I Don’t Give A Damn ‘Bout My Reputation

Well… maybe I do, but only a tiny bit.

I kinda dropped the ball here (The New Year’s Resolution one, that is) and skipped a few days of the Zero to Hero challenge. So here I am back at it jumping in on day 16. Today’s assignment is:

Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt.


  • Because learning to interpret prompts will be an invaluable skill when writers’ block hits.
  • Because the best way to become a better writer is to write — and prompts and assignments force you to focus on your writing.
  • Because hundreds of other bloggers respond to each prompt in hundreds of different ways, and exploring that can inspire you in unexpected ways.

Which of course requires today’s Daily Prompt, which is:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us YOU.

This is me!

This is me!

So Is This!

So Is This!

And This!

And This!

That would be the easy way out. I’ve written about building rapport before… but I suppose not specifically about a reputation. Even if I despise the idea of admitting it, reputation does matter. Sometimes a bad reputation can be beneficial, but most of the time, it isn’t. When I wrote Altoholics R Us, I had a reputation for building guides, and helping the newer folk within the game. When I ran guilds for World of Warcraft, I had a reputation of being self reliant and fair, and at work, I have a reputation for being dependable and friendly. All of these reputation matter, all of them required work to maintain. Thus far in blogging, I would assume that my reputation is not well established yet, and honestly, if it is, it’s a reputation of not finishing what I started, which I seriously need to repair.

A reputation is a reflection of what you are about. If you have a reputation for slandering others, odds are it’s because you, well, slander others. If you have a reputation for being up to date on the latest fashion trends, then odds are you are rather stylish and like to share that. Your reputation will help me decide if I’ll come to you for information on a topic, or if I’ll avoid you for fear of being called out on something. I would like my reputation to be down to earth. I’d like to be known as having a general knowledge of everything, I’d like to be known for being a loving mother, a good wife, a fun person, a good gamer. I would LOVE to be known for having stuck to it and losing a ton of weight.

Is my reputation important? Not yet, but it will be. But I will have to work at it, and make sure that I don’t become known for a bad reputation, like forgetting to blog when I said I would.

The Spark That Started A Fire

Under my ass, anyways.

Today’s assignment from the Zero to Hero Challenge for Day 3 is:

Today’s assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog.

  • Because it’s an idea you were so passionate about, it motivated you to begin this new project — there’s something to that.
  • Because the best way to become a better blogger is to blog.
  • Because you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for following through on the idea, the blog, and the post.

Honestly, the thought that drove me to write was that I wanted to better myself and my life. I wrote the post I wanted to share most, which was my Promises, Promises post. However, there are some other thoughts dwelling in my mind when I started this up that I wanted to share.

Lately, I’m struggling with my son, Hayden. He’s 10, he loves his Xbox and he’s a total smart ass. The problems we face with him is that he refuses to eat almost everything we offer him (his sister however, eats everything just fine) and he’s a jerk to Lillie. I mean, not just a little bit thoughtless or selfish. He’s totally manipulative and mean to her. I haven’t figured out how to change his behavior on either count. So far I’ve reduced myself to providing children’s ensure type drinks, and making up for his cruelty to his sister by taking her out myself, or by shaming him for being so mean. Although he seems to feel regret about his behavior when pointed out to him (or even punished for it) it’s usually less than a day later and he’s right back at it. This will end up being a longer post at another time when I come up with a solid plan on how to deal with it.

Today  marks the first 24 hours since I gave up my traditional cigarettes and instead am using the electronic one. I even managed to switch over at the “medium” level of nicotine instead of the high one. I purchased a variable voltage battery to help and several flavors including Sweet Tarts and Mt. Dew flavors, but I’m certainly not well versed in all this yet. I feel like I desire something with a strong fulfilling flavor, but my husband seems to find both to be strong and satisfying… I don’t. Maybe it’s because I wear a dentures plate? I dunno. Again, as I learn more about it, this too will become its own post.

So anyways, generally, the idea that got me started up on blogging was that I had some goals I wanted to meet, and making myself accountable for them on here was how I planned on meeting them. I do have some other topics I’d like to touch on, and I’ll get there as we go, for now, I’m trying to focus on improving myself before I can improve those around me.

And just in case you were wondering what happened to Day 2 of the Zero to Hero Challenge, it can be found over in the side bar in the “About This Blog” widget. I didn’t feel that the addition of the widget required a full post. Thanks everyone! See you soon!


Same Ol’ Me

Here it is, the first task from the Zero to Hero Challenge:

Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

  • Why are you blogging, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout 2014, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Who am I? The short version is I’m Andrea. I’m 29, a mom, a wife, sister, daughter, et al. The longer version can be found on my about page. I’ve been blogging off and on for years now, and I’ve introduced myself at some point or another on each one. I believe the about page will cover the introduction portion of who I am.

Why are you blogging rather than keeping a personal journal?

I’ve written journals before, and they’re great, when I’m writing a true capture of my day, or maybe when I’m not willing to share an event with the world, but 90% of the time, I find myself wishing for a little feedback on my thoughts. I often wonder if I am the rare example of an opinion. No, I don’t want to get into cyber debates over politics and religion really, but when I do have an idea, or a goal, I like to know what other people thing about it, thus blogging in a public forum. There is a second reason, too… even though I don’t know most of you who will read this, I am holding myself accountable. By sharing my goals and resolutions, I feel responsible to keep those promises, even to perfect strangers. Especially so if someone decides to take up the cause with me.

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Right now I’m focusing heavily on my resolutions which include weight loss, blogging, quitting smoking, and surviving. However, I will also likely post things in relation to my kids, my job, my husband’s political outbursts, games, crafts, and whatever fancies me that day. My thoughts are fairly random and so too will be my blog over time. I tend to stick with themes for a while before I move on to something else.

Who would I love to connect with via my blog?

Everyone! My real life friends, internet friends, strangers… people who think like me, and people who don’t. Any and all kinds. The idea was to expand my horizons and viewpoints, and to do that, I’ll need to meet various kinds of people.

If you blog successfully throughout 2014, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Well, I hope to have met my goals, first and foremost. Lost some weight, quit smoking, keep the promise to myself to have kept writing… additionally, though, I hope I developed my opinions some, shared more happiness than sadness, worked towards new and higher goals, and most of all, kept my sanity and maybe even made some friends.

So there you have it, the what’s and why’s of this blog… I look forward to reading other entries from this challenge. Feel free to share them with me in the comments!

Much Love!


10 Tools For Successful Weight Loss

Or… “Here’s the Plan”. Also, I say “Successful” because I have been successful before… I’m just lazy sometimes and get distracted by major life events that subtract from my motivation to keep it up… but no more!

So yesterday, I announced my commitment to lose weight. Today, I plan on showing the tools and ideas behind that promise. Here’s a list of what I’ve got going on to hit that 20 lb goal in the next 3 months. You know, just in case you’re certified crazy like me and want to take on this part of the challenge with me. My hubby is tagging along for the ride, too.

  1. Meal Plan
  2. MyFitnessPal
  3. FitBit Force and a Heart Rate Monitor
  4. Water Bottle
  5. Soda Stream
  6. Vitamix
  7. Some Dancing Games (or Classes)
  8. Exercise Equipment
  9. Goals
  10. Friends

So now, lets break these down a bit eh?

1. Meal Plan

There are countless meal plans you can look into online. Weight Watchers, Curves, etc. Those tend to require a subscription, however there are free ones out there on the internet too. Meal plans for “Real Food“, “Clean Eating“, even “Stress Free“. Personally, I make my own once a month. They’re simple, my kids will eat them, and they’re planned. Although I have chosen to restrict myself to 1500 calories a day… Our dinner plan isn’t really about the calories (though I consider them), it’s about having a plan so I don’t fall back on fast food like I do when I have no idea what I want for dinner… It’s an incredibly simple meal plan, and it’s open for changes, but the most important thing is that my super skinny super picky son Hayden approves. Here’s the Google Calendar my hubby put together of our simple dinner plan. It’s easier to view in “agenda” mode.

For breakfast and lunch I keep it light. A fruit smoothie for breakfast, and either a turkey and swiss sandwich with mustard and grapes or a salad for lunch. This leaves me free for whatever for dinner, and a couple 100 calorie snacks in the middle such as either more fruit/veggies or Jello or something.

2. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a website that allows me to set my weight loss goals, track my weight, inches, and food. I love this site. If you have no clue where to start, the site will help you figure that out. It’s completely free and has free mobile apps as well. Additionally the site works with many others as well as fitness tracking devices such as the FitBit. If you try nothing else for weight loss, at least try this site. The “diet” portion of weight loss is the most important factor. It’s simple, more calories burned vs. calories taken in. You’ll burn calories just by breathing.

3. FitBit Force and a Heart Rate Monitor

I personally love FitBit. I had a Flex first, and now the Force. No matter what tracker you choose, having one has been indispensable to my weight loss. FitBit tracks my steps taken (I am for 10,000 a day), calories burned, stairs climbed, distance walked, calories eaten (works with MyFitnessPal to track this!) and my sleep habits. FitBit also has a silent alarm built-in, so you can use it as an alarm clock, or like my hubby does, set a couple to remind yourself to update MyFitnessPal. While I love my FitBit and would recommend it to anyone, there are other trackers out there, too. Nike, Jawbone, and BodyMedia have trackers that people like, and there are generic ones out there, too. I researched for a long while before I bought mine, and you should as well. One of the things I enjoy about the FitBit is the dashboard displayed for your stats. Here’s mine for today so far, and try not to snicker, I’ve only been up about an hour and haven’t done anything yet today:

The FitBit Dashboard

The FitBit Dashboard

On the right hand side, you may notice a friend’s list with ranking. I’ve been getting my ass kicked for a few weeks now, but this is another feature of FitBit I enjoy… the ability to compete with friends.

I also added a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to this list, and while my FitBit is awesome, when I’m using my arms and legs together I want to make sure I’m getting an accurate depiction of my workout, so I also wear a HRM for calories burned and input that information into MyFitnessPal manually, which then overrides FitBit’s reading of calories burned for that time period. Heart Rate is the most accurate measure of calories burned during a workout.

4. Water Bottle

Addmittingly, I don’t love water. Up until I decided I needed to take better care of myself, I rarely drank water. I even went so far as to decide I didn’t like water; I didn’t like it’s taste, it hurt my stomach. This is nonsense. I NEED water. I invested in a Brita water bottle with a filter, but not because it filters really. It has to do with the straw like feature that you drink from. I don’t know why, but for me, straws are a win. At first I started with killing the 24oz bottle once a day, and then twice. This became easy once I started working out, however, before that I drew lines on the bottle of what I needed to complete by what time of day to get through the bottle. If you are like I was and despise the idea of drinking water, invest in a water bottle you really like for how it looks and how it works. Commit to just one bottle a day… go from there. I’m not telling you to give up soda per say, (though that’ll help), but I am asking that you give water a try. Speaking of soda though…

5. Soda Stream

I invested in one of these last November. This was around the time I was dying for some soda, but hated the taste of diet sodas. I decided to give Pepsi Max and Coke Zero a try. Both are awesomely passable. However, cans of soda can get pricey, and I find where they’re just sitting there in the fridge I drink more of them then I should. Soda Stream makes a zero calorie syrup that is also passable (or maybe the lack of soda for a few weeks altered my opinion of passable). Either way, I invested in the Source. I got it at Costco. This thing allows me to make a bottle of soda that tastes the same as the can, on demand. If I want a soda, I have to make one (It only takes a minute). However, because it needs to be made, I can’t just lazily grab one as I walk by. This machine has been far more cost-effective than buying premade soda, and keeps me from binge drinking the stuff. It’s certainly not required to be successful, but soda is my guilty pleasure, and it allows me to indulge now and again without overdoing it. If you’ve got the money to do so, I recommend this device.

6. Vitamix

Ok… yes, this blender is super expensive. I bought a refurbished one from a discount kitchen store and still paid $400 dollars for it. However, breakfast is an extremely hard meal for me. A few months ago I rarely ate it and that was a problem… so I started partaking in breakfast, and it turns out, most the things we think of for breakfast are loaded with calories. I started eating cantaloupe for breakfast everyday, and that worked until melons went out of season. I was left trying to find something to replace the cantaloupe, but I wasn’t as satisfied. Smoothies were not my preference because I would gag over texture differences and seed/fruit bits. I bought a Vitamix (and a nice one, too) because it destroys anything you put in it… completely…. even the seeds. The smoothies it pops out are rediculously smooth! Additionally I can use frozen fruit to create them, thus I can have any fruit I want, any time of year. Double bonus. So if you’re like me, and don’t like bits of stuff in your smoothie, then a Vitamix is awesome! However, if you don’t care, any blender will do it… and of course, no blender is required for weight loss, I just find mine to be essential.

7. Some Dancing Games (or Classes)

I have Just Dance 3, 4, and 2014 as well as Zumba for the WiiU. There aren’t any classes offered near us, otherwise I would have enrolled in Zumba instead despite my size. Why dancing? Well everyone loves dancing… and it’s actually an intense and full body workout. Most of the time I can do these games for an hour or more and don’t even realize how much time has passed. A workout you enjoy is invaluable. Maybe dancing isn’t your thing. Maybe it’s running… this category would then just be “Bitchin’ Music”… but dancing has been mine and music comes with it by default. Invest in a workout that is more fun and less work. Mix it in with the less fun workouts, and you’ll look forward to them. Dancing has become part of my routine and I enjoy the crap out of it.

8. Exercise Equipment

I’ll be honest, I hate going to the gym. Why? It’s expensive, I feel too fat to be there, and I’m terrified of making a fool of myself. Obviously, these are irrational fears. I know I’m just another person at the gym… but I’m also lazy. I won’t go, even if I’m paying to go, so I invested in some equipment for home. Not a lot, honestly, just a treadmill, a recumbent bike, a jump rope, and a couple small hand-held walking weights. I don’t run yet. I still walk on my treadmill, but I walk at 3 mph, at a 3% grade, with the hand weights. I prop my tablet up there and pick a show or movie and go, for an hour or more. On the bike, I play my DS for an hour or watch a show. Distract myself from the work so I can go longer. Slow and steady wins the race for me. I’m not looking to break any records, though later on I hope to start doing Couch25k. Pick a piece of equipment you enjoy, save up for it. Having it in your own home will keep you on track, if for no other reason than feeling guilty that it’s just sitting there, unused. Do what you gotta do but get moving!

9. Goals

Realistic goals, preferably. My overall long-term HOPE (notice I didn’t say goal?) is to be 130 lbs. My realistic goal for now? 20 lbs in 3 months. How am I gonna get there? 1 Hour workout 3 times a week… if not more, and a 1500 calorie a day lifestyle (Yup, I’m avoiding the word “diet”). If I lose 20 lbs every 3 months, I’ll hit my hope in 15 months, a little over a year. Pick a short-term goal, a long-term goal and an overall goal. My short-term you know, my long-term is to get under 200 lbs (I’m 240 right now), and my overall is actually to improve my health (which also includes the quitting smoking and other aspects of my life). Set realistic goals so you don’t get frustrated.

10. Friends

Also known as support. This doesn’t have to be your best friend since high school… it can be me! It can be the forums at MyFitnessPal, it can be someone new you met at the gym, or your spouse… Your friends in this are the people who help you get there. There’s a community at Reddit I enjoy, over at /r/loseit. There’s Spark People. There are people out there just like me, or like you, who just want to get a good start on a good goal. Reach out, be a part of the community. Motivating and helping others has really helped and motivated me.

Overall, weight loss is personal. Your goals are yours. be it 5 lbs or 200 lbs, your goals can be achieved, and no matter what you prefer, and how you choose to get there, it’s all you. I’m proud of myself for even just deciding to do this. If I fail at it I’ll try again, and every attempt gets me closer to my goal… Don’t get discouraged, develop your own style and preferences, and please, share them with me! I really do want to know! Good luck, internet, may this new year be the year of your dreams.

Promises, Promises

Hello, Internet.

So we meet again. This time, I’m back making promises to myself, and to the world in general. So is most everyone else… However, unlike everyone else I spent my day working, grocery shopping, re-inventing myself via blog, and deciding in what new creative ways can I torture myself for a few weeks? I say a few week because I have yet to survive a resolution for a whole year.

But I’m back, kicking up the blogging again, trying hard to hold myself accountable… (and well, maybe anything Garen can do, I can do better)… but it’s totally about holding myself accountable… That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyways…

So it’s that time of year where I am supposed to make a few resolutions and try hard to stick to them. I do realize that most resolutions fail, but even if I try for a few months, at least I succeeded that much… it’s more than I can say for myself most days. So here’s the short list:

  1. Survive all 365 days. I mean this literally. Keep breathing, heart beating… I’m not trying to be melodramatic here… as I said before, I haven’t achieved a New Year’s resolution yet… so let’s start off with an easy one. It is an easy one, right? Watch, now I’m gonna get hit by a bus or something. Death by hairbrush or something moronic.
  2. I will participate in the Zero to Hero:30 Days to a Better Blog challenge. It’s a short, reasonable goal, and I think I can keep it. Why this one? I dunno, it looked like a good jumping point for starting over on a blog.
  3. I will quit smoking. Ok, that’s only a half truth. I plan to give up traditional smoking. I did however, invest in an E-Cig that I hope will help me get in the right direction. I know that this goal is a tough one, and it’s not very often kept, but I’m gonna try anyways.
  4. I will lose weight. That’s right, here’s the torture part I spoke of earlier. Losing weight is not torture by itself… but trying to quit smoking AND lose weight at the same time??? That seems like failure waiting to happen right? Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I’m not going to set hard goals on this one as far as long-term numbers… no 100 lbs in a year kind of thing. Nope, I’m gonna aim for 20 lbs by April 1st. If I make it, great, if I don’t, I’ll reset that goal. I suppose I should have named this goal “Move More, Eat Less” but Lose weight seems more solid. I’ll see how it goes.

So there you have it, two typical goals, one blogger goal, and one that I had better keep if I know what’s good for me. How about you? Share your goals in the comments, maybe I’ll change mine around if yours is better.