10 December 2009

Hypothyroidism - Gears Grinding to a Halt

Wow. I have a medical reason for being a fat, lazy slob. Cool!

I just had an appointment with my doctor to follow up on some blood work. It was part of my annual physical, but I put it off for months because I have a thing about needles. He wanted to test my thyroid hormone levels because I had put on weight over a year that hadn't come off and my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms have been stronger this year. I just have no energy and I'm more sluggish than usual. He wanted to check if I have diabetes or an iron deficiency.

I was nervous for the last week after booking my appointment, mainly because my doctor's schedule was so open and I'm used to booking appointments farther out. Usually, I need to book at le
ast a week in advance, but the receptionist sounded like I could come in the following day. That didn't work with my schedule, but I kept thinking, 'What's wrong that he can see me right away? He never sees me right away!' I joked about it with Sweetie last night, telling myself "It's not a tumor." Okay, so I can be fatalistic.

When I went in, My test results showed that my cholesterol is a little bit high, but marginally, so adjusting my diet will fix it. My blood, blood sugar and iron levels are all good. Then he dropped the sluggish bomb.

He confirmed that I have hypothyroidism. My thyroid is producing about half the thyroid hormones I need to run my metabolism properly.

Now for the crazy part. I'm looking up hypothyroidism online, and I discover the following symptoms. Look at how many I have (in green):

  • Dry, thick skin (check - most of my skin's not thick, but it's been super-dry for about four years)
  • Hair thinning
  • Painful muscles and joints (check - my shoulder has been giving me pain for about two years)
  • Depression (CHECK- that's a big 10-4, buddy! Four years ago I had my worst bout of SAD in two decades and I still haven't recovered fully. It's been pissing me off because it's supposed to lessen as you age.)
  • Memory problems (check - I have horrible short-term memory, and it's seemed worse in recent years)
  • Constipation
  • Goitre
  • Heavy, irregular or prolonged menstrual periods
  • Low body temperature (below 97.8°F first thing in the morning) (check - I've been checking my basal temperature daily for 6 months)
  • Low blood pressure (check - it runs in my family)
  • Puffy eyes
  • Slow pulse
  • Reduced libido (check - for the last few years)
  • Fatigue (check - tired when I wake up, drained when I go to sleep, too tired to sleep)
  • Chronic sinus infections (check - my whole life)
  • Headaches (check - in the last few years I've had fairly regular headaches, but it was problems with my bite/teeth)
  • Sweating abnormalities
  • Heat and/or cold intolerance (check - I'm a bit of an iceberg)
  • Irritability (Shut Up! I mean, check)
  • Fluid retention
  • Anxiety/panic attacks (check)
  • Frequent colds and sore throats (I get sore throats all the time, but only for a day or so)
  • Lightheadedness (check - all the time)
  • Ringing in the ears (check)
  • Decreased concentration (...what? Oh, check.)
  • Slow wound healing (check - it takes months for the red spots from even the tiniest sores to heal. Ingrown hairs are the bane of my existence right now.)
  • Easy bruising (So my Sweetie says... Not like that!)
  • Unhealthy, dry, brittle or ridged nails (check - I've always had a couple of nails with ridges, but the last five years they've gotten worse and more nails have them.)
  • Acid Indigestion (check - doctor told me it was acid reflux)
  • Cold hands or feet (check - my feet are always freezing cold, but I try to ignore it until I touch other skin to them)
  • Inappropriate weight gain (check - no, I won't say how much. Not a lot, but enough for my doctor to wonder)
  • Hypoglycemia (sorta check - my baseline blood glucose is normal, but if I go too long between meals, I get extremely irritable and lightheaded)
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Itching (check - comes with dry skin, right?)
  • High cholesterol (check - Dude!)
  • Loss of outside portion of eyebrows (although mine are thinner than they used to be...)

This blew my mind. Most of the oddball things that are wrong with my health are symptoms of low thyroid function! This sounds like a laundry list of woes, but if you think about how much your endocrine system controls your body, it makes sense that systems all over would be affected. The human body is wild.

This is good news because it's a relatively easy fix. From the western medicine side, I can just take a synthetic thyroid supplement, just like taking extra vitamins. He wrote me a prescription for SynThroid and told me that it will take about two weeks to feel the effect, so by Christmas I should be a ball of energy. He also told me to book a six-month follow up. More needles. Great.

I'm not taking this lying down though. A bit of research revealed that from the holistic side, I can take iodine, selenium, and add coconut oil to my diet.

It turns out that too much polyunsaturated fat can inhibit tissue response to thyroid hormones. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and it promotes increased metabolism. Coconut oil will not cure a sluggish thyroid, but it's like adding high octane fuel to your engine - it improves performance (metabolism). Crazy, huh? That might explain why I ate like a pig in the Dominican Republic and didn't gain a single pound. Lots of pina coladas.

06 December 2009

Video Luv: Angry Alien Productions

Have you ever heard the adage that says everyone is especially good at three things? Sometimes the three things are kind of weird, but there are always three things people excel at.

I love movies. I watch a lot of movies, old and new, and I love to see movies over and over again. One of my three things is trivia, especially TV and movie trivia. I watch TV shows and movie and retain all sorts of oddball information about them. I love pulling quotes and

For a movie geek like me, Angry Alien Productions is wicked fun. 30-Second Bunnies Theatre takes movies and condenses them down to half a minute, as performed by cute bunnies. Even the non-bunnies often have bunny ears mysteriously tied around their heads.

Jennifer Shiman creates the 30-Second Bunnies Flash movies all by herself, with her friends helping out with some of the voices. Started in 2004 as a way to open doors as a satire humour coloumnist, Shiman first bunnified "The Exorcist." After a lot of positive feedback, the bunnies made more films that year, until Good Morning America played their version of "Titanic." After tha, 30-Second Bunny Theatre was invited to create movies for Starz.com, which now hosts the bunnies' newest releases.

My favourites include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Reservoir Dogs and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. But the best, for me, has to be the one with a 4,000-pound shark with bunny ears tied around his head. That's right...

Da-dum. Da-dum. Da-da-da-dum da-da-da-dum da-da-DUM!

This month, the bunnies are wishing us a Merry Christmas by bunnifying Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This marks the first time they've tackled an animated film. Somehow there's an irony there...

P.S. Watch for the scroll-over buttons at the beginning and the end of the movies for some extra bunny goodness.

16 November 2009

Weather Is Crazy Here!

Well, hot damn! The last two months have been crazy. School has been crazy with a group project, and we're renovating two bathrooms. To prep for our recent vacation, both Sweetie and I were working a lot of extra hours at work.

On the bright side, I just got back from a wonderful wedding vacation in Punta Cana and went to work today when the weather was 15 degrees. In November!

The lawns were dying when we left, and now the leaves have finally fallen off the trees. This was a problem that could weaken the trees over the winter.

How amazing is the weather in Edmonton? You never know what the weather will bring!

20 September 2009

Video Luv: John Williams Is the Man

Post 100 - thought I'd give you something special. I found this video on YouTube, and I'm totally in love with it. Check out the awesomeness!

Direct link is here:

If you don't know why I think it's so good, consider the following:
  1. A capella singing (challenging to stay on pitch).
  2. All parts recorded by the same guy (talk about great tempo)!
  3. He's a cute geek (love the t-shirts).
  4. John Williams (hel-LO, only the composer of the most recognizable music themes of the 20th and 21st centuries)!
  5. Star Wars ('nuff said).

My favourite part is, naturally, Jaws, followed closely by Superman. What's yours?

11 September 2009

04 September 2009

Video Luv: French Bulldog Puppies

I saw this and I just had to share it. Easily the cutest thing I've seen today.

31 August 2009

Forbes Magazine World's Most Powerful Women

Oprah Winfrey is higher than Queen Elizabeth
Michelle Obama is higher than Oprah Winfrey
Nancy Gates is higher than Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle Obama


1 Angela Merkel Chancellor Germany
2 Sheila Bair Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. U.S.
3 Indra Nooyi Chief executive, PepsiCo U.S.
4 Cynthia Carroll Chief executive, Anglo American U.K.
5 Ho Ching Chief executive, Temasek Singapore
6 Irene Rosenfeld Chief executive, Kraft Foods U.S.
7 Ellen Kullman Chief executive, DuPont U.S.
8 Angela Braly Chief executive, WellPoint U.S.
9 Anne Lauvergeon Chief executive, Areva France
10 Lynn Elsenhans Chief executive, Sunoco U.S.
11 Cristina Fernandez President Argentina
12 Carol Bartz Chief executive, Yahoo U.S.
13 Sonia Gandhi President, Indian National Congress Party India
14 Ursula Burns Chief executive, Xerox Corp. U.S.
15 Anne Mulcahy Chairman, Xerox Corp. U.S.
16 Safra Catz President, Oracle U.S.
17 Christine Lagarde Minister of Economy, Finance & Employment France
18 Gail Kelly Chief executive, Westpac Australia
19 Marjorie Scardino Chief executive, Pearson Plc. U.K.
20 Chanda Kochhar Chief executive, ICICI Bank India
21 Mary Sammons Chief executive, Rite Aid Corp. U.S.
22 Michelle Bachelet President Chile
23 Paula Reynolds Chief restructuring officer, AIG U.S.
24 Carol Meyrowitz Chief executive, TJX Companies U.S.
25 Andrea Jung Chief executive, Avon U.S.
26 Patricia Woertz Chief executive, Archer Daniels Midland U.S.
27 Guler Sabanci Chairman, Sabanci Holding Turkey
28 Barbara Desoer President, Bank of America Home Loans & Insurance U.S.
29 Brenda Barnes Chief executive, Sara Lee Corp. U.S.
30 Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Chief executive, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation U.S.
31 Ann Livermore Executive vice president, Hewlett-Packard U.S.
32 Cathie Lesjak Executive vice president, Hewlett-Packard U.S.
33 Marina Berlusconi Chairman, Fininvest Group Italy
34 Melinda Gates Co-chairman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation U.S.
35 Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, House of Representatives U.S.
36 Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State U.S.
37 Jane Mendillo Chief executive, Harvard Management Co. U.S.
38 Margaret Chan Director-general, World Health Org. Switzerland
39 Susan Chambers Executive vice president, Global People Division, Wal-Mart Stores U.S.
40 Michelle Obama First Lady U.S.
41 Oprah Winfrey Chairman, Harpo U.S.
42 Queen Elizabeth II Queen U.K.
43 Nancy McKinstry Chief executive, Wolters Kluwer Netherlands
44 Gloria Arroyo President Philippines
45 Ana Patricia Botin Executive Chairman, Banesto Spain
46 Ann Veneman Executive Director, UNICEF U.S.
47 Yulia Tymoshenko Prime minister Ukraine
48 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Justice U.S.
49 Janet Robinson Chief executive, The New York Times Co. U.S.
50 Dominique Senequier Chief executive, AXA Private Equity France
51 Janet Napolitano Secretary of Homeland Security U.S.
52 Anne Sweeney Co-chairman, Disney Media Networks U.S.
53 Neelie Kroes Commissioner for Competition, European Union Netherlands
54 Gail Boudreaux President, UnitedHealthcare U.S.
55 Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court Justice U.S.
56 Mary Schapiro Chairman Securities & Exchange Commission U.S.
57 Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of Health & Human Services U.S.
58 Ellen Alemany Chief executive, RBS Americas and Citizens Financial Group U.S.
59 Susan Ivey Chief executive, Reynolds American U.S.
60 Amy Pascal Co-chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment U.S.
61 Helen Clark Chairman, United Nations Development Group New Zealand
62 Judy McGrath Chief executive, MTV Networks U.S.
63 Stacey Snider Chief Executive, DreamWorks Studios U.S.
64 Navanethem Pillay High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations South Africa
65 Janet Clark Chief financial officer, Marathon Oil U.S.
66 Sherilyn McCoy Worldwide chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group, Johnson & Johnson U.S.
67 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf President Liberia
68 Tarja Halonen President Finland
69 Mary McAleese President Ireland
70 Virginia Rometty Senior vice president, IBM U.S.
71 Angela Ahrendts Chief executive, Burberry Group Plc. U.K.
72 Sri Indrawati Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance Indonesia
73 Terri Dial Chief executive, North America Consumer Banking, Citigroup U.S.
74 Deirdre Connelly President, North American Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline U.S.
75 Johanna Sigurdardottir Prime minister Iceland
76 Queen Rania Queen Jordan
77 Christina Gold Chief executive, Western Union U.S.
78 Colleen Goggins Worldwide chairman, Consumer Group, Johnson & Johnson U.S.
79 Hasina Wajed Prime minister Bangladesh
80 Hyun Jeong-eun Chairman, Hyundai Group South Korea
81 Amy Schulman Senior vice president, Pfizer U.S.
82 Penny Pritzker Chairman, Classic Residence by Hyatt U.S.
83 Drew Faust President, Harvard University U.S.
84 Melanie Healey Group president, Feminine & Health Care, Procter & Gamble U.S.
85 Elizabeth Smith President, Avon U.S.
86 Deb Henretta Group president, Asia, Procter & Gamble Singapore
87 Ann Moore Chief executive, Time Inc. U.S.
88 Sallie Krawcheck Chief executive global wealth management, Bank of America U.S.
89 Pamela Nicholson President, Enterprise Rent-A-Car U.S.
90 Janice Fields Chief operating officer, McDonald's USA U.S.
91 Stephanie Burns Chief executive, Dow Corning U.S.
92 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Chairman, Biocon India
93 Eva Cheng Executive vice president, Amway Greater China & Southeast Asia Hong Kong
94 Efrat Peled Chief executive, Arison Investments Israel
95 Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi Minister of the Economy United Arab Emirates
96 Charlene Begley Chief executive, GE Enterprise Solutions U.S.
97 Mindy Grossman Chief executive, HSN, Inc. U.S.
98 Sharon Allen Chairman, Deloitte LLP U.S.
99 Heidi Miller Chief executive, Treasury & Securities Services, JPMorgan Chase U.S.
100 Mary Callahan Erdoes Chairman, JPMorgan Global Wealth Management U.S.

12 August 2009

Video Luv: Natural Runner

I've been trying to get into running for a while now. I've bought the fancy shoes. I've gotten the snug, shorter pants. I've set my alarm clock an hour earlier than normal. The only thing I'm missing is the "push."

You know the push. It's the final thing that persuades you, "Yes, I know the bed is toasty warm, or that movie and cup of hot chocolate is ready, but instead I'll go out and run until I'm sweaty and sore."

Pain is something I handle pretty well. I believe I have a reasonably high threshold for pain. Still, I don't go out of my way to cause myself pain, so exercise has never appealed to me.

I'm not sure exactly how to get that final drive to get running. The motivation to look better is not enough to make my body ache. I'm vain, but I'm not quite that vain. The goal to feel better is a strong drive, but isn't quite enough for me.

I saw this and thought that it might be enough of a push. Enjoy!

05 August 2009

Shopping Luv: Southgate Shopping Centre

When it was announced that Southgate was getting an expansion and a facelift, I was stoked. It could do with a facelift, and LRT extension will help revitalize the area and make it more accessible. But since I now work in Sherwood Park and live in Mill Woods, I only get out to the mall every month or so to play at MAC. I didn't really pay much attention to what new outlets were moving into Southgate.

I've noticed the marketing campaign around the city along with everyone else. I was excited to find out what it was, and when I found out it was the Southgate reopening I was more excited than some people.

I have preferred Southgate ever since I came to Edmonton for university. Even after I chose to stay here, it became my favourite mall. My first three years out of university I worked at West Edmonton Mall, and I enjoyed the atmosphere at the world's largest indoor mall. I think it was how I imagined New York City is: loud, active and busy at all hours of the day.

But I always liked Southgate more. Even though WEM managed to house so many high-end retail stores, I preferred the cool, relaxed atmosphere at Southgate. The mall is so bright and sunny, as though the skylights let in extra light. Southgate also scored the first MAC outlet in Edmonton, and that pretty much solidified its place in my heart.

Earlier this week I booked an appointment at Blu's in Southgate to get some trousers hemmed. I new the mall reopening was today, so I planned to look around and see what was new. I wandered through the newly constructed wing and saw familiar black and white stripes...

Well, bust my buttons - there's a Sephora! No more travelling to the west end of the city for my glam purchases! MAC and Sephora, finally closer to home. What a cost savings in fuel and time! :) Naturally, I had to grab a few items...

By coincidence, I just ran out of moisturizer. I've been using Sweetie's Infinite Aloe, but I've been dying to try Philosophy's Hope In a Jar - 2 oz (CDN$49) after a cousin told me how much she loves it. Gee, what an opportunity!

I finally picked up the Shu Uemura Lash Curler (CDN$19) to see if it's really better than my trusty Life Brand set from Shoppers Drug Mart.

I picked up the Tweezerman Folding Clipper (CDN$10) for Sweetie, who took one look at it and said, "I don't think I'll never use it." Fine by me, that makes me less over budget!

Time for some Too Faced Shadow Insurance (CDN$17) to battle my oily eyelids. I've read so many rave reviews about this eye primer that I just couldn't resist.

I've been wanting a thin eyeliner brush and a pencil brush, so I had to try the Sephora Double-Ended Winged Brush (CDN$18) and hopefully get a two-for one. The bristles are very soft, so we'll see how it applies and holds up.

The best part was that I had enough Sephora points to get a free sample of Benefit BAD Gal Blue mascara, another item on my WANT list.

Quite a haul and a great way to end my day!

23 July 2009

Health Bites: Pepsi To Post Aquafina Is Tap Water

It's about time! PepsiCo, manufacturers of Aquafina, are considering finally printing on their labels that the contents are plain old tap water.

Yes, for those of you who didn't notice that the label doesn't say spring water, that's because it's not. Don't feel too bad about it. This deception by omission is also used by Coca-Cola too with Dasani. Better yet, they are often tap water that's been bottled far from the city or town where they are sold. So, your bottled water purity depending on how well the city where it's bottled cleans their water, and how long it sits out in trucks traveling the hot sun transporting to you. Makes you not want to spend $2 per bottle though, doesn't it?

I used to be a bottled water drinker, and I especially loved to drink spring water. I was willing to pay a lot for water from exotic places like France and Fiji. However, I also really liked a bottled spring water from a local company. I chose to drink bottled water partly for the clean taste, but also the convenience, especially when traveling.

There were two main reasons I switched from drinking bottled water. First, I read articles that pointed out that spring water that wasn't any cleaner than my local water. I found out that Edmonton tap water has been consistently rated as some of the cleanest water in the world. The techniques they use to purify the water, before and after it's used, make it cleaner when it is returned to the river where we draw it.

I have an uncle who works for EPCOR at the main water treatment plant. He's told me about the process for cleaning water, and more importantly, the maintenance of the plants. It's incredible to hear about the tiny values that they consider to be unacceptable contamination.

Second, I read things about the whole BPA scare that didn't scare me, but did make me think about what I'm putting in my body. I don't see a reason to put something that's supposed to be good for you but contains an X-factor that they don't fully understand yet.

Keeping in mind that tap water, which we take for granted in Canada and waste in ridiculous amounts, is not free. We pay for it every month, just like we pay for gas or electricity. Basically, it boils down to me being cheap and not agreeing with paying extra for something that is provided to me at such a low cost.

Now, I try to drink only tap water or filtered tap water from a SIGG bottle I carry with me (light blue Power Grip Sports Bottle pictured), or hot drinks from a stainless steel coffee mug I keep in the car. At work I use my trusty Pisces mug that's been with me since college.

I use a Brita water filter on the advice of my naturopath, but I don't have a problem drinking unfiltered Edmonton tap water. I find the water here to be very sweet, and its rare that we have any aftertaste. In my house we have two filters: Sweetie likes cold water, but I like it room temperature.

I admit that I'm not a total purist when I travel, because I believe in the adage that you won't get an upset stomach if you don't drink local tap water when you travel. I eat the local fruit, but I only drink bottled water.

What do you use to hold your drinks? Do you filter your water?

22 July 2009

Hero of the Day: Kitwana Jones

Hats off to my hero of the day... Kitwana Jones!

The Edmonton Eskimo defensive end/linebacker apprehended a mugger in the most awesome way possible yesterday morning.

He was driving to the Capital Ex pancake breakfast when he heard a woman shouting down the street. He saw a man running away with a woman's purse, so he jumped out, chased the mugger down, tackled him and held him down until the police arrived.

Naturally, city police are stating that they don't advise citizens to take the law into their own hands. However, they are also praising K.J. for acting so bravely. The mugger only received a scraped knee, which means he fared better than most guys who K.J. tackles!

Our professional athletes in Edmonton are called upon to be civic leaders and are viewed as role models. They use their celebrity to expose the public to local charities and organizations. Sometimes, they are heroes in their own right. In 2002, five Edmonton Eskimos rescued a woman by catching her when she leapt from the fourth floor of a burning apartment building.

16 July 2009

Fashion Boing! Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga loves to do very in-your-face, avant-garde fashion intended for high shock value. She tends to wear outfits that look like she forgot to put on pants. She loves leotards. She carries odd accessories (remember the teacup?).

I honestly don't know what to make of this.

Seriously?! SERIOUSLY.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Muppets. I love Animal. That doesn't mean I want to see his monobrow across a pop queen's crotch.

At least she didn't wear this in the Love Game video. She just went nude-ish - rhinestones don't really count as clothing unless they are much thicker.

By the bye, I love this video. I see references to lots of 80s videos in it. And maybe I have fuschia on the brain, but I think the whole shag-do leather-clad dance in the Love Game video is an homage to Samantha Fox's Naughty Girls (Need Love Too). What do you think?

Man, I wanted SFs pink hair!

10 July 2009

Freebiez: Slurpee Day

Back after a long absence... Sometimes life catches up with you!

7-Eleven is hosting its seventh annual Slurpee Day. Until they run out of special 7.11-ounce birthday cups, participating 7-Eleven stores will give away Slurpees!

Yum. I'm on my way for Dr Pepper Slurpee, baby!

Here are some interesting tidbits about Slurpees:
  • In the 1950s, Omar Knedlick created a new frozen beverage when his soda fountain broke and he froze and then served his sodas. He built machines using new automobile air conditioning technology. 7-Eleven bought three of these machines and started selling "Slushes" in 1965. Two years before Bob Stanford, a 7-Eleven agency director, changed the name to Slurpee.
  • 7-Eleven owns every genuine Slurpee machine except one. That one is privately owned.
  • Slurpees are always served at 2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenhait).
  • Slurpees are only carbonated in the United States.
  • Canadians purchase 30,000,000 Slurpees per year.
  • Winnipeg is considered the Slurpee capital of the world. 7-Eleven stores in Manitoba sell an average of 8,330. Compare that to the rest of Canada at 5,990.
  • Most Slurpee flavours are kosher "parve" and halal (except Diet Pepsi and PiƱa Colada).
  • Slurpees are gluten free.
  • In 2004, Slurpee created an edible straw!

28 May 2009

Video Luv: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

If this won't be an awesomely awful movie, I don't know what will be.

Lorenzo Lamas. Debbie (sorry, Deborah) Gibson. Giant CG-frickin'-I shark. The trailer shows the shark breaching into a jumbo jet.

When you go there, go big. Go HUGE. GO MEGA.

I'm already drooling with the cheesy goodness. Or badness. Time will tell.

17 May 2009

Tech Luv: EA SPORTS Active for Wii

After weaning our household off video game consoles, we broke down and bought a Nintendo to use the Wii Fit. Once we heard about the Balance Board and the possibilities it provided, we convinced ourselves that we couldn't live without this system. We brought the system home within a couple of weeks of its release, and dutifully used it for months.

Lately, I've fallen off the wagon a bit. While I enjoy the Balance Board and the exercises, there are some shortcomings with the Wii Fit game that comes with it.

The exercises and activities on the disc are very good, and the variety of activities are really nice. The game offers yoga instruction, strength training, cardio and balance exercises. The problem is that you have to pause after each exercise to select another one. This really stops the flow of what you are doing.

The other troubling part of the software we found is that we cannot work out together. This means our workouts take twice as long because we work out one after the other.

Sweetie and I have thought the game would be better with a workout program included with the software and with a workout for two people. I've been watching all the fitness packages that have come out this year, but none of them have quite addressed the problems we saw with Wii Fit.

Well, gaming giant EA has responded to our needs. This Tuesday (19 May 2009), they officially launch EA SPORTS Active for Wii ($59.99, Amazon). I am pre-ordered and can't wait to try it.

This game represents the best workout package I have found so far. The package includes a game CD-ROM, a leg strap and a resistance band. The game is equipped with preset workouts or the ability to create your own custom workouts. With more than 25 exercises and three intensity levels, there is a huge variety of workouts that you can program. The exercises range from inline skating, strength training (with the resistance band), running, basketball and dance workouts. You also get feedback on how your workout is designed so you can vary the length and type of exercises.

The game includes a virtual personal trainer to motivate you. The leg strap is where you hold the Wii Nunchuk while you work out, and this really improves the way that your movements are recorded. The virtual trainer also guides you in performing exercises correctly. One of the challenges with the Wii Fit is that when you run, you're supposed to put the controller in your pocket to measure how fast you run. In workout clothes, it doesn't work that well. Your pocket is either non-existant so that it's tucked in too high or the pocket is too big. Either way, it doesn't measure your run very well. Putting the Nunchuk in the leg strap should measure much more accurately.

The game also includes a multiplayer mode that allows you to play with someone else. By adding the EA SPORTS Active Multiplayer Pack ($18.99, Amazon), you can compete against another player, or work together to win a challenge.

The tracking software also allows you to track your other activities and diet, and lets you set measurable goals to achieve. You can also participate in a 30-day Challenge. This program gives you a different workout of increasing intensity every day. How far can you push yourself?

The following video shows just one of the features of EA SPORTS Active: the 30-day Challenge.

12 May 2009

Pic Luv: Blooming Hibiscus

Well, this sucks! It's the middle of May, and it is snowing in Edmonton.

Spring session schedule of two night classes is kicking my ass. Three hour classes four nights a week after a full-time job is just as bad as it sounds. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. On the bright side, I'm enjoying the course material, and it is very relevant to what's happening at work.

May is half over, wow! The schedule makes the days fly by. I'm completely wiped out when I get home. Poor sweetie is lonely all night and then just watches me crumple onto the couch. For once, I'm the one going to bed first.

When I am tired lately, I think of the great flowers that I saw in Punta Cana in February, and how there will be beautiful flowers all over the yards here very soon. Here's a hibiscus flower I photographed while I was there. They grow so plentifully at the resort we stayed at that the staff picks them almost daily and leaves them on the pillows of guests who tip them. In February!

I hope it brightens your day like it does mine. What is your pick-me-up on a crappy day?

P.S. This was taken with my trusty Sony CyberShot DSC-W30. I love this little camera and I take it everywhere with me, but I can't wait until I get my new DSLR. I really want to play with lenses and fields of focus!

26 April 2009

Tech Luv: ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD

I'm one of those geeks who loves to find something fun cool and show others why they should have the same thing because it will make their lives better.

I bought an iPhone, and I love it. I put off buying one because I knew I'd be hooked on it, and I am. The apps you can use on it are fun, and even the free ones can be innovative. I've only paid for one app so far, and that was a mistake purchase. I bought the game Lemonade Stand, but I'm glad I did because it is a new version of the old game I played on my Apple 2C, and for us old-school geeks it includes a version with the old graphics.

The other reason was that the iPhone is bigger than my last cellphone. Not that an iPhone is big, but my last phone (a Sony Ericcson 580i) was quite small. I always buy a protective case for my cellphones, so I bought a ZCover iSAglove silicone case with an armband clip. I wanted to use the armband clip when I exercied and planned to buy the window clip to make the phone a cheapy wireless system in the car, but I found that the case was quite bulky. Because it's silicone and has ridges all over it, lint sticks to it and it is difficult to pull smoothly out of the case.

Because we were planning on taking the iPhones on vacation to Dominican Republic, I was trying to find another case when my sweetie showed me this video for ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD armour (I've embedded the video below). After I saw the video, I was sold on it. We picked up a pair at Westworld the next day.

The installation looks really difficult, but it's not too bad if you watch a video on installation first. Sweetie installed his armour first, and then I installed mine. They each took nearly half an hour to install, and it was tough to get the sides to stick correctly. Still, we followed the instructions, (especially the "palming" technique) and it did the trick.

I had a little trouble with one of the corners. There was a bubble that I couldn't quite get out, and it kept it from wrapping around the corner properly. It doesn't stick out or hook on anything, and I'm probably the only one who notices. (See the much-magnified picture?)

The ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD is a cool product. They protect from almost any scratch, and it's only 0.2 mm thick. The armour won't protect from impact damage, so if you drop it, it will probably be just as broken.

The good news is that the case won't be scratched even if it is broken. I tend not to drop my phone too often, but I worry about scratching it since I keep it in a purse.

If scratch protection is most important to you, then this is the case for you!

17 April 2009

I am an unabashed Star Wars geek. I teem with useless trivia about the original trilogy, which I've watched over 100 times. R2D2 is my favourite character in the series, followed by Mara Jade. I believe he's the only one who knows what is going on throughout the series, and would have told people if C3PO could translate properly!

I saw this, and the geek in me got so excited that I actually drooled. When it was over, I looked at the hub and said, "I am so turned on right now." He looked at me and said, "What a geek!"

Yes, I'm a big fat geek and proud of it. What brings out the geek in you?

14 April 2009

Product Peek: Dolly Eyes

I own a lot of glasses.
In my former career I was an optician, so I own a lot of different glasses and contact lenses. Basically, it's kind of ridiculous.

I have a hatbox crammed full of glasses, and I'm still working through the lenses I collected over the years. I even have hard contacts that I never wear - you need to build up wearing time, and I rotate contacts and glasses too much to build it up.

Sometimes I walk into the office in the morning wearing glasses I haven't worn in a year. It's fun to have someone ask if I have new glasses. I can change my eye colour or even make them look like wolf eyes.

I always get excited when I see new types of transformation contacts. The lenses at theDollyEye.com fall somewhere in between excitement and creepy for me. The lenses make your eyes look like the big glass eyes in porcelain dolls.

They are cute, but they also border on creepy. They come in several different colours, and they extend past a natural iris to put nearly 15mm of colour across the eye. Because the colour passes beyond the upper and lower eyelids, the effect is that you have huge eyes like a doll.

I don't know if I'd pick these for myself. Because I have blue eyes, I find that colour change lenses (rather than colour tinting lenses) tend to look unnatural on my eyes. The colours get very pale, so blue lenses look ice-blue like a husky dog, green lenses look like spring leaves, and brown lenses look yellow. There are times when this works to good effect. I'd like it if I was dressing up in costume like a zombie or an elf, but for daily wear this isn't the look I'm going trying to achieve.

Still, the black ones might be good to try. They'd look like intense, dark grey eyes. What colour would look good on you?

Treehouse Luv: Free Spirit Spheres

Did you have a treehouse as a kid? Bet it wasn't as awesome as these...

Free Spirit Spheres

13 April 2009

Bag Luv: Suede & Co.

Great, I think I'm about to go on a purse binge. Fabulously Broke In the City just pointed out to me that Shopper's Drug Mart is carrying the cutest purses by a Canadian company, Suede & Co.

There are a few that need to come home with me:
As if those weren't pretty enough:

I think I'll be making a trip to Shopper's this week. I have enough Optimum Points on my card to get a couple of them!

06 April 2009

Icon Luv: Barbie

I was a tomboy as child. I loved Tonka trucks and camping equipment. But since I'm such a conundrum, I also loved dolls. I played with Barbie until I was much older than was fashionable, under the pretense that I was playing with my sister.

My favourite doll was Beauty Secrets Barbie (1980 model is shown in the photo). I loved that she was so articulated, and that she had so many items. I loved that she could hold her little powder puff and dab it on her face. I loved that she had a stocked beauty kit.

When I grew older, I realized that Barbie didn't look like me. I was a thin girl with a small bust and hips, and Barbie was, well, pneumatic. She was not like me, so I put away childish things, but I couldn't get rid of them completely. I still had a secret love of Barbie.

When I studied Clothing & Textiles in university, we had a lecture in one class by a Barbie doll collector. She explained to us how Barbie had influenced and been influenced by fashion and popular culture. I was amazed because my little Barbie connection from childhood suddenly had a connection to feminism and pop culture in ways I'd never considered. Despite her unnatural dimensions, Barbie had many positive career roles, including:
  • Astronaut
  • Doctor
  • Volunteer candy striper
  • UNICEF ambassador
Barbie was a beauty and she and her friends represented many cultures, always with a great sense of style and a killer makeup look.

Others know the fun of Barbie too. MAC released the MAC Loves Barbie cosmetics line in 2007 with beautiful doll-like shades like bright pink. This was one of MACs most successful collections, and Barbie was brought back to the minds of women who grew up playing with their dolls. In turn, Barbie released a MAC Barbie Doll, which was sought after by not just Barbie collectors but MAC collectors as well.

In 2009, Barbie celebrates her 50th anniversary. At New York Fashion Week for Fall 2009, 50 designers contributed to a 50-look Barbie runway show. Stila released the Stila Loves Barbie line, containing more doll-like shades in cute little paint can kits. Lou Lou magazine published an article showing a few examples of Barbie's fashion influences over the years.

I have to admit I still long for some of the Barbies that come out every year. Face it, Barbie is still hot. Hot pink!

30 March 2009

Video Luv: Ninja Cat

I saw this and had to watch it again. And again. And again. It's Awesome!

25 March 2009

Product Lust: Bonne Bell Lip Smackers Jell-o

It's un-PC, but I love Lip Smackers by Bonne Bell. I don't care if they are petroleum-based and don't stay on my lips long enough to moisturize. The flavours are tasty and they make my lips have a sheen without being shiny. I dare say I'd take the mighty Dr Pepper Lip Smackers even over my beloved MAC Lipglass.

I just found out they offer Jell-O flavours. Holy crap, that's awesome! Must have, especially Lime! After all, who doesn't love Jell-O? That bouncy. shiny, tasty stuff.

As kids we played with it constantly, and didn't get in trouble, which made it better. It was sort of the point! It was an inexpensive treat when times were tough, and we could stuff ourselves full without Mom worrying about us overeating.

We made homemade Jell-O with extra gelatin mixed in to make Knox Blox at sleepovers. We bounced them off walls, each other, and the basement floor. Don't worry, we didn't eat those ones!

My first cooking experience was with Jell-O. It had heating, mixing, timing and serving, so it was cooking to me. I made layered Jell-O with fruit for a tea party. What can I say, I was ambitious. I was going to be the Julia Childs of Jell-O!

The first recipe was an unmitigated failure. The first layer hardened too much. Some of the fruit juice from the canned fruit cocktail dropped in the pan, which made the second layer too watery, so it didn't harden enough. The result was like trying to eat spaghetti sauce off a waterbed.

Still, I never lost my taste for it. I even liked to lick the Jell-O powder like homemade Lik-M-Aid (remember those?) while I read late at night in my bed. So bring on the Lip Smackers!