20 Free Things On Your Birthday

brow-wax-heroUntil I came across this article in Women’s Health Magazine, I had no idea that so many places wanted to treat me on my birthday!  Damn, I have to wait 9 months to take these 20 places up on their offers:

  1. Starbucks treats you to your favorite drink or perhaps something from their breakfast starbuckspastry selection on your birthday if you are an active member of their Starbucks Rewards for at least 30 days prior to your birthday.
  2. Dunkin Donuts will treat you to a cup of their special brew (it’s pretty darn good) to goDD along with your donut on your birthday if you have one of their DD Perks cards.
  3. Sephora is all about birthday beauty.  If you are a Beauty Insider you’ll get a deluxe set of mini samples.  Currently you can choose between a Tarte lip and cheek set or a Caudalie skin set.
  4. Ulta gives you a free gift on your birthday.  Join the Ultimate Rewards program to get the gift, plus score double points on all purchases made during your birthday month.baskin-robbins
  5. Baskin Robbins if you sign up for a BR account online, you get a free scoop during your birthday month.
  6. Aveda if you’re in the Pure Privilege rewards program you will get a free product gift, plus a certificate for double points on your next purchase.
  7. Benefit offers free brow arching at their U.S. Brow Bar locations.  No purchase or rewards program necessary.  Come in anytime during your birthday week with a valid ID and walk out with well-groomed arches.plenti
  8. Eat at Chili’s and get a free dessert if you have a Chili’s Rewards Card or are involved in the Plenti partnership of stores and providers that allow accumulation of points.
  9. Benihana if you sign up for The Chef’s Table e-newsletter, you’ll get a $30 Benihana gift certificate to use anytime during the month of your birthday.
  10. Buca di Beppo get free cake during your birthday month if you make your reservation online using their special form and bring a valid ID.bww
  11. Buffalo Wild Wings Sign up for the Buffalo Circle newsletter and you’ll get year round deals—including free snack-size wings on your birthday.
  12. Cinnabon you get a free Minibon just for signing up for Club Cinnabon, plus they’ll also send you a free treat via email for your b-day—usually a coupon for a free Minibon or a free coffee.
  13. CVS if you belong to the ExtraCare Beauty Club—you’ll score three dollars in ExtraBucks rewards on your b-day
  14. DSW Sign-up for DSW Rewards and you’ll receive a $5 gift certificate on your birthday.jambaJuiceLogo
  15. Jamba Juice Sign for Jamba Insider Rewards and you can get a free small smoothie on your birthday
  16. Panera Bread Sign up for MyPanera, present your rewards card on your birthday and get a free pastry
  17. Pinkberry  Members of Pinkberry’s loyalty program can treat themselves to a free pinkberrystrawberrybirthday yogurt.
  18. Redbox  Sign up for Play Pass and you’ll get a free one-night birthday rental.
  19. Aunty Anne’s  Download the My Pretzel Perks app to score a free pretzel during your birthday month
  20. IHOP  Sign up to be a part of the Pancake Revolution email club and get a free stack of pancakes.

I am going to have to set up a schedule to make sure I can fit in all of the free things that are out there for birthday celebrants!  Make sure you don’t miss out on any either!

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Pairing TRX Straps With My Workout Foe, The Kettlebell

TRX, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the workout system, is a highly effective body weight training system using only straps to perform a whole body workout.  TRX was developed by the Navy Seals, who couldn’t tote a gym with them into the secret places they were sent.  I am convinced that they only shared it with the public to prove what wusses we regular people are.

Like anyone who works out, I get bored doing the same thing day after day, so I change up my routine.  I rotate PiYo, Rowing Machine, Kettlebells, TRX Rip Trainer and TRX Straps, but the TRX and I, because it kicks my ass, have a particularly rocky relationship. 😉 HMMM

trx_workout_plan-700x189

Today I came across a trainer in Colorado using a few moves I haven’t tried, combining the TRX with my other workout foe, that Bitch, the Kettlebell.  You think I’m being facetious, but have YOU tried to rise from a sitting position (or up from the toilet, especially an old school low one) the day after doing kettle bell figure 8’s?  Laugh now, but you’ll agree with me the day after 3 sets of 30 with a 15 lb Kettlebell, trust me.

TRX Single Leg Front Squat with Core Cross-overimg_71681-300x300

  • Position one foot in the strap.
  • Begin standing with your arms out at your sides.
  • As you come into a squat (pay attention to your alignment – be sure the knee isn’t coming in front of the toes), cross your right arm in front of you to touch your left foot.
  • Allow your back leg to bend slightly as you come down.
  • Repeat for 15, then switch sides

Kettlebell Row with TRX Single Leg Squat

  • Position one foot in the strap scissored out to your side.
  • Begin in a single leg squat holding a kettlebell with two hands.
  • As you straighten your standing leg, bring the kettlebell up to a row.
  • Keep the leg in the TRX straight as you lift and lower, and maintain a flat back.
  • Keep your chest lifted when you’re holding the kettlebell and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you come up into the row.
  • Modify this by doing it without the kettlebell until you feel comfortable with the extra weight.

TRX Bicycle Straddle Combo

  • Both feet in the straps, lay on your back.
  • Lift your hips and engage your core without arching your back.
  • Do 1 bicycle pull in with each leg followed by abduction (legs apart).
  • Return to beginning and repeat.
  • Do 15 of that series in a row

Twenty minutes of cardio (mine will be on the rowing machine) plus three sets of this circuit and you should be a quivering mess like I was.  If you aren’t then you are in much better shape than I am and need to add a heavier Kettlebell and more reps then tell me how standing up from sitting on that toilet feels. 😉

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Soft to Shredded in 60 Days

shoppingI’m skeptical but that’s what PiYo promises.

Foot surgery to install plates & screws in my right foot, immediately followed by a 3 1/2 week bout with bronchitis/pneumonia/strep has left me feeling weak and soft.

I bought the PiYo videos before my surgery, exactly 20 weeks ago tomorrow, because it promised that I’d be able to get definition without weights or jumping.  The weights don’t bother me, but impact isn’t my friend right now, and I’m not exactly sure when it will be again…

piyo1

So I am prepared to start my 60 days.  The first thing I’m supposed to do is measure myself, weigh myself, and review the diet suggestions to get the best results.  All in all, it looks like something I can manage.

  • I already follow many of the diet guidelines
  • I just need to find the motivation to get started
  • I know that there will be pain in my foot
  • I realize that modifications in some of the movements will be necessary to accommodate the changed angles my foot can achieve
  • I need to stop the excuses and start today

All of this was spurred on by an article in Shape Magazine with a picture of a girl with ripped abs under a headline: How Long Should it Take to See Muscle Definition? Their answer was anywhere from 4-8 weeks depending on your intensity and diet.  Well THAT was vague.  Starvation would make it happen even faster….duh!

The article did remind me that I have the PiYo videos, that I have been sitting around for 5 months, and it’s time to stop doing that so I can get back into my favorite jeans, so I guess it served a purpose.  Of course I probably should first remember where I put those videos I bought.  :0  HMMM

Good thing it’s still early afternoon.  I have a couple of hours to remember where I put them before my workout time is scheduled.  UG! #OneDayAtATime

Do you use Facebook? If you’re interested in the occasional product that intrigues me or something I’ve bought that’s a waste of time or money, things that make me wonder, piss me off, tickle my fancy, scream like a maniac, giggle, or yell in frustration, you can receive an email each time I’ve got something new to ponder or you can join the nearly 2,900 people who find me engaging or amusing at the Facebook page dedicated to this blog: https://www.facebook.com/extremeblondemoments

12 Amazing Beauty Benefits of Honey

Do you use Facebook? If you’re interested in the occasional product that intrigues me or something I’ve bought that’s a waste of time or money, things that make me wonder, piss me off, tickle my fancy, scream like a maniac, giggle, or yell in frustration, you can receive an email each time I’ve got something new to ponder or you can join the nearly 2,900 people who find me engaging or amusing at the Facebook page dedicated to this blog: https://www.facebook.com/extremeblondemoments

Home Depot LED Tree Lights


Word to the wise:  when you smell something smoldering, the power goes out in the room you’re in (thank God for GFI), and it’s still there when you throw the breaker…UNPLUG THE CHRISTMAS TREE! 

Had I not been home we’d have had a fire last night with a 5 day fresh tree, new double wire strand of 150 lights and water in the stand.

I’d noticed half the lights flickering occasionally while I was decorating the tree and wrapping gifts, but it had stopped.  I thought I had a loose bulb and didn’t give it a second thought when the lights stayed on after tapping a light.

Hours later the entire wire fried, was sizzling hot and was starting to heat up the tree…keep a watch on your tree lights people!

Made for Home Depot in China.  Home Depot might want to consider spending a bit more on having their branded lights manufactured to safer standards.  Perhaps it would be wise to sell lights that don’t endanger people by burning up in 15 hours instead of lasting the “15 holiday seasons” advertised on the box. HMMM!

  • LED
  • Uses 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs
  • Energy Star Compliant
  • Supposed to last 15 years (not 15 hours)
  • Connect 30 strings on 1 outlet!  I used 1 string 😳

Are you on Facebook? If you’re interested in the occasional product that intrigues me or something I’ve bought that’s a waste of time or money, things that make me wonder, piss me off, tickle my fancy, scream like a maniac, giggle, or yell in frustration, you can receive an email each time I’ve got something new to ponder or you can join the more than 2,800 people who find me engaging or amusing at the Facebook page dedicated to this blog: https://www.facebook.com/extremeblondemoments

Post Vacation Stress Busters

protect%20your%20home%20while%20on%20vacationI love traveling:

  • Seeing parts of the world, or even the country I live in, that I haven’t seen before;
  • Unplugging from my far-too-technological existence;
  • Disengaging from my too-many-things-to-do not-enough-time-to-do-them days;
  • Escaping reality for days in the sun and sand with a cocktail just a waiter call away

But there are so many things about coming home that can make me hate traveling too:

  • chaos that occurred in my absence
  • pets that weren’t cared for in the manner that I care for them
  • chores or tasks that weren’t tended to
  • mail or deliveries that went askew
  • perhaps a weather or other catastrophe occurred
  • break-in, theft, vandalism or other casualty related property loss

I don’t know about you, but every time I get back into whatever mode of transportation will be returning me to “the real world” I instantly begin feeling less relaxed and begin wondering what “treat” will be awaiting me at home.

Some past coming home mishaps have included:

  • Returning from a weekend in Oklahoma to find the entire living room and master bedroom under 2 inches of still running water with my brother sound asleep on the living room couch amid the flood!
  • Returning from my 2 1/2 week honeymoon to find that my wine rack had been raped & pillaged (including a bottle we’d saved for our 10th anniversary), my son had spent most of the time next door instead of with the person I’d hired to stay with him at our house, and that my cat had disappeared for 3 days!
  • Returning from a 2 week trip to Hawaii to find out that my girlfriend had left my son “on his own” for 3 days during which time power had gone out (unbeknownst to anyone?) and food in the freezer and refrigerator had gone bad.

pvsdThere have been many more experiences like these (and a few worse) and we’ve certainly learned our lessons on who to call for travel caretaking help.  Thankfully I’ve also come across some really handy things we can all do to make coming home to the inevitable post-vacation surprises a little less stressful.

  • Fill a cup with water, put it in the freezer until it’s solid, then pop a coin on top. Leave it in there, and when you get back, check.  If the coin is on the bottom of a now-frozen cup of ice, the power went out—long enough for the ice to melt back to water in your freezer, the coin to fall through, and then the power came back and the water re-froze. If the coin is where you left it, the power stayed on, or only went out for short periods. Obviously if the coin is at the bottom, you need to throw out all of the perishable food in your freezer and refrigerator.  Thanks Lifehacker!
  • Let’s face it, our friends and family are well intentioned, but can be flakes! catgenie Guarantee that your furry friends won’t be neglected by buying a self cleaning cat box (they have one that self-cleans, uses the toilet to rinse/dispose and you don’t d anything with it except refill bio cartridge every 3 months!) and automatic pet feeders of all kinds that guarantee your furry friends aren’t left to starve in your absence. If they show up and provide companionship, exercise and empty the collection bin/scoop the yard, that’ll just be a bonus!
  • Although it’s always nice to have your kids in the comfort of their own beds, but leave them at the grandparents or at the home of the person responsible for them.  It makes it much more likely they are being supervised.
  • Leave your lights on timers that are set to different times on different days and have radios set to come on loud in rooms near the front door as well. Many home security systems have this option in their user panels.
  • Let the newspaper, post office, UPS/Fed Ex and any other routine delivery services know that you will be away.  Tell the drivers in the weeks leading up to your vacation so they can note it on their route charts.
  • Take a bottle of wine or two to a trusted neighbor and ask them to check your driveway/porch and mailbox daily for any errant deliveries. Ask them to also put your trashcans out on trash day and to return them to your storage spot so things look normal.
  • Invest in a RING or other doorbell system that allows you to “answer” your door from your smartphone. I have one at two of my homes and swear by it!  I have answered my door in LA from hundreds of miles away as if I was just cooking there in the kitchen and couldn’t get to the door.  No one was the wiser and the people left. It does interface if you are an ADT customer, but you do not have to be.  Do it for your peace of mind!
  • Have your gardener come on the regular schedule and arrange to have your housekeeper come the day you are coming home, have her make sure trash is emptied, plants watered, and dishwasher emptied so you return to a clean house.

Keep a video inventory, as well as a digital camera photo disk inventory of your valuables, what the inside and outside of your home looks like and update it when you make any major purchases, receive any expensive gifts, get a new car, boat, or RV that you may store at home.

  • Put both in a fire and waterproof safe/document box. You can get these kind of boxes at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon.com, or other stores of this type.
  • Also include in this box irreplaceable jewelry, spare keys to all vehicles, RVs, boats, all properties you own, etc., take pictures of the bottles of all prescriptions your family takes, insurance policies, passports (if you aren’t traveling abroad) photocopies of all credit cards, ID for all family members, social security cards, original birth/death/marriage certificates, military records, etc.
  • Put that box in your attic or in the rafters of your garage. The idea is to put it someplace that burglars wouldn’t look. This is not something you are going to access very often at all.  Do not put it in a closet.  Also put some cash in case banks are temporarily affected by power outages and ATMs are unavailable.
  • Engrave your Name and Cell Phone Number on the Box, and that of your emergency contact as well, in the event the box is separated from your home (i.e. flood or hurricane).  Do not use ink!  Even permanent ink can wash away with high pressure fire hoses and lashing storm waters.  Engraved letters and numbers are a much better option.
  • In the event of a break-in, catastrophic fire or other home damaging disaster while you are gone, there is every likelihood that the box will survive and you will have proof for insurance adjusters

If these also look like good ideas for things to do in case of a natural disaster where you might have to evacuate, it’s because they are – they’re a great reminder as we enter the stormy winter months.

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Fat Cell Reduction Without Drugs!

I’m feeling chubby and scientific today….a very dangerous combination!

yoda_swsbFew of us regular folk work out for the sheer enjoyment of it.  Most of us do it because we need to.  I like the end results, but to be honest, if I could sit on my butt, drink wine and eat comfort food with the same result, I’d choose the latter.  Unfortunately my biology doesn’t work that way (THANKS MOM!), so, as Yoda would say, “Work out I must.”

Thanks to a discovery I read today from an article in Health Magazine, there might just be a little more motivation to get my workout on a little more often: it seems that not only does a good workout put your body to work burning icky brown fat, but research shows that the release of the hormone irisin during exercise is thought to do double duty by stopping your body from forming new fat cells.  Hallelujah!

Soon after the disovery of the existence of FNDC5,  A.K.A. “irisin“, scientists began disputing whether irisin is just an inert, naturally ocurring hormone or if the human body is actually capable of increasing production and circulating it via exercise.

In 2015, attempting to settle the dispute once and for all, Spiegleman and the rest of the Harvard team went back to work and conducted more precise testing using a technique called quantitative mass spectrometry to isolate the irisin protein.

pauley-perrette-aka-abby-sciuto-ncis-girls-25700162-1024-768For those of us not at the leading edge of scientific discovery think:  Abby Sciuto of NCIS and her, frequently mentioned, “Major Mass Spec,” tool used for breaking down chemical components when the team is solving a crime.

PowerPoint PresentationOnce the protein was isolated they were able to conduct a more precise 12 week study comparing the amount of irisin present in subjects who were sedentary to the amount present in the subjects who participated in a measured amount of aerobic interval training in the same 12 week period.

Their findings were published in the Aug. 13, 2015 issue of the Journal Cell Metabolism (Cell Metabolism, Vol. 22, Issue 4, p734–740), finally settling the lack of concensus.

The data concluded:

  1.  The amount of irisin present in the blood of the sedentary subjects was 3.6 nanograms per mililiter of blood at the beginning and the end of the 12 weeks;
  2. The amount of irisin present in the blood of the participants in the aerobic training increased from 3.6 nanograms per mililiter of blood at the beginning to  4.3 nanograms per mililiter at the end of the 12 weeks (23.96% increase); and
  3. The 23.96 increase could be directly attributed to the amount of exercise the non-sedentary study participants completed.

That bit of science was good enough for me, so, while I toiled over the citations and details (plus the fun Yoda & Abby Sciuto references), I pulled my dusty Cubii under desk elliptical machine out and decided to create some irisin while I worked.

cubiiIn a really shameless, totally unsolicited plug, I backed this fun device when it was under prodution as a Kickstarter campaign and then had to have major foot surgery, so it’s been sitting idle for about 4 months.  It connects to my iPhone (via app), syncs with Fitbit, and is a non-impact way to not let your desk job ruin your good health!

In 125 minutes (2 hours 5 minutes) the health results for my semi-sedentary, Cubii workout while researching/blogging were more than I expected, although I was admittedly dripping wet when I finished:

  • Burned 1243 Calories
  • Took 14,244 Strides
  • Logged 5.84 Miles from my dining room table & without shoes!

My only complaint with the Cubii software is that the calories burned comes in much lower than my Garmin Vivofit 2 (so, of course I am using the Garmin count) Hmmm.  It gave me a good tally, but next time I’ll put my heart rate monitor on for an even more accurate calorie burning count.

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