Category Archives: Things I Love

I <3 My Electric Kettle

I spent a week visiting my “Fairy Godmother” last Christmas and New Year’s, and I fell in love with her electric kettle.  In about a minute it can boil water for tea.  I ordered one on Amazon before I even returned home, and I’ve been using it ever since

Electric KettleLately I’ve been using it to boil water to make sugar-free Jello.  At only 5 calories per serving, it satiates my sweet tooth, and it’s so convenient to make with this kettle.

I saw a post the other day on LifeHacker about making perfect rice by toasting the rice and boiling the water separately.  Once I transition back to conventional foods, I know I’ll be using my kettle to make rice, too.

What kitchen gadget do you love?

Where do you exercise?

Resuming this journey requires I resume exercise.  I’m doing it now the same way I did it the first time — by committing to walking at least 30 minutes per day.  When I started in 2011 I couldn’t make it across the Two Rivers Bridge without stopping to rest my ankles.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I first crossed the Big Dam Bridge.  This was the gorgeous sunset I saw the other night as I crossed the Big Dam Bridge.

BDB Sunset

Where do you exercise?

FAGE Total Greek Yogurt Giveaway

What’s 120 calories, has the creaminess of gelato, the sweetness of strawberry shortcake, more protein than two hard boiled eggs, and is packaged for convenience on the go? FAGE Total 0% Split Cups.  As a part of my work as a BzzAgent, I got my hands on some coupons for FREE Greek Yogurt from FAGE. These coupons are for Split Cups, which are essentially little 5.3 oz tubs of Greek Yogurt with attached flavor compartments. I tried two — Strawberry, which was my favorite, and Apple Cinnamon Raisin, which was amazing as well. These cups come in a variety of different flavors and calorie ranges. Both of the ones I sampled were 120 Calories.

FAGE Split Cup

I started eating Greek Yogurt as a healthy source of protein as a part of my weight loss journey. It meets so many of my needs: creamy, sweet, low fat, high protein, rich in calcium, low in sodium, and downright delicious! FAGE has long been one of my favorite brands, but I LOVE the convenience of the Split Cup design.  By putting the yogurt in one compartment and the flavorings in another, the natural ingredients lose none of their flavors in transit. Peel, flip, dip, and enjoy.

Portion control is a big part of my weight loss success, and FAGE Split cups help with that, too. By delivering just the right amount of sweet treat and creamy yogurt, I can lick my spoon without feeling guilty — I’m entitled to each and every creamy, delicious bite. The only way this stuff could be any better was if they included a spoon in the package!

FAGE Split Cup

FAGE, which is pronounced Fah-Yeh, is an all-natural brand famous for their quality and flavor.  It’s the number one yogurt in Greece, and now you can try it FOR FREE like I did!  Just enter using the RaffleCopter below.

Come back each day between now and July 12th to earn chances to win one of these coupons!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dr. Scholl’s Coupon Giveaway

One of the many, many side projects I’ve taken on this summer is to become a BzzAgent — Companies send me items to evaluate and write about. I hope to pass some of those items along to you through giveaways. This week’s item is Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insoles. I’m sure you’d love to have a pair, but these are MINE! What I do have to offer you, though, is a $4 off coupon for you to buy your own pair. They have a money-back guarantee.  If you’re not completely satisfied, you can return them for a full refund.  What do you have to lose?

The essential things to know about these insoles is that they have two kinds of support — a blue cushion to make you feel all fluffy and a purple support to make you feel stable. They run about $12.99 a pair, and you can get them in most grocery stores, drug stores, and discount stores. That being said, let me tell you about my Dr. Scholl’s experience.

Having been off my feet recovering from surgery for the past couple of weeks, walking has been the only exercise I’m allowed. Knowing that I had a trial pair of these insoles, I saved them for my first steps post-surgery. All I can say is, “Oooh. That’s nice!” The promotional materials for these insoles claims that they will “double your comfort” if you have foot pain or problems. I have neither, but walking was certainly a chore immediately following surgery. I was glad to have a cushioned insole.

I haven’t been on my feet for long periods of time to really speak to whether or not they reduce fatigue.  I can only extrapolate from the times that I’ve been on my feet for a couple of hours at a time.  These insoles do make a difference in the level of comfort I feel in my shoes.

I have several of these coupons to give away thanks to the folks at Dr. Scholl’s  If you’d like one, use the RaffleCopter below to get entered for the drawing.  I’d give away the free pair of insoles that they sent me, but I wouldn’t wish those on my worst enemy — not because they’re bad, but because they’ve been in my shoes and I want to keep them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ozeri Touch II Professional Digital Scale

After reading about my “home invasion” (George Carlin would roll over in his grave), several folks stepped forward and offered to help me replace some of the items that were taken.  Katie from You Brew My Tea introduced me to the folks who represent Ozeri products.  While a lot of people would panic being without a television or a vacuum cleaner, my most urgent need was a kitchen scale. Having lost over 250 pounds through nutrition and exercise, I put considerable thought into the foods that I choose to eat, and I work very hard to maintain both accuracy and precision in my portioning.  Without my kitchen scale, I am lost.  I have difficulty with peanut butter, bulk yogurt, and anything that doesn’t fit into a measuring cup cleanly like fresh berries or pasta.  Having a kitchen scale back in my home has made eating “right” so much easier again.

Ozeri Touch II Professional Scale

Out of the box, the Ozeri Touch II Professional Digital Kitchen Scale looks like an Android tablet, almost too sleek to set something on.  Its smooth lines, glass surface, and slim profile are at home beside expensive stand mixers and fancy infrared cooktops.  I have neither of those.  I do have one of the most advanced kitchen scales I’ve ever used, though.  It has touch sensors that you simply put your finger on to activate, rather than press.  It has an invisible coating that helps prevent the growth of bacteria, making clean-up a snap.  Best of all, it’s flat enough to go in my utensil drawer when not in use — no rearrangement needed.

Ozeri Touch II Professional Scale in Drawer

You know how you can give a kid the coolest toy in the world and sometimes they just want to play with the box?  As I was looking through the documentation that came with the Ozeri Touch II scale, I noticed something thicker than the typical instruction manual and warranty sheet; It was a booklet with nutrition and portioning information for hundreds of foods.  This, to me, was one of the most valuable “extras” I’ve ever seen included with a kitchen product, hands down. 

Ozeri Calorie Guide

Looking to portion a 60 calorie serving of strawberries?  The chart says that fresh strawberries are 0.32 Calories per gram.  That works out to 187 grams in a 60 calorie serving.  Simple!  You can weigh those strawberries one of several ways.  If you’re adding strawberries to a dish you already have started, you can place that dish on the scale, zero it out using the tare button, and add strawberries until it reads 187 g.  You can also put the container of strawberries on the scale, hit tare, and remove strawberries until the scale displays -187 g.  Weighing “up” or “back,” it’s very straightforward to get just the right amount.

Not into the metric system?  It’s great for accuracy, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.  When I weigh lean protein like cooked chicken breast or root vegetables like carrots, I’m after a 3 ounce serving.  The Ozeri Professional II can measure pounds, ounces, grams, fluid ounces, and ml.  It will even convert between the units.  Need to add 28 grams of something to your 3 ounces of something else?  No problem!  Touch — you don’t even have to press — the unit button to switch into the right mode, tare, and weigh away.

Being so concerned with replacing my kitchen scale, I was a little confused by the inclusion of a booklet including postage rates.  After thinking about it for a minute, it dawned on me that the scale would be perfect for those weighing items for shipping, too, and having USPS rates in a booklet would be as handy to shippers and sellers as having a calorie guide is to me.

In short, this scale is perfect for me!  It is simple to use, impressively accurate, gorgeous, fits in my tool drawer, and came with a booklet that is much easier to use than looking up calorie counts using my iPhone.  All that AND a germ-zapping coating that won’t wash off?  Yes!  If I could think of a single negative thing to say about this scale, it’s that if you press the buttons too hard when there’s nothing on the scale, the back flips up.  It’s less a flaw and more of a learning curve.  You don’t have to “push” at all.  Like a smart phone or tablet, you simply place your finger to the screen to activate the unit and tare/power buttons.

I’m so thankful to Katie for putting me in touch with Ozeri and that they were willing to send this scale to me!  Check all the kitchen products by Ozeri on Facebook.  

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Smucker’s Sugar-Free Peach Preserves

I love sugar-free preserves.  They’re 5-10 calories per tablespoon, and they’re often a good source of fiber.  You can get a sweet bump for your breakfast toast without paying a lot in terms of calories.  Polaner makes a great line of sugar-free, fiber-rich preserves, which I’ve already written about.  I’ve been sampling my way around the other offerings, and it’s rare that I find something better than Polaner.  When I tasted Smucker’s Sugar-Free Peach Preserves, I had one of those knee-buckling food experiences.

Smucker's Sugar-Free Peach Preserves

What can I say other than, “Wow!”  Sweet, fresh, and 10 calories per serving!  I also love that these preserves come in a glass bottle that’s reusable for storing, portioning, and gifting other foods.

What’s your favorite brand and flavor of preserves?

Text Yourself Reminders

I think about my “past self” a lot and how I make up for a lot of his bad decisions through hard work and sacrifice.  I also think about my “future self” and how so much of the work I’m doing will pay dividends for him.  One  way that my past, present, and future selves interact is through text message, believe it or not.  If I want to remind myself to pay a bill, take out the trash, do crunches, or prep meals, I use Google Calendar to send text messages to myself.  Here’s how:


If you found this to be helpful, you may want to check out my Spring Training video series, which is currently available on my YouTube Channel,

Here’s to YOUR future self

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Pulling Your Own Happiness Wagon

Once upon a time, I attended an amazing instructional technology workshop called the Arkansas Technology Institute.  I picked up a ton of great classroom technology skills and training strategies at this workshop, and I also made some life-long friends and professional bonds.  One bit of lagniappe that I also came away with is the phrase, “Pull Your Own Happiness Wagon.”  It was such a great workshop that I eventually returned to coach future classes through the organization for a couple of years. 


Photo Credit: ep_jhu via Compfight cc

During the “norming process” at the beginning of each workshop, “Pull Your Own Happiness Wagon” was introduced to participants to mean that we are each responsible for taking care of our own needs.  Whether it’s bathroom breaks, snack attacks, or dressing in layered clothing to accommodate for conference rooms of varying temperatures, nobody is going to take the actions necessary to make you happy other than yourself.  That’s not to imply that the hosts of the workshop were in any unaccommodating.  On the contrary, we were taken care of very well, but we had to ask for what we wanted.

I’ve learned that life works very much the same way.  You don’t get what you don’t ask for.  Nobody is going to fix something for me that they don’t know is broken.  I don’t take this phrase to mean, “go it alone.”  Instead, I see it more as, “only you can initiate resolution to problems you identify.”


Much like we have the See It – Own It – Solve It – Do It system at work, pulling one’s own happiness wagon works similarly.  If you’re dissatisfied with something, change it!

What needs changing in your world?

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