Hello My New Blog

With every new year comes a redefinition of who I am.

Frithos Roadtrippin 2014

These places were in my bucket list, dreaming of one day visiting.

January 2015

Family Time.

Happy Father's Day

A day we celebrate everything our babyboy does for us.

Marina Turning 2

My baby is growing up by leaps and bounds now.

January 24, 2015

My Fitlosophy Fitbook

Fitlosophy Fitbook: Fitness and Nutrition Journal

I am all about a good deal and trying new things.  I just hate that I'm usually disappointed when I try new things mainly because I am not easily impressed.  So I took a chance and bought this fitbook from Amazon just last week and I have already found my way to making it work for me.

Ok, so this little guy is supposed to be a three month fitness journal that includes pages on exercise, nutrition and goals.  While I intend to keep my routine going, I am not too good at making goals.  I find that they limit where I want to go. Sure, I can start somewhere but I can never know where I will end up.  I mean this is a "lifestyle" and that usually doesn't have a goal of three months.

No problem, I have made this little book work for me, the non-goal setter.  Since I only work out every other day or whenever I damn please, I use one page whenever I do.  This will make this little book last me more than the three months it was made to do.  That's ok, I'm also thrifty. This is just my personal preference since I am usually good at keeping watch over my nutrition thanks to myfitnesspal app and I am not big on goals, I only need it for keeping track of my progress on the days I do work out.  At this time I am working on improving my running endurance and I've gone from running a mile in 18 minutes to 12 minutes! YAS! I am proud of my small achievements.    

However you may use it, three months or for however long I make it last, it can be customized for whatever area of your life you need help, reminders and encouragement in.  It's small so it's easy to carry around.  There are no exercise examples, just some food journaling examples which I enjoyed reading.

Overall I recommend this little journal for the only reason that I use it.  Since it's a bit on the pricey side, around 20 bucks, I would like it to last more than three months.  I have customized it for my lifestyle and workout routine and it's working fine.  Yes, I have an iPhone app that helps me track my health progress but there's nothing like the power of the written word.  

January 22, 2015

MyFitnessPal

Where you been all my life?!  I am a big fan of writing things down, not only because sometimes I forget things instantly but because I like to look back and see where I started from. Yes it’s usually a pathetic start but mostly my triumphant progress is what becomes my motivation to keep going and fuels my curiosity of where I will end up.  If I don’t know where I started then how can I possibly know where I’m going?
HELLO MYFITNESSPAL!

This app has been the greatest finding of this month for me.  I don’t know who invented it or who thought out it’s wicked code but whoever that was they certainly had ME in mind.  Whosoever makes my life easier deserves my undying gratitude.  So here it is. My undying gratitude: The only way I know how to say THANK YOU, You’re Awesome! My Blog Post.

I know this App was made for me-ish. It’s got everything I could ever want or need in a fitness app.  Out of all the things it is, the one thing it’s not is boring.  I hate boring and this one is not.  It doesn’t have all the fancy bells and whistles of colors or pretty fonts or bikini girls.  All of it’s awesomeness is done in the background.  The huge database of food, the barcode search button, the goal keeping filled with encouraging reminders.  I'll tell you why this app is for me: (And you)
  1. I forget stuff.  Plain and simple.  I’m not proud of it but it’s true. I forget clothes in the washer. I forget groceries in my trunk. I forget what I ate for breakfast. I forget stuff. The whole out of sight out of mind that babies have, still plays a big part in my life. If I don’t see it, it never happened.  Now I jot down my food as soon as I eat it and there it is.  Forever and ever.  I can bask in my self-disgust days later when I ate almost 1000 calories in two cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  “What is this?!” I ask myself.  “What kind of a monster are you?!” This, by the way, is one of my many self motivational speeches.    
  2. I lose motivation.  I do. As soon as I do something, I lose interest in it.  Done, moving on, is how my brain works.  I can’t stand my brain sometimes.  Always so selfish in it’s ways.  “Can’t you see I need to be fit? What do you know, you’re a blob of fat.  You should be a bit more interested in MY needs!” My body and my brain don’t get along sometimes.  I have issues. 
  3. I hate diets.  Loath entirely!!!  I can’t remember the last time I had to diet. I say HAD because who would, in their right mind, want to diet if they didn’t have to? I’m lucky like that.  I enjoy living in denial.  You should try it sometime.  It’s fun. But seriously, dieting is so yesterday! Healthy eating is the new black. Or whatever.
  4. I love food.  My hispanic-ness wouldn’t have it any other way.  We love food so much we name our food whatever weird word we think of at the time.  “Mmm, this is so freaking good! I’m calling it a chimichanga!” 
  5. I am a curious soul. I’m a girl. I get curious. Simple. Done. Moving on. I want to know what the heck I’m putting in my mouth and this app allows me to do that.  Calories? Saturated Fat? Monounsaturated fat? Carbohydrates? Trans Fat? Sodium? All those crazy words.  Turns out, they are very important and as soon as I start knowing what’s inside the food I eat, I start putting less of it in it.
So do I recommend it? You betcha! Food logs, healthy recipes, exercise tracking, steps counter, weight loss graphs, reminders, a huge fitness community (but I have no friends) and my favorite… it’s all FREE!  Yes, sometimes there is a small ad or two on the main page but it’s never intrusive or on your food log page.  These ads are quite graceful and usually fitness related.  Nothing wrong with that.

So, let’s be fitpals! find me and friend me and watch me fail miserably on all my fitness endeavors: Lorenaf23 But watch me try and try again.  So here’s to healthy eating, healthy living and healthy oh I can’t think of a third thing. Healthy friendships.  Ok, there you go! :)

January 16, 2015

ImproveMe January

Baby steps. Baby steps. This is the best and easiest way to make changes and I started January with just a few.  For my January ImproveMe, I began with the basics, maybe the foundation of the many more changes to come.  The important thing is to not only start but don’t stop.  The only way you can guarantee failure is when you stop, remember that.

I suffered from migraines almost monthly and just couldn’t figure out why.  I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and those pesky headaches wouldn’t let me be.  Then I read a list of some things I could do to improve.  It wasn’t so much what I was doing wrong, but what I wasn’t doing that had me feeling terrible.
  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  I can’t even begin to say how much this has helped me. It’s only been a few weeks but drinking the required amount of water has been amazing.  To find out how much water is necessary to take every day is easy.  Just divide your weight by 2 and that’s the ounces you need every day.  Anything less will create a deficiency and all your organs will start to suffer.  This is one area where my poor little brain just couldn’t keep up.  Just by drinking the recommended amounts of water every day has made such an improvement in my life, I can’t even believe it. My mind and body are already thanking me for this one!    
  2. A vitamin a day keeps the crazies away.  I know this is about as basic as it gets but even though they are a must, I always ended up forgetting to take them. I have a million and one things to remember to do every day so obviously this one never even made it on my radar.  Although I usually eat healthy foods when I cook, I know it’s never enough.  I needed a little extra help and I have seen an improvement in my mood and concentration levels just by adding my daily vitamin.  I love my GNC Women's Energy vitamins. (There's also a men version)  
  3. Got my running shoes back on.  I am not going to brag here because my starting point this year was pretty crappy.  I ran 1 mile in 18 minutes!!! I know, I know, it's pitiful but it’s baby steps. Don’t judge me... I can get better coach, I can!  Since I started I have already reduced five minutes on my time, so I am improving every time I run. Even with my heart arrhythmia these baby steps mean a lot. I am proud of myself for this but the most important thing is to not give up.  Exercise is about the most important thing you an do for not just only for your body but for your mind.  Exercising gets blood to your brain improving memory and function, improves your immune system, regulates your appetite and decreases your risk for heart disease.  Ok, wow, these are more than enough reasons to get moving!  I will be posting my monthly progress and I am so sure there will be lots of progress judging from where I started.  When you start at the bottom, there is only one way to go but up. 
I know sometimes it’s easier said than done to make changes but I have found a way to make things easier on me.  I have setup iPhone reminders for all these things and they have kept me going.  I created a “health” reminders list and I have a “water”, “vitamin” and a “run” reminders.  It’s my phone and I have put it to work for me.  I now have my own little Siri personal assistant and is always reminding me of what I should do next.  This frees up my brain to work on all other improvements in my life.  So now I don't have an excuse that I forgot to do these things. I even have a 'time to floss" reminder.  Yes, they work! :)

January had a good start for me so far.  Just by hydrating more, taking a daily multi vitamin and getting some exercise every other day has improved me in so many levels.  I was tired of feeling drained every day and didn't realize how small improvements could make in my life.  I am not stopping now that I see how much more efficient I have become and I need all the energy and attention for the many more improvements coming up.  A healthy foundation is always the best way to start.

More on how my Fitlosophy Fitbook has helped me with my exercise routine coming soon.

January 14, 2015

Favorite Learning Apps for Kids

My baby can read! I remember those commercials and they drove me insane.  Well, my baby can coo and babble! I would scream at the tv completely annoyed. How can babies read? I thought it was impossible.  While I do believe those infomercials were completely exaggerated, I have found some cool apps that have greatly increased my baby’s brain potential.  Not only they are fun, (even I play with them) but they get their little brain gears going.

My two year old can count and read many letters!  Although I wish I could take all the credit, I can’t.  These learning apps have been her little helper in making learning fun.  I can’t recommend these apps enough.  My youngest daughter is 2 years old and can count to 10, she recognizes many letters and can write them down and she loves the learning.  I am impressed when I see her recognize letters on the TV, on signs and when we are out on the street.  Even her pediatrician was impressed to see her spell whole words right in front of her!
  1. Endless Alphabet.  And just like the name implies, this really is a complete learning app with endless possibilities.  While it doesn’t teach the handwriting of words, (just drag and drop) it does have hundred of words to play with and it’s very fun.  Each letter makes it’s corresponding phonic sounds when it’s being dragged around, creating an association with the letter name.  It also helps with creating sentences and with speech.  My little girl repeats the word name and sounds as she plays along. The little monsters create a finished sentence at the end which usually has my little one cracking up. There are three levels of words at this point, with more levels being added.  It can get pricey but at the end it’s an investment that you can’t get anywhere else. Phonics, letters, words and sentences but no hand writing.  These app makers also have Endless Numbers and Endlesss Reader with Reader being my least favorite.  
  2. First Words Pro.  Your child can arrange the letters of many words.  There is a free version of this app to try but I got the Pro or paid version. There are many words to choose from animals, home, clothes, colors, feelings, foods, numbers and shapes.  This is a very easy app to learn for the little ones.  My daughter started using this when she was just one year old and picked it up right away.  It’s amazing how much they can learn to do. 
  3. Write My Name. This app teaches kids not only to learn words spelling and practice their handwriting on the words they give you but you can also add your own words.  You can add their name or last name or family members names. Basically any word you want your little one to learn to write. I used this app and added all the frequency words my kindergartener needed to know how to read and write. This is very helpful in practicing their hand writing coordination as well.
You can find all those apps in the App Store.  These are great for learning and have passed the test of time since many apps just come and go.  Not these.  I would also like to share the “fun apps” that my kiddos can’t live without and TocaBoca comes to mind.  At this time they have Hair Salon 2 and Toca Kitchen 2.  These are great at developing their imagination and playing with common household things without touching the real things.

Are there any cool apps you recommend? :)

January 10, 2015

Kindle Unlimited is the Best Deal For Me

My love for books has been an ongoing one.  I was an avid and constant reader until I had kids and then spare time went out the window.  With no time and no peace and quiet, reading sort of became an impossibility.  I would hide in a quiet room with a book like a chubby kid would to eat a doughnut.  And I often had a doughnut too.  No matter, I had to get my fix.  Only to go months without finding time again.  My book shelf began to appear farther and farther away like it was getting sucked into a dark whole.  I resigned and waved my books goodbye.

Then I got a Kindle and it Rescued Me.
I got a kindle reader last month and I have not put it down since.  It hangs around me like my iPhone does, never more than a a food away and always within reach.   Reading has became fun again, reading has became, well, easy.  I find myself opening my kindle instead of opening my iPhone to read Facebook and I am actually getting something worthwhile from it.  My reading speed and comprehension started crusty but it's quickly becoming to speed up.  I vow that I will one day reach my speed reading level I had while in college.  But hey, baby steps.

Hello Kindle Unlimited. 
So I got a kindle and naturally the next step was to get a book or two.  Then two books became four, and four became 10 and then I had bought more books than I knew what to do with.  I have became sort of a binge reader and even though Amazon has some amazing deals on books every day through the Kindle Daily Deal, I was still raking up some serious dollars and that's never a good thing. You can find great books here for $1.99 or $2.99 but still there had to be an easier way.

With Amazon Kindle Unlimited you can read "unlimited" books a month for $9.99. I easily went through $10 in 1-2 books. Then I found out that while the title says "unlimited", it really isn't.  There is actually a 10 book limit... wow, how's that for "unlimited", but I guess nothing really is.  If you want to have more than 10 books, you just have to first return one. So if you really really love a book and want to keep it forever and ever, you can always just buy it. The premise here is that you read a book, return it and read another book and return it... do that repeatedly without a limit.

Kindle Unlimited is different from Amazon Prime in that it only allows you to check out one book at a time for free but it's only one book per month.  So if you read your book in three days, you're screwed, you can't check another one out until next month.  No way! Who has time to wait that long? I tried the Prime thing and after three days I began to itch and scratch like a withdrawing crackhead. I want my books and I want them now!  Not that I would know what crack withdrawal is like.

Personally Kindle Unlimited (ahem) is a great deal for me.  I can keep my reading binge going while keeping my book hoarding to a minimum. I hardly ever read the same book twice anyways. So while they may not have recently released books in that department,  you can always choose from over 800,000 titles at this time and more are always being added.  Books from Biographies, Children's, Technology, Fitness, Politics, Religion, Photography, Cookbooks, History, Parenting and more.  There is plenty to go around and there is always something for everyone on anything but you'll probably still buy a book or two here and there. :)

So no more book withdrawal for me and not more wasting money on book after book.  If you just want to read good books and you are insatiable in that department, then Kindle Unlimited is for you too!  All you need is a Kindle or the free Kindle app for your phone or tablet.  See, anyone can do it!

Bookworms, is Kindle Unlimited a good choice for you? :)