Behold the Starbucks January Tumbler—the Holy Grail of Creativity

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

One of the Christmas gifts HB received was the Starbucks January tumbler, which can be used to get a free grande brewed hot coffee or hot tea through the month of January. It’s the perfect gift for him because he likes his coffee black, and like most people, he depends on coffee to get him going in the morning and sometimes as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Since he works downtown, there’s a Starbucks on every other block, so using the tumbler is no big deal, right?

This year, however, he’ll be working in various locations, which means it’s more effort to keep track of his tumbler and to make sure he’s maximizing his usage. And so, he has passed the Starbucks tumbler to me. He knows that I don’t like wasting things (almost to the point of it being an OCD), and I’ve just figured out a plan. Continue reading

Paper Planners: Never Say Die

As we head toward mid-December, I found myself at wits’ end because people want to give me dates for important events in January and beyond, and my planner only has December plus a day of January left on it. I thought I could wait until after the New Year so I can get my 2017 planner at a discount, but I felt so uneasy jotting things down on the extra blank pages at the back of the 2016 planner, that I couldn’t take it anymore.

With my Barnes and Noble 25 percent off a single item coupon in hand and some gift cards, I ventured out into the chilly night after dinner to find my 2017 Moleskine Weekly Planner (Large Format) so I can get on with my life.

Why bother with a paper planner? Continue reading

Counting Down to Nanowrimo 2016

Nanowrimo is just around the corner. Although I’ve participated since 2007, I have yet to reach the goal of 50,000 words. Like many folks, I make the usual excuses—too busy, too stressed, too tired—but the truth is, I’m always busy, stressed, and tired. And yet, this year feels different somehow.  

How so? I am more self-aware. After ten years of “failing,” I’m practically an expert. I’ve learned how I work and why I don’t. My strength is that I’m a great starter with lots of energy and ideas in the beginning. However, I know that after a few days I burn out, or I lose momentum very quickly once I see how far behind I’m getting. Therefore, I really need to stay on target with little tricks and incentives/disincentives along the way.

What I plan to do differently this year for Nanowrimo:
Continue reading

Recipe: My Trainer Alex’s pH Balancing Anti-Inflammatory Tonic

My awesome trainer, Alex, shared his pH balancing/anti-flammatory tonic recipe with me. Although he didn’t spell out the exact proportions, I decided to take the plunge, make it my own, and see what happens.

This tonic came at the perfect time. I was not only fighting an allergy/cold, but recovering from spraining my foot. (I was wrestling with the vacuum hose while cleaning the stairs, and the hose won.) As much as I was tempted to nurse my wounds and ill-health with a fruity martini, I opted to try Alex’s pH balancing tonic instead. Wow.

I think it helped me recover from my injury and illness sooner than expected. I also felt less congested after drinking the tonic. It helped break up the gunk in my respiratory system.  Continue reading

Meanie Mommy’s Summer Enrichment Plan for 2016

The Princess’s last day of school has arrived. This year I’ve decided to not go crazy with scheduling as many activities as in previous years. In fact, now that the Princess is entering (drum roll)…eighth grade…she is old enough to figure out how to fill up her free time. I’ll present a menu of options as well as some rules and requirements because I know a little structure here and there helps.

Some things are non-negotiable. She still has to participate in the activities which she’s signed up for. She still has to work on daily math and reading comprehension workbooks/worksheets and read a minimum of 30 minutes per day. The last thing I want is for her to lose everything she’s worked hard for. Already I notice how the lax schedule of the last two weeks or so of school has affected her. Time to crack the whip. Continue reading

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Healthier Tex-Mex Corned Beef Hash (Dairy-Free)

One of my food challenges that my trainer has for me is to come up with new breakfast ideas that incorporate protein and veggies, is low in sugar, and has no grain involved. It’s tough because most of my breakfast go-to’s involve grain or fruit. Though most people would consider my choices healthy, they haven’t been helping in my efforts to get back down to my ideal weight, which is about 15 pounds away.

MamaSoph_CBeefHashRawI love corned beef. It was a grown-up discovery and not something I grew up on, but it was an instant love. My daughter loves corned beef, too, which is strange because she doesn’t like boiled beef.

In any case, I had made some corned beef in my slow-cooker recently and had some leftovers, along with fingerling potatoes. I thought why not add some vegetables and make it into a Tex-Mex corned beef hash skillet with a fried egg on top. To make it Tex-Mex, I served it with medium-spicy salsa, and it was so good, I didn’t mind the vegetables that happened to be there. ;-P

What I like most about this dish is that it keeps me full with the protein and fiber. Plus, I’m getting some veggies in without too much effort.


Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Healthier Tex-Mex Corned Beef Hash (Dairy-Free, Grain-Free)
Continue reading

Mama Sophia’s Magic Feather: How to Lose Vacation Weight-Gain in a Snap

I dreaded stepping on the scale after coming home from our Spring Break vacation to Orlando. Although I walked more than I have in a long time (20+k steps daily), I also ate lots of food that are weight-loss no-no’s—fried fast foods, sweets, alcoholic beverages, dairy. It was no big surprise that I gained 5 lbs. over the course of six days.

With a heavy heart, I headed back to the gym and got back to my training and exercise classes. I’d asked my trainer, Alex, if he had any Orenda Burn-Clean-Shape packets for a jump-start, but he had run out. I was on my own.

First two days of hardcore exercise—nada. Then I decided to try something else—something which I’d always had in the back of my mind. Why not cut out refined sugar and limit grains to one meal and see what happens?

Continue reading