Monthly Archives: January 2011

Just one Stomach Flu Away from My Goal Weight

Ok, for me it is probably more like ten or so stomach flus. This has to be my favorite line from a movie I never saw. It’s from The Devil Wears Prada and I just think it is absolutely perfect, it cracks me up everytime I think about it. The significance of this line to this blog post will become clear in just a bit…

As I wrote earlier this month one of my resolutions for 2011 was to get back on a program and lose some weight. I started out on the right foot, started running again, did a couple P90X workouts and also went to the gym a few times, then I got sick. Or at least I thought I was sick. I have this horrible habit of stopping all forms of exercise when I’m sick and it always takes weeks months for me to get back on the program.

About a week before I got sick I went to the Chinese new age center on S. New St. on the southside-I forget the name, I just call it Kim’s (it is related to Kim’s Healing Center in Easton)- and picked up some of that Bee Pollen I was joking about in that same post. It’s actually called ZI XIU TANG FACE AND FIGURE CAPSULE, and there’s a lot more in it than Bee Pollen. Yes, the same stuff my facebook friend takes that she claims makes you “go” a lot. Oh and this same facebook friend informed me that she was disappointed that I didn’t come up with a funny code name for her in my last blog post. Apparently “facebook friend” is not funny enough for her. So from here out I’ll refer to her as Orange Julius.

So any way…I figured, well it will be like a cleanse, cleanses are good right?

At first I thought this side effect OJ was experiencing was an allergic reaction she was having (people with bee allergies SHOULD NOT TAKE bee pollen supplements) as I didn’t notice any unusual gastrointenstinal “effects” at all. What I did notice was that I was not eating out of boredom, and on my first day I was really bored…this would usually be a trigger for me.

The second day was a Monday and I usually drink a TON of coffee on weekdays, both before work and all day at work. By 10AM I had to put the kibosh on the caffeine because it felt like my mind was racing and I was all twitchy and nervous. It takes a lot of caffeine to have this effect on me. I continue to drink coffee but in significantly lower amounts since I started taking the bee pollen (at most 2 cups a day, as opposed to say anywhere from 5-10 cups). Herbal mint tea has replaced my coffee for the most part at work.

I was also addicted to diet soda. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated, it just has to not be water. Not a fan of water. I make myself drink it at work, but rarely drink it at home. I just noticed that it has been about two weeks since I’ve had any considerable amount of diet soda-about the same amount of time that I’ve been taking these pills. The last time I stopped drinking diet soda it was a conscience decision and it took considerable effort and it only lasted about 3 months. I don’t even consider it as an option now. I wasn’t expecting this effect, but I like it! I’ve been told by others, and I can absolutely confirm, that the Bee Pollen suplements will make you very thirsty and you should drink a lot of water so this sudden preference for water over soda works out great!

Throughout the first week I continued to notice that my portions were getting smaller with no thought or effort and I was getting full quickly and not constantly getting cravings. I still had an occasional sweet tooth craving but considerably less frequently and found that it took a lot less sweets to satisfy it. Could this really be the bee pollen…or is it just the fiber that in the supplement? My energy level as similar to when taking 5 hour energy, and the Bee Pollen supplements do contain B vitamins. I’m still not completely convinced that the appetite control and energy I’ve noticed are any more than a placebo effect, but hey if it works who am I to question it? And so far so good with the lack of explosive bowl movements right?

Not so fast. After about 6 days, suddenly my stomach felt weird and for two days I thought I had food poisoning and/or a stomach flu (and not the vomiting kind-I just thought that picture was hysterical-Welcome to New Jersey…Ha!). I didn’t think it could be the Bee Pollen Supplements, even though this was an expected effect, because I hadn’t had any issues the prior 6 days. So I just spent the weekend thinking I was sick and then it went away. This is also when my exercise program went down the toilet, pun intended.

Then it came back (the stomach flu-like symptoms, not the exercise program). Not nearly as severe and not every day. So I get a facebook message from Orange Julius asking how the Bee Pollen was going and I mention that it felt like I had a stomach flu for a couple of days but it wasn’t until a week into taking the pills and it went away (for the most part) so I didn’t think it was the pills. And she replied “oh, that’s the pills alright.” So it IS true.

So then I immediately thought, “oh god, does this mean I’m bulimic? Have I turned into the type of person who says things like ‘I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight’?”

I decided to weigh myself to see if anything happened and if any of this was worth it. HOLY CRAP I LOST 10 pounds. About 5 of which were post-holiday pounds that I expected to drop rather quickly, another 2 post-P90X pounds that I put on after I stopped regularly using the program, but that still left me three pounds lighter than when I was on P90X!

But surely this must all be water weight and muscle that I lost right? My scale displays fat, muscle, and water mass percentages and after I stopped P90X my fat % started going up and my muscle % started coming down. But now my percentages were actually starting to reverse in the good direction and I haven’t completed a real workout in over a week.

So based on all of this, I’m learning to live with the “effects” of these bee pollen supplements. I’m just going to think of it as an on-going cleanse process and we’ll see what happens. OJ assures me it gets better.

I do intend to get back on the program with the exercise though. Especially now that I’m no longer addicted to Angry Birds.

Note: As always, I’m just sharing my personal experience and by no means am I recommending anyone to start taking these things.

Deleted App: Angry Birds Are Evil

I finally downloaded Angry Birds for my iPhone on Saturday. I originally had no intention of downloading it, I don’t have games on my phone because I already spend too much time staring at the thing…I don’t need more time wasters in my life. I already have Twitter for that.

I should have stuck with my gut.

I ended up getting Angry Birds because my husband got it. Big mistake. I can’t tell you how many hours of my life were wasted on this thing, in just four days. And not because I don’t know how many, because it would just be too damn embarrassing! I deleted it this morning along with all of its history so I can’t just reinstall and pick up where I left off.

Angry Birds = Pure Evil

evil

You have to be quick for these deals! Groupon & Living Social

If you are not familiar with Living Social or Groupon, get familiar quick. Living Social has a deal that expires at 8AM this morning for a $20 Amazon Gift Card for $10. You can get an iPhone app (search livingsocial) or go to their website here.

For Living Social I actually find that their iPhone app is much more user friendly than their website. Particularly if you live in the Lehigh Valley because they have a page set up for the LV but do not have deals and it is a little difficult to navigate away from the LV page if you provided your zip code. The link above should take you directly to the Amazon deal.

Today’s Groupon deal is a $37 facial at Apotheca salon, which I featured in this MOB Recommends post. That’s a 50% savings as well (51% actually), which is typical of Living Social and Groupon. Both services generally offer AT LEAST a 50% discount. You can sign up for Groupon here, using this link will earn me a referral bonus. Like Living Social they also have an iPhone app and I’ve redeemed Groupons in store without printing them, just show your iPhone and let the person checking you out see you push the “redeem” button.

These deals generally cannot be used with other discounts unless the terms specifically say they can.

All of the deals are available for only a limited time, usually one day although Groupon will offer some previous deals as “side deals” for an extra day or two, but not all deals are extended this way so it is best to buy on the first day.

I particularly love Groupon because they usually offer deals for local merchants. You can also easily check out deals in other cities using the iPhone app. I regularly check the deals in Philadelphia and New York and then usually check a few others cities at random for two reasons.

1) To see if another city has a national deal that day (for example for an online store). It seems that if the local Groupon rep doesn’t have a local merchant set up that day they fill the slot with a national deal.

2)  Sometimes the offerings in other cities make me chuckle. For example one day in the last week or so the deal for Anchorage Alaska was for tanning sessions. I’m easily amused sometimes.

So go check out these deals, hope you saw this in time for the Amazon gift card!

Shopping updates: Sales and Closings

Haven’t written in a while…have a couple of ideas for posts but one of them requires me to take some pictures so I’m waiting for the weekend, about the only time I have access to daylight these days!

Also, there haven’t been a whole lot of new sales that I’ve been excited about…at least not enough to share.

But today I did see that Cleo’s on 3rd St., South Bethlehem is having a 25% off the entire store this week (Jan 13-22). This is a nice shop with jewelery, gifts and home decor. If you have had your eye on something or haven’t checked this place out yet, now would be the time.

Also, don’t forget that RunKeeper Pro is still available on iTunes for free until the end of this mont! It’s usually $9.99 so its a great deal. Even if you don’t run you should consider getting this app. It also tracks walks, biking, skiing, wheelchair, skating, and rowing.  No swimming, at least not until they make a waterproof iPhone. If you aren’t doing any of these things…you really should be….why not track your activity and see your progress over time?

Also, I’ve been reading about the legal troubles of Richard Leidich, who was the proprietor of Bergy’s, that is until he was charged with embezzling $99,000 from the Blue Mountain Community Library in Pen Argyl. So, Bergy’s  is closed. What the heck is Bergy’s you ask? It’s an old country store in the Wassergass. Wassergass? That is a section of Lower Saucon east of Hellertown, that connects to Bucks county to the south.

I write about Bergy’s basically because of childhood memories. When I had pet rabbits (which was during much of my childhood) I remember going to Bergy’s for their feed, and I always felt I was stepping back in history, like the store looked the same in then as it did when it opened (back in 1903). I also had friends in Wassergass growing up and we’d occasionally stop in. It’s one of those places you always hope to see make it. This isn’t the first time it has closed, I hope to see it come back again.

If anyone has any Bergy’s memories or history to share I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Sales and In-store Events

Quick update on some interesting sales and in-store events.

Chit Chat: This consignment clothing store is closing at the end of the month and they’ve been running a sale. They are also going to be selling off some of the fixtures (furniture) etc. This place is furnished quite nicely so that may actually be something interesting to check out. Haven’t heard if another tenant is lined up yet. Will keep you posted.

Potterybarn/Potterybarn Kids: I’m trying to figure out what to do with all these toys that my daughter has from Christmas and her Birthday, which is conveniently (not) just a week before Christmas. Potterybarn Kids has some nice storage stuff 20% off this month (great timing). I’ve been hoping to find something antique/vintage instead, but these are tempting because they are created specifically with toy storage in mind, yet are nice pieces of furniture on their own. Potterybarn has an extra 15% clearance (on-line and in-store) off through Monday, definitely worth checking out.

Milk and Honey Kids: I received an email that they are having a Valentine’s event in their Allentown store on February 5th from 1-4. There will be a fashion show with cupcakes and “mocktails” and manicures and updo’s from Studio Two for the girls. Click here for details and a $5 off coupon that appears to be good at either their Bethlehem or Allentown location. They have really cute clothes and toys, but be prepared for the prices. For me this is a great place to get special gifts but for everyday I don’t typically spend this kind of money on clothes that kids either ruin or grow out of too quickly.

Kohl’s: Speaking of great gifts, Kohl’s always has these great books and coordinated stuffed animals for $5 and the proceeds go to Kohl’s Cares children’s charities. Right now the theme is Eric Carle (The Hungry Caterpillar). The animals are beautiful, just like his books, and you can’t beat the price. One book, one animal, 10 bucks and it looks like easily a $30 gift. Especially great if your kid is in daycare and gets invited to a lot of Birthday parties.

It is also time for the 15%, 20%, or 30% sale for Kohl’s cardholders. I got my stinking 20% coupon last week. I hardly ever get the coveted 30% coupon. Just a FYI you can’t use these coupons on the Kohl’s Care’s products, one of the few exceptions on Kohl’s coupons, but it’s for charity and they are a great deal already so this is just fine by me.

Season’s Olive Oil & Vinegar Tap Room: This great shop on Main St. in Bethlehem has some special products and events inspired by Valentine’s Day. There is a yummy sounding Strawberry Balsamic that is only available for a limited time, a cooking class showing how to make sweet treats with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars (of course!), and a special Valentine’s Gift Pack with dark chocolate and strawberry balsamic vinegars and Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sounds yummy. Details here. My own tip: the dark chocolate balsamic is great with strawberries over vanilla ice cream (yum!).

Happy shopping and in-store eventing! If you have any you would like to share please add a comment!

As always, I try to represent sales and events accurately however please always check with the retailer for details. I am not responsible for anything!

Bucket List Update – America On Wheels is AWESOME

I was able to knock one thing off of my Lehigh Valley Bucket List this week and WOW was I impressed! I volunteered at the America On Wheels museum this week and while it’s pretty much in the middle of one of the crappiest areas of Allentown this place is amazing.

I have always heard that I would be impressed going here so I went in with high expectations and was still blown away. The exhibits and layout are amazing, Smithsonian-quality even. It was closed to the public, I was there to help take down Christmas decorations (mine still are not all put away at home-oops), so I was able to enjoy it almost all to myself. Planning to go back soon to get a better look as most of the lights were out to conserve energy while they were closed, so some of the rooms with less windows were a bit dark.

The current temporary exhibit is The British Invasion and it is only in town until the end of this month. I loved it-great selection of cars. Check out this beautiful Austin Healey:

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Rest in Peace Major Winters: PA Hero Deserves Medal of Honor

If you have seen Band of Brothers you know Major Richard Winters, the hero the HBO series was based on. I just found out today that he died on January 2 at the age of 92. He was a private man so his death was not announced until after his funeral. Based on his age, this news was not surprising, but nonetheless sad.

The other thing I learned today however was very surprising, to me anyway, and also very sad. Major Winters never received a Medal of Honor, and now his only chance unfortunately is posthumous recognition. Based on the kind of person Major Winters was, I’m sure this bothers me more than it ever bothered him. (He did receive the second top honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, a Purple Heart, and two Bronze Stars.)

Winters was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and lived most of his life in Hershey. He died in an assisted living facility in Palmyra.

If you would like show your support for Major Winters please consider signing this on-line petition: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Winters/

You can also contact your U.S. Senator and Representative and encourage them to vote for initiative, H.R. 796.

If you have never experienced Band of Brothers I highly recommend it. It is a WWII documentary like no other. Even if you are not a WWII documentary person, this is an amazing story. You can also learn more about Major Winters in his memoir: Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, which I plan to pick up sooner rather than later.

Read his obituary here. And there is also a website dedicated to him here.