Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Life is good.
I guess I haven't been able to keep up as much as I thought I would, but better late than never.

In late July, I took a certification exam.  I believe I have mentioned studying for it a couple of times on the blog, but I was only 50% certain I would pass, so I pretty much felt defeated from the get-go and didn't want to blast it all out there that I was even making the attempt.

I signed up for this in late January, back when Little Tuesday was just barely randomly sleeping through the night.  Something must have clicked in my head at the time as thoughts became more coherent.  Either that, or I was still slightly insane thinking I can prepare for a test with only a roughly 50%-pass rate while still holding down my job and maintaining my new little family life.

A co-worker of mine leant me her study materials, so I slowly chipped away at them -- books, flash card, and practice exams randomly littered the house for five or so months.  I even bought a testing app, which proved to be very helpful when I was playing with my son or on-the-go.  Note that I did pretty poorly on the practice exams, so I wasn't feeling very good about the exam as it approached.

In early July, Pokémon Go came out.  Knowing the exam was coming, I was stressed, and that game paradoxically helped channel it but at the same time, took me away from studying a bit.  By then, though, most of the proverbial hay was already "in the barn," much like the point when you taper before a marathon.  The morning of the exam, I think I sat around hunting Pokémon before I walked into the testing center.

The actual exam was mind-boggling.  I'm the type of person who rarely ever takes the entire time allotment for a test, but I used every darn second of those three hours, even though I was telling myself that I should take a bathroom and snack break at some point.  Knowing they give you the result at the end, I sort of froze when I clicked "Submit..." though the next screen was actually a survey -- hah!  But even as the result did come up, I didn't trust it because it said "Preliminary."

Weeks later, I received this in my e-mail.  I finally got the certificate in the mail this week.

Why am I sharing all this?  Well, I think it's to explain my relative absence from here, in part, and also, it is one of the few tangible accomplishments I've made this year.  Well, besides keeping my husband, home, job, and raising a smart little boy.  Funny how easily those important things are relatively unacknowledged, isn't it?

Anyway, with that huge test burden off my back, I am definitely still feeling the burn out but enjoying reading more and thinking about what else I can tackle next.  Hah!  So much for "freedom!"


Speaking of "free," I'm still trying to catch up on my product reviews, and this one is very long overdue.  This ToiletTree Rechargeable Toothbrush has taken over my existing electric toothbrush for the past several months. 

I started using electric toothbrushes a couple of years ago because my dental visits kept ending in "you need to floss" when I already did nightly.  Since making the switch, I am not always on top of flossing but don't get such comments anymore, so they definitely do the job!  What I like about this one especially is that you don't need to attach it to a base.  In fact, since we still have the other brushes on the counter, it pretty much charges wirelessly off of those!  Pretty neat!

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of the ToiletTree Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush but was otherwise not compensated for providing a positive review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Milestone Pod

I'm back!  I miss the days when I had infinitely more time to blog, as it really is more fun to express myself in complete sentences than to scroll through social media where I generally default to "Emoji-glish." 

Growing up, writing was one of my favorite hobbies and an area in which I excelled at school.  In fact, I can probably attribute many of my life's decisions to my passion for writing.  Over time, I became too mentally drained to write (thanks, dissertation!), and then I started spending most of my days writing e-mails at work, which has comprised most of my written expression for many, many years outside of this blog. 

Anyway, I find myself struggling to write, even in this casual medium.  I have picked up in my reading again, which is no problem for me, but I guess it will take a while for that to translate into more coherent writing.  I'm pretty convinced that nobody wants to read coherent writing anymore, right??

Speaking of struggles, running has been a bit of a struggle for me since the half-marathon I was supposed to run in June had been postponed.  I have been getting myself out there just so I can catch more Pokémon, but those outings tend to be run/walks, which is probably not going to keep me in shape to sign on to the race when it is rescheduled.  We will see.

A downside to running with the Pokémon app is that I don't run my normal tracking apps on my phone, mostly because having one app on is distraction enough.  Frankly, I haven't really tried to see if it was actually possible, since my phone would probably die from the overload.  Luckily, it was time for me to review another Milestone Pod model, upgraded from last year.  I like the sleek design and its ability to attach to your laces without having to undo them.

Also, the new app is really stylish as well!  It generates a wealth of information, as you can see from the screen shots below.  It even asked me for the shoe I was using to run (go Stabils!!).

It is refreshing to see other metrics outside of distance and pace, and over time, I'll figure out how these actually tie into the quality of my runs since they remain relatively short for the time being until I need to ramp up again (hopefully) when my half-marathon is rescheduled.
For now, it's a great little tracker that I can use when I am unable to use my phone for tracking or don't have it on me.  It syncs up very quickly, as well.
FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July Highlights

Whew, it has been a long time since I've posted, and July is already nearing its close.

In a nutshell, I've been playing a lot of Pokémon Go this month (my computer just auto-corrected the "e" in there, wow!) since it came out in early July.  Since I downloaded this game, I've been more casual on my morning runs and taking the appropriate walk-breaks to catch the creatures I've known for... wow... close to two decades.  Running is excellent with this game, because before you know it, you've gone the 2k, 5k, or 10k needed to hatch eggs and hopefully encountered a lot of new Pokémon or PokeStops along the way.  Let's just say I hardly use the treadmill anymore, and I have a gnarly PokeTan now.

I should add that my playing has slowed way, way down over the past couple of weeks because I got what I wanted:
Right around the corner from my house!  It was meant-to-be!!

Anyway, I'm still on a strength-training kick.  I usually go to the gym for this, but when I can't/won't, I use these Performance Health Thera-Bands.  These things are pretty amazing -- they have multiple slots where you can anchor something (a door, yourself, etc.) so that you can customize the length/resistance of the band, unlike conventional resistance bands that have the handles built-in.  Also, you can step on them more securely than a tube-shaped version.  I've also been using them to stretch.

These would be excellent for travel (like I do that anymore, hah!) since they roll up into a pretty small ball.  They are also latex-free for anyone who is sensitive to that.

On the consumable goods front, I'm a bit behind in reviewing these things that came in the mail.  First up is the Skinny & Co coconut oil I received (pictured below, left, in a cute sample size).  It tastes and works like other coconut oils I have used, though I've been pouring coconut oil onto cotton pads to help with diaper rash (my son's, not mine!).  It' products are high-quality, raw, and wild-harvested, so definitely check them out if you are looking for a wide array of good coconut-based products. (Discount code: SKINNYCO15)

Fun fact: when Tuesday as born, we were using coconut oil in the hospital so that all those sticky first diapers weren't quite so sticky, and it worked!  However, the nurses frowned upon this since you never know about allergies, which is true, but if you're going to mess up, no better place than the hospital, I guess.

Finally, I got to try CitraGreen, which kind of reminds me of other fizzy tablets that I've tried during races.  It contains B-vitamins, electrolytes, and antioxidants, and is pretty tasty after being fizzed in cold water (which did turn a light green eventually after I took the picture).  I liked the flavor and would definitely pop in another tablet the next time I'm feeling run-down (which is... often!).  This is a good, affordable (~$12/pack of 10 tablets) alternative to my former latte habit.

Anyway, I should have more time to post now that I've crossed a major hurdle that has been on my back for the past few months.  I'll go into that more in my next post, which I'll commit to getting up soon!

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided samples of the aforementioned products to review but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review, so the opinions posted are my own.