Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Men: Chris Jacobs

Name: Christopher Jacobs
Best Known For: Co-Host of Overhaulin' on TLC
Year of Birth: 1970
Status: Single
Height: ?
Fun Fact: Law school graduate

I like seeing things remade; people, houses, rooms, even cars. If there is virtually nothing else on the tube I might catch an episode of Overhaulin'. I haven't watched in at least a year, but I was watching the other day and heard one of the sexiest voices. It was Chris. And his looks lived up to the voice. Now I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze in a few more episodes. :)

Here is a Getty Images Photo because I really don't like the one featured at IMDb.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chocolate: Caffarel Eccellenza Piemontese...

Puro Cioccolato Extra-Fondente Cacao 70%

That's a mouthful! I went off to read a couple of reviews of Caffarel and learned a bit about the brand. Their Fondente doesn't contain milk, which makes for a bitter chocolate. While I'm all for trying out the dark, I've found my favorite darks have some milk. So not my favorite. To be fair the bottom of the package does say 70% bitter chocolate. No picture, though I looked.

B has taken to buying me chocolate he finds at this store near where he works. It is nice because I won't go off and buy chocolate myself much anymore :( He usually gets something I haven't tried that's on sale because that hard core stuff can be expensive.

I wanted to direct you to this interesting bit from Candy Blog. It is one of the Caffarel reviews but somewhere in the middle Cybele, the blogger, talks about chocolate bloom with some handy tips for avoiding it. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Books: Puzzles

I really enjoy books that add other activities that I enjoy. I love puzzles so I've been particularly drawn to books that have puzzles. I mean real puzzles.

The first book I encountered was Maze, by Christopher Manson. It is a book that challenges you to work through the pages by following the numbers. If you figured it out and sent in the solution you were eligible to win $10,000. It is somewhat hard to describe, but someone created a website that takes you through the process. Wikipedia also gives a pretty good description as well as the solution.

The second book I received was Ruby by Colin Thompson. This book was more like an I Spy in which you solve the puzzle by looking for numbers and letters to make up the license plate of a car named Ruby. Finding the right information (the license number plus the answers to three questions) and sending it in gave you Ruby, a vintage Austin Seven Car. Information about the winner and the author can be found here.

The third book I acquired was A Treasure's Trove by Michael Stadther. This book was extremely popular as twelve valuable jewels were the prize and they were hidden in twelve separate areas in the United States. There used to be complete sites dedicated to the search for the jewels that seem to be no longer available. Once the "hunt" was over an official solution book was released.

Stadther has since released Secrets of the Alchemist Dar, another treasure hunting book boasting $2 million in jewels. According to what I can find on Wiki the book remains unsolved and the hunt seems to have been suspended.

I am not enough of a puzzler to have solved any of these books, but there was a lot of fun in trying.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TV: Next Year?

Apparently, it's coming. Network announcements of what's staying and what's going. I'm pleased about Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer, and Ugly Betty likely staying. I'm unhappy about possibly losing Reaper. I'm not that unhappy about losing Eleventh Hour. I wasn't feeling it (and neither were many others.)

So what is on the fence? Medium, Dollhouse, and Chuck. Love, love, love Medium. I don't know how they could even think of replacing it. Dollhouse has turned out to be very interesting. I'd like to see how it develops. I still love Chuck, but I can see how it is really hard to keep the idea fresh.

You might want to take a look at where your shows lie. Ain't It Cool has the scoop.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Miscellaneous: The Diet

If you regularly read my blog (there's just one of you out there, right?) you have likely noticed several references to a "diet" or weightloss. It started with a trip to the doctor last year. Some of you may be the type to visit your doctor all the time. Any twinge and you think you have one week to live. Others may avoid the doctor like the plague. I don't fit into either category. I collect several twinges, make the appointment, and have the doctor take care of it all at once. Sort of like a tune-up.

So my tune up included: borderline hypertension, high cholesterol (the bad kind, people), and low levels of vitamin D. I was also just over the BMI for my height. My doctor (she's so good!) threw a fit and ordered a low cholesterol/low salt 1800 calorie diet, mega doses of vitamin D, and exercise. Being the good little patient, I immediately made changes.

Here I am 8 months later, new blood work, and all my levels are right where they should be. Granted I could fine tune some of the numbers and get them to "optimal" instead of just "within normal range" but I think I done good.

The big question always is "What diet did you go on?" Well, here's the thing. It isn't a diet diet, like eat only grapefruit or no carbs. It's this IS your diet (food intake). I changed the way I eat. The basics are 9 grains, 4 fruits, 2 vegetables, 2 milk, 6 protein, and no more than 6 fats (servings) a day. And exercise.

My grains are whole grain, high fiber (if possible). This includes breads, noodles, and cereals. Favorites are Orowheat High Fiber, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend, and Kashi Go Lean Crunch Honey Almond Flax. I don't drink milk (Gee, could that be the reason for the low vitamin D?) so I have a soymilk (Omega-3) smoothie in the afternoons. One banana is two fruits, so that with 1 1/4 cup strawberries and blueberries makes a great snack. I take a fruit and a veggie with me for lunch. I get my protein from my lunch and dinner, but I have to admit that it is hard to get that in. So are 9 grains. Peanut butter (low fat, too) toast is good for that. Another big switch was all ground beef is now ground turkey.

It sounds really easy, but there are a lot of foods I just don't eat and therefore they weren't such an issue. I cut down on my soda to 4 cans a month or less. I drink a lot more water and less juices (those I try for 100% juice so it's a fruit and with breakfast). I don't like mayonnaise or sour cream or cream cheese or any of those heavy on the fat cream foods. I use low fat mayo on my sandwiches for lunch. I never was a pork kind of gal so bacon, sausage, and other fat filled meats are out. My only horror has been the lack of milk chocolate goodies, hence my interest in dark chocolate over the last several months.

Because the awesome hubby cooks the dinner, the whole family has had to change their diet. Now if the awesome hubby would cut out the take out at his lunch time...

One of many BMI calculators here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Men: Maxwell Zagorski

I don't have much on this cutie, except that he is young, modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch, and that he is dating Cheryl Burke. At the moment I can't get my computer to cooperate so even putting up a picture of his awesome physique is a no go. UPDATE: Photo now up. No real new info except that he's in his early twenties and the link has two photos of the abs :o)

I promise to put up some details when my computer cooperates. I just didn't want you to think I forgot to post!

Here's a link to another blog with pictures of him now (hot) and when he was younger (not so hot).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chocolate: Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Velvet

More like milk chocolate in dark chocolate clothing. The Alter Eco Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Velvet is like a creamy milk chocolate bar even though the packaging says dark. A closer look at said packaging does not clear up the matter. Regardless, I really like this bar. Besides the great taste, it is organic, gluten free, soy free, emulsifier free and GMO* (whatever the heck that means) free.

FYI - On the back of the package. "All of our chocolates are Fair Trade Certified™. This means that the farmers who grew the ingredients were paid a better, more stable price for their crops than in conventional trade. The cocoa in this chocolate was grown and harvested by members of the El Ceibo cooperative located in the heart of the Bolivian Amazon. By purchasing this chocolate, you are directly helping 800 small-scale farmers achieve higher living standards and protect their environment through sustainable agriculture."

*GMO = genetically modified organism

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Books: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

This is one of those love it or hate it books. I certainly didn't love it. At 800 pages, the hardback version makes a great door stop. It was so long I had to take breaks from reading. Long breaks. The concepts, themes, history, whatever were lost on me. Every time I thought I had grasped the flow of the story, it would slip right out of my head. It was also historical, and I hate those.

But in a way, I didn't completely hate it either. I say that mostly because after two attempts I couldn't get through the book and maybe the best part, the part that brings it all together, was at the end. All those reviews of people saying the book is absolutely groundbreaking and amazing give me pause.

So if it boiled down to a recommendation, that would be a no. But if you are into that kind of stuff and you read all the reviews with increasing interest, then give it a try. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. And good luck.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

TV: Product Placement

Nothing seems to ruin B's mood while watching TV more than product placement. He was actually agog when Eureka used Degree antiperspirant as a product so scientifically advanced that it was developed in Global Dynamic's lab. I've learned to ignore it, and seem to notice when they blur the products instead. I actually like the idea of product placement when it isn't blatant. It makes me think the situation on whatever show I'm watching is a little more realistic. It is actually weird to see people eating ridiculous unknown products. The last time I heard B groan was during an episode of The Biggest Loser. So it isn't surprising to find out that the show is listed on Wiki as the show with the most instances of product placement. Also, they are more prevalent in reality shows. Eh, I think I'm okay with it. Does it bother you?

BTW, I've noticed with this new layout that links don't show up. So do some rolling over.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Miscellaneous: It's Lovely! I'll Take It!

I love where I live because it has great schools for the kiddos. But knowing that doesn't stop me from wishing our house was a little bigger. I spent about an hour looking at the latest listings...out of curiosity, not because I would actually contemplate buying a new house.

Uh, sorry got lost in a 5 bedroom, 3 bath vision. Anyway, there is a blog out there that shows strange pictures of houses that are up for sale. Every once in a while there are a few great pictures. By great I mean "Who on earth would do that to their house?"

The two that come to my mind are the one with the "decorative" pole in the living room and the one with the inappropriate (or is it?) lettering above the bed. For a chuckle or two check it out. It's Lovely! I'll Take It!


pantsI'm posting the very opposite of an April Fools. After seven months of changing my diet, I'm only 9 pounds away from my goal weight and I can fit comfortably into a size six pair of Lee plain front pants. I'm beyond ecstatic :D After about 5 more pounds I should be able to say that they'll fit even on my "fat" days. For now I'll take what I can get.

I'm also enjoying the wonderful arrival of spring and the departure of the winter blahs. Here's to great beginnings!