brush my lips. This takes off any dry skin and then I reapply the lip balm. Done in less than five minutes. Once you have a professional determine what type of skin you have there are some great over the counter products you can buy. Some of my favorites are: Cetaphil (great cleanser), Philosophy (I sometimes use the Purity cleanser) and Neutragena (love their sunblock line and moisturizer).

My morning face regimine: After yoga and working out it's shower time so I wash my face in the shower with the Chamomile Cleansing oil but at least twice or three times a week I use the Clarsonic brush with the cleanser to exfoliate my face and neck (always remember your neck). When I get out I spray my face immediately with a vitamin C spray like this one. Then I put on the same eye cream and depending on the time of the year I put on a serum (winter), then day moisturizer, then sunscreen (make sure that your sunscreen isn't old). See tip number one above. I also do the same lip brushing that I do at night but in the morning instead of using a regular lip balm I use a lip plumper gloss, brush then reapply a heavy coat. Done in less than five minutes.

The Body: After showering I use Lubriderm all over body including feet. I swear by this stuff. I suffered as a child with eczema - it was awful. It looked like I was shooting drugs on my arms because I would scratch them until they bled! But I eventually somewhat grew out of it. I have most of my 'breakouts' now during the summer, but it is easliy controlled by some ointment that I get from the doctor and Lubriderm. I have been trying out the latest Lubriderm lotion and I really like it. It is on the expensive side but I have tried everything over the counter that is out there and this works the best for me. It even got rid of the annoying bumps on the back of my arms and the redness!

The Hands: I just recently found two great hand lotions. I only do the hand lotion at night and keep the tubes by my bed. I wish I could remember during the day but haven't gotten there yet. My cuticles are always a mess, I have natural nails and get manicures here and there. One of those cut backs I was mentioning. When they are painted it is an almost clear pink nail polish by Essie called hi maintenance. (LOL! I bet you are thinking how appropriate after this post) The first hand lotion is by Jo Malone vitamin E hand cream - I had no idea that they did skin care! Not sure where I have been... I just thought they were a frangrance company. But I LOVE the fresh scent of this hand cream. Then the next one that I just got this week and actually really like is Cream Oil Intensive hand cream by Dove. For a lot less money I am seeing the same results. But many of you might not like the scent of Dove. It's not my favorite but I am wearing it at night.

The Feet: I don't get regular pedicures anymore - part of my cutting back. Summer time I think is the most important time to really get them done if you are wearing ANY kind of sandal. If your feet are in desparate need of a pedicure you may want to forgo the sandals...this is one of my biggest pet peeves (next to buffets) is seeing cracked dry heels in sandals. Makes me want to give them one of these. Since I don't do regular pedicures (which was every eight weeks for me) I had to step up what I did at home. I have a really nice diamond foot file that I use in the shower. You can also use a pumice stone but my feet are not that bad so sometimes the pumice stone was taking off too much. Then I just use the Lubriderm on them. During the winter months I don't have polish on the toe nails. But in the summer I usually go very dark with SpaRituals Low Notes line. In the summertime when I am wearing more sandals and the heels dry out faster I usually put a heavy layer of cream on my feet at night then cover with socks. I am not a big believer in foot creams, at least not yet.

The Teeth/Mouth: This next to my hair, is my favorite physical feature about myself. Maybe because at one time it was the worst. Picture me, young child, asian, very big head, flat face and my teeth were a cross between bucky beaver and dracula. I am not kidding! In came very expensive braces (door knobs) and head gear, both at the same time and not just at night! This was all during the 5th grade. (I should thank my parents now because I didn't then) Oh how I hated everything about it. But when I got those braces off and I looked at my teeth (7th grade) ...I swore I was going to take the very best care of my teeth FOREVER. And so far I have. Regular check ups  and cleanings, a must. Even when I didn't have dental insurance I would save up to go to the dentist. My tools: SonicCare toothbrush, Tom's of Maine toothpaste, floss (even though I haven't found a floss that I like), and my favorite mouth tool tongue brush/scrapper. We have had to buy these online because they are not available to us locally. This really works - one side is the brush and the other side you use to scrap. Removes the bacteria and you have super fresh breath! I also have to admit a slight addiction to teeth whitener...yes, I am weird. I have trays from my dentist and I do this once a month for about five days straight. Sometimes more, but I stop when my teeth get sensitive. These trays are very expensive and unfortunately are not covered by dental insurance. I saved a whole year to get mine! I haven't personally used any over the counter products but I have heard from friends that Crest Whitestrips work very well.

Remember tip number four above - this is what works for me. If you are only doing a few of these things try to add a few more to your maintenance. You can start to see how all of these daily routine posts relate and help your overall wellness.

Today's giveaway:

  • MM Season of Joy
  • Bazzill Basics Under the Covers
  • Bottle of Lubriderm
  • Tube of Dove hand cream
  • Crest Whitestrips
  • GUM tongue scraper
Winner will be announced tomorrow before 10 am PST, so be sure to leave a comment for the random drawing. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daily Routine - Exercise

The WINNER is: MARYD!!! please contact me
Update: taking a break on Thursday - but check back on Friday!

I wonder if exercise is the most dreaded word in the world? This has been the hardest thing to incorporate into my daily routine. I am doing much better - but there is always room for improvement.

Personal Trainer.
I know in this economy it probably isn't feasible to hire a personal trainer. But because of the economy there may be some great programs at affordable rates. Read here on how I found mine. Just like in Weight Watchers I needed to have accountability, going to a trainer gives me that. The trainer is also someone that pushes you to your limit and is there to guide you through this process. We don't belong to a gym anymore because it was a total waste of money for us. Plus if you wanted to get any kind of training you had to pay additional on top of your monthly membership. On a normal week (not traveling) I see Cory twice a week for 45 minutes to an hour at noon, usually on Wednesday and Friday. We do mostly strength training but it seem aerobic to me because I am constantly moving and readyt collapse. During the workout I can't wait for it to be over but in the end I am always glad that I went! Since I have been working with him my % of body fat has gone down, very happy with that.

Aerobic exercise.
Since I don't have a gym membership anymore and the weather in the Pacific NW is less than desirable right now, Cory suggested that I look for a stationary upright bike on I needed to do some aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes everyday and if it was raining or freezing outside I wasn't doing anything! I liked this suggestion because the footprint of the bike wasn't going to take up a lot of space - not like a treadmill. There is a ton of hardly used equipment out there for sale. Check out those options before buying anything new. Since getting it back in January I have used it almost five to six days a week when I am home. Kirk thought for sure that this was going to become a clothes hanger but I have stuck to it. I really like the ability to go upstairs, wheel it into the bedroom and watch my DVRd shows anytime I want. My ideal time would be in the morning before I head to yoga but most of the time sleeping in is WAY more important so I jump on when I get back from yoga and hit the shower. Cory is now having me monitor my heart rate so we can start some interval training on the bike. I use a Suunto heart rate monitor, I see they don't even have my model anymore it's like the t3c. I have had it for a year now and still don't know how to use all the bells and whistles - so my advice to you is get a basic one! I think this is very important to monitor because you want to be at our optimum heart rate for whatever goals that you have. Whether it be losing weight or improving your cardiovascular. I am very anxious to get in better shape to start this type of training - right now my heart rate races up and takes too long to come back down. This is my winter aerobic exercise - the spring/summer plan will be different so stay tuned.

Strength Training.
I also do this at home with the TRX Suspension Trainer. This contraption is amazing! We have ours set up in the door jam of the guest room. If you have time watch the videos - it will show you all the exercises that you can do with just two straps and your own weight. The trainer recommended this because it also travels really well. I have yet to bring it with me on any trips, but I see using it when we take longer ones. This is the one thing that I don't do often enough - even though I HATE my flabby arms and back boobs, yes back boobs. UGH. By the time I am done on the bike I need to get in the shower and get down to work. But in reality if I just took another 15 minutes to do my back and arms workout it would make a huge improvement.

I could do a whole series of posts on Yoga. It is the one thing that I will get out of bed for (well not the only thing, but you get what I mean) and drive 15 mintues to get to the studio. I say this because the gym was not even a mile from our house and I NEVER went. For me Yoga encompasses many things; exercise, mindfulness, flexibility, strength and calming my mind. I regularly attend twice a week but strive for four or five. I attend the flow classes with the Friday class being a restorative Yoga class. My practice is definitely helping with my core strength, as I can see improvements when I work out with the trainer and also in some of the balancing poses. I am fortunate because there are several Yoga studios in my area. I researched a couple and felt most comfortable at Satsang. This is very important because Yoga can become a very personal thing.

This is a given since we have three dogs. Right now we don't make it out that often but we do try to go to the park behind our house. Walking the dogs for me is rejuevenating because I try to go towards the late afternoon. Usually by then my shoulders are up to my ears and I can't stare at my computer screen any longer - I need a break. Around 3pm Jesse is usually the one that comes around to get my attention. I find it very odd that dogs can tell time, because at 6pm he is back in my office to let me know that it's time to feed him. By 6:15 he is really upset and jumps on my leg until I get up. Like they are going to starve any time soon. But I digress - the walk is for me as much as it is for them, even if it's a quick 30 minute jaunt around the neighborhood or 15 minutes in the park. I don't take my phone - it's just me, two dogs (selby HATES to go on walks), and poop bags!

Shoes & Clothes.
This may seem silly to talk about, but it is sometimes something that is overlooked and can really make or break your experience. Before you start any program make sure you get good shoes to exercise in. You cannot skimp here - sorry! I, more than anyone would love to buy my
running shoes at a discount store but it's not going to work. Not if you want to protect your feet, knees, back, etc. I go to a shoe store, we have two by my house: Fit Right NW and When the Shoe Fits - at both of these places they put you on a treadmill and video tape you running and/or walking. They are trying to determine whether or not you are a under pronator or overpronator. Once they figure this out they have you try on shoes that are specific to your pronation among other things. The discount shoe store cannot do this! So when you think that walking is making your feet hurt or your knees sore - it may actually be the wrong shoes
that you are wearing. Bad shoes can make and cause injuries. I am an overpronator and always buy the same brand of shoes - Asics. Since I am not running at this time I push my shoes to the four to six month period. When I was running more - it was every three to four months.

Okay clothes, my favorite subject (save that for another post)! Be comfortable, but don't be sloopy. Even if you are working out at home like me. I don't want to dive to deep into this but be comfortable and be supported! Work out clothes that I love: Target - they have a great selection at affordable prices. Lucy - my all time favorite because they do their pants in short/petite, but all of their stuff is very well made. Zella - so soft, but on the higher end. This Zella jacket is so comfortable. Lululemon - I like their yoga tops (with bra) and pants, but expensive. For when I do go outside Ice Breaker - we discovered this company while in NZ. The technology with the wool is amazing - these are definitely investment pieces, but if you spend anytime outdoors this is great stuff. I think it is way better than the UnderArmour pieces.  Another important item (at least for me, 34D) is the workout bra. I go to Title Nine and you can actually talk to a live person about your needs. The first time I ordered a bra from them I thought for sure I would be sending it back, because I had no idea of the fit. It was perfect - made by Champion.

So how do I make it all work at least three times a week? I took out all the excuses, I made a list of why I don't exercise on a daily basis or what the hurdles were.Then I put all the pieces in place and made an investment in myself. I bought a used stationary bike and strength training system so I wouldn't have to go to the gym, I hired a trainer... making that list was an important step for me and being very honest with myself. If I wasn't, the bike would have become a clothes hanger by now!

So what keeps me motivated... seeing the results is definitely numero UNO. I feel better and my clothes fit better. Supportive people around me - I try to surround myself, Weight Watchers meetings are good for this. My health keeps me motivated - I want to die of old age, not something like heart disease!

Just remember it can be an ongoing battle sometimes. You need to give yourself those days where you do just the minimum. It's okay!

Here is the next giveaway
  • Making Memories Decorate Life Celebrations and Home Decor.
  • Lucy gift card for $20
Be sure to leave a comment - the random winner will be announced tomorrow before 10am PST!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daily Routine - H2O


The WINNER is: AMY W!!!! please contact me

One of these three water bottles is always with me - downstairs in the office, bedroom, car, or briefcase. I used to have a hard time remembering to drink water. This caused several health problems for me. Not to mention my skin was a wreck with all the travel I was doing. Now I just make sure that one of these bottles is with me at all times. The Weight Watcher program is very adamant about drinking your daily water and when you don't, it definitely reflects on weigh in day. One of the things that I learned at WW about water is that usually nine times out of 10 you are thirsty, not hungry. So instead of reaching for something to eat, first drink a glass of water and see if you are still hungry.

During my January week long detox I was able to kick my Diet Coke habit. I have been amazed that I have lasted this long but I am over the cravings. My trainer said that for every soda drink that you have you should take 500 mg of calcium. I am really glad that I don't have to carry that around with me! I also quit drinking coffee almost two years ago. Now I drink water from the tap (actually my refrigerator dispenser), hot tea, almond/rice milk, and juice.

Update: Here is another alternative to the SIGG bottles - Nalgene. These are BPA free plastic and come in some great fun colors! They are about half the price (depending on style) and you can get them online or at any outdoor type store. We take these hiking with us because they are lighter weight - I may need to find one to fit in my purse!

I am definitely not always on track - I love the occasional glass of wine when we go out or my favorite cocktail of Chopin Vodka & Soda. It's only 80 calories!

In the summertime, if I have planned ahead, I will buy some cucumber and mint leaves to put in a water pitcher. I had this at the spa and was so refreshed, I couldn't get enough. Other additions to water are lemons and orange slices. I am looking forward to this summer since Stacy introduced me to the GurglePot. How fun is this going to be! Please visit their site and just listen to the gurgle - it really does sound like that!

Today's giveaway is:
  • a white SIGG bottle to jump start your water drinking
  • and three books from MM: Thinking of You, Paper Cachet and Ribbonrie

Leave a comment to be entered in the random drawing for the above giveaway! Winner will be announced tomorrow before 10 am PST.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daily Routine - Breakfast

WINNER of the 'breakfast' package: SusanB!!!!! Contact me at

Update: Thank you for all the posts and great questions - I have updated this post in red  with some great information that I forgot to include.

I have received several inquiries about what my daily routine is. It's not rocket science but it works for me! When I can encompass everything into one day - it really is a good day. Sometimes I can only do half of the things and it still can be a good day. This week I am going to share with you the for sure things that I try to include in my daily routine. Then I will end each post with a fun giveaway!

Eating breakfast. Just a couple of years ago I was one who always skipped breakfast. I was either in a rush to get out of the house, wanted to sleep in (I am not a morning person!) or I thought it was cutting calories. All of those reasons were very poor excuses and once I worked in breakfast it has become second nature. This didn't happen overnight - I worked it into my schedule, at first only 3 days a week. I also came up with three different solutions depending on how I felt when I woke up or how much time I had.
First I always try to start with a warm glass of water with a half of lemon squeezed in it...

Quick - need it to go or just starting out...

Advocare meal replacement shake . I have been using this product for years. My trainer recommends it for people with busy schedules and also people who are trying to lose weight. It was actually a good way to work 'breakfast' into my day without a lot of work. It also came in handy for busy days and I didn't have time to stop for lunch. Which btw was very common for me to do; not only skip breakfast but skip lunch and then guess where I was headed at one or two pm??? The drivethru!

The shake solution also works for me because I don't have to have ingredients in my fridge. For those days that you need a really quick solution and don't want to skip that most important meal.

It has another convenience of portability! These packets go with me on every trip - so I can make really good decisions while on the road. That is usually where I fall off the wagon and find it hard to get back on when I get home. I highly recommend a shaker bottle, one that travels well. I use the Blender Bottle, but I know that Tupperware has a good one too. What I like about the Blender Bottle is the smaller 20 oz size and it's BPA Free.

This year I decided to become a distributor of Advocare
because I buy so much of it and I really do believe in the products. I
will talk more this week about the other stuff that I use.

Update: For fellow WW people the Advocare shakes are only 4 points!

Have a little time to enjoy your morning...

This is a smoothie recipe that my nutritionist gave me and it is one of my favorites. There are so many variations and twists that you can make with this. Using a hand blender (this is what I have):
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Whole FAT yogurt (yes, whole fat - less sugar and you eat less of it! I am big fan of Nancy's organic) Now if you are trying or don't do dairy you can add 1 cup of almond/rice milk. Remember my detox days from January??!
  • Handful of berries (1/2 cup) I use frozen fruit because you want it 'slushy', my favorite is blueberries (costco) and mango (trader joes)
  • 1 to 3/4 scoop of WHEY protein powder (do not use soy based) I use the vanilla Trader Darwins Whey Protein Powder from Trader Joes because it is very inexpensive. Sorry, I know not everyone has a Trader Joes...just make sure whatever you get has no soy and don't pay over $12 for 16 oz
  • 1 scoop of Green's First - this is something that I added to this recipe, not neccessary. I get this from my esthetician and it insures that I get all of my vegetable/fruit servings and then some. It has helped my skin over the last three years!
  • Add a little bit of water - less than an 1/8 of cup, this is just to make it a little less thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil. I do the flax seed oil because of less caloires and I need to get my Omega 3s
  • Then stir in 1 teaspoon of Psyllium whole husks, you can get this in the health food section. It is a fiber supplement. ONLY add this if you are committed to drinking your daily water intake for the day.
This is not a snack smoothie! With the whole yogurt, oil and protein powder you will be FULL, I promise. Play around with this recipe and once you do it once or twice you won't have to look at the directions and it should only take five minutes to make. This smoothie is what I usually have when I am not traveling. I have also been known to have it for lunch too!

Update: For fellow WW people this smoothie ranges in points depending on your variations, five to seven points.

To savor your morning...
Here are some options of what I do on the weekends or when it's cold and I just want something warm to start my morning. But you need time for this and ingredients in the house...
  • omlet with cheese, spinach and nitrate free bacon (this is easy to shop for: eggs, bag of shredded cheese, bag of spinach and quick trip to buy the bacon from the meat counter!) and if you want to get really fancy smoke salmon.
  • Gluten Free whole grain rolled oats by Bob's Red Mill with fruit

Update: Depending on my day I usually don't eat breakfast until 10am and then I eat lunch at 1pm and dinner at 6:30/7:00pm

Okay are you ready for the giveaway??!!!
  • one 20oz blender bottle
  • one packet each of vanilla and chocolate meal replacement shake
  • and three Donna Downey books: Photo Decor, Creative Albums, Decorative Journals
My rule to purging books out of my collection? I keep the ones that inpsire me on a regular basis. If I bought it, read it and never ever went back to it - it get's purged. Leave a comment and have a chance to win. Random drawing will be done before 10 am PST on Tuesday!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Back to a regular schedule

but with a twist! If you can believe it I have some more giveaways to do starting on Monday. They will be announced at the end of my regular scheduled posts. Here is a sneak of what they are...

I am still working on my work flow video and waiting for a good hair day. But in the meantime I am doing some more purging in other areas of the house. Today while cleaning it felt good to open a few of the windows to let the fresh air in.

Hope you are all having a great weekend and please let your friends know about the giveaways starting on Monday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Office - part 6

While I would love to have a handwritten journal, I just don't make time to do it. Because I am in front of the computer 80% of the day, my blog has become somewhat of a journal. I [heart] blogging for this reason. For 2009 I would like to share the happenings of my life and hopeful that some of that information could be valuable to someone else.

Are you ready for My Office - part 6 and last installment? Before I get started I want to cover a great question that I received. Frances: Do you work standing up or sitting? Great question Frances! I do both - mostly standing but when I do sit I have a counter high chair that I found at Pier 1. It has a back and is cushy leather. It was on SALE for under a $100! Just a reminder that my worktable isn't set up to sit at because there is no place to really put your knees. So if you like to sit this is something to take under consideration.

In the coming weeks I will be putting together a video showing you my room and also a video of my work flow when scrapbooking. Of course I need Kirk to be in town and a good hair day!

Now I am going to show you areas of inspiration for me. I like to collect things old and new and finding ways to display them in my area. These two display shelves are above my computer area. I might be switching these shelves to the other wall (to the left) because I would like to hang something else here. Artwork and more inspiration boards.

The doll at the very end standing is 'Birdie'. She was made by Chrissy and Lulu and I had to have her when I read her description: She is a free spirit. Loves to dance & sing (badly) If there is a ruckus in the doll room, we know Birdie was on a tear. Caution: Birdie will not follow rules. Hide the chocolate. The next doll sitting represents my love for fairies. Her name is Milli and she celebrates July. This gal does some amazing work and you need to go very early to the local craft show or everything will be sold out. The other stuff is my collection of random 'P's, old hat, old camera, fisher price toy...the spare me the drama plaque - right now it has to be my all time favorite piece. I found this at the right time in my life.

The bottom shelf you can see the beginnings of my ribbon storage! This is also done by color and I use misc jars from Target, Goodwill and Ikea.The dark haired doll on the end is my first Blythe doll - Love Mission. I haven't spent as much time as I would like with her but plan on buying some stuff when I go to Japan and get more involved. The cute little red door is my Fairy door. If you are looking for special gift this is perfect. It comes all packaged with directions and even fairy dust! The doll at the very end (you can see her better up top) is Penny (from Chrissy & Lulu).

Now remember in the beginning how I was talking about wanting an entry way? This is why...

You can see the door to the left - and a glimpse of Jesse! I have moved the dog beds, they are usually right in front of the bench.

The walls are painted a Hunting Coat Red by Ralph Lauren. Again I had my local hardware/paint store mix this color for half the price. So finding furniture for this area proved not any easier than the office furniture. I was looking at cabinets, amoires, shelving units...they were either WAY out of my price range or on the other end of them spectrum not very well made.

Then Stacy and her mom came to the rescue! Did you know that Stacy's mom is a savvy decorator??? She has the same set up in her Music/Memory room but in white.  It is the PB Samantha Entryway collection, two PB Studio Wall shelves all installed closely together. When you put these pieces all together they look like one large piece.This area needed to function in three ways. 1) entryway 2) book and ribbon storage 3) display inspiration pieces

This is our entryway 'area' - the mirror was a steal at Kohls for $25 and the white shelf is from the Shabby Chic line at Target. This shelving unit holds some business books and a baket of mini albums. the ceramic pieces on top - bowls found at TJ Maxx is a catch all for keys and the vase is made by a Hood River artist Trudi Klinger/Mystic Mud Studios.

This is the first section of the unit - you can see my ribbon jars and books. These books are organized by subject - home decorating, altered art, scrapbooking and photography. I have really narrowed down these books and only keep those that I reference regularly. The bottom of the shelf is my Library of Memories. I use the American Crafts Cloth albums in black.

Here are some closer shots

The metal tab holders on these albums were from AMM, but they were discontinued. But I found something very similar from CTMH. I apologize for the blown out shot - there is very little natural light in this area and I am not very good with the camera - that's another post!

Here is the middle of the unit - my 'W' collection. One of my favorite finds was the big red one on Ebay. You will also see my dachshund collection scattered about - I know that you should display them all together but because the subject matter is so LONG that is hard to do! The baskets up top hold gloves, hats and scarves. Stacy's mom had the brilliant idea to hang pictures from the hooks with ribbon! I plan to hang some more to create a layered effect. All these photos were taken by my amazing friend Allison. If you are ever, I mean ever want THE best picture taken of yourself -  fly to Mesa, AZ, just do it. You won't be disappointed. She can feel that inner beauty in you and bring it forward. AND if you are already a budding photographer and want to learn more, her class is open for registration at Big Picture. Of course I can't even figure out my white balance, so I still can't take the class!

The bench needs some pillows, I am hesitant since Amos hangs out here. So the pillows would become a very expensive dog bed. But this area is a catch all for my purse and staging area of stuff that needs to be taken out. It is also a place where I sit and look at the books before going into my office. It's nice to do this outside of the place you work/create. For me it's a 'clear' area. The bottom baskets are: dog stuff, camera equipment and more mini albums.

On the right side of the unit - more books organized by subject: Inspirational (compendium books), jewelry, quilting/sewing and knitting/crocheting. More ribbon jars and art made by friends. The bottom shelf has my Library of Memories storage binders, Maui album, and some empty albums...

The last part - the canvas piece was inspired again by Ali Edwards, I can't remember what issue of CK that this was in but it was a couple of years ago. The white cabinet is from Pier 1 and holds all of my yarn and knitting/crocheting tools. The top drawer holds all of my cords - you know all those cords for the hundreds of technology tools we have??? I finally had Maddie organize it and label them. It was out of control!

Here is an inside shot - those metal baskets are CD/DVD holders from Target. I found them in the office section. This is an area that I have a hard time purging. I haven't bought any new yarns because I have no more room! For such a crappy knitter I sure to have a great deal of it -

So now I am ready to reveal my super secret storage area. This holds all my back stock and stuff that I don't use on a regular basis but need to have. If I didn't have this area I would be going crazy. Because this is the stuff that isn't so pretty to display.

This is right around the corner from my office - it's the closet space under the stairs. There are three plastic drawer towers. On top of these units are business supplies and my stack paper cutter - I really want one of these... someday! This is where I also store my sewing machine, wrapping paper, pre bought gifts and breifcase. Way in the back you can see totes - these are full of fabric, vintage and new.

Inside these drawers are cutting tools (CM circle cutter and the new MS circle cutter), plastic bags, bulk ribbon on rolls, blank cards, envelopes, adhesive (I use one of these and buy my rolls in bulk), liquid glues, pigment ink pads, embossing powder, and packaging supplies.

There you have it - and inside detailed peak into a place I spend most of my time. It was interesting for me to get it all down and break it down for you. I am even more confident that my space works for me and I won't be making too many changes in the future. I hope it has inspired you in some way or given you ideas for your own space.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions. Videos to come very soon! I will be getting back to some of my regular posts: Music Tuesdays and Weight Watcher Wednesdays (ugh) and more organization posts!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Office - part 5

Happy Saturday and Happy Valentines day!  Here's some Valentine humor from Someecards:

I am just going to jump into my office tour part 5! Starting with my basket tower. There is a story to this and I had to enlist the help of my friend.  When I was looking and drooling over my friend Margie's craft room (which btw is AMAZING!) I came across this photo and immediately emailed her wanting to know the details. Of course I got the response that I didn't want to hear... 'I got it at TJ Maxx a year ago' UGH - love and hate that place because of the hit and miss inventory. But I rushed down to my local TJ Maxx with printed picture in hand just to see if they had one or could tell me who made it. No luck. So you know (I know you know) how you get fixated on something and that is the only thing that is going to work??!! That is where Jeanette comes in and her talent of researching. I put her on the hunt and within minutes I had all sorts of ideas coming from her through email but she couldn't find that exact piece. She did find this one though - it was perfect and actually a much better piece for this space. Not as tall and not as deep. I also liked the mix of metal and natural - something I was missing in my space.

This basket tower holds my overflow of photo albums. The slip in kind - I buy these at Target when they go on clearance. As you can see I am two baskets full so no more for me until I use these and make room for more.

And the last basket is full of a new found craft - felting...I like to dabble. Mostly I like to make pieces for jewelry.

Okay the next area (long awaited) is my main scrapbooking supply area. It is behind where I work so everything is easily accessible to my work area. It is made up of three Bonde Ikea shelves. Because I have 9 foot ceilings I wanted to take advantage of the height of the Bonde because I was thinking of gettng the Xpedit. Plus the Bonde shelves are adjustable, which comes in handy when you are storing odd supplies.

[HINT] By being color & themed organized you are able to clean up very quickly when you are done with a project. This was taken a day after my Puerto Rico layout. If you are like me I have to have a clean slate before moving on to the next project!

Here is a look at the first section. On the very top shelf I have some display items for photos shoots and extra storage pieces.The shelves below that include a lazy susan (from Target) with some metal findings in spice jars, painting tools and my jar of yellow/gold ribbon. Below that is my red/pink cardstock and patterned paper stored in Cropper Hopper Vertical storage holders. I really like this way of storing my paper - I just wish that they were crystal clear. The silver metal baskets are old locker baskets that I found at an antique store (with the help of a good friend) for $12 each. These two shown below are holding my mini albums and stationery. Obviously I have a mini album addiction...this would be an indication to purge but I already did! Then you can see my Xyron (this has to be one of my top five tools) and yellow/orange/rust paper.

Going down...on the left side are my paper packs and my purple paper. The turqouise bin holds adhesives, glue, pop dots, etc. (My back stock of adhesive is my super secrect storage place) The bin is from the home section at Target. I haven't seen this color there in awhile but I have seen pink and red. Below that are my kits from Cocoa Daisy or other projects. With my Cocoa Daisy kits I give myself about three months to do something with the kit as a whole. After that it gets taken apart and put away. The three drawer unit below that holds all my coloring pens, American Craft precision pens, and office pens.

I have two of these six drawer units that you see above. These are my theme drawers. This one holds: Family/baby, Creativity, Seasons, Christmas/Winter, and antique ephemera. Last drawer is empty! :) These items need to be very specific - it just can't be a pink bow (that would go in the pink drawer) but if it was a pink bow with the words 'baby girl' on it then it would go in the appropriate theme drawer.

[HINT] I am finding that I am buying less and less of this type of theme stuff and buying more general items that can be used for anything. I can tell, for myself, that most of this stuff seems to sit for a long time before I actually use it or eventually give it away. I see half of these drawers going away in about a year.

Working our way over... top of the shelf are my Memory Dock drawers. I am not sure if these are still going to be in production but I use them for my large format pictures. I need to still organize and label these. Here is something similar at Ikea. You can see more paper storage by color and two flower jars (Target and Ikea). The black tin boxes I found in the office section at Target. (there is something similar at Ikea called Emu) These hold my antique game pieces - I collect them and they are sorted by...color! I use them in misc projects but mostly my jewelry.

The shallow white boxes are Kasset boxes from Ikea, they store my stamps. This size is no longer made but there are alternatives at the Container store. The size of the box is 11.5"w x 14.75"l x 3.5"d. This idea was from my friend Anna and it is brilliant! I am amazed that this has stuck for me because I am LAZY when it comes to boxes with lids. But because they are shallow and I have only stacked them two high I don't mind bringing them down and looking through them. You can get two layers of wooden stamps in them. My categories are Celebrations/Holidays, Design elements, Circles, Squares, Nature, Travel/Dogs.

Going over some more...the bins above hold: clear albums, mini mini albums, and the last two have punches. These way up here are the ones that I don't use very often and they are not full because I don't have that many. Several years ago I purged out many of the odd shaped ones and kept the more usuable shapes like squares, circles, etc.

The basket holds Christmas card and travel memoribila. The white boxes are my Stampin Up! ink pads that are waiting for the holder spinner deal. I have been trying to bid on one through ebay but this is apparently a hot item! But when I do get one that will go there and I will be able to access the ink pads readily. The paper storage here is organized by company - there are three companies whose paper I love: American Crafts, Basic Grey, and Scenic Route. These papers all stay together since I buy them all the time and I have so much!

Above you can see my Quickutz 3 ring binders. My friend Kellie told me about this organization tip and I am so glad. This takes up WAY less space than the QK binders that I had and it is so easy to flip through these. I have them organized by shapes in one folder and the other two hold alphabets. All you use are slide film holder pages.

My acutal QK tool is in a metal basket along with the larger format dies for the Revolution. I store the cookie cutter dies in the magnet books that QK makes. I wish that I could keep the tool out all the time on my work table because I know that I would use it more.

The bottom part ... the turquoise bin has all of my frequently used punches, even my giga (2') square punch. Most of the rest of the stuff is all Invitation product, negative binders and business stuff. The three large pioneer albums are some of Kirk's photos from childhood through his early 30s. I also have three Croppin Companion storage binders: trip to Africa and my childhood memorbilia. 

Last but not least, my other six drawer unit of themed product: Office, Boy, Girl/Friendship, Love, Travel and Dogs. As I said earlier these drawers are going to get paired down over the next year as I find myself buying less of the specific theme product.

Here is a peek into some of those drawers

This little drawer unit from Ikea holds all of my tools for paper crafting and jewelry making. Scissocrs, hand punches, pliers, metal stamping tools, etc. After taking this picture I realized that I didn't have the drawers labeled! They are now -

Thanks again for stopping by - tomorrow will be about my inspiration areas! Please let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything.