Posts Tagged ‘opinion’

365great Day 224: yoga

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 224: yogaFor the longest time I meant to take yoga classes and when I finally did, it did not disappoint. It’s amazing how something so simple, slow, and low-key could work you out so well. Yoga builds strength while somehow making you more limber. You can practice it just about anywhere and when you’ve gotten good you can do all kinds of cool poses like this one my friend’s holding. Yoga is also very much about your mind and I’ve always found it to be a peaceful activity that is relaxing yet rejuvenating. Through precise, controlled movements and deep, careful breaths, I manage to improve a bit each time. I can get a great workout in without ever breaking a sweat!

Window or aisle?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and in my flight back to LA not long ago, I had an aisle seat for the first time in ages. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a window seat. I always get a window seat. But, since I was given an exit row seat I figured it would be nicer than cramped in a normal aisle by the window, right? Little did I know how uncomfortable it would be for me to not be able to look outside. As it turns out, being able to stare blankly at the clouds, towns, and landscapes going by is actually really important to me. So that makes me wonder: do you prefer the window seat or aisle seat? (I’m assuming most people wouldn’t go for the center seat.)

row of airplane seats in set of three

I’m all about the windows because I love looking out. I don’t mind being squished in a small space and I rarely need to get up to move around or use the restroom. If the flight is around 5 hours or less, I almost never get up. It’s only on more long-distance (typically international) flights that I would get up. Plus, I love having the wall to lean on.

Meanwhile, Panda is an aisle seat kind of guy. He prefers the extra space to spread out a little and the freedom to get up as he pleases. He doesn’t mind not seeing out and when in first class, he gets to choose his meal earlier!

So what about you? Do you always sit in a window or aisle seat? Or do you like the center seat??

Graze snacks (two more boxes)

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been awhile since I last wrote about the Graze boxes I’ve been getting! I’m knee-deep in them now and have slowed down my deliveries to anywhere from 2-4 weeks. I’m starting to get bored of them so I think I might discontinue my subscription (or keep pushing back deliveries).

Graze is $5 per delivery (you choose the frequency of deliveries) and comes with four pre-proportioned, nutritionally-balanced snacks. Choose from the regular nibblebox or the low calorie caloriecounterbox with a default frequency of every 2 or 4 weeks. You can always increase or decrease the weeks between deliveries to fit your needs, thereby effectively “skipping” weeks as you please. They offer a referral code and link program that gives your referral their 1st and 5th boxes free and earns you $1 off your next box (or you can choose to donate it).

Here are boxes 5 and 6 that I received:

my fifth graze box with fruit & seed flapjack, eton mess, herby bread basket, and eleanor's apple crumble

My fifth Graze box with nutritional info.

graze fruit & seed flapjackThe Fruit & Seed Flapjack came before I realized I just don’t like flapjacks that much. I’ve since chosen trash for all the variations so I don’t get them. These are still sitting around waiting to be eaten. I might end up putting them out for the birds and squirrels to nibble on. Or, if I can convince Panda to take them to work as a snack that would work too! Verdict: TRASH.

graze eton messEton Mess has these super fun little meringue bites. I love how crisp and fluffy they are. The almond slices are a nice way to offset the sweetness of the rest of this snack. I wouldn’t go crazy over these but I’d definitely munch on it every once and awhile. Verdict: TRY.

graze herby bread basketOh yes, now this is what I’m talking about. The Herby Bread Basket has crunchy bits of bread and it’s a savory selection. I love a good salty snack (that does not involve nuts) and I love bread, so this is a good combo of those two things. This is not my favorite of the salty snacks but it’s one I’m always happy to eat. Verdict: LIKE.

graze eleanor's apple crumbleIt’s funny, I don’t generally like dried apple but I find the super soft texture of these to be fun to chew versus those crisp bags of dried apple slices. Eleanor’s Apple Crumble pairs the soft apple with crunchy almonds and chewy raisins for a wide range of textures. This one can get a bit sweet for me, but I can see myself eating it infrequently. Verdict: TRY.

my fifth graze box with mississippi bbq pistachios, tropical daiquiri, my thai, and poached pear

My sixth Graze box with nutritional info.

You know, I can’t quite remembering eating the Mississippi BBQ Pistachios. I’ve never been super into pistachios but I will eat them so this was one of those that’s enjoyable enough. I do like the unique flavor since I usually just have plain pistachios. Verdict: TRY.

I actually liked the Tropical Daiquiri more than I expected. It seems that I can really get into this whole dried fruit thing. Still, I don’t want to get it too often. Verdict: TRY.

I got the My Thai in my first box and I still enjoy it. I’m a sucker for the crunchy soy and the sauce! Verdict: LOVE.

The Poached Pear is a nice mix of soft and crunchy bits. It’s a nice sweet/fragrant snack but I’m just not that into nuts. I’ll give it a chance though! Pumpkin seeds are supposed to be good for you right? Verdict: TRY.

How lucky you are

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

red, black, brown, and gold cross stitch pattern with chinese character and good fortune messageOptimism begets positive things. Time and time again, this theme has come up and I keep reading articles and even hearing of studies where luck becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you expect good things to happen, you tend to act in ways that allow more good things to happen. It’s like a cycle that feeds into itself. This is not to say you can’t be lucky without trying, but to be consistently so I do believe it takes effort on your part to believe it and open yourself to possibilities. In many ways you are creating your own luck just by the way you approach the world. The good thing (for me) is I’ve always considered myself to be lucky, which is probably why I’ve been quite lucky all these years.

One thing that I think is very true about optimistic/lucky people is that they tend to notice things more (which in turn opens the doors of opportunity more).  As seen in a 20/20 episode, an experiment showed how people who considered themselves lucky were much more likely to notice stray money on the sidewalk.  It’s not that the opportunities aren’t there for “unlucky” people – it’s just that they don’t notice them, or they don’t take action on them.

Awhile ago I experienced something similar: I was walking along in Georgetown when I noticed a girl pass by me almost too fast for me to recognize.  Most people probably wouldn’t have noticed, and we’d have gone about our days none the wiser.  However, I did recognize her, though she was halfway down the block by the time I reasoned that I wasn’t just imagining things.  I reached out to her online to confirm the sighting and we ended up meeting up for dinner that night.  It had been 10 years since we last saw each other, and now here we were running into each other in a city neither of us had lived in before.

I previously wrote about another example from my own life about a time I felt lucky, when really a lot of it had to do with pure optimism that I could get my way and make things work out.  Most people will tell you when they win something that they never win anything, which is true enough.  I hear this a lot on the radio, and it makes me smile to think of all the things that I’ve won!  When I look carefully, pretty much everything I won was because of determination and effort, not luck.  So in this way, I’ve created my own luck time and time again.  I’m no luckier than anyone else; all you have to do is believe in yourself and pursue your goal.

The click

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

canvas logoYou know when you hear something – a philosophy or idea – that just clicks with you? It strikes you to your core, makes you nod subconsciously, and might even put a smile on your face. I’ve been getting that lately with Canvas, my new employer! I love their approach to business, I love what their product/service provides, and I love getting to know my coworkers. It’s surreal in a sense and I keep wondering how in the world I deserve to be here… am I really good enough? I must be since they hired me and I did feel really confident throughout the interview process; I did a ton of research and know so much about the company, its products/services, and even its people. But still, every time I think about what a great match we are, I am amazed that I am here. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Today I had a day of training with some other noobs; I learned a lot and it also reinforced my values. That feeling just can’t be replaced. When your values and goals align so well with your company’s you know you’re in the right place. I found myself loving it when we went over the Canvas Way and how the “why” of what we do is far more important than the “how” or “what” (not that you don’t need those too). That’s exactly the approach I’m trying to use when I describe Canvas to people – it’s not just a company that transforms paperwork into digital forms. Oh no, Canvas is a company revolutionizing the way businesses operate by streamlining processes and removing inefficiencies because (and here’s the Canvas why) “we believe that by helping organizations and individuals share information, we can radically transform how people around the globe connect.”

I mean, think about it: when you are able to collect and share data in real time you save time and energy. No more data entry just to get information on paper forms into a database! When you are able to dynamically capture information beyond what paper allows (like pictures, GPS coordinates, and barcodes) you become more effective.  No need to upload pictures and add them to files. No more confusion about where a service technician was at a certain time. No more calculating the wrong price of a part or forgetting what was fixed/replaced. All this information and more can be quickly captured and stored in the cloud. No more lost forms! Beyond all this, Canvas is a fantastic solution for consumers too. In fact, I plan on using it when I move to the new condo so I can track where all my stuff is with pictures to ensure I can find exactly what I want.

Ah, but I digress. What I really wanted to say is that I am really excited about this position and how my role within the company will change and grow. I believe wholeheartedly in their philosophies and approach to how they operate. It’s a wonderful feeling when you’re empowered and encouraged and challenged. I haven’t really felt that sort of motivation from my self-employment. It’s definitely time for me to get back into the work force and do all that I can to push Canvas forward!

Need for social connection

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

Working from home is hard. Not only do you have to keep yourself motivated and on track despite all the distractions, you get isolated from people. I mean, sure it’s great to connect with people online, but nothing can truly replace sitting across from someone as you chat over cups of tea or share a delicious meal. That’s one of the reasons I’m rejoining the workforce, in addition to seeking greater learning and growth opportunities.

sitting on ground working on laptop

Just me and the laptop…

These days I find myself getting antsy around 4 PM – I’ve done a lot of my work for the day and I’m seeking a break, but nobody’s around. Sometimes I’ll have a snack but sometimes I kind of forget and just wait until dinnertime to eat. I start looking out the window as neighbors begin arriving home from their day of work and wonder when Panda will be pulling in. He’s pretty much the only person I am consistently in touch with and definitely the only one I spend time with in person. Sure, I’ll call my parents or email/text my friends, but I don’t really know anyone out here so there’s nobody to meet up with. When it’s just me and the laptop, I often wish that I had my cats with me – they’re always entertaining! However, they’d be a distraction so I guess I shouldn’t be playing with them. Instead, why not get the interaction I want by doing work together with others??

I’m really looking forward to getting back into an office so I can make new friends, get to know my coworkers, work towards a common goal of growing the company, and get more interaction overall. Nothing can quite replace being in the same physical environment (unless you have some complex video-chatting stream between all users, then maybe). Plus, it’s good to get out every day and move around. There have been days where I didn’t breathe a single breath of fresh air since I just stayed indoors on my laptop the entire time. It’s easy to start to get disconnected from the world.

Of course, I still love my online life and it’s so cool to be making blogger friends. I definitely plan on continuing with that, but it’s something that can easily be a hobby I do at night and on the weekends. I don’t have to work on it for 40 hours a week (though I certainly could) and I think it’d be a nice complement to the work I would do during the day at a workplace. I’d get a nice mix of interacting with people on the phone, in person, and online. I’m ready for that!

7 Ways Shingles is like Menstruating

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I couldn’t help myself; I hope you don’t find this to be TMI or inappropriate, but I’ve been marveling at how having shingles is quite like getting your period. My fiance is recovering from it now and if it weren’t for the ugliness of the outbreak, I’d wish every man had to go through it just to understand what women put up with.

shingles in its early stage when it seemed like a heat rash

At first we thought it was a heat rash. I’ll spare you a look at how it looks now.

1. Shingles makes your back and belly hurt

Ah yes, that all-too-familiar feeling of a sore back, sore belly, and sometimes even sore other parts. Every month I get the pleasure of that achiness in my core muscle region and now he’s feeling it too. His back, his front, his sides… sore, sore, sore! In addition to the aches and pains in the muscles is the ache in the belly. Occasionally I’ve gotten it so bad that I can barely stand. His seem to keep him from standing too tall.

2. Shingles makes you feel weak

Shingles usually hits because your immune system was already weakened by stressors to your body, so you’re bound to feel weaker as your body fights it off and tries to recover from the stress that caused it in the first place. Similarly, I feel more tired and even lightheaded during my cycle. Perhaps I haven’t been eating enough, but lately I’ve had quite the case of vertigo.

3. Shingles makes you sleep and shower more carefully

Not only are the blistering rashes painful, as they heal, some of the fluid in the blisters is likely to ooze out (yeah, gross). You want to be careful showering so you don’t burst them all and get bad scarring plus more pain and you want to be careful sleeping since pressure on the blisters will cause them to leak more. Similarly, I’ve got to be more cautious with how I sleep and shower so I don’t make a mess too.

4. Shingles can give you a headache and make you feel sick

As if pain and achiness weren’t enough, you’re more vulnerable to getting headaches and flu-like symptoms. Of course this varies by person, but who wants to get sick sick on top of this illness? While my period usually comes and goes without incident, I’ve definitely had to deal with illness through some of them and it’s pretty miserable.

5. Shingles makes you grumpy

Ok, this might just be a byproduct of all the discomfort and pain, but I’ve definitely heard a lot more complaining, moaning, and groaning from him. Kind of reminds me of my moody self. 😉

6. Shingles can be eased with pills

You can take medicine to help you get over shingles, and of course you can also take medicine to ease the pain. Similarly, there are pills designed just for women’s periods and you can take pain medication depending on your need.

7. Nobody wants to know you have shingles

Or it will gross them out. Though, now that I think of it, maybe it’s more accurate that nobody wants to share that they have shingles. Like I said at the beginning, this might be TMI (too much information). People often skirt around things like menstrual cycles and other bodily functions. Shingles is kind of one of those things that people would probably just rather pretend you don’t have. However, I think it’s important for people who haven’t had chickenpox and weren’t vaccinated to know, though it only seems to matter with close contact. After all, you don’t want to catch it too! That’s not the same reason that people don’t want to know you’re on your period, but nevertheless they would rather not know.

So what do you think? Do symptoms of shingles remind of your own monthly challenges? Have you ever had shingles or known someone who has?

Graze snacks (next two boxes)

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You can learn more about the background of Graze in my first post about the boxes I received. As I post more reviews up, you can find them under the graze tag.

Graze is $5 per delivery (you choose the frequency of deliveries) and comes with four pre-proportioned, nutritionally-balanced snacks. Choose from the regular nibblebox or the low calorie caloriecounterbox with a default frequency of every 2 or 4 weeks. You can always increase or decrease the weeks between deliveries to fit your needs, thereby effectively “skipping” weeks as you please. They offer a referral code and link program that gives your referral their 1st and 5th boxes free and earns you $1 off your next box (or you can choose to donate it).

my third graze box with cracking black peppercorn, honeycomb flapjack, garden of eden, and bonnie wee oatbakes

My third Graze box with nutritional info.

graze cracking black peppercorn collageAs soon as I saw the Cracking Black Peppercorn, I had to dive in with them. I loved the crispness and the slight kick from the pepper. The shape and size of these crackers makes it easy to chomp down and I easily could have eaten much, much more. Verdict: LOVE.

I totally forgot to take an individual photo of the Honeycomb Flapjacks. I was disappointed in getting so many flapjacks right off the bat, so I haven’t even tried these yet. Just looking at them makes me feel fuller. They seem very dense and I doubt I could eat more than a bite or two. Verdict: TRASH.

graze garden of edenGarden of Eden was a nice blend of apple, strawberry, and blackcurrant. The varying levels of sweetness were nice and the different chewiness was a good mix too, ranging from sticky to soft. I don’t always want a sweet snack like this, but when I want a fruity mix this is one I quite enjoy. Verdict: LIKE.

graze bonnie wee oatbakesAt first glance, the Bonnie Wee Oatbakes didn’t look that appetizing. However, once I actually got to tasting them, I was surprised that they were pretty good! The oatbakes on their own would probably be too bland for me, but the caramelized onion marmalade they included was an excellent dip to use with the oatbakes. Pairing a mostly tasteless cracker with a strongly flavored dip resulted in a harmonious combo! I also liked that the oatbakes weren’t too hard. Verdict: TRY (since I don’t think I’d want it frequently enough for it to be rated a like).

my fourth graze box with sweet goan curry crackers, hickory smoked nuts & seeds, summer berry flapjack, and hot cross yum

My fourth Graze box with nutritional info.

graze sweet goan curry crackersOnce again, I was happy to see more rice crackers. The Sweet Goan Curry Crackers are sweeter than the black peppercorn ones I love so much, but they are tasty in their own right, with the fragrance of curry. I like the My Thai and Cracking Black Peppercorn more, but these still get a verdict: LOVE.

graze hickory smoked nuts & seedsHickory Smoked Nuts & Seeds were pretty boring to me since I don’t really like nuts or seeds. This combination was meh to me – I mean, it’s a good mix but it is inherently filled with food I’m not excited about. I didn’t even eat it all. Since then, they’ve actually taken this off their menu of options; perhaps most people felt the same as me. Verdict: TRASH.

graze summer berry flapjackOf all the flapjack flavors I got, Summer Berry Flapjack looks most promising, though I’m afraid I’d find it too sweet. So, yet again I’ve let it sit around and don’t want to open it since I know I wouldn’t finish it. Verdict: TRASH (but I might change to like after trying it, if it tastes anything like I imagine).

graze hot cross yumFinally, there’s Hot Cross Yum, which includes cinnamon almonds, raisins, and “sponge pieces.” The raisins are orange-infused, which is pretty cool. I guess I would call the sponge pieces cookies – they’re rather porous but still crisp. The combination of all these was interesting, but not amazing so I giving it a verdict: TRY.

This time around I found some more delicious snacks that I really like, and continued learning the lesson that I should have been harsher with my original ratings of these since I’ve gotten too many that I don’t like enough. In fact, I just went through and trashed a bunch that don’t seem very appealing – I’ll change them back to try one by one, once I’ve tried all the other ones that look good.

Time disconnect

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“Holy cow, is it really [insert day of week]?!”

This happens to me just about every single day. Call it the life of the self-employed/entrepreneur/stay-at-homer. Every day is mostly the same to me – there is no such thing as a weekday vs. weekend. I work daily, unless I have plans to go do something, so it really doesn’t matter much what day of the week it is. And so it is that I often find myself disconnected with the rest of the world in that way. I don’t hate Mondays nor do I look forward to Fridays the same way a “typical” worker might.

calendar page from the world's most super-amazing 100% awesome cat calendar for 2014

Without a calendar, I’d be lost.

Perhaps I need to build more of a weekly structure, but it doesn’t make sense to take time off when I’m really trying to build something. I’m certainly not wearing myself out and I get plenty of rest and play daily; in fact, you could say I go through an entire week each day: there’s the waking up in the morning and trying to get a rhythm going (Monday), getting back into things (Tuesday), starting to feel an afternoon slump (Wednesday – “Hump Day”), recovering a bit as my day looks like it’s ending (Thursday), and feeling good that I’m nearly done with my day’s work (Friday). Usually my “weekend” is sort of sandwiched in between the other moments, though sometimes it ends up being no more than the time that I sleep.

Since I don’t watch TV or read the newspaper, the only way I can really stay in tune is based off whether Panda is home or not, but I’ve been staying with my mom more and she works from home too…  but hey, is it really that important that I always know what day it is? I could just check my phone’s calendar and in the long run, it doesn’t affect me much, so I’m perfectly fine forgetting the days sometimes. What about you? Would it drive you crazy if you didn’t have a distinct weekday and weekend? Or do you meander through the weeks and months without a strong sense of time like me?

Graze snacks (first two boxes)

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Now that I’m four boxes in with a fifth on the way, I think it’s time to share with you some of the snacks that have been coming in my Graze boxes. If you aren’t familiar with Graze, they send little packs of nutritionally-balanced snacks and offer a rating system so you can influence what you get – read more here. When I first started, I put everything in the Try, Like, or Love categories. I wanted to be open to all the snacks they have, so I didn’t choose Trash just yet. Now that I’ve had a few boxes, I wish I had been a little more stringent with my requirements; I’ve gotten three different types of flapjacks when one would have been enough to try out!

Graze is $5 per delivery (you choose the frequency of deliveries) and comes with four pre-proportioned snacks. Choose from the regular nibblebox or the low calorie caloriecounterbox with a default frequency of every 2 or 4 weeks. You can always increase or decrease the weeks between deliveries to fit your needs, thereby effectively “skipping” weeks as you please. They offer a referral code and link program that gives your referral their 1st and 5th boxes free and earns you $1 off your next box (or you can choose to donate it).

my first graze box with my thai, lightly toasted pistachios, super berry detox, and apple & cinnamon flapjacks

Here’s what I got in my first box, complete with nutritional information.

graze my thaiThe first item I went for was the My Thai, which is a couple of crunchy baked soy bites that have a sweet glaze on them. You dip them in the sweet chili sauce for a delicious treat. I gobbled right through them and wished the portion was bigger! Verdict: LOVE.

graze lightly toasted pistachiosThen I tried the pistachios even though I’m not super into them. These were quite tasty and I did enjoy them, though I’m not sure it’s worth the price tag since it’s something I can easily get elsewhere. I had some fun with these and dipped them in the sweet chili sauce meant for My Thai. I love sweet and salty! Verdict: TRASH (but I will switch back to try or like when it’s been long enough).

graze super berry detoxAfter a few days, I decided to crack open the Super Berry Detox. While it looked cool, for some reason it just didn’t appeal to me. Once I finally tasted it, I found it to be too sweet for my taste. I can see myself adding this to some bland food I have trouble eating alone, but a mouthful of this is super sweet! Strange because I love candy. Verdict: TRASH.

graze apple & cinnamon flapjack Finally, I got around to tasting the flapjacks. I’m not really familiar with flapjacks and these looked super dense. I was totally right – very dense stuff. These were also a bit too sweet for my taste and just half of one of the sticks (there are three in there) was enough to fill me. I probably should have changed the other flavors of flapjacks to trash once I got these, but now I have two other flavors to try. I think I’m going to need some help with those. Verdict: TRASH.

graze napkin

Hidden underneath all the snacks is a little napkin.

my second graze box with toffee apple, olive & rosemary bruschetta, cookies & cream, and tutti frutti

My second Graze box with nutritional info.

graze toffee appleI love toffee, so I was excited to try this. While I’ve never been crazy about apples, lately I’ve found I really enjoy dried apple slices. This was a nice snack, with a hint of tartness from the Granny Smith apple slices combined with the gooey sweetness of the toffee dip. I do want to try others before circling back to this, so my final verdict: LIKE.

graze olive & rosemary bruschettaI’m starting to realize that I tend to prefer the salty snacks for whatever reason. Perhaps because they are generally crispy and I love a good crunch. I liked the herbs they used and the fragrant, yet savory flavor of this snack. I’d definitely eat more. Verdict: LIKE.

graze cookies & creamAt first I was hesitant about this one. It didn’t look that appealing to me and I wasn’t sure about the nuts. But once I took a bite, I found myself rather enjoying the odd combination of sweet and salty and chewy and crunchy. This is definitely a very unique blend and I’d eat it again. Verdict: LIKE.

graze tutti fruttiOnce again a bunch of dried fruits, but this time the pineapple slices were a nice change. They weren’t nearly as sweet as other dried fruits and I liked the larger pieces that I could chew easier. I had no trouble finishing this one, but I want to try out some of their other offerings before circling back. Verdict: TRASH (only until I’ve tried most of their other snacks).

All in all my first two boxes were pretty good! They’re still learning what I like and really I’m still learning what I like.

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