2015 Resolution #2

New Year’s Resolution #2: Less screen time

I know I’ve said this many times before, but I watch too much television. Besides the fact that I have amassed way too many shows that I DVR every week, I really just like having the TV on in general when I’m at home. I like the noise and the entertainment, but I am fully aware that I should cut back. So this year I decided to finally start making some progress on that front. The first thing I did was give my eyes a break at bedtime. I used to watch TV on my iPad while getting ready for bed every night and then leave the Time Warner app running as I fell asleep. Usually I just found some channel or another that was showing old sitcom reruns which acted like a white noise machine as I drifted off to dreamland. But beginning on New Year’s Day I stopped that completely. Now I listen to either podcasts (Nerdist or Fresh Air) or the radio (via the iHeartRadio app) when I’m getting ready for bed, and then turn it off when I’m ready to go to sleep. And it’s been quite nice, actually. Considerable reduction of eye strain and elimination of potentially sleep ruining blue light from my electronics! However, I do read on my iPad Mini after I get into bed, but since mid-December I’ve had a blue light filter on it. I don’t want to discourage nightly reading (especially since one of my resolutions last year was to read every night before bed), but I also want to improve the quality of my sleep. And I think the blue light filters on my iPads have been working so far. I actually bought one for my laptop as well, but it was defective so I had to ask the company to send me a replacement. There were a few small creases on the screen that made application without air bubble completely impossible (and incredibly frustrating). But that’s beside the point right now. What I wanted to report today is that I’ve started making strides to cut back on my TV viewing. Hopefully I’ll have a lot more progress to share throughout the year. I’ll keep you posted!

Ten days ’til Christmas

It’s December 15th and Christmas is in ten days. Fortunately I’ve got almost all of my Christmas shopping done, with just a couple of stocking stuffers to pick up after I get to Florida next week. (Anything I don’t have to cram into my suitcase is good.) My little Christmas tree and other decorations have been in place in my apartment for almost two weeks, and I even sent out all of my Christmas cards in early December. I’m ahead of the game for once! More than I could have possibly imagined, actually. Believe it or not, I’ve already gotten started on my resolutions for 2015. I know it’s a bit early, but I’ve put a lot of thought into some changes I want to make next year. I think I’ve made some great strides in 2014 and I want to keep moving in the right direction in 2015. I’m still compiling/clarifying/simplifying the new resolutions so I’ll save the whole list for next year, but there’s one I want to at least mention now. In a nutshell: Less screen time. I’ve always admitted that I watch too much television (I’ve got “The Simpsons” on right now) so starting in January I’m going to make a concerted effort to cut back on time spent in front of the TV. I’ll still watch my favorite shows (DVRed, as usual), but other mindless couch-potato impressions will not be tolerated! One of the ways I’m going to do this is to ban iPad TV/movie watching while getting ready for bed. I know the glow from the screen impacts the quality of my sleep so I will turn off almost all of my electronic gadgets (laptop included) at night. There was one little problem with this resolution, however. How do I reconcile reading in bed on my iPad Mini? Easy! I ordered a blue light filter for it that will let me read as much as I want, but hopefully keep the iPad from messing with my natural sleep cycles. Brilliant! The filters should be here tomorrow and I can’t wait to start using them on both of my iPads. I should probably look for a filter for my laptop as well, but one step at a time!

iPhone 6 considerations

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I like about my new iPhone 6. That’s not a question I have an easy answer to. In general, I’ve found that the iPhone 6 is pretty much exactly the same as the iPhone 5, at least as far as actual operation goes. The fingerprint recognition is pretty cool, but I don’t use it. My phone is mostly for simple stuff like Facebook, Twitter, and email, as well as using Map My Run to keep track of my half marathon training. So when people ask what I like about my iPhone 6, I usually try to come up with something other than the fact that the glass isn’t shattered and falling off, like on my old iPhone 5. Even though it works great, I guess I’m not exactly in love with the iPhone 6. In fact, there are a few minor things I’m not a fan of. Like the size. Granted, the iPhone 6 isn’t all that much bigger than it’s predecessor, but I’ve added a case (to avoid the spiderweb effect if I drop it) which exacerbates the issue. I’ve become accustomed to carrying my phone around in the back pocket of my jeans (I don’t have a purse I like anymore), but that’s not nearly as easy as it used to be with the size of the iPhone 6 plus the case. Also, it’s much more difficult to go running with a larger phone. Some of my shorts and capris have back pockets which are perfect for stashing my phone while running. No extra belt needed. But now with the iPhone 6 I can barely squeeze it into those pockets or into the storage pouch on my hydration belt (for longer runs), and that’s with the case removed! And taking the case off every other day or so is no picnic. As much as I like the case I bought (it has little rubber grips to make it easier to hold and less likely to slide off of other surfaces), I might need to invest in one that’s a little less difficult to remove for running. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sorry I got an iPhone 6, but it’s going to take a little getting used to. The good news is that I’ve discovered the beauty of running pants with side pockets. The two pairs that I’ve gotten recently have pockets on the outside of the thighs that are the perfect size for my iPhone. Also, it makes the phone much more accessible for changing the music or checking my run progress. I love those pants so much that I’ve ordered another couple of pairs so that I’ll have plenty of options for running this fall and winter. So despite my complaints, I still take my phone with me everywhere I go and use it all the time. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Crazy Saturday

This is the first post published on my brand new laptop! I love it already!

Forgive me for the “Wordless Saturday” post yesterday. I figured I could justify it since I didn’t take advantage of “Wordless Wednesday” earlier this week, but it was still a cop-out. Weekends are when I should theoretically have more free time to write longer updates, but yesterday was a bit crazy. As you could probably tell from my previous post, yesterday I watched the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special at 11:50 AM when it was simulcast all over the world at the same time. I was curled up on my couch with my laptop so I could follow BBC America on Twitter while the show was airing. (And if you follow me on Twitter you saw my many, many tweets with the hashtag #DoctorWho50th. I was unapologetically enthusiastic!) I did tell you I was a nerd, right? So what did I think of “The Day of the Doctor” after all of the hype and anticipation? It was awesome! I actually watched it twice yesterday – once during the initial airing and a second time in the evening (after I went running) to catch all of the details I missed. The show actually improved upon repeat viewing and that made me love it even more. You’d think the 50th Anniversary Special would have satisfied my craving for new Doctor Who content, at least for a little while, but it actually just made me even more anxious for the Christmas special next month. Especially after the (very) brief appearance of the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, near the end. I can’t wait. So Doctor Who took up a lot of my time yesterday, obviously. I wish I could say that I got a lot done before the show started, but I didn’t. I had a lazy breakfast of a Special K protein shake and a Coke (unhealthy, I know), folded the last of my clean laundry from the night before, and washed some dishes. Not bad, but not great. As a diehard Gator fan I have to admit that I didn’t watch the beginning of the Florida football game because Doctor Who interfered. However, I did fire up my ESPN app on my iPad so I could watch the end of the game when Doctor Who was over, but I wish I hadn’t. The Gators lost to Georgia Southern. This is a new low. Not only does Florida have seven losses this season, but yesterday marked six losses in a row. Their last win was against Arkansas back on 10/5 and that’s the game I attended! Holy cow! The Gator Nation is really sad these days, but I don’t want to dwell on that too much. Maybe I’ll write a whole post about this football season when it’s over (which will probably be next weekend since Florida won’t be bowl-eligible this year). But for now let’s move on to a happier subject! When the football game was over yesterday I drove over to Best Buy and picked up my new laptop! Yes, I am now the proud owner of a Lenovo Yoga 2 and I’m completely enamored with it. I have to admit that I haven’t used it too much yet (it was a crazy weekend) so I don’t have all of the settings personalized, but I imagine I’m just going to love it more and more as I use it. I will undoubtedly be writing more about that soon. Last night I was feeling lazy after skipping my run on Friday due to the rain and cold temperatures(a flimsy excuse at best), so I headed out to get some much-needed exercise before the sun went down. It was absolutely gorgeous in Seal Beach. I’ve never seen it so clear in Los Angeles. Not only could you see Catalina Island, but I could make out buildings in Two Harbors! It was amazing. Unfortunately my running wasn’t so amazing. I’d been doing really well with my 2-mile intervals, although I hadn’t been running as frequently as I should have in the last couple of weeks, but yesterday was really tough. I had to slow down just to finish the run, which was frustrating because my mile times had been decreasing since I started the two-mile intervals. But since I really only care about the distance and not the time, I’m trying not to focus on my pace too much. I have accepted that some runs are going to be more difficult than others and I’m not going to let that discourage me. This is one of those times when my stubbornness will pay off! After I got home and took a shower I was famished. I usually run so late in the evening that I either skip dinner or just have a protein shake before I go to bed. But yesterday I found my stomach growling at 7 PM so I drove over to Jersey Mike’s and got a delicious turkey sub. That’s what I munched on while watching “The Day of the Doctor” for the second time. Yeah, I really loved it. Did I already say that? But anyway, that pretty much wraps up my Saturday. I intended to make this post about my whole weekend, but it’s late and I’m really tired. These three workdays before Thanksgiving are going to be very busy and I have some other things I need to do outside of work as well. More details tomorrow. Good night!

Fights with my iPhone

I love my iPhone, I really do. But sometimes to drives me crazy. Yesterday when I was trying to add some new songs to my running playlist I noticed that all of the latest songs were gone. Everything from the last six months, at least. I hadn’t deleted the songs and I hadn’t synced my iPhone with my laptop in about a week so I have no idea what happened. My iPhone ate my music! Very frustrating. I had to do something about this travesty (first world problem, I know) before going running. So I built a “New music” playlist of about 60 songs on my laptop and transferred it to my iPhone. Or so I thought. When I left the house to go running it wasn’t there. I’ve never claimed to be a computer genius, but I should be capable of putting music on my phone, right? Ugh. So I had to fall back on an old playlist to entertain me while I was running last night. No big deal because I really like all of the songs on my iPhone, but some of them get old after hearing them umpteen times. I run four or five times a week so I listen to a lot of music. Tonight before I went running I removed all of the songs from my iPhone and started building a workout playlist from scratch. I put about 3 hours of music on there so far (which will last me about two running sessions), but I need to build that up some more. I have given my iPhone a lot of credit for my running success because I don’t think I could have done it without music to listen to. Without something to keep my mind occupied all I can think about is how tired I am! That’s the worst. Hopefully my iPhone doesn’t delete my songs again because I might have to leave it at home and use another iPod for running. And yes, Lauren’s iPhone, that’s a threat!

“New Year’s Eve” Eve

I think my cold is both better and worse today. My sinuses hurt when I lie down so I didn’t sleep very well last night, but I think my congestion is starting to clear up despite my sleep deprivation so that’s a good sign. I can still barely breathe out of my nose and I feel like I’m going to sneeze all the time, but it’s not too bad. I originally planned to stay home today and try to recover, but this is the kind of illness that seems even worse when I’m sitting around doing nothing. So after watching a couple of episodes of “Doctor Who” on my iPad (I admit it, I’m in love with this show. I’m up to the beginning of season 4 now.), I got out of bed, got dressed, and went out for a while to get my mind off my cold. The first place I headed was The Block at Orange to do a little shopping. Usually I’m not much of a shopper, but I had unusually good luck today which is good news because my wardrobe needs some serious help. I’m not sure if “help” is the right word for what I bought today, though. I keep wondering if my fashion sense is improving or regressing recently because I’ve been buying a lot of cardigans and blazers for work, but also tank tops and hoodies (mostly for outside work, but there are exceptions). It’s like I can’t decide how old I want to look. The first stop I made was the Converse outlet for a new pair of gray All Stars. My old pair was in sad shape so I had to get rid of them. Luckily there was a 30% off sale so I didn’t spend as much as I expected. Then I went to the Aeropostale store for a gray lace hoodie that I’ve had my eye on for about a third of the original price. Are you seeing a theme here? To continue the trend I picked up a couple of new cardigans (orange and navy blue, perfect for a die hard Gator fan like me) at Ann Taylor Loft for half price, and finally I got two pairs of jeans at the Levi’s outlet for $25 each. I came home with more stuff than I usually buy in five shopping trips and I didn’t spend very much! Quite a stroke of luck, but I was exhausted when I left due to my cold. On my way home from shopping I picked up my new awesome flat screen TV at Best Buy. It didn’t take long to set up once I got home and right now I’m using it to watch some Disney movies I recorded on ABC Family while I was in Florida. There are quite a few of the animated movies that I don’t own on DVD so I made sure to DVR them when they were on earlier this week. I already watched “Pocahontas” (which was one of Disney’s weaker offerings) and I’ve got “Mulan” (one of my favorites) in the queue, but right now I’m in the middle of “Hercules” (which is better than I remember). I definitely love the music. This bit in particular rang true with me today.

I am on my way, I can go the distance
I don’t care how far, somehow I’ll be strong
I know every mile will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to find where I belong

That’s a mantra I need to keep in mind each day. Besides my disgusting cold I’m feeling pretty good today and I have a lot of hope for the future. 2012 is ending in a way I never expected, but I have every reason to believe that 2013 is going to better than I could have ever imagined.

From DFW

I’m sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for my flight to Los Angeles. It doesn’t leave for an hour and a half so I have some time to kill. It’s too bad that I can’t eat while I’m traveling because it looks like DFW has some good food options! At least I was able to get my iPhone and laptop connected to some free wifi this time. It certainly makes the time between flights go by faster. Today was my last day in Tallahassee so of course we spent the morning and afternoon doing all of the things we had put off during the first five days of my trip. We picked up some jeans I was having hemmed, my mom bought me some makeup at Dillard’s, I looked for some new Gator apparel at Marshalls, and my dad helped me pick out a television at Best Buy (which I purchased with some Christmas money). I didn’t buy the TV in Tallahassee, obviously, but I ordered it online and I’ll pick it up at a local store tomorrow morning when I’m back in LA. It’s a 32″ Samsung LED that’s going to be great with the Blu-ray player I bought on Black Friday (which I ordered while I was in San Francisco visiting my brother and picked up the Sunday after Thanksgiving when I got back to LA). I have four days before I have to go back to work on January 2nd and I might spend a majority of that time enjoying my new TV! It’s going to be especially nice to watch the Sugar Bowl (Florida vs. Louisville) on the 2nd. It might be a one-sided game (if the Gators don’t win I’ll be surprised, but I’m still only cautiously optimistic), but it’ll be pretty much the last college football game I’ll watch until next fall so there’s no way I’m going to miss it. My trip to Tallahassee was lots of fun. I’ll have to write more about it before I go back to work on Wednesday. We did a lot of cooking (including my famous lasagna for Christmas Day lunch), a lot of shopping, and a lot of visiting with family and friends. It was nice. I can’t believe there are only three days of 2012 left. I’m definitely not going to be sorry to see this year end, but I’m in a better place right now that I was a couple of months ago so I’m not quite ready to close the door on 2012. I’m going to try to spend these next three days wrapping up some loose ends and accomplishing a few things so I can start 2013 with a clean(er) slate. Unfortunately I caught a cold a couple of days ago so I’m not feeling 100%. Luckily I have some time to rest before going back to work on Wednesday. I’m getting in to Los Angeles very late tonight so I expect I’ll only have enough energy to crawl into bed when I get home. At least I got a chance to update my webpage while sitting here at DFW! I have a lot of stuff I want to write about before the end of the year so I will probably get started on that while I’m en route to LAX. These next four days are going to go by fast and I’ll have to go back to work before I know it. I’m going to try and enjoy every minute.

iPhone 5

This update was posted from my brand new iPhone 5 that I got yesterday! And the home button works perfectly, unlike my poor dilapidated, two plus year old iPhone 4. Thank goodness for modern technology. Without it this completely random and utterly ridiculous webpage post couldn’t have been published! Isn’t the world just so much richer with my inane rambling?