Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ghreylin’s 3rd Adoption Day!

3 years ago today, a very important member person (bird) joined our family. 

You can see his introduction post here…This blog has been around as long as Ghreylin (Weird!)
 He has made several appearances throughout his time including at Christmas and New Years.  I adopted him from the Animal Rescue League of Boston and have not regretted the decision! I am happy to report, Mr Ghreylin has found his forever home.

Ironically Jordan and I had just started dating a couple months before, we were not even "official" when I told him I was getting a bird. He said "Ugh, don't get a bird, I will never come over!" - 3 years later, and here we are, one big happy family! Jordan living with Ghreylin, and Ghreylin has even switched over to Ghreylin Garry (It has a nice ring to it I think). 

He still remains to be ‘hand trained,’ I have given up on that and accepted him to be more like a cat. He walks around the house, has his favorite spots, gets mad at you when you try to pet him, but they when he wants to be patted he comes over and rubs against your hand (or foot) until he gets what he wants.

He gets a long very well with his "brother" Leo. They enjoy hanging out together, and Ghreylin often gets brazen and tries to preen Leo as well, which does not go over terribly well. Ghrey has a tendency to be braver than he should, whenever other dogs are present he just walks up to them and hisses like he is super scary standing tall at maybe 12 inches (including his tail) and 2.9 ounces. 

He only flies when he is scared or for lack of other options. Usually when he flies up high on to something he does not know how to get down and squawks until someone helps him down. He does enjoy walking and climbing.

Ghreylin’s favorite activities include: preening his feathers, taking showers or spray baths, chewing on things such as cardboard tubes, fabric, paper, walls and everything he should not chew. He has a strong affinity for fuzzy objects and hanging fabric, namely my bathrobe, a fuzzy green pillow, and a certain towel in the bathroom. Laundry folding gets him very excited. And he still loves surfing the web! (I think he just knows that is where the music comes from and likes when the computer gets warm.) 

Despite my efforts to get him to switch over to the fancy organic bird pellets the vet recommended, he still insists on only eating seeds and the rare table food, namely pasta, popcorn and oatmeal (my birdy loves his carbs!) 

I was discussing my baby with one of the interns and she said how whenever I said his name she kept thinking of the mice on ghrelin! Ha! Thankfully Ghreylin seems to have a good Leptin to ghrelin ratio (assuming that is how birds stomachs work too?) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wedding Photobooth

One of my only wedding requirements was that I wanted a photobooth, because nothing says a fun, happy wedding like funny hat and a fake mustache.

I had debated for a long time, perusing Pinterest for a food guest book idea. I liked the fingerprint tree or balloon ideas, but at the same time it did seem like the best way to remember the people who came since to be honest, I probably wouldn’t be able to identify people by their finger prints!

I also considered doing the writing on a Jenga set because I was trying to have all of the fun lawn games etc. (Which despite having a giant Jenga and other various lawn games, no one played any of them at the wedding).

I also liked the idea of using a calendar and having people sign on their birthday so then I would have documentation of everyone's birthday I was supposed to remember.

The traditional guest book was considered, but dismissed. People are already writing cards, No need to make them re-write the same sentiments and then (if they are like me) sign their name in an illegible manner so I have no idea who the note is from anyway.

My mother-in-law was VERY upset I was not doing a traditional guest book. She was like, but how are you going to get everyones addresses and phone numbers!? Of the weddings I have been to I have NEVER written my address/ phone number or any other contact information in the guestbook. If I was supposed to, I am sorry, I failed and was completely ignorant to this practice. Furthermore, if I had wanted to collect this data it would have been a lot more useful BEFORE the wedding and before I sent out invitations to everyone at their addresses. Also, to everyone that keeps telling me how great it will be to get everyones addresses for the invitations nce this will be used for the “Holiday Card list” – I do not send out holiday cards. Maybe I would send out an Ecard- but christmas cards are really just a waste of paper in my opinion. Cards in general are a nice thought, but really I read them, maybe leave them up for a week because I feel obligated, and then recycle them. Save your 41 cents. Just send me an email.

In the end, I decided a picture says a thousand words and to just use the photobooth as a "Guestbook" 

In order to encourage everyone to get their pictures taken I made a note in the wedding programs to make sure they visited the booth. 

I looked in to renting a photobooth, especially when there were groupon type of deals for some of them, nonetheless, they were at least $1000 to rent. Considering the fat that Jordan is a ‘photographer/ videographer’ with lots of camera equipment and has various coworkers I figured we could harass for a favor – I decided we could make it work on our own.
I put myself in charge of acquiring the props. I looked online at Etsy which had quite the selection, but the cost was a bit much.

Again, thank goodness for Pinterest and google! Check out my "wedding: photobooth" pinterest page for specifics! 

I found a bunch of free templates to use, some of the best being from Oh Happy Day blog and Get Creative Juice blog  

 I am very sorry but I do not know where I  got these from! If anyone recognizes them please let me know so I can give them credit... 

My supply list included:

• Black foam core board from craft store (This was more expensive than I thought it would be ~$6 I discovered after the fact that Dollar Tree sells foam core for $1 for a smaller sheet, but only comes in white so it would have stuck out more.)

• Hot glue gun and glue (I already had the gun, so I just picked up some sticks for ~$1 at Walmart --I KNOW I shouldn't support Walmart, but that is another story entirely.)

• 12” wooden dowels (also from Walmart about $1/ pack of 10, I bought 3 packs).

• Printer

• Sticky felt (My sisters company moved offices and was going to throw away a ton of craft supplies, she rescued it and gave it to some of her teacher friends and myself.)

To put them together: 
1. Print out your props on a printer. 
2. If the print was already colored (Like the Oh Happy Day ones) just glue them right on to the foam board. If not, you can cut out colored paper or in my case stick felt into the shape and then glue onto the foam board with a spray adhesive. 
3. Using an exacto-knife on a cutting board, trace the shape to cut through the foam board. 
4. Using a glue gun, attach the wooden dowel to the side of the prop and wait until it dries. 

I printed out a photobooth sign and framed it in a dollar store frame. 

I rounded out my props I made with random things I had around the house from old halloween and dance constumes such as Bunny Ears, Giant glasses and a biker hat. 

For the booth itself we just used a black back drop and a bench in our garage and some of our photographers (we had Jordan's Uncle and a few of his friends doing out photography) use their cameras and lighting equipment. 

Everyone seemed to have a fun time and the pictures came out great for the most part! 

Some people found their own props to use as well 

 And some people did not even use props! 

There is my very handsome daddy and his girlfriend Valerie 

Even Jordan's 80 year old great aunt and uncle joined in! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

FitBit Review

I mentioned ordering the Fitbit one activity and sleep tracker. I originally ordered it from Amazon, but the release date got pushed back by a month, whereas it was already released by BestBuy so I canceled my Amazon order and bought it throught Best Buy. I was a bit disappointed in my usual go to Amazon (That on top of charging sales tax now!- It’s ok Amazon… I understand.)

Thus far- I love the fitbit! 

  • (+) It is very accurate at counting steps. I have counted my steps and it is almost on the dot every time.
    • (-) It, however, does not count if you walk in place or side to side sometimes as I try to do to burn a couple extra calories in small spaces without looking like a total weirdo.
    • (+) It DOES count if you jog in place.
    • (-) It sometimes counts “steps” while driving. I read this is other reviews and checked it out. For the most part I do highway driving, which so far has never been a problem/ it does not count any steps, but the other day I was on back roads and it was counting up a storm! Adding a “drive” function would be great. It seems slightly less accurate after is gets a little wet. I wore it to a hot yoga class, which shockingly, I sweat a lot at, on the drive home was when it was going haywire counting like a fiend.
  • (+) Along with just steps it also counts distance! Some people have found this inaccurate- but I find it to be pretty on point.
    • (-) however, once I put in my stride length it then started to overestimate, so I think going with the default works better since the stride you walk at when walking may be different than what you do just puttering around the house etc.
  • (+) Flights of stairs! I work on the 13th floor and this is great motivation to take the stairs.
    • (-) I have no idea how many steps count as a flight… usually a “flight” is 10 stairs but my work has the double flights and I still only get 13.
    • (-) It does not seem to count other stepping activities. I was at 49 flights one day and really wanted to get to the 50 flights but since I live in a house with zero stairs, I tried to do step ups on my ottoman, and despite stepping up 100 times, I did not get my final flight! It does count as a flight if you go up an incline, like hiking up hills etc.
  • (-) It does not count other activities other than walking/ running. So, my 90 minutes of hot yoga or weight lifting etc counts as being inactive.
    • (+) you can add these activities in after the fact on the website.

  • (+) The sleep tracker is pretty cool, though I am not sure how to judge how accurate it is. You have to wear the fitbit in the wrist band for it to work at night since your arms apparently are what moves the most when sleeping.
    • (+) I like the general idea that it makes sleep an important aspect of fitness/ health, which it is! 
    • (+) I like seeing my “sleep efficiency” by how much I was “awake” at night. It seems relatively accurate based on how much I feel I was awake at night versus what it tells me I was up.
    • (-) You are supposed to start a timer when you go to sleep and stop it when you wake up but I think I screw this up every time, and you still have to input it into the computer every time too so I do not really understand the point of this.

  • (+) Overall style and size, its tiny! Which I guess is good so it doesn’t take up much space or look awkward.

    • (-) Everyone hates on the clip, so to be safe I bought a $1 pedometer clip to ensure it doesn’t get lost.
    • (-) that being said, I did not wear the pedometer clip to bed and it feel out of the wrist band a few times.
    • (+) vibrating alarm clock is a nice little feature.  
  • (+) Battery life – in a world where my cell phone dies every 2 hours, I am utterly amazed that this thing only needs to be charged once a week for 2 hours. I think I have only charged it once since the initial charging and that was just because I was sitting at the computer for a long time.
  • (+) Ease of use- there is only one button on it! You just click to cycle through to get the various numbers of steps, miles flights etc.
  • (+) Bluetooth sync makes it super easy to sync without having to plug it in anywhere. I do not have a iphone to sync it with but I am ok with that.
  • (+) built in clock and displays date and time. It helps justify the cost by saying I do not have to buy a watch too!
  •  (+/-) at $100, it is pretty pricey, but considering how accurate and functional it is, I think it is justified. I also had a gift card and a coupon code I found online so that helped.
  • (+) Easy to use website/ dashboard. Self explanatory.

  • (+) Great motivation and a way to keep track. I love the “badges” you get for how many steps you take and floors climbed etc.
  • (+) It has a pretty comprehensive nutrition data base to track your intake.. .I tried it for a day or two but not that motivated.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fitness Survey

I saw this fitness survey on so many people’s blogs, (most recently Amy's) so I decided to go ahead and do it. It made me realize I am a bit of a fitness minimalist. I do enjoy using equipment but frankly I do not have than much so if it is not around I make do!

Five Fitness Things I can’t Live Without:

A wall: I love utilizing the wall for working out and stretching. Wallsits, handstand push ups

Yoga mat: The rug is slippery yo!

My dog: Leo is a pain in the butt when it comes to trying to do yoga- but he really keeps me going on a run.

Sneakers: no shoes are great for yoga, but sneakers definitely help for running/ and other workouts.

• Deodorant: I don't know if this is too obvious, but I prefer to not be too smelly.  

Most Embarrassing Song I Listen to While Working Out:

I am not really embarrassed by anything I listen to. You can friend me on Pandora and check out my “Don’t let them see you sweat” mix including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Pitbull, Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, etc.

I will admit I like me some angry Eminem while I workout sometimes.

Favorite Pre-Workout Snack or Meal:

Smoothies or banana or apple with peanut butter: If I am at home I usually do a smoothie, but if I workout after work I usually go for the apple or banana with peanut butter if I have it.

On My Fitness Bucket List:

I used to want to run a marathon, but really I have no desire to. My current goal is to become a group exercise instructor so I can help motivate other people and stay in shape myself!

Overall my goal is to keep pushing myself and making my body do more and keep fitness fun.

Must-Have Tech Tools:

My laptop or ipad: I often require some form of external motivation, often in the form of, bodyrock or a random pinterest or blogger workout.

MP3 player? I have a Sansa clip, which I recently accidentally deleted all of the music off of. I have now commadered an Ipod  Jordan acquired from a shoplifter who dropped it whilst he broke into Tropical Foods, attempted to shoplift and then spit in his eye when he was caught...   we recently received a court ordered apology from the individual. But anyway, I still have his Ipod as he has not come back to the store to claim it.
I actually haven’t been listening to music lately when I run since I am usually doing it at night so I get scared, plus I like to be able to hear the traffic coming. Since I am usually running near the ocean I have decent background noise.

shop lifters Ipod

My phone/ Mapmyrun app: I love tracking my mileage and I have no sense of direction so I admittedly sometimes get lost—I would have been in big trouble if I didn’t have this on a recent hike!

Fitbit?? I actually do not even have this yet! But I am soo excited for it. It claims to be arriving at my house between 10/31-11/3.

Top Exercise Gear:
Spandex/ polyester pants/ leggings: wicks away sweat and no chaffing (TMI?) I have no real brand loyalty but I have a new-ish pair of MPG (Mondetta Performance Gear) that I really like.

Sports Bra: If for nothing else, I use it to hold my chapstick when lacking a pocket. I think most of mine are the Champion ones from Target.

Motivational Mantras:
I sometimes go on Pinterest to pump myself up before a workout!  Some of my favorite inspirations include:

Favorite Cardio Exercise:

Intervals—I love combining cardio and strength and just making it fast to get my heart going.

Running – I go through phases of hating and loving running. The phases shift suddenly so today I like it, I cannot guarantee for tomorrow.

Zumba! I haven’t done it in a while, but I love getting my groove on.

Favorite Strength Move:

Almost anything body weight. Squats, pushups, sit ups, planks, handstands/ headstands. Walking lunges used to be my all time favorite, but since having foot surgery I can no longer bend my toes so this is a lot harder!
So that is my fitness survey! What's yours?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New favorite kitchen tool

Lets be honest, one of the best parts of getting married is getting to register for all of those random gadgets you have always lusted over but never had an excuse to buy for yourself. 
It turns out some of the best items are not even the super expensive ones. 

Back in the day, I worked at a Starbucks, where my coffee obsession reached new heights as I delved into deeper knowledge and appreciation for lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos.   I had never truly known the value of steamed/ whipped milk until then. 

I actually went out and purchased a fancy-schmancy espresso maker/ milk steamer so I could make delicious coffee drinks at home. Turns out those machines take a lot of effort to clean and work. That machine currently resides in my fathers basement (along with a juicer I bought that also takes way too much effort to clean). 

My mother-in-law Alina owns a cute little frother that makes a delicious "cafe con leche"  - so I added a frother to my registry. Thats to Elizabeth (of Don't White Sugar Coat it) I am now the  proud owner of a hand held frother! via 

The Areolatte froths so well! In general, whole milk/ higher fat milk froths better than nonfat / lower fat milk. But the areolatte has been quite good at frothing my soy and almond milk. That paired with a spoonful of pumpkin puree and coffee- topped with cinnamon! Yum!! 

Check out that delicious froth! 

What is your favorite / most used kitchen appliance? 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jack-o-lantern Spectacular

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, this year however I did not do terribly much. No dressing up, and we did not even buy candy. Last year we bought candy and didn't get any trick-or-treaters, so of course this year we didn't buy any, and low and behold – we got a group! I told Jordan to stay away from the windows/ doors so they wouldn't bother to come to our house (since there are three houses at our driveway)—so of course he kept sticking his big-old-head right out the window. Doh! Nonetheless the kids departed without knocking on our door… I had managed to find a bag of unopened raisins if need be.

No one else made the long trek up our driveway, thankfully.

My best friend from home, Ariane, who I've known since kindergarten, is an artist, and was hired to help decorate and carve pumpkins for the great jack-o-lantern spectacular at the Roger Williams Zoo. I had never heard about it before, but apparently it is a big deal. My sister (who lives in Rhode Island and went to Roger Williams University) said it is quite the happening time and people wait for hours to get in!

Since we were “with the artist” we got VIP treatment and got to skip the 2 hour long line! We also got to go in a back entrance and snuck a peak at some of the sleepy zoo animals (which were not technically on display at the time.) I haven’t been to a zoo in so long! It was very interesting hiking off the beaten path of the zoo walk ways (Though my sister kept referencing that it seemed like the beginning of a bad horror movie, trucking through the pitch black woods behind some angry goat creature’s (Aoudads) lair.) 

For the past month or two she had been working at “The pumpkin house” where they get 100+ pound pumpkins and draw on them with sharpies (which when you see the size of the pumpkins and how much black is on some of them – its pretty amazing all they used was sharpies, and of course the carving). So anywhere you see black, they had colored it with sharpie, versus anywhere light looking was carved out and that is where the LED lights shine through.

Here is a 100+ pound pumpkin pre carving! 

This year’s theme was Hollywood so the zoo was set up by movie categories including classics/ musicals such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind” and “The sound of Music” followed by comedy with Betty White, Bill Cosby, Eddy Murphy etc,
Here are some of Ari's Chicago Pumpkin that she was just working on when I harassed her for some pictures! 

Then horror with Pan’s Labyrinth, Jason, Chucky, Freddy
There is Alien or Predator or one of those movies I have never seen
 and kids movies and lots of puppy pumpkins that I am not sure what they were representing but they sure were cute! My sister requested a Snuggles pumpkin be made. Whether that will happen or not is yet to be seen.

This was a Hyena from the Lion King group of pumpkins, you can see the monkey in  the back ground 
Along the road there were also lots of regular old jack-o-lanterns lighting the way.

 In Ariane’s case she was in charge of creating “intricate” pumpkins versus just jack-o-lanterns, so she was drawing and carving out faces, and scenes.  Another fun fact I would not have thought about, is since they are jack-o-lanterns, they do start to rot, or sometimes people poke them, or they somehow fall down and break. Considering it is a month long exhibit, many of the pumpkins need to be re-carved many times. Ari mentioned that it obviously gets boring the re-draw and re-carve the same thing, so she had 4 different Bill Cosby pumpkins carved throughout the month.

Jello Pudding! 
This one was on display when we went to the show 
So many pumpkins!

Jordan decided to use some of the pumpkins in his Halloween video too…

Any fun Halloween plans for you?