Monthly Archives: December 2015

Product review: Vino Mio Foldable Wine Bottle

I received the Vino Mio Foldable Wine Bottle for free to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it.

I don’t always take wine with me wherever I go, but when I wanted to in the past, I had to either deal with bottles or a box.  You know you found a box of Franzia either at your place or served at a party back in the day.  While boxed varieties have improved over the years, I still haven’t found one that makes me happy.  I don’t drink much wine, but when I do, I want a glass of good Pinot Grigio or Zinfandel with dinner or dessert.

Did you know that there are events around Charleston that allow attendees to bring alcohol?  The biggest – and my favorite – is the Spoleto Finale held at Middleton Place every summer. I’ve taken a bottle or three before, but worried about breakage the entire time.  A box just didn’t feel right and reminded me of the old days when money was tight and my youthful taste buds only wanted the wine ‘warmth’ and not the flavor.

Instead of mediocre box or fumbling with bottles, I now have the option of filling up a bottle with my wine of choice.  Thank you, Vino Mio Foldable Wine Bottles!  I wouldn’t have thought of filling my own bottles before finding these.  The bottles are tiny when empty, but don’t let that fool you.  The Vino Mio refillable bottles each hold a full 750 ml bottle of wine. Filling them takes a little patience the first time around. Don’t wait until the last minute because you have to fill the bottles a little at a time and force the air bubbles out as you go.

Vino Mio bottles

I’m tickled by the label.  “Possibly Quality Wine?”  In my younger years, ‘possibly’ was the truth.  Each package includes a bottle with a red or white-type of label so you can take one of each style with you wherever you go.

These bottles are BPA-free, re-usuable, flexible, and foldable or rollable, making them easy to put away when it’s time to go.  The tiny size means they don’t take up much space in the kitchen, either.
I can take my favorites with me instead of making do with one I don’t particularly care for or worrying about broken glass. I cannot wait to use them again during next year’s finale.

Want a pair of your own?  Two Vino Mio Foldable Wine Bottles are just $13.99 on Amazon.com.  Shipping is free for Amazon Prime users.  Cassani Company stands behind its product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  It’s a hassle-free lifetime guarantee; that says a lot.

Drink responsibly.  Follow the local laws about public alcohol consumption and leave the beach, park, or picnic area as nice as you found them.  Don’t be that guy.

Social dieting – do you participate?

Do you share your fitness journey on social media?  I do.  I share the good and bad, and have found a tribe of like-minded folks who support and share as well.  My feed is full of people at all stages of the fitness journey and it helps me keep motivated and focused. Note:   I compete with myself and see other’s journeys as theirs alone.  My progress is mine and where I am is directly related to me and former versions of me. 

Support and challenge groups are not new, but a new type of challenge is on the rise.  If you follow fitness accounts on social media, you’re sure to run across calls for challenges or bets that award prizes to the biggest loser.  Some challenges call for pledges of  $5, $10, $25 or more and the winners get to split the pot at challenge end.  I haven’t participated in this sort of challenge, but they are many.  Studies show that incentive-based challenges may increase motivation and success.  A Mayo Clinic study on “Individual- Versus Group-Based Financial Incentives for Weight Loss” not only found that “sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives” and that “financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence,” but lead author, Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., also cited the advantages of social dynamics for employers offering such awards to help control health care costs while also improving the health of employees, noting, “We found that these incentives were substantially more powerful when delivered in groups…” The study concluded that “A group-based financial incentive was more effective than an individual incentive.”  A Brown University suggests that shedding pounds can have a “contagious” ripple effect and concluded that social networks and teamwork play a significant role in enhancing weight loss outcomes in weight loss interventions.

If you want to start or join a cash prize challenge to kick off 2016 with a bang, consider signing up with HealthyWageHealthyWage provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.  How does a $10,000 top prize sound to you?  One top winner, Kristin Westerfield of Indianapolis, IN lost 114 pounds and won $4,000.

Are you a social dieter?  Which platform do you use?  Does it keep you motivated?

 

Sources: 

N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 357(4): 370-79 (July 2007)
Teamwork Makes Weight Loss More Fun & Successful

Leahey, T.M., Kumar, R., Weinberg, B., Wing, R.R., “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-based Weight Loss Competition,” Obesity, 20 7, 1413-18 (2012)

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1671710

Last-minute gifts, boozy edition

Can you believe that there are only four shopping days left until Christmas?  Or just 10 days left in 2015?  Where did the time go?

With time flying by, you may not have picked up gifts for everyone on your shopping list.  If you’re thinking of sharing spirits with the over-21 crowd, keep in mind that Charleston liquor stores will be closed on Christmas day, so you need to swing by your favorite before then.

As for boozy suggestions, try whisky.  Classic cocktails are all the rage and whisky takes the starring role on quite a few.  A Hot Toddy and or spiked nog call for a shot of whiskey (it’s particularly yummy in Coconut Nog) and no stocked bar is complete without a bottle or two.  Here are recommendations close to my heart.

Bulleit Hot Toddy
Bulleit 10 Year-Old has a smooth finish. Try it in a Hot Toddy. This 91.2 proof whiskey retails for around $50
Dickel Rye Smash
George Dickey Rye is an economical choice. It’s 90 proof and is a nice one for drinking straight up. It retails for around $25
Northern Harvest Rye Buck
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was named the 2016 World Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, becoming the first Canadian Whisky to receive the honor.
The 5 Keys
Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight is Diageo’s latest offering. This contains whiskey some of the oldest stocks, including the last ever produced at Stitzel-Weller. This 91 proof gem retails for around $50.
The Beelzebub
I.W. Harper is back after 20 years! Try this one straight up, in a Hot Toddy, or a cocktail. It’s another economical choice at a suggested retail of just $35.

Remember, drink responsibly.  Don’t drink and drive – have a designated driver.  Take the keys if someone is impaired and give them a place to sleep or call a cab.

Don’t mix alcohol and medication.

Make it an occasional indulgence if you’re working towards a specific fitness goal.  Yes, alcohol is carb-free, but it’s also full of empty calories.

 

Eating for real

Let’s be real for a minute. We know it’s better to eat at the table so you can put your focus squarely on your meal, but that isn’t always how things go. We eat at our desks, in the car, and while watching tv.  While protein shakes and smoothies are a great option for mobile meals, those don’t always do the trick.  My question is this:  what kinds of things do you reach for when you need something more but don’t always have both hands available?

When I need to eat at my desk, easy-to-eat fruit and nuts is one of my favorite combos.  Apple slices or strawberries with a serving of mixed nuts on the side makes me happy.

apples n nuts
Give me a Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Ambrosia, or Granny Smith and I’m a happy woman. 

When fruit isn’t what I’m feeling at that  moment, muffins make me smile.  Blueberry, oatmeal, apple spice, pumpkin or sweet potato muffins are blissful one-handed goodies that don’t always leave a mess on my clothes or keyboard.

blueberry-yogurt-muffins2
These Blueberry Yogurt muffins from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean and delicious, guilt-free, and quick.  Happy Herbivore photo.

You can never go wrong with a good old fashioned sandwich.  I make sure it’s not made with messy fillings so I don’t have to worry as much about a gloopy keyboard or stains on my tops.

sandwich
Nothing like a sammy full of holiday leftovers.

What are you favorite meals or snacks when you eat on the go or in the office?

Review: Oasis The Last Humans Book 1

Note:  You don’t need a Kindle to enjoy Kindle books.  The Kindle app is available for free for the PC, Android, and other wireless devices.  I have the app on my laptop and phone so I always have something good to read with me.

Getting healthier isn’t always about food or physical fitness.  Balancing fitness, food, work, family, and downtime are all part of the equation.  For my downtime, I like to get lost in some form of entertainment.  This past few days, it’s been all about sci-fi.  Language, violence, and a post-apocalyptic setting?  Bring it!  Besides, I needed a bit of a break from the pre- and post-Halloween horror binge I’ve been on.

I received an advance copy of a book I’d like to tell you about.

oasis
Oasis (The Last Humans Book 1) is an upcoming release with so many things I like in my fiction.  It includes likeable characters, challenges, and a potentially bleak existence.

Dima Zales has an impressive number of fantasy/sci-fi titles and is a  NY Times and USA Today bestselling author.  The Sorcery Code series and Mind Dimensions series draw readers in and make it difficult for one to stop reading and get back to the daily grind.  Note:  I particularly liked The Enlightened (Mind Dimensions Book 3). In addition to his works, Zales collaborates with his wife Anna.  The pair have a few romance novels for adult eyes only. The Krinar Chronicles series is excellent  and the first of the series, Close Liaisons, is available as a free Kindle book.   If you’re like me, you won’t stop with the first.

Oasis is told from the main character’s point of view.  Theo is likeable and normal.  We all know this guy and find him funny.  He leads a typical life that includes some of the crazy things boys do, but Theo’s world is not like ours.  There are only so many humans left and Oasis is their home.  The typical human trappings are gone and the residents of Oasis live in peace.  Outside of Oasis, there is no peace and no place for humans.

I expected twists and turns, a little confusion, and a desire to learn more.  Zales delivered on all counts.  I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll keep it vague.  Is Theo sane? Maybe, but then again, his reality is enough to drive anyone insane.  Is the world real or a product of his imagination?  Not sure, but finding out will definitely be a pleasure.  Am I happy I read it?  Yes, without question.

Oasis (The Last Humans Book 1) is available for pre-order in Paperback ($12.99) or Kindle ($2.99) and scheduled to deliver on January 19.  I’m already keeping my eyes open for Book 2.  I need to know the rest of Theo’s story!

I received an advance copy of this book to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it.

Semi-wordless Wednesday: Flexible Dieting for Vegans

flex dieting
Get this e-book! I followed the directions, calculated my macros, ate with them in mind, and lost 7 pounds in one week. Thank you, Dani Taylor!

Get your copy for $24.99 from Vegan Proteins.   While you’re there, pick up some other goodies, too.