Patrick

Today’s Resolution: Act Like a Superhero

If people didn’t like superheroes, the box office would be broke right now. So today, be a superhero: a superhero of household chores, a superhero of getting your own coffee, a superhero of standing up for someone getting picked on, a superhero of holding the door for a line of people that never seems to end… you get it. Be awesome. Be independent. Be “the better person”.

Unless you’re physically unable to do something, don’t ask for help today. Instead, help everyone else. Help people when they ask for it. Help people when they don’t ask for it. Choose your favorite superhero and go with it.

No capes necessary, just love for our fellow humans. Step into your invisible (or visible, if you like) superhero costume and for every situation today, ask yourself “how can I do this better than anyone else?” Then flex your muscles in the mirror like Popeye.

And when your day of crime-frighting ends today, a beer or glass of wine will surely be well-deserved.

Complete: Act Like a SuperHero (and other tales of crab-napping)…

Today’s Resolution: Beat the Heat; Conquer the Cold

Regardless of where you are geographically, the thermostat can exercise its control over us whether you live in a warm, cold, or temperate climate. Turning the air conditioning up (or the heat down in cooler months) even just a degree can help in decreasing monthly costs for energy.

Have a finished basement? This can serve as refuge from the heat. In many cases, basements are naturally cooler and no air conditioning is needed. Other things you can do to conserve energy: check windows to be sure they are completely closed when using the air conditioning or heat, close shades and curtains in unused rooms, and dress comfortably. It doesn’t cost anything to strip down to a t-shirt and shorts or to throw a blanket around you.

Why We Love Fresh Pet Vital Dog Food

Fresh Pet Vital

Amanda & I have a dog, his name is Napa. He’s a mini Golden Doodle (an F2b to be exact). Napa is a handful to say the least. He’s turning 1 in May. Up until 3 weeks ago Napa has been a very picky eater. He’s pretty much hated every brand and flavor of dog food we’ve ever bought him. Now, when I say hated I really mean that he would eat his new food for about 3 days and then lose every interest in it. It got to the point where he wouldn’t eat for three days in a row and we’d have to cook him ground beef and rice (the doggy bland diet). We even took him to the vet several times to make sure he didn’t have any serious medical problems.

So at one point Amanda had seen an TV commercial for the Fresh Pet line of refrigerated dog food, so we decided to give it a shot. We’ll, we’re entering our third week and I’m happy to report that Napa is still very much in love with Fresh Pet Vital Slice and Serve. He gobbles it up! Amanda & I can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that our picky dog has finally fallen in love with a dog food. Now, if we could only get him to do the dishes.

Here’s a video of Napa taking a nap. Or as we call it, a Fresh Pet food coma.

Why We Love Hiking

I’ve never wanted to climb a mountain, I still don’t.

One of my fondest memories as a kid was playing man-hunt in the woods down the street from my house. My friends and I would wake up at six in the morning in the summertime to scout out new positions, build new forts, run around and be crazy nine year-olds. We’d spend the whole day in the woods. It was glorious. As I’ve grown up, hanging out in the woods has become a distant memory, Until recently.

A successful diet means you need to accomplish 2 things: Eat less crap and start moving your body more. As king-couch-potato, I’m really good at sitting in front of the computer working all day. Once you’re in “the zone”, getting up to get the blow flowing isn’t always possible. So about three weeks ago, Amanda (who spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid too) suggested that we go for a hike in the woods. Honestly, it wasn’t my first choice of things to do, but it was a beautiful day out, so why not?

After about a hundred yards into the woods, all of these emotions came flying into my head. Thoughts about my childhood, the memories of walking in the woods with my parents on Sunday afternoons; It all clicked. This was something that my life was missing. Being outside, not in front of a computer, I felt like I could relax. I let my mind wander.

When we got back to the car after that first hike we both felt electrified and yes, a bit sore. Since that day on we’ve gone on at least two hikes per week. We’ve explored different parts of Rhode Island and heck, we’ve even lost weight. As much as this post is about how much we like hiking, it also about reconnecting with something from your childhood. For me it was reconnecting with the outdoors that I loved so much as child.

Make a special effort over the next month to reconnect with an activity from your childhood, and if you haven’t tried hiking yet, try it out. Maybe even throw in a little Geocaching for fun.

iPhone Dolly Shot

Why We Love the MacBook Air

I was brought up with Apple Computers from birth. The highlight of summer vacations as a child was going to Macworld in Boston and New York. I met Guy Kawasaki when I was 12 years old. I remember Apple’s dark times and I’m astonished at all the wonderful things they have created in the last 10 years. With that said (and my obvious bias), one family of Apple products has made such an impression on Amanda and I that we’d say they are finest computers we’ve ever used/owned. If you don’t own a MacBook Air yet, consider one. We have two.

Yes, these are laptops and not a desktop computers, so they do have the advantage of mobility over their bigger desktop brothers. With the MacBook Air I have the true mobility of a fully functioning computer. We have three MacBook Pro’s in the house too. They are excellent, high performance laptops as well, but they weigh a ton. When I’m carrying Amanda’s 17″ Macbook Pro, I feel like I’m smuggling gold bullion through customs. It’s so damn heavy that it’s difficult to lift it up with one hand.

My 13″ Air weighs just under 3 pounds (Amanda owns the 11” model), so you can easily pick it up with one hand. It performs all the major functions that I need to run my digital life. I take it everywhere. I’ve owned an iPad but I found myself not using it after I bought my Macbook Air. They are both exquisitely built and exemplify Apple mantra of “making really good stuff”.

If you’re in the market for a new computer, swing by your local Apple Store. Spend sometime with the Airs. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better laptop experience. They don’t have CD drives (the one drawback for some people) but in the year we’ve owned ours, we haven’t needed a CD drive even once.

Why We Love the MyFitnessPal App

Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal - MyFitnessPal.com

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Amanda & I are engaged. I know, you can’t believe it. It’s OK I’ll give you a minute… With our wedding planned for next year we’ve decided we should lose a few pounds before the big day. We know that diets suck and your motivation can get drained easily. Luckily Amanda & I can be each other’s accountability partners. So what kind of diet are we doing?

Being business owners, we tend to work on our computers too much. We don’t get enough exercise and end up eating way too much of the wrong foods at all the wrong times. So we’ve embarked on a strict low calorie diet. We weren’t really sure whether or not this type of diet would work for us (vs. the slow carb diet, raw diet, etc.) but based on personal experience and preferences, this made the most sense to us. And honestly, it’s been great. We just completed our third week and we’re down 10lbs and it honestly hasn’t been that devastating.

Since we’re analytics nerds, counting calories and exercise is actually fun!

However, we probably wouldn’t have gotten through week 1 without a really great tool to help keep track because documenting everything you eat is a must. The week before we embarked on our diet I found this free app for the iPhone called Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. After about an hour fooling around with it I knew it would be perfect tool to make this diet a success. And honestly, it’s probably the only reason we’ve been able to stick to what we’ve been doing.

You tell the app how much you want to lose, when you want to lose it by, and how much you weigh now. You also tell it how active you usually are, and how much exercise you plan on doing. From here it tells you how many calories you should be consuming every day in order to hit your goal weight. And when you exercise, it takes into account your current weight which is also important in order to tell you how many calories you’re really burning since the heavier you are, the more calories you burn.

This app takes the hassle out of calorie counting too. Set your daily calorie limit, add foods as you eat them and track your weight and measurements as you go along.

The best, most fantastic feature of the app is the food database, which is constantly being updated by users like yourselves. Chances are you won’t need to enter the exact contents of your meals because someone has already eaten and tracked them for you.  Even the menus of fast-food no-no’s like McDonalds are in there.

My favorite part of the app is the ability to scan the barcodes of items into my daily food journal as I eat them. The app automatically pulls in the nutritional information for the food item. It saves so much time and makes tracking a breeze. Here are a few other features you’ll love:

  • Track and send messages to friends (it’s community-based, like Weight Watchers without the meetings)
  • Track your exercise routines (it will calculate how many calories your burned, and how many more calories you’re allowed to eat when you’re done)
  • The app has a companion website, which you can access from any web browser
  • Advanced privacy settings, so you can pick and choose what information you want to share
To top off the awesomeness, the Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal app is free. Yup, FREE.
Are you on a diet? Let us know how it’s going in the comments. Which apps or tools are helping you lose weight? Discussing weight-loss plans is like arguing politics, so feel free to tell us what’s working for YOU, regardless of what the latest fad-diet is out there.

 

Why We Love Aveda’s “Comforting Tea”

Aveda Comforting Tea

I’ve been an occasional tea drinker for many years, however, I never fell in love with one. Around Christmas, Amanda bought the “Comforting Tea” bags from Aveda after tasting in the store, and promptly buying them for everyone she knows. First let me say that this is not a morning tea. It contains no sugar or caffeine. It’s really meant to be sipped when you want to relax.

Well my friends, this tea is simply amazing and totally mellows you out. Since we work on computers all day, we can get pretty tense and some days it’s hard to unwind at the end of the day. This tea helps us relax and get into sleep mode. For me, getting into sleep mode is a big deal, that’s why Aveda Comforting Tea Bags are a life changer.

Tasting Notes:

  • Watery Start
  • Sweet sugary mid palette (it doesn’t contain sugar)
  • Lemon zest and sugar finish

This tea reminds me of a hot toddy without the whiskey and minimal lemon taste.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Patrick H.

Why We Love the Philips goLight Blu / Light Therapy

Philips goLight BLU is a little device that was recommended to me first by a friend and then by my doctor when I started chatting with him about Vitamin D and how rotten and gloomy winters are here in New England. This darkness at 3pm is for the birds. Light Therapy is clinically proven to work as an incredibly effective method of jazzing up those of us with a serious lack of vitamin D for 8 months out of the year.

“goLITE BLU energy light produces a particular kind of pure blue light that occurs naturally on very sunny, clear days. Special receptors in the eyes absorb this blue light which makes you feel energetic whenever you need it.” – via Amazon

So basically it’s great for when you wake up in the morning, or when you first get to work. It has an alarm clock, so you can set it to turn on at the same time every day. Fifteen minutes is all you need, but you can go longer. Personally I think this thing works great and has made a solid difference in the winter drab, but you really do need to use it every day to keep getting the effects.

It’s on the pricy side, but the reason why I tend to shop with Amazon [affiliate link] is because they call for UPS to come pick up anything that I want to return. So really, it’s easier than buying in the store and returning it there. Also, I haven’t seen it cheaper anywhere else.

By the way, also it would be easy to give all of this week’s life-changing cred to Skyrim, a horribly addicting video game that we both tried out for Saturday’s resolution. But I’m thinking that it’s not the best example because it’s still up in the air as to whether this was a change for the better.

So tell me your thoughts on the Philips goLight. Do you have one? Have you seen them cheaper anywhere? Let’s chat because I’d love to talk to someone else who uses it or wants to.

As always, this review is unbiased, unsolicited, and nobody asked us to write it.

#19 COMPLETE – Gorgonzola Raviolis…Must Be In Italy

Gorgonzola Ravioli

Resolution: Grocery Shop Like a European

Two words, Gorgonzola Ravioli.

Holy moly, these were good. Both the raviolis and “gravy” are from Venda Ravioli in Providence. We purchased them at our local Tom’s Market. Amanda and I could get used to shopping and making dinner this way. I only wish everything was within walking distance. Those are the perks of all you big city dwellers. For now, we’ll be making one day a week a European grocery shopping day.

What did you buy? What did you make? When are you feeding me? Let me know in the comments.

 

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