Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hodge Podge

I got off early from work this afternoon (yippee!), and while I have numerous other projects and chores that I should be tackling, I thought I'd blog instead. I've got a little bit to say about a lot of different things and so I decided to roll it into one big disorganized post. Enjoy!

First, I'm excited to announce that I've made progress with this week's resolution to "greenify" our house by buying more natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products. We took a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond on Monday, where they had Mrs. Meyers laundry detergent on sale. Does anyone else use this brand on a regular basis? I've seen it at Whole Foods and we got some of the dishwashing liquid for Christmas that I really like, but other than that I didn't know too much about it. I went to their website and found that they are a pretty impressive company in terms of the ingredients that they use in their products as well as their level of environmental consciousness in production. It's a little more pricy than what we're accustomed to paying for these types of products, but I think we can handle it with all the money we've been saving from not eating out. I definitely plan on going back to the BB&B to stock up on a few more jugs while they're on sale. I searched this type of detergent on Amazon and had to pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing the price it normally goes for. "I love my planet, I love my planet, I love my planet," is what I keep telling myself. Plus every dollar we spend is a vote, and by choosing companies that engage in sustainable practices and use environmentally friendly resources it encourages other companies to follow suit, and hopefully eventually it won't be quite as expensive to make the responsible choice.

Continuing with the green theme here, I wanted to share a new app that I just downloaded to help me with my grocery shopping. Has anyone heard of the Environmental Working Group (EWG for short)? It's a nonprofit organization that "uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment" (taken from their blurb about themselves on the app). If you don't know much about them, you should check out this video:

It's somewhat lengthy, but really powerful and totally worth watching through the end. Make yourself some popcorn. I'll admit, I got a little choked up when Ken Cook started to lose it when he was talking about his baby. In addition to all of their lobby work and research, the organization came up with this really cool resource called the Skin Deep database that lets you search various health and beauty products and gives them a rating based on the amount of toxins and their levels of harmfulness. When I get to one of my other resolution letters- spoiler alert here- I plan on consulting it excessively as I attempt to overhaul my health and beauty product collection. In the meantime, they've also come out with a 'Dirty Dozen' app for your phone that I've been using. It tells you which 12 fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide residue levels and are the most important to buy organic. It also lists the 'Clean 15,' the fruits and vegetables that have the lowest amounts of pesticide residue levels, as well as the pesticide profiles on some of the in-between fruits and veggies. I have these lists on a magnet on our fridge but of course never have the magnet with me at the grocery store, so the new app really helps in deciding which produce to buy organic. The best part: it's free!

On a completely different subject, I also wanted to give an update on the other two new workout videos that I mentioned in a previous post. Jillian's Extreme Shed and Shred kicked my butt, as did her Killer Buns and Thighs video- literally. I found it difficult to do pretty much any walking or stair-climbing for the next couple of days. I also found myself wondering, "am I that out of shape!!??". Apparently so. As for the Jackie video, I really liked it!

She's pretty intimidating, right? Not to brag, but that's actually
my body with her head photoshopped on.

The whole workout is based off of this pyramid circuit training method. Each circuit consists of 2 different moves (for instance, a chair squat and a shoulder press) and you start off by doing one rep of the first move followed by one rep of the second. Then you do two reps of the first move and two reps of the second, and onward and so forth until you reach 10. The DVD is divided into two 25ish minute sections: one for arms and one for legs and abs. Each section has 6 circuits. You can do the workouts individually or combine them. I was feeling particularly ambitious on the day I did it and opted for the whole body workout- yowza! My muscles were already super sore before the workout even ended. I appreciated the simplicity of the moves, and the fact that I didn't have to trip all over myself while huffing and puffing to try to keep up with a complicated aerobic routine. I definitely recommend this if you are normally turned off by workout videos because of the required amount of coordination. And next time I have some extra money sitting around I plan on buying a few more of Jackie's DVD's. Two thumbs up for sure!

Well, I've got a few more things that I had wanted to talk about but this post is already a beast as it is, and I've been sitting on the computer at the kitchen table for over an hour now so I'll have to save those for another day. Time to eat and pretend to be productive.

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