Snagging Extra Steps


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This is kind of a placeholder post for all the different ways I find to boost my steps every day.  The one that I do NOT recommend is the 52 steps I was taking three times per night to let the dogs out – was completely messing with my sleep.

So this relates to the Fitbit for me (or really any pedometer style program).  There are ways to increase your steps, some obvious others not so much.

  • Put each piece of laundry away individually.  As in take it out of the basket, fold it, walk it to the room where it lives and put it away.  Depending on the size of your family and house, this one can return some pretty huge results.
  • Park at the far end of the lot from the farthest entrance door to your building.  If you really want to add a bit, walk around the building once before going in.
  • Walk to lunch at work instead of driving.  (Obviously requires decent shoes be worn or stored at work.)
  • Walk straighten the house.  Pick up something that belongs in another room and walk it there to put it away.  Pick up something in that room and do the same.  Do this one either until you don’t have anything left in a room, until the entire house is straightened or for a time period (like 15 minutes or so).

More to come as I discover them. 🙂


Week One Update


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Completed bold green with strikethrough, in progress in bold with italic, notes, summary and updates inline.  Not started in blue.

  • Fitness – Hit my Fitbit goals for the month.  Starting out with the preset 10K steps per day.  Laid out a walking/running schedule to be ready to go for the March 5K.  Naturally this week brought some of the coldest (and wettest) weather so far – will be looking to make up some steps as the month progresses.  Still, definitely heightened awareness of ways to boost steps.  Cool dat. 😀
  • Professional – Complete the ITIL 2011 Intermediate SOA qualification.  Ordered up the SOA course from The Art of Service, did all my downloads and set up a daily task reminder.  Completed through Module 2 of 12.On Track!
  • Habit – Fitness and Food Journaling.  Set up my apps – Endomondo, FitBit and Livescape on the phone, FitBit on the PC.  Completed some journaling every day but not consistent or complete yet.
  • Home – Guest bedroom
  • Financial – 401K and retirement accounts.  Registered and set up the 401K for new employer.  All that remains is to review and update (as needed) the other accounts.
  • Decluttering – Filed the rest of 2013 and set up 2013 tax notebook, set up 2014 files (go label maker).
  • Cost cutting – Insurance review

One complete and four underway.  Seems about right at this point, especially since the four underway are the build a habit kind of goals.

Gadget Review: Fitbit Flex


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So I got a Fitbit Flex for Christmas (Santa ordered it from the Amazon elves for me since no male in my family is insane enough to give appliances, fitness equipment or such for a gift).  I had zero problems setting it up and none of the reported problems snapping the band in place – a lot of reviewers complained it was stiff and difficult, it didn’t seem so to me.  I’m going to write this review with the initial impressions and then come back and follow up in a month so I can give a run down of how I like it after using it for a while.

Initial impressions:

  • Setup – easy and fast
  • Dashboard – pretty clean and easy to customize.
  • Help – had to dig a little more than I had hoped for some settings information, but overall pretty thorough and easy to use.
  • Sleep – so far I’m 50/50 on remembering to put it in sleep mode.  We shall see on this one.  Having to think just prior to bed is a bit much to ask – I’m probably going to aim for starting sleep mode in the 30 minutes of tea and reading prior.
  • Goals – 10K steps/5 miles is a pretty standard starting point.  Adding a common goal like weight loss or calorie intake requires a bit of slogging through help which it probably shouldn’t.
  • Water resistant – showered with it and no issues.
  • Non-dominant hand – sucks for us watch wearers.  Changed the setting rather than try to pair it with my watch.
  • Wake up alarm – very cool and dead on with timing.  Nice.
  • Sync – dammit, I want a Windows 8 phone sync.  Seriously.  The 3rd party app is pretty good though – I do wish it let you enter foods.

I do find the flashing light progress bar pretty danged addicting and it has gotten me to take the longer route several times just to see if it would kick over to the next light.  Pleased with the decision so far.

January – It’s Just a Day Away


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  • Fitness – Hit my Fitbit goals for the month
  • Professional – Complete the ITIL 2011 Intermediate SOA qualification
  • Habit – Fitness and Food Journaling
  • Home – Guest bedroom
  • Financial – 401K and retirement accounts
  • Decluttering – File for 2013 taxes, set up 2014 files
  • Cost cutting – Insurance review

I just got my Fitbit Flex for Christmas and so far I’m liking it even without a direct phone sync app.  I’ll be doing a review of the device at the end of January after I’ve used it for a month – the first goal it set was 10K steps per day which is more than doable.  I’m buying the ITIL Intermediate SOA course today so I can start studying for the qualification exam.  The app I’ll be using for the health journaling is the Fitbit dashboard so I can include it in the review.

The guest bedroom project will start with a list and some pictures and hopefully include some decluttering.  Definitely a post of its own and I fully expect it to require time during the catch up month.  I need to sign up for the 401K at the new job and then get all the various accounts sorted and into a single dashboard.  Filing is always fun, not.  But it is nice to see all those fresh new 2014 folders ready to go.  And finally, I’m pretty sure I’m overinsured in some places and underinsured in others, so time to get some quotes, check my policies and coverage and such.  Fingers crossed that it leads to a good chunk of savings or a better sense of what is and isn’t covered adequately.

Right now I’m planning to do an update post every weekend to keep on track, denoting which goals have been completed and anything I learned during the week while working on them.  I’ve decided that 2014 is the year of learning new things and trying new things – hopefully without any major injuries as a result of it. 🙂

Stuff That Works: SimpleHuman Butterfly Step Trash Can



Yeah, I know.  It’s a trash can.  And it is an expensive trash can (though we did get ours on sale on Amazon, so it was a bit less painful).  But the entire family is in love with this thing and if you consider how many times a day you use a kitchen trash can, the cost per use is danged low.  So why is it so great?

  1. Dogs and cats cannot get in this thing.  Even smart and determined ones.  This is huge!
  2. It’s good looking and it is “slimline” – takes up much less space than similar volume cheap trashcans.  I can’t say it is 100% fingerprint free, but it’s pretty resistant (especially being hands free).  It does collect some stray paw prints as the cat likes to walk across it.
  3. Trash bags are easy to change out.  A standard kitchen bag fits this perfectly without fighting it on.  This was something I completely loathed about our oldSimpleHuman Trash Can Blog kitchen can.
  4. A pizza box fits in the can.  This was a bigger deal around here than you would think.
  5. It has a pedal open and a butterfly top – one hand trash dumping, slim profile, slow close.  Based on how slowly it closes, I’d say no issue with kid’s fingers but it hasn’t been determined kid tested.
  6. It’s solid and sturdy without being stupidly heavy.  Though it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t get knocked around (or over) by accident.
  7. It allows you to fill the trash bag up completely.  No more weird unfilled corners at the bottom and shaking the trash down to close the bag.

My son suggested it was time for a “good trash can” for the kitchen and I spent a few days researching trash cans (yep, I really did) to meet our requirements and eliminate all our complaints.  This thing scored a home run.  And looks good too.  Check out SimpleHuman for the Butterfly Step Can, really.  (They are also sold on Amazon and at Home Depot among other places – shop around, the prices vary by as much as $30.) 🙂