It's My Life…

It's Knauer Never!

in·flu·ence

/ˈinflo͝oəns/

noun

  1. 1.
    the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
    the influence of positivity
    synonyms: effect, impact;

 

Had a great moment this week at work when I came in a collegue stops me in the galley and tells me that I am influencing her. Now, a lot of people will them me know that they are amazed by my weight loss or that they are inspired to lose weight themselves, but nobody has ever said that I have influenced them. Read more…

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OMG…I Ran!

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I was minding my own business on the treadmill this morning… I found myself being bored with the speed I was walking (3.0 on my Reebok Crosswalk RT 5.0). I wanted to walk a little faster so I bumped it up to 3.5. I was really straining. It was the fastest walking I could do and it almost hurt.

Read more…

A Goal in Mind

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So when I set out to get into better shape about two months ago, I never thought I would already have in my mind to participate in a 5K! Let me say I am “entertaining the thought” of participating.  Read more…

Today My Life Begins

Monday

Just a little Monday Motivation… Read more…

Okay, So I’m Starting Again…

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As anyone that wants to lose weight can tell you… There are a lot of ups and downs. Many obstacles to avoid and hills of motivation to gain.

I say this as I turn 50 and I have that ever present, “It’s now or never!” voice in my head. I know that it is not going to be easy, as it is never easy the older you get, but the motivation is there. Read more…

The Ugly Sick

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So I am on day three of being sick… I am hopped up on Benadryl , so I don’t actually know what I am writing now. In much the same way that you take a cell phone away from a drunk person for fear of them drunk dialing their Ex, the same can be said for a blogger that is just short of blotto on Antihistamines. 

The good news is that I am not on NyQuil. For that would actually have me typing sentences in Klingon. ‘Rop vaj DaH, tlhIngan pejatlh.” Shout out to all my Klingons!

The bad news is that I am in the stage of helplessness. I can’t do anything, nor do i want to. My happiness comes from laying motionless on the couch and catching up on Game of Thrones on HBO and eating an endless amount of McDonald’s french fries because the salt feels so good on my sore throat. If you can add a gallon of Sprite or 7-Up, that would put me in a state of bliss.

I tried to get up… No, really I did. The fever and the headache seemed to come back almost instantaneously. But the headache could be from my wife screaming at me to, “Go lay back down! I don’t want you to be sick any longer than you have to be!” She’s a saint like that…

In fact, I shouldn’t even be typing this now… Her spies are everywhere. The cat is looking at me funny… I gotta go. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch, under a blanket…watching dragons.

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Chickadee Savior

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So, my wife had a chainsaw yesterday. She did not hurt me or herself, but did not notice that she chopped down a branch with a chickadee nest with two babies… This was my afternoon tying the branch back to the tree! The bird family is doing fine…my wife is on chainsaw restriction..

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You can’t see them, because my iPhone has no depth of field, but there are two baby chickadee chicks down there!

 

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We stayed and watched until the parent chickadees came back with meal worms for the babies, The branch had been on the ground, but after a few minutes were able to find it in the tree. Both parents entered the nest and the family was reunited again!

Be Available…

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 It always amazes me as to where inspiration comes from. Whether it is kind words from a stranger, a sunny day, two snacks at the vending machine falling out, instead of just the one that was paid for. 

     I haven’t posted in a while, but a comment came it today on one of my earlier posts. It inspired me to keep writing and posting and hopefully inspire others..

     I was sitting in the drive-thru lane at McDonald’s the other morning and I was ordering one of their new Egg White Delight McMuffins. As I was making my order, the woman behind me opened her door and shouted, “Sir!” I was pulling away from the speaker, I didn’t stop, but there was a line at the first window, so I had to wait. The woman behind me placed her order and then came round to be behind me once again, She got out of her car and then proceeded to hand me a coupon for the McMuffin that I just ordered. I thanked her and she quickly went back to her car as the lane was moving.

In taking a moment to think about this, waiting for the cashier, I was moved that she had done this and taken time out of her day to pay for my breakfast. I had heard about such things happening to others in various fast food drive-thru lanes.

When it came time for me to pay, I felt that the only thing to be done was to pay for her breakfast as well. Unfortunately, she had only ordered a soda. I had wanted to make the grander gesture, but it was her that had done so from the start.

As I was handed my meal and I turned to drive off, I waved at the woman in the car in back of me and in return she waved back. 

There is a quote that I try to say to myself everyday credited to Reverend Michal Beckwith from ‘The Secret’ and it is:

“I am available to more good than I have ever experienced, realized, or imagined before.”

It is true, by just being available, you have opened yourself up for amazing possibilities!

Someone Told Me It’s All Happening At The Zoo…

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One of the best apps on my phone is Yelp. It is a great way to find new restaurants, a new mechanic or to let others know what you thought of an establishment. I have been on Yelp for a couple of years now, but this year I was inducted into the Yelp Elite. This is when you are a consistent reviewer and interact well with others on the site (giving compliments etc.).

On a regular basis, the folks at Yelp have gatherings where the Elite meet and greet and take part in some fun activities. My first gathering was this past weekend at Lowry Park Zoo here in Tampa, for their Brunch At The Zoo! 

A great crowd showed up!

A great crowd showed up!

I have to say, it was such a fun time! The Zoo catered the event with delicious food, from Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Empanadas to Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Delicious food prepared by the zoo caterers!

Delicious food prepared by the zoo caterers!

(I think I may have enjoyed the chocolate covered red velvet cake pops a little too much!)

Red Velvet Cake Pops and Bread Pudding

Red Velvet Cake Pops and Bread Pudding

But not only were were there for the food and the camaraderie, but the Zoo right now is potting on their DinoQuest 2.

Welcome!

Welcome!

It is an animatronic world of dinosaurs that let’s you get up close and personal with the prehistoric era.

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They move and spit water at you! It is a lot of fun… Once you come back to present time, there are lots of things for the little ones to do as well. From digging for fossils in a sandbox to looking at dinosaur bones up close, to sliding down the mouth of a huge inflatable DinoSlide!

Dinoslide!

Dinoslide!

Once we finished playing with the dinosaurs, my wife and I went on to investigate the rest of the zoo! I have to admit that it has been many years since I have been to the Lowry Park Zoo and they have done a remarkable job with this jewel in Tampa. There are so many animals to see, from the new baby elephant and baby hippo ( they were too fay away and my iPhone couldn’t take cute awwwwwinspiring pictures) to the Manatee Hospital that brings in injured and sick Manatees to rehabilitate them

Brunchtime for the Manatees as well! Are they Yelp Elite too?

Brunchtime for the Manatees as well! Are they Yelp Elite too?

There are giraffes…

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And penguins…

Hey guys, Is this Yelp Elite brunch formal?

Hey guys, Is this Yelp Elite brunch formal?

To Meerkats…

Anybody have any of those cake pops?

Anybody have any of those cake pops?

And so many more! Do yourself a favor and go over to the zoo today… The animals will love it if you do!

Thanks to Brett and everyone at Yelp and Lowry Park for making this a great day at the Zoo!

And remember.. as Simon and Garfunkel once sang…

January Foodie Pen Pals – Chocolate Edition

I am in heaven!

I am in heaven!

So in the months that I have done Foodie Pen Pals, I have received many wonderful items. I don’t mean to disparage them in any way, shape or form with this blog entry, but this time, I was blown away!

It all started on January 5th when I received my email from Mary. I don’t really remember what all she said in the email, because my brain was focused on one sentence…” I work in a Chocolate Shoppe!” Well, that was all I needed to hear. I told Mary that I had no allergies to chocolate. Chocolate was my friend, and I would leave it to her good judgement what to include in her package to me.

As you can see from above, it was a chocolate cornucopia, a bountifulness of cocoa… A horn of plenty if you will!

I started off with a taste of the cookies

The true meaning of O.M.G.!

The true meaning of O.M.G.!

These are actually Salted Caramel Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. And yes, they taste as good as they sound… I had to share some with my wife! (Yes, I can actually share!) The best part about these cookies is not only the taste, but the fact that Mary also included the recipe! If you would like it, leave a comment below!

She also included:

This ain't your mama's Hershey's!

This ain’t your mama’s Hershey’s!

The actual cocoa that she uses from a specialty spice company called Penzey’s Spices. Mary stated that this was the only cocoa that she uses in her baking. This was a nice addition as she knew that once I had tasted the cookies, I would want to make more… And I did!

Next were the truffles.

I can be a Packer's fan for four bites can't I?

I can be a Packer’s fan for four bites can’t I?

Being from the land of Green and Gold, Mary included a couple of delicious dark chocolate truffles. The coloring makes it look like little Packers Helmets!

A sample pack from Mary’s shop:

Say it in your best Cockney Accent!

Say it in your best Cockney Accent!

The name of her shop is Allo Chocolat! She develops and teaches classes there. As far as I am concerned, she has her Masters, PhD. and Jedi Master of chocolate making down.

Now one would think that with such a delicious package that this would be a perfect thing to share with others… I didn’t.. Now readers of this blog know that I a trying to lose some weight. These were perfect to put a single one in my lunchbox and have a delightful end to my lunch.

Mmmm...Hot chocolate!

Mmmm…Hot chocolate!

I have not tried this yet, but with cooler temperatures hitting the Gulf Coast of Florida, it will be soon! Mary says in her note that this is a favorite “after-dinner” beverage and that it has been compared to drinking a liquid truffle! Come to think of it, maybe I will try this right now!

Along with these delectable items, Mary also included a Charleston Chew since her shop sells vintage candy as well. With a moment or two in the freezer and a crack on the counter, this was a fine way to travel back to childhood.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Mary included recipes to try… Everything from Turkish Hummus to Fox Point Chicken Bites.

 

As you can see, this Foodie Pen Pal package was one for the record books and one that all future boxes will be measured! A big thank you to Mary and the crew at Allo Chocolat! The next time I am in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I will be sure to stop in…

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And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.
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