Book Review Sunday: “The Power of Habit”

The most happiest of mornings to you! I’m continuing our fun little book review series with one of the most life-changer books I’ve read in a long time: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

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Yup. This book is one of those life-changer books. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now, and I so wish I could have read it sooner. Duhigg reviews research related to how habits form, good and bad, and how some individuals are able to change or break bad habits while others seem to be doomed to a lifetime of smoking, overeating, gambling, or what have you. It talks about how every habit has a cue, a routine, and a reward. Several types of habits are discussed and how they fit this cue/routine/reward model, from habits owned by individuals, such as smoking, to organization and corporate culture. There were also many surprises that I didn’t think of before, like how radio stations use habits to take a song and “make” the public like it. So sneaky.

Let’s be honest here. I wanted to read this book because I thought it would hold the secret to breaking some of my bad habits. And I think it does, I just have to, you know, apply them and stuff. It’s still work. But it was also a really entertaining read on the different studies Duhigg reviewed and the stories profiled from individuals who either made their lives better or worse by adopting new habits, good or bad.

I plan on using the tricks discussed in the cue/routine/reward model to try and break some of the bad habits I know I fall victim to, such as hitting the snooze button instead of hitting the gym in the morning, or resisting eating when I’m not really hungry. I’d say it’s one of the most valuable books I’ve read recently for accomplishing goals.

I rented this book from the library, but you can easily pick it up on Amazon if you’re curious and want to check it out.

Okay, time to go out and enjoy this beautiful Sunday. Better go plan for the Easter Bunny’s visit next week!

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A Tale of Two Airports

Here’s a really long story about what happened to me when I tried to get home from Pittsburgh Friday.

So, as you know I travel a lot for work. Like, a lot. At this point, I am very comfortable with air travel and few things rattle me. But trying to get home Friday just about used up every ounce of travel patience and goodwill I had left.

I was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh Friday evening. But when I went to check into my flight, I found I wasn’t assigned a seat, meaning that they were oversold. Because I didn’t have a seat, I couldn’t get a boarding pass on my phone like I usually do. So I went to the ticketing counter to get a paper boarding pass. The ticketing agent confirmed that the flight was oversold and they were looking for volunteers to take an alternate flight that arrived just a few minutes after the scheduled flight. I figured I could use the voucher they were offering, so I decided to be a good person and volunteer my seat for the alternate flight. Let this be a lesson: never, ever try to be a “good person” when you are traveling. Look out for #1 always, because the “good” travelers always get screwed in the end.

So they booked me on a flight on a different airline to Los Angeles and from there back on my normal airline to San Francisco. They even gave me a very nice exit row seat with extra room and no seat mates. Score, and I had a pleasant flight to LAX.

Then things got crazy. It had been a long time since I connected through LAX, but if you haven’t been, each airline has a separate terminal with a separate security entrance point. Which meant I basically had to exit the airport and go through security again to change planes. Okay, no problem. I had plenty of time in between connections.

Then at the security checkpoint I noticed that my boarding pass stated “no ticket assigned” so they wouldn’t let me through security. I went to the ticket counter to have then print me a new boarding pass, thinking that maybe the ticketing agent wasn’t able to print me a boarding pass from my normal airline. But the LAX ticketing agent looked at my ticket and said, “That’s not an <airline> flight. That’s a <some airline I’ve never heard of before> flight, and you need to go to their ticketing counter 2 terminals away.” Seriously? WTH? So with about a half hour left until boarding, I’m running down the unloading zone at LAX in my nice business flats (thank the lucky stars I didn’t pack heels on this trip!) to Terminal 5, where I go to a ticketing counter of an airline I’ve never heard of before to find no one there.

You’re kidding me. So back I go to the previous ticketing counter, where it then dawns on me that I just earned my frequent flier status, meaning I can talk to the business class ticketing agents, meaning I don’t have to stand in the ever-growing main cabin line. Finally, a stroke of luck! The ticketing agenda figured things out right away and gave me a first-class upgrade on my connection to SFO! Happy dance!

Or so I thought.

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See the date? April 12. That’s Saturday. This is Friday. The ticketing agent booked me for a flight the next morning.

So now the flight I want to be on is boarding, and I don’t have a ticket. I run to the customer service desk to only be stuck behind a huge line of passengers also trying to resolve their issues last-minute. I text Hulk that I might not make it home that night, to which he responds to call Customer Service while I’m standing in line. He is a genius, did I ever mention that? So I call and get my issue resolved before the line even creeps forward at the customer service desk. They put me on the flight that’s leaving RIGHT NOW and I run back to the gate just in time to board the plane.

Oh, and the whole time I’m trying to not throw up because of morning sickness that doesn’t really happen in the morning, it happens at any time.

So here’s where my nice side is always stumped. Do I call and alert my airline what happened to me? I was totally going to call some one and give them an earful when I was super panicked and angry running from terminal to terminal. Now that I’ve had a chance to calm down, is it even worth a call? I was still able to get the problem fixed, but on the other hand they should probably know how the mistake happened (the ticketing agent in Pittsburgh assigned me to the wrong Saturday morning flight to begin with and no one caught it until I got to the gate) so they can put preventative measures it to discourage a repeat event.

Anyway, that’s my story about how I’m not going to try to be a nice person when I travel anymore.

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Dirty Kitchen, Clean Eats (kinda) [WIAW #5]

Good morning, blog world! I will most likely be on a plane when you read this, so let’s toes to the ability to schedule posts! Woot.

The other day I posed a tweet that was rather younger-in-cheek.

But seriously. I’m so appreciative of the blog world for allowing me to make it look like I have it together. Because really, who honestly does have it all together?

Btw, this is my kitchen right now. I assembled my breakfast in the fridge because there was no counter space.

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Who needs decor? And yes, I used a fancy picture editing app to artfully arrange a picture of my messy kitchen.

But really, kids. I’m leaving today for another East Coast trip and in just going to have to shut my eyes to all for half-finished, shoulda woulda could-a to-dos that are wrecking havoc in my conscious mind right now. I’m freaking out, man.

So here’s a pretty picture of a nice place. Calming, no?

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Any-hoo, it’s Wednesday! You know what that means … Time to creep in on my eats of today! I guess it’s not creeping if I invite you in, huh? Kinda like vampire rules. I have no one to blame but myself if I’m bitten at this point.

A big Thank you to the always lovely and gracious Jenn for hosting over at Peas and Crayons!

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Let’s get down. Ooh, food!

Pre workout banana and Justin’s AB pack, to hold off on morning sickness.

Note: this is a reenactment of the banana and AB I actually consumed.

Note: this is a reenactment of the banana and AB I actually consumed.

The sickies were much better today. Maybe I did a better job of eating yesterday or something. Meh.

Then brekkie. Please don’t let my fine china distract you from the epic awesomeness that was breakfast.

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It’s been soooooo long since I’ve had a breakfast burrito, and some craving took hold of me and was like, “you know those morning eggs? Well, you need to throw in some cheese and salsa and wrap that shit up in a tortilla.” So I did. So much easier to eat, too.

I was still hungry but had to go, so I remembered I picked up a couple of protein powder samples at Whole Foods and thought I’d make a shake to go.

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So, if there is a wrong way to open a single-serving protein powder packet, I found it. I needed a good dusting to complete the messiness of my kitchen.

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And yes, I do have one of those special protein shake bottles with the little mixer ball, but I didn’t want to bring it because all the cool kids would make fun of me I wanted to have a water bottle to drink from after I finished my shake.

I mixed the powder with coconut milk. And yes, I get the irony of mixing a whey protein powder with a non-dairy milk.

Then came the work eats.

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I was beyond tired when I sat at my desk, so I indulged in an office Nespresso. I was hungry right before lunch, so I had a yogurt with a bit of granola on top. It tasted like heaven. Then, since I drove today I was like, “I can go anywhere I want for lunch!” So I went to In-n-out. My burger deliciousness was chased by a little Kashi dark chocolate coconut bar. Which are too good and must be illegal or something in less fortunate countries.

I cut out of work early to go to my first physical therapy appointment. More details on that later. But it took almost two hours and by the time I came home I was tired, overwhelmed with work and packing, and (of course) ravenous. Mehfil’s Indian Cuisine to the rescue!

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We split chicken tikka masala with a friend that stopped by to hang, and had a picnic dinner on the roof just as Karl the Fog was dropping into the city (wow, I just wrote city as “sitty.” I think I’m getting tired now.)

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It’s a pity I’m too lazy and cheap to get a real camera. My meager iPhone camera didn’t do Karl any justice I’m afraid.

So there you go, my day of eats. On a Wednesday. For What I Ate Wednesday. And I’m pretty sure your kitchen and your day of eating is much cleaner than mine. And if not, well then, you’re still awesome.

Time to go do work and stuff. Make it a great day!

Posted in Uncategorized, WIAW | 4 Comments

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Some Fun Stuff

Hello and happy Tuesday! I’m feeling pretty fantastic about this week as it rolls along. I’m headed back to Pittsburgh tomorrow for a quickie business trip. Sad panda. It feels like I just got home from last week! Wait, I did. But duty calls.

Anyway, it’s time to check in with Becky at Olives ‘n’ Wine for another round of Treat Yourself Tuesday! Thank you once again to Becky for hosting this week’s linkup, and encouraging all of us crazy kids to take time and give ourselves a treat (or several) each week!

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  • I bought some summer sandals! Since I’ve discovered that I have wide feet and actually need my shoes to accommodate ALL of my toes, summer sandal shopping was becoming my least favorite activity. Either the shoes were super cute but too narrow, or they fit but made me look like I was 80 years old. Not sexy. But I picked these Jessica Simpson sandals up at DSW last weekend. I enjoyed them on the roof Sunday while supervising Squish on his scooter bike. Super cute and comfy!

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  • Squish and I had a mommy-son date Saturday and stopped at Cako Creamery at the Metreon for an ice cream treat for two very good shoppers. We split a single scoop of the strawberry cheesecake (well, Squish, I, and Squish’s chin/shirt split it), but mysteriously there is no photographic evidence ;)
  • Since I can’t drink, I’ve been looking for creative beverages so I don’t get completely sick of water/sparkling water all the time. I picked up some of these Sanpellegrino sparkling lemon Italian soda thingys at the Italian deli next door, and they are the perfect replacement to the sunny afternoon cocktail on the roof. Yeah they have a bit of sugar in them, but I figure if I was drinking a beer I’d still be consuming carbs anyway. And these are so tart, that I only really want to drink one, as opposed to several beers. They are the perfect sunny afternoon refreshment!

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That’s it for now, time to scrub up, pack up, and get the work thing done!

How has your Tuesday been treating you?

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Weekend Recap: Sunny Days

It’s another Monday!

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We had a super lazy weekend over here. I am trying to remember what we did Saturday. I think it was lay around and watch “Adventure Time”. I’m trying to find shows that I can watch with Squish that are somewhat age appropriate but don’t bore me to tears. I am silently posting a boycott of “Thomas and Friends”, although Squish doesn’t know that yet.

Sunday was super warm and sunny, so we picked up some McDonalds to go and had a picnic on the roof.

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Squish didn’t complain. But he didn’t get a toy in his Happy Meal. What is up with that?

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Then we did laps.

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And got some sun.

And then we napped. That was about it.

I might as well start looking into how I’m doing on my goals this month.

  • No more candy/sweets. Just knock it off. - Well, our neighbor dropped off a box of Turkish Delights yesterday. And Squish and I split an ice cream. So, it hasn’t been 100%. We’ll see how it goes when I get back to the office and am tempted by all the office goodies.
  • Pick a PMP certification training plan and register for the exam - No progress yet. I should probably get on it. But I have 3 weeks to go, right?
  • Work out at least 4 days a week - I worked out Monday, Tuesday, and twice on Thursday, so that’s 4x! Close enough, yay!
  • Drink 4 water bottles a day - I didn’t track over the weekend, but during the weekdays I definitely got my water in.

Well, that’s fun.

All right, time to go throw up a bit (yay, morning sickness!) and head to work. Make it a great day!

Posted in Weekend | 7 Comments

Book Review Sunday: “Eat the Yolks”

Good morning!

I’ve been reading up a storm lately, and I thought it would be fun to feature a book review on what I’ve been checking out lately. I tell you, since I found out that you can check out electronic books on a Kindle from the public library, my life has new meaning now. I have a list a mile long of books I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So many, they keep expiring before I have a chance to read them! #nerdproblems

Anyway, today’s book is actually a real book. One I bought with my own money. With pages and everything. I rarely have physical books anymore.

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As I may have mentioned before, I am cheap. Which is why I normally read library books. But when I heard on the Balanced Bites podcast a few months ago that Liz Wolfe’s new book Eat the Yolks was available for pre-order on Amazon, I bought it. Yes, me. Why? Because Liz is knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and hilarious and I knew if nothing else it would be a good read. And Liz did not disappoint. I actually read it twice on the plane, I found it so amusing. It would be a great book for someone wanting to know more about the paleo/primal/whole food movement and where all of today’s conventional wisdom comes from in an entertaining and non-threatening format.

It’s not a “diet” book. There’s no meal plans, no yes/no food lists, none of that stuff. It’s pure education. It’s all about what you should know about the food you put on your plate. It goes into the origins and details of the big food industries: oils, grains, and meat. And how they lie to us. They lie to convince us their products are good and healthy, when in fact they’re destructive and make us sick. Liz doesn’t tell you what to eat; she tells you what you need to know so you can make your own educated choices on what to eat.

My only critique is that although the content is backed by science and actual studies, it is not written in a very “science-y” tone. Which is totally fine, it’s truly written in the author’s voice, which is what makes it entertaining. It’s more of a conversational tone, with lots of pop-culture-related analogies. If you’re someone that’s looking for the hard science facts and not being told a story about the science facts, you may leave wanting more. But if you’re a pop culture junkie just looking for a good time and to learn a little something too, then this is a great book to pick up.

You can learn more about Liz, her book, and her e-book The Skintervention Guide here, here and here!

I hope you enjoyed today’s deviation from our usual “here’s what I ate, oh look, a cute baby!” content. At least, it was fun for me.

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Week 7: All the Symptoms, All the Tears

It probably was a little early to announce our baby news, but since it’s baby #2 I feel really more relaxed about the whole thing. It’s not my first rodeo, and I’m ready to roll with whatever happens.

So how have the first 7 weeks been treating me?

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Belly Pics

I don’t have a baby bump yet. Just a bloat bump. I’ve been so bloat-y! It doesn’t really matter what I eat, it’s just what’s happening right now.

Cravings

Dairy: lately I have been really craving dairy.  I just plowed down a coconut Chobani that I impulse-purchased at Target. Normally I don’t really do dairy because I don’t think I digest it well and it makes me itchy, which I think is a histamine reaction. But itchiness be damned, I am plowing through all kinds of yogurt, milk-based smoothies, and cheese when I can get it.

Fruit: I craved fresh fruit with Squish, too. No complaints here, especially since Spring is around the corner and berry season is almost upon us!

Aversions:

Beer. It would break my heart if I was allowed to have any. But since I became pregnant I really haven’t been in the mood for beer. My body was even telling me before I knew that it was time to cut back, I guess. Same goes for wine and other alcohol. Which is great, if I don’t want it I won’t miss it!

Energy:

My energy sort of comes and goes, but I definitely am much more tired than before. And it’s a different kind of tired, I’ll be doing something, and my body just sort of revolts and I need to go lay down RIGHT NOW. Which is annoying when I’m in the middle of cooking or playing with Squish or something, but Hulk has been amazing at stepping in to finish up what I was working on so I can go lay down.

Morning Sickness:

I just started getting it here and there. Mostly if I go too long without eating. I find that if I eat something substantial first thing in the morning (last week it was 2 hb eggs and a ton of water) then I’m good for a while.

Other Symptoms:

Bathroom breaks: pit stops are definitely more frequent.

Sore boobs: Ow. Not fun, and ’nuff said. You’re telling me they’re going to get BIGGER?!?

Light cramping: I’ve been getting a light achyness I feel now and then, especially when I’ve been sitting still for a really long time (hello, trans-continental flights!) It totally freaked me out at first until Dr. Google assured me it was a common symptom of everything growing and getting arranged down in there. I just don’t remember getting achy with Squish. Oh boy, something new!

Heartburn/Indigestion: Yup. It’s nuts. I’m popping Tums like I have stock in them.

 

Weight gain: I keep forgetting to weigh myself. Maybe 2 lbs?

Other Stuff:

Best moment: breaking the news to family and friends. We didn’t wait this time. I hate keeping secrets.

Worst moment: All the emotions! Bah! I’m a total nutcase right now. Yesterday I was bawling because I spaced out and slept through my first physical therapy appointment. I’ve also cried when Squish dumped a cup of milk on the rug (yes, literally crying over spilled milk), crying when I was late to brunch with some friends, and crying because someone sent me an email and I thought their tone was mean. I went from being a person who rarely cries to one you would think just watched that Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial every 20 minutes. Oh, those poor puppies. I’m tearing up again …

I’m also having to practice great restraint to not go out and start buying all sorts of baby stuff and maternity clothes. I’m just so excited, and now that I’ve been through it once already I’m, like, totally focused on what I need and how to get it. I just want to nest! Patience, grasshopper, patience!

Posted in Baby Update | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

More Randoms

Airport blogging once again! I’m just a few short hours away from home and the family, so here’s some random stuff to gear up for the weekend!

Apparently Minnesota hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s spring.

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So glad I’m headed to SF.

J. Crew has advertised a white linen blazer as “wear it 100′s of ways!” I can sure do that! Wear it with coffee, with pasta sauce, with mustard … Possibilities are endless!

I have to give a video interview for work today. Great, so now the whole company can see how horribly awkward I am in front of a camera.

I made an unintentional goal of eating at least 1 salad a day, and it’s actually working. It seems that goals I make on the fly always stick better than ones I plan out ahead of time.

That’s all have a happy Friday!;

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WIAW #4 – Thursday Edition

And it’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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Okay, that was actually Tuesday. It was sunny, 70 degrees, and totally gorgeous. I couldn’t get enough. Sorry I went all MIA yesterday. By the time I sat down to write, my brain was all, “Zzzzz” so I didn’t bother. Of course, my brain was asleep, but my internal clock was like, “Why are you going to bed at 6:30?” Now it’s all, “Why are you getting up at 2:30?” Just because, okay? Anyway, here is my WIAW for the week, a day late. Thanks to Jenn from Peas and Crayons for hosting!

The breakfast bar at the hotel has a tiiiiny bucket of spinach next to the eggs. I assume so health-conscious people can sprinkle a few leaves on their eggs and feel good about themselves. I dumped the entire contents of the bucket on my plate. My mantra lately has been, “gotta get my greens!”

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So, the cafeteria used to have a salad bar, which was my usual dining option for lunch. But a couple months ago they did away with it for a make-you-own-sandwich bar. Really? Now all the salads are pre-made iceberg monstrosities. Normally I haven’t been impressed, but I found this “vegetarian” salad hidden behind all the ones covered in cheddar cheese and decided to make it my own. Vegetables! Yay! I also added a couple of hb eggs.

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And the obligatory daily Justin’s AB pack, with a banana to wash it down.

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Okay, this was awesome. Seriously, the best dinner I’ve had here yet. Panko-crusted salmon on top of ratatouille. This was so many ways yummy, I just shoveled it in my mouth. The slice of salmon is probably the size of my face, and it allllll went into my face.

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Larabar dessert. Why not?

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Then I grabbed a couple (root) beers with my team. They guessed I was preggers pretty quick when they saw this.

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I guess my brain is not yet functioning, that’s all I can think of to say this morning. Go make it a great day!

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Time Zone Warp

Whyyy is it so early?!?

I’m on the east coast this week, meaning I’m 3 hours ahead where my body thinks I should be. I can wake up early for a workout normally with minimal difficulty, but when the alarm says 6:00 and your body thinks it’s 3:00, you have a bit of an, “are you serious?” rebellion brewing.

Whatever. We got it done.

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I’m in Pittsburgh, across from PNC Park where the Pittsburgh Pirates play. I forgot that it was the MLB season opener this week, meaning this usually dead part of the city is absolutely swarming with baseball fans. Like, my cab had a hard time driving to the hotel with all the partygoers flooding the streets. Oh, you got a win? Awesome, I’ve been traveling since 2am your time, lemme go to bed.

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On the bright side, I kind of took all the spinach at the hotel breakfast buffet.

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There are eggs under there, I swear.

In other news, it’s April Fools’ Day! I debated on texting Hulk that I’m pregnant, but that joke’s a bit bust. I should have saved the social medial announcement for today. That would have been awesome, in a sort of Andy Kaufman way.

But given that it is April 1st, I should roll out some goals for this month. You know, so I have something hanging over my head to give me additional anxiety to the average everyday pressures of life. Here’s what I’m doing:

April Goals!

  • No more candy/sweets. Just knock it off.
  • Pick a PMP certification training plan and register for the exam
  • Work out at least 4 days a week
  • Drink 4 water bottles a day

That may be a manageable list.

Time to get this party started. Go make it a great day, kids!

 

Posted in Day in the Life | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments