Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I don't know 'bout you, but I'm shopping at Zappos

Image representing Zappos as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
I read an article a few years ago in Inc. Magazine about the founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh and his company. I am such a fan of people who create their lives - including their work - on their own terms and by their own set of standards and then make it really, really big. As an internet entrepreuner I want to learn from companies like Zappos.

They started off selling shoes online. Now, they sell clothing, outerwear, bags, housewares, watches and who know what's next?

But what they have created is not so much about what they sell. I mean you can find deals and steals all over the internet. I think their phenomenal growth has more to do with the CULTURE they created than with the stuff they decided to put on their website.

Even today, they have probably the most open and flexible customer service policies of any business anywhere. They offer (and always have to my knowledge) free shipping, free returns - for a full year, and 24-7 customer support.

Their internal culture is just as cool. From what I read in the article and from what they show on their website, they provide a work environment for their employees that is fun and requires people to get along, respect each other and form real community ties with each other. Hmmm. Sound like a great place? Does to me.

So the fact that you can go on their site and do all of your Christmas shopping or get winter gear with a choice from over 4 million products, and rest assured that whatever doesn't work can be returned, and speak to a person who likes their job and won't be rude on the phone if you do have to call the 800# (or tweet with them should you be so inclined) AND they flippin GUARANTEE delivery with free shipping on orders placed up to TWO DAYS before Christmas ...these facts make it easy to see why Zappos is leading the online retailers pack!
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Friday, November 26, 2010

New lifestyle eating plan week 1 - cutting sugar from my diet

 So I made some changes in my I mean lifestyle over the past couple of weeks. I guess it's working as I am down 2 lbs.  I'm not ashamed to say that at nearly 6' tall I was at 224 when I started (gotta find a tape measure to get all my starting stats done) and now the scale is holding at 222.

Major food cravings hit me last week that were due in part to HORMONES (uuuggh) but I'm trying hard to stay on top of them and not do anything to reverse my progress. Even after Thanksgiving dinner last night and an indulgence in a made from scratch gluten free fruit tart that I made up using GF ginger snaps and mixed fruit, I'm still down 2 and trying to eat less sugar.

So I was kinda excited to come across these gluten free sugar free hi-protein bars in the GF section at Albertson's. I picked out two to try and the jury is still out on these. They're think Thin bars. Sweetened with maltitol, they have ZERO grams of sugar.

I picked peanut butter and chocolate fudge.

Learning about lowering my sugar intake has led me to discover sugar alcohols, like xylitol and maltitol. They are basically sweetness from sugar without the sugar calories. The body does not recognize them, and use them as nutrients. The only warning so far is that in certain amounts they can cause gas, bloating and diarreah.

So back to the think Thin bar. You see where I'm going with this? After eating the first one this morning, nothing adverse happened. I ate the second one 5 hours later and well. Lets just say I wouldn't want to be around people right now. There's a foulness about me. Juss sayin.

So like I said the jury is still out. I'm not sure my system will adjust to sugar alcohols, though supposedly most people do with repeated consumption. We'll see. I definitely won't eat more than one a day if I get more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't call it a DIET. It's a Lifestyle

This has been a looooong time coming.  I have known for several years that I really need to take control of my health and wellness.  I have put many other things ahead of taking care of my physical body.  Mainly working and being busy.

I have been working at Super Supplements for about two months now, mainly because I really like knowing about natural ways to be healthy and helping others in this quest. This job has really illuminated my lack of doing good health.
I have other excuses aside from being too busy:

It is too expensive.  REALITY - eating right and taking the right supplements is waaay cheaper than Dr. bills and missing work due to illness.

I am not a pill taker and I won't stick to a regimen. REALITY - Better health is a lifestyle.  There are many ways to get proper nutrition without popping pills all day.  If the changes make me feel better I will stick to it.

There really is no excuse for not taking the time to live a healthy lifestyle. 

I have done my homework and tomorrow I am starting a new plan for better health!

Disclosure: All the products I mention below I can buy where I work. One of the benefits of working there is the discounts! ;-) You can buy them there too or online. Super Supplements is a discount retailer with prices 10%-70% off SRP every day.

my plan for better health
1. Cleanse - Jarrow Fiber Perfect
  • removing excess bowel material flattens the belly.
  • eliminating toxins increases energy
  • enhances immune system
  • Aids healthy digestion

2. cut sugar 15-25 g per day, no hfcs. use xylitol or stevia as a replacement
  • too much sugar causes belly fat
  • weakens immune system
  • causes fatigue and “crash”

3. Use Coconut oil and MCT oil - 2 Tb per day
  • lowers cholesterol
  • enhance body's ability to use glucose & provide energy
  • antiviral and anti-fungal properties
  • burns body fat

4. Eat Low glycemic fruits, veggies and grains
  • low glycemic meals make you eat less than high glycemic foods 
  • help balance blood glucose and insulin levels 
  • reducing excess body fat levels 
  • less hungry between meals
5. Drink at least 110 oz of water per day 14 8 oz servings. 3.25 liter bottles.
  • drink half your body weight in fluid ounces
  • Water is essential to all the vital functions of the body.
  • Reduces the risk of many health issues
  • Regular hydration will boost energy levels
  • Also boost your immune system and mental sharpness.
  • Speeds up recovery from injuries.
  • Cleansing and detoxing absolutely requires lots of water.

6. H.O.P.E. formula - See full description below
  • High fiber - 35 grams per day from food and supplements
  • Omega 3,6,9 - 1000-3000 mg from nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and supplements
  • Probiotics - 6b - 200b organisms daily from fermented foods, whole food vitamins and supplements
  • Enzymes - from raw foods,sprouted grains,raw nuts and seeds and a supplement with every meal

7. plan meals
  • protein for breakfast
  • eat every 3 hours 7:30ish, 10:30ish, 1:30ish, 4:30ish, 7:00ish but no later if possible.
  • see #4

8. exercise
  • go for walks daily. That's as much as I know I can do. I would love to go to hot yoga 3 or 4 times per week but right now that's pushing it.
9. take good supplements
  • Real Food multivitamins or New Chapter Multi
    • multi-nutrient whole food vitamins the body will use and not just pass thru and eliminate
    • one a day (or two small ones) so i’m not taking pills all day
    • no need to take with food cuz they are food
  • Green Vibrance
    • energizing green food for overall wellness
    • Nutrient dense drink that tastes ok and is easy to use
    • supports and improves digestion and immunity
  • CO-Q10 and resveratrol
    • Supports the Health of the Cardiovascular and Circulatory Systems
    • Supports Healthy Energy Levels 
    • Supports Healthy Brain Function

    Watson's HOPE Formula

    all of the below comes from by Brenda Watson

    For ongoing support during and between cleansing, the four-part H.O.P.E. formula developed by Brenda Watson is a daily nutritional plan that combines High fiber, Omega oils, Probiotics and Enzymes. Each natural component plays a vital role in proper digestive function and overall health.
    • High Fiber: Foods high in fiber add bulk to the diet, which helps to strengthen and tone the colon muscles. Fiber also helps absorb and eliminate toxins from the digestive tract, working like a kitchen sponge to scrub and sweep waste from the intestinal walls. Studies have also shown that a diet high in fiber promotes cardiovascular health by supporting healthy cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
    • Goal: At least 35 grams daily

    • Omega Oils: Natural Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 oils provide the necessary lubrication for smooth and gentle elimination, while at the same time helping to nourish the cells in the intestinal tract. Clinical research has also proven that daily supplementation with Omega oils promotes cardiovascular and brain health, and helps reduce harmful inflammation in the body.
    • Goal: 1,000-3,000mg daily

    • Probiotics: The word probiotics literally means “for life”. These beneficial bacteria promote healthy digestive and immune function by crowding out harmful organisms in the digestive tract and promoting the growth of healthy flora. As a result, they help improve overall digestive and immune function.
    • Goal: 6 billion to 200 billion CFU daily

    • Enzymes: Natural digestive enzymes help break down a variety of foods such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugars and dairy so that they can be digested more easily by the body. Enzymes also enhance the absorption of beneficial nutrients from the foods we eat.
    • Goal: Take with every meal

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Gluten Free Review - Bagels & Chocolate Muffins

    A bagelImage via Wikipedia
     Winco is now carrying a line of gluten free products...YAY!

    So I picked up the gluten free bagels from Udi's.

    Looks like a bagel! Toasts like a bagel!

    It didn't quite TASTE like a bagel.  But it did taste good! Overall I gave it a thumbs up! At a buck a piece - I won't buy them too often but if I gotta have round bread these are my pick!

    My New FAVORITE gf product....drumrolll please...

    Great texture, great flavor...these double chocolate muffins are delish!

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    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Nursing Scrubs - the key to a great attitude?

    Scrubs: InternsImage via Wikipedia
     My friend and neighbor is always coming over to share the events of her day.  She is a CNA - a nurses assistant - at our local hospital.  She was sharing a particularly funny experience she had with a patient today.  I can always see her in her colorful scrubs - helping elderly patients. She has such devotion and dedication to her job.  I just don't know how she does it! I think she could seriously have her own reality show.

     She has to physically care for many of her patients who have various illnesses and infirmities, both physical and mental. She works a 12 hour shift, on her feet!

    Sometimes she comes over feeling beaten down - it never ceases to amaze me that even in todays times there are still people out there with racist attitudes and stereotyping beliefs.

    But she gets up, puts on her hospital uniform and does her job with a laugh, a smile and usually a song!

    I asked her where to buy medical scrubs. I would love to buy medical scrubs online! I'm wondering if its the clothes that make it easier for her to have such a great attitude...!

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    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    My perfect world car - the Lexus GS Hybrid

    In a perfect world, I would be shopping for a Lexus Hybrid. So, imagining my world perfect, I went to to research these vehicles. Lexus now has 4 hybrid vehicles available in their lineup.

    As far as usability of the site, simply hovering over the tab displayed the information about each vehicle class. Very user friendly. The basic specs, price, engine, speed & drive were readily displayed with links to see more pictures, features and other information about the vehicle.

    My initial thought, in my non-perfect world mind, was to look at the least expensive one. But I remembered it is a perfect world for now, so the next thing I looked at was what kind of engine they have comparatively.

    The least expensive hybrid, the HS Hybrid 10, was also the least powerful. And lets face it, if I’m going to buy a luxury sports car it has to have some power. So I looked at the power of the next 2 sedans, the GS Hybrid 11 and the LS Hybrid 10. With a 5.0 liter V8 engine and 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, the LS was clearly the most powerful hybrid available, comparable in performance to the “F Performance” models. But at over $100k base price, and knowing myself as I do, I don’t believe that even in a perfect world I would spend that much money on a car. Not even a really fast pretty car with low emissions. When there are people starving in the world. period.

    So, that leaves the GS Hybrid 11, with its 340hp 3.5 liter V6, I would say it has enough power for me. And at just over $57K base, that would leave me with money to donate to worthy causes.
    Having narrowed my choice down to one vehicle, I now wanted to learn more about it. So I clicked on the link that said “vehicle information”.

    Browsing the page, I saw that there was a “Golden Opportunity Sales Event” for this car! I love a good sale! So I clicked on the image and...OH NO! A broken link? The usability study department over at Lexus obviously missed that.

    Now I’m a little frustrated and amused. I wanted to know about the sale. As I was looking around the page for more on the sale I saw in the fine print that the MSRP does not include an $875 shipping and handling fee. Sounds kind of like how eBay used to be before they tightened up on sellers and instituted feedback based on shipping. Hmm.

    Another link in the left navigation to “special offers” revealed the same broken link. BOOO!  So I gave up looking for the sale. After all this is a perfect world and as such the sale price would more than meet my expectation and satisfy my bargain hunter tendencies.

    My next task was to build my Lexus, choosing the features I want. I selected the color both inside and out, and added a few small extras. The car already came equipped with all the other bells and whistles so there was not that much customizing to do.

    Now that my car was ready I could go to the dealership and write them a check. But I wanted to learn more about the technology of the car and the hybrid system. I saw a link that said “inside hybrid” and a drop down with a selection that said “innovation” so I followed it. Everything I wanted to know about the technology was there AND a facebook share link. So I shared my perfect world car with my facebook friends and family. Maybe one of them will buy it for me.

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    iPhone photos at dusk

     I used to wish I had my camera with me all the time back in the day. I was really into photography. I think I'll pick the hobby up again.

    I have an iPhone 3gs and decided to take some pictures at the park while David was at basketball practice.

    I'm sort of impressed at the image quality! Let me know what you think.  These photos were taken at dusk only using natural light.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Gluten Free Review - Burger Rolls

     Ok, so I almost gave these rolls the thumbs down. Double thumbs down.  I tried them a few times hoping they would get better and offer me a convenient (Albertsons is across the street) alternative to sandwich bread for a burger.

    I tried with a juicy homeburger and was so dissatisfied!  The bun fell apart while I was eating. It was dry and crumbly. I was sad.

    I don't know why but for the next one - the next day - I decided to nuke the bun for a 20 sec. hoping it would soften up.  It DID! It was actually edible that way and softer, not crumbly.
    There are four buns in the pack and they are not cheap so I finished the last one today - toasted.  That was the best so far. It was perfect - a little crispy on the inside and soft on the outside.  No crumbling.

    So I will say go for these buns but make sure you TOAST them before eating!

    Schar gluten free, wheat free Classic White Rolls - about $7 for 4 rolls
    Here's some other products they make to try...

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Gluten Free Review - Italian Food

     Well I don't know if the GF foods are getting better or I'm accustomed to the slightly less than great taste of many GF foods so when a better one comes around it seems really good.  Anyway, I have really missed being able to eat Italian style foods over the last several years and recently tried a couple new GF dishes that I really did enjoy.

    The first is Gluten Free Rice Lasagna.  It has been years since I ate lasagna, also because I became ACUTELY lactose intolerant a few years back and cut the cheese....out of my diet.  ( I know that was bad) But I found more recently that I can tolerate skim cheeses like mozzarella and parmesan - so that's what I used for the lasagna.  The instructions said to layer the noodles in with the meat, cheese and sauce uncooked.  Overall it was yummy though the noodles were a little mushy.

    The next one - I had for dinner tonite - Gluten Free Pizza.  Also with mozzarella and parmesan.  And I have eaten other GF pizzas. I tried a few frozen varieties that were just ok.  This pizza crust was actually pretty tasty if a little on the dry side.  I still give it a thumbs up

    So there you have it...If you decide to try one of these let me know what you think.
    Here's where you can buy some.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Am I a Mac or a PC

    I have always used a PC but lately I've been using my Macbook Pro..I got one with my tuition to Full Sail University, so no I didn't have $2500 to drop on it. At first it was super cool - the heavy metal and neat little quirks. Like the power cord is magnetic so it "snap" goes in to the side of the Mac. It took a little adjusting to the slight differences in the operating system and software but it didn't take long to get the hang of it. I'm sure had I made use of the tutorials I would be happier with some things, like organizing my files and photos. Maybe I'll do that.

    Yesterday I dusted off my trusty Dell Vostro. - the one with the missing F key.
    It was like seeing an old friend or coming back home after a long journey. I have an assignment due for school and after struggling and getting frustrated with Mac, I realized "I know how to to this...on my pc" and within minutes (ok maybe an hour) of initial boot up, voila - I had created art! (my rendition of The Fable of the Crow and the Pitcher starring Apple)

    Then I noticed how much more comfortable I was...ergonomically that is. Hey Apple...your design aesthetic is fun to look at but the nice rounded edges on my Dell and the soft rubberized touch pad make my work soooo much more comfortable. When I click on the hard metal touch pad on my Mac I feel it in my finger bones...ouch! (ok, maybe its psychological but i think i feel it in my finger bones)
    The edges of the Mac are sharp METAL. SHARP. But maybe I was supposed to buy a wireless keyboard...yea that's are not supposed to actually type on the Macbook.

    With all the cool factor of my Mac...the Apple Mystique I'll call it...I think I still prefer my PC.
    So I guess maybe I am a PC...I think I want a new one.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Delicious Gluten Free Baking!

    At loooove has come along....!

    Ok if you're like me a gluten free cookie is not the most appetizing dessert least not until now. Check out this amazing website, called Baby Cakes NYC

    Just one look at the baked goods on the home page will have your mouth watering! It did mine! They deliver products most everywhere and have a cook book you can get on

    Check it out! I know I am!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Feeling Good - Gluten Free Cooking

    One of the challenges I had becoming gluten free was learning how to make food that tasted good. With a young son to think about, and few options in the beginning for GF items that closely resembled their wheat based counterparts, I had to get help.

    I came across a cookbook by a restaurant chef and thought this must be good if people pay to eat her cooking!

    Here is a link to the cookbook
    . It is an ebook so you can download it today and begin making food you and your family will WANT to eat - GF or not!

    Fun with GF/LG Food

    Here is another place to get delicious recipes for bread, muffin, pancake, pizza and more!

    The Sensitive Chef
    If you love to cook, these resources will certainly help!