January – Coffee Month

It feels like I have a beverage related month about once a year… Wine, cider, and now coffee. It’s cold and rainy this January and I want to curl up with a warm cup of joe. Good thing I live in a town filled with some of the best local roasters – Stumptown and Water Ave are the current favorites, but there are so many more to try! I hope to use some new brewing techniques (Chemex and the trusty French press) to brew some amazing cups. Then, I’ll pin Portland’s best against other cities in a (completely biased) death match. May the best (Portland) win!

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December – Nike Fuelband Month

The most beautiful, brilliant, and thoughtful woman in the world happens to be my best friend.  She also happens to give very good birthday gifts, like the Nike Fuelband she gave me last month for my 31st.  So I decided to take on the challenge – meet a goal of 2500 fuelpoints each day of December.  This seemed pretty easy, considering 2500 is an average goal for women my age and I have a fairly active job.

So what is a Fuelband?  The Nike Fuelband is a motivational tool to inspire activity.  It uses an accelerometer to track movement, and converts it, based on your height and weight, into a fitness currency called FuelPoints.  It also tracks approximate steps and calories burned and displays the time!

For my challenge, I decided to go with the goal Nike recommended – 2500 points per day. The first couple of days were easy peazy.  Forty-five minutes on the treadmill earns about 1800 points.  An eight hour workday is 700-1500 points depending on the busyness.  Walking casually around town earns about 250 points every half hour.  House cleaning is about the same.  Unfortunately, activity that doesn’t involve quick arm movements, like the Pilates class I took only earned 200 points in an hour.

Week 1 – 18,387 total FuelPoints. 57% Goals Hit. 8,772 Steps per Day.  Best Day of the Week – 3,935 FuelPoints on Thursday.

Then, on Tuesday of Week 2, my Fuelband broke.  The additional piece that customizes the fit of the Band broke off and I couldn’t find it.  It took me a couple days to get it into the Nike Store for repair.  Once I brought it in, they hooked me up with a new piece and I was ready to go – again.

Week 2 – 14,088 total FuelPoints. 29% Goals Hit.  6,694 Steps per Day. Best Day of the Week – 3,728 FuelPoints on Thursday.

Mondays are usually days spent completely in an office with little work activity.  If I don’t go to the gym afterwards, it results in a day like Week 3 Monday – 1,209 FuelPoints.  Then, I forgot to put it on Thursday morning before I left the house for the day.

Week 3 – 18,147 total FuelPoints. 71% Goals Hit. 8,988 Steps per Day.  Best Day of the Week – 4,308 FuelPoints on Tuesday.

Then I started to get a cold.  The last week of December in retail is pretty brutal and I was done.  Then, on December 29th, I got an error message to plug it into a computer and sync.  Who uses a computer anymore?

Week 4 – 8,688 total FuelPoints. 0% Goals Hit. 3,117 Steps per Day.  Best Day of the Week – 2,077 FuelPoints on Friday.

Breakdown for December
61,150 FuelPoints
35% of Goals Hit
6,380 Steps Per Day
463 Calories Burned Per Day
2,264 Average FuelPoints per day

So here’s the bottom line.  The FuelBand is is a great motivational tool, and that’s exactly it.  You shouldn’t expect it to track all your activity accurately.  You can get more points clapping at a seated concert than you would riding a bike across town.  Some friends have trouble syncing and can’t retrieve the previous days activity.  It’s got some problems.  Some bugs.  Some kinks.  There are definitely ways to improve.  But when the words at the bottom of the NikeFuel app say “1800 points behind vs Women 30-39,” it’s pretty motivating.  How the heck are these old ass women beating me?  I’ll show them!

Best Of – Crafty Project

Oh, how I love me some crafts!  Christmas is right around the corner and I want to make something special for Mr. Adventure.  Something that is unique and thoughtful and fits his personality.  I want to encourage his mountain climbing and adventurous (redundant) spirit.  I decide to give him the world.

I bought a world map wall decal from Target for $20.  Took the measurements to the Rebuilding Center and found a perfect old window for $2.  Cleaned it up and installed the decal.  It was pretty tough to get it on straight; it’s a huge sticker.  I attempted to get most of the bubbles out but some are there for good.  Then I found some different stickers to go along with the map – a heart for Oregon, green triangles for the mountains he’s climbed, silver triangles for the peaks he wants to climb.  It turned out so cool, I want to make another one for myself!

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Best Of – Cider

cider sorbetI know I just had Cider Month in October, but my favorite artisan ice creamery Salt and Straw has a Bushwhacker Spiced Cider Sorbet.  As I’m sure you all remember, I visited the Bushwhacker tasting room for Ciderfest and it was fantastic!  The sorbet was just as incredible.  How could it not be?  Mixing ice cream and booze is always a good combination.

Best of – Running

Running Month was more like 2. Marpril of 2011. When I went from being winded after running 30 seconds to being able to run a very slow, extremely arduous 5k. Win! In October of that same year, I ran the Portland Half Marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes. Running has never been easy for me. Shin splints and allergies kept me and running at arms length for most of my life. It was something I loathed. Why would I need to run when there will be hover chairs in a few short years?? Eventually a daily allergy pill and specially fitted running shoes would eliminate all my excuses. Except for laziness. That will *always* be a valid excuse.

So I started the Couch to 5k training program and eventually began to love it. The quiet street with soggy leaves under my feet. The treadmill at 11pm with only me and the cleaning lady. The bridges and streets up ahead and far behind. The focused calm of my mind. It was something I craved. My legs would get restless and my mind would wander and I knew I needed to run. I’m still not good at it. A 10 minute mile is my personal best. I’ll go months without running and then, all of a sudden, feel this urge that won’t dissipate. So, for Best Of Month, I wanted to run a whole 5k without walking. It took me 4 tries, but I finally did it in 35 minutes. My new goal for 2014 is to run another half in under 2 hours

Best Of – Healthy Eating

I watched a few food documentaries and freaked the fuck out. Animal cruelty, Monsanto corporate greed and brainwashery, genetically modified science experiments, barely distinguishable nutrients, semi-food food… It’s pretty disgusting. And as a person that occasionally struggles with sickness, I had to wonder how this crap is effecting my immune system. I decided to take a food challenge. 50% or more of my daily food intake was fruits and vegetables and as much raw as possible. Smoothies, salads, soups and sautéed veggies filled my day. It was a real eye-opener. A really delicious eye opener. I had more energy and felt generally healthier.

At the time, I lived in SE Portland. I was ordering weekly fruit and veggie deliveries from Organics To You. They have a huge box of fruits and veggies delivered right to your door for $27. I wound up moving outside the delivery area and cancelled it, but now I’m back! So, for Best Of Month, I started it up again. And with the help of a borrowed juicer, enjoyed a new way of getting nutrient rich, healthy food. Now that I’ve had access to a juicer, I can’t imagine life without it. It’s so easy and tasty and good for you. I see a juicing month in my future…

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Thirty Days of New is Three Years Old!

Happy Birthday to you!  Well, I guess me.  It’s been three years since I started this little adventure.  Three years since I decided to start doing things for myself.  Three years since I made a list of all the things I wanted to do and started crossing them off, one month at a time.

So this month, as I celebrate my actual 31st birthday, I am going to celebrate the 3rd birthday of this adventure.  Take my favorite things from the last few years and do them again.  Re-reading the adventures and sharing my favorite moments along the way.