Things Of Random

Spring is in full swing and summer is approaching at a breakneck pace. Before we know it, fall will be upon us…but in the meantime, we’ve got some exercising to do!

Summer is largely about fitness, whether it’s getting ready for bikini season or being active outside with friends and family during school and work vacations. It’s also a time period where you see a spike in fitness novices trying to get out there and embrace fitness wholeheartedly. These newbies look for information online and on television from those they think they can trust — the secrets to achieving perky butts and flat bellies.

Sure, there are fitness secrets out there that do work, but there are many more myths out there that are way too good to be true. If you’re interested in getting fit this year, avoid these fitness myths like the plague.

“Lots of sweat = lots of fat burning.”

It’s a phrase that’s commonly tossed around: “more sweat, less fat!” Some exercise junkies use this as a mantra, and their confirmation bias comes out when they lose the pounds after rigorous exercise routines.

The truth is that sweat has no real correlation to how much fat you’re burning off. Sweating is biological and helps to regulate your body’s temperature. Sweating at all is a good indicator that you are pushing your limits, but there’s no correlation to sweating and fat loss.

“Crunches are the best go-to exercise.”

Make no mistake, crunches are great for exercising your core and abdomen. They’re a great beginner’s exercise that is easy to utilize for measuring your exercise journey. You’ll find them hard to do at first, especially if you’re trying to do them quickly, but they’ll become easier over time.

However, they shouldn’t be your exercise crutch. Many believe that crunches are the quickest way to a flat stomach and lower body fat, but that certainly isn’t the case. The best way to lose fat is to burn a lot of calories, but crunches don’t actually burn that many. Don’t rely on crunches alone if you want a beach body this summer.

“The longer you’re in the gym, the better off you’ll be.”

Finally, there’s a common myth floating around that the harder you push, the faster you’ll lose all that weight you want to get rid of. In fact, the opposite is actually true. Of course it’s a good idea to go to the gym, but continuously going to the gym with no breaks leads to fatigue, injury and weight gain.

Why weight gain? Your body eventually needs to rest. When you do take a day off, your body will desperately cling to the calories you take in and you’ll be set back for your next gym visit. Schedule rest days regularly. This also helps to keep you motivated to go to the gym — don’t risk burning yourself out and quitting altogether.

These are just three common myths you’ll find, especially online. When you’re researching information on fitness, always do your research and never trust the first article you see.

A common misconception about mindfulness is that it’s entirely the absence of thought. However, it should be obvious that this is wrong — it’s not called mindfulness for nothing. To be mindful is to (simply put) accomplish two things. First, you clear your mind. Second — and this is the important part — you focus on the present environment and the world around you within that very moment.

No past, no future. Just the moment you currently exist within.

The problem is that as entrepreneurs and busy people, we don’t often have the time or ability to shut off our brains and focus on what’s really around us. That’s why when the moment occurs, we all have to strike while the iron is hot.

  1. Your Daily Commute

It’s probably a good idea to avoid spacing out while you’re driving to work, but that doesn’t mean you can take some time during your commute to be mindful. This is much easier if you take the train, bus or subway to work. You aren’t having to worry about the rules of the road and it’s easier to let your mind wander and focus on the world around you.

If you do drive, try and make it to work a little early. Don’t try to be mindful while driving, but instead for a few minutes once you get to work. Sit in your car, turn off your brain and take in your environment.

  1. Make Food Mindful

Being mindful isn’t just about drifting away and taking in the sights. It’s also about savoring all of your senses — including your sense of taste.

You’ll find time to eat during the day, which means you’ll find time to be mindful. The food you’re eating doesn’t have to be from a five star restaurant in order for mindfulness occur. Even if you only have time for a Hot Pocket at your desk, take the time to notice the flavor and only the flavor. How does the food feel? How does it taste?

  1. Before Sleep

You aren’t a robot — you’ve got to sleep sometime! If you don’t have time to be mindful during the day, simply make time at night. About five minutes before you’re scheduled to go to sleep, let your mind wander and experience the world around you.

It’s actually easier to be mindful when your mind is already looking forward to shutting down. Practicing mindfulness before bed is one way to be more successful at the exercise, and it’s also simultaneously relaxing so you can fall asleep faster.

  1. Emotional Awareness

We’ve covered things like sight, sound and taste, but mindfulness also encompasses another spectrum of yourself: emotions. Examining your emotions in the present is a great way to get in tune with them and ease stress.

This can be done at any time during the day, but consider focusing on this during any bathroom breaks you take at work. Wash your hands and focus on feeling the water and soap, then look inward and assess your emotions. This takes only a few second and can still leave you feeling at ease.

A lot of vacation time happens during the latter half of the year. There’s the summertime, Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays, New Year’s Eve…then the vacation days slow down once the next year rolls around again. It’s not longer about taking a few days off at a time, or even weeks at a time, but instead a day here and there.

That is, until spring break rolls around. Spring break can be a time for anyone to take off and enjoy the warmth of spring, from college students to entrepreneurs who just want to take some well-deserved “me time.” However, spring break shouldn’t be about partying and other irresponsible activities. Instead, consider spending some time reflecting during a nature-based vacation where you’re totally at peace.

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

If you want a mixture of fun and nature, Costa Rica is the country for you. Tamarindo is a tropical location that has amazing beaches, great nightlife locations and other outdoorsy fun activities. Costa Rica has the added benefit of being rather small, so you can come for Tamarindo and stay for other inland cities that also contain great activities. If you’re indeed a nature lover, visit one of their parks and see the country’s bird and butterfly species. The country is home to the famed Blue Morpho butterfly, a must-see for anyone interested in bugs.

Denali National Park, Alaska

While Alaska may be quite a ways away, Denali National Park is certainly worth the trip. Alaska is perhaps where you can find a true look at wilderness up close. For most of us, the scenery of Alaska is unlike any we’ve seen in the continental United States, so the imagery alone is enough to visit for. Park-goers can be dropped into the tundra via a helicopter, hike through the Alaskan wilderness and encounter amazing creatures while there.

Asheville, North Carolina

Another town perfect for anyone who likes a little responsible fun with a nature twist, Asheville is simultaneously home to a plethora of breweries and is a gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tourists both national and international flock to the city every year during spring break to take in the local culture and hike through the mountains. Other popular activities include horseback riding, animal watching and mountain biking. While on your hike, it’s possible you’ll see creatures like elk or the American black bear.

Big Island, Hawaii

Many don’t know that Hawaii isn’t just the name of the only island state in the U.S. — it’s also the name of the state’s biggest island! Known as Big Island, the largest portion of the state is home to amazing natural wonders, like the volcanic coast of Kona. A must-do activity when visiting Big Island is snorkeling — snorkelers have the chance to see and dive with manta rays and other oceanic sea life. There are island tours constantly ready to take tourists around the large island to see all of the incredible sights. If you want to relax while surrounded by true beauty on your spring break vacation, this may be the option for you.

No one is ever entirely free of stress…or are they?

Stress is something that we consider as a standard in life. Sometimes stress is more dire than it is simple. We stress as teens studying hard for tests and as adults stressing over how much money we need to make to break even. Stress creates a very cluttered mental space, which then begins to impact other areas of life, like productivity and health. In short, stress is something that we don’t want but that seems almost inevitable, especially as professionals.

This is where mindfulness comes in. You may have heard the term in passing, but are you familiar with what it is and what it can do for you?

What is Mindfulness?

To keep things simple, mindfulness is being very aware of the world around you on a moment-by-moment basis, as well as accepting it simultaneously. People assume that this is simple — aren’t we all already living and experiencing every moment of our lives? Experiencing something and actually being 100% aware of it, however, are two different things.

While it’s true that we are physically present for all of our lives, we aren’t always mentally present. The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness, or essentially running on autopilot. Many people don’t fully understand how much of their life is spent lost in thought, avoiding outside stimulus.

Say that you’re walking down a busy city street. What are you doing? Are you keeping your thoughts to yourself, running through your daily to-do list? Are you listening to music from earbuds, lost in the sound and not paying full attention to the world around you? Both are examples of clogging our minds with something in order to avoid being cognizant. Someone who has embraced mindfulness is fully living in that moment, noticing things and taking them in.

What Can Mindfulness do for You?

Mindfulness is often associated with total positivity; it’s something written off as a new age, existentialist way of avoiding life’s problems. However, it’s exactly the opposite.

Let’s look at stress and mindfulness. When someone who is used to mindlessness is confronted with stress, the negative emotion and thoughts of the future cloud their vision. Anxiety gets in the way of productivity. Someone who is mindful, however, fully accepts the stressful stimuli and then formulates a plan based on their acceptance of their current predicament.

Practicing mindfulness can help reduce the harmful repercussions of stress, like panic and anxiety. Realize that stress is a state of being, an emotion — it isn’t a situation itself. When someone is mindful, they don’t experience stress because they experience a situation, not the harmful emotional side effect that comes with it.

Thus, mindfulness is growing in popularity as a way to increase productivity. When we are mindful of our surroundings, our emotional state and what we must do, we are much more likely to seize the day and get things done with no negativity involved.

The Motivational Books You Need for the New Year

by Keetria on December 22, 2016

motivationalbooksWhat is true motivation? Some believe that the best motivator is yourself, and for many people this is true – but not all of us were born with built in confidence or have had the experiences required to be so self-assured. Those who can self-activate are often those who are filled to the brim with courage and mettle, but it’s okay if you aren’t quite there yet.

One of the most powerful motivation tools is finding an example of someone who you’d like to be more like. That’s not to say you have to copy someone’s life experience exactly. In fact, that’s impossible! But if you don’t already have it within you to motivate yourself, learning about how someone else views motivation and their own successes with motivation can help you do the same.

The best way to do just that is to read a motivational book. Unlike blog posts or news story sound bites, books are much more collegiate and substantial. The opinions are formed well and researched – if you get a good book, anyway. To help you weed out any rotten apples and to give you some books to read for the upcoming New Year, here is a selection of motivation books that we can all learn a thing or two from.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

We all understand vulnerability – and if you say you haven’t then you might be in denial. To be vulnerable means to be unguarded, to notice that you’ve got a chink in your armor and know that it can’t be repaired right away. Emotions like uncertainty and precaution are human, though they’re often perceived as weak.

Dr. Brené Brown steers readers in a different direction. Dr. Brown argues that vulnerability isn’t actually weakness, but is instead what makes us stronger and is the core of our most profound emotions. Without vulnerability, things like joy and grief would be nonexistent – vulnerability brings us both the good AND the bad.

“Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change” by Derek Rydall

Many self-help or motivational books focus heavily on how to change who you are. Derek Rydall says that who you were born is the exact person you are right now – changing that is going against nature. We hear arguments like this in regards to things like sexuality, but never to character flaws or imperfections.

Rydall thinks that radical change within your life starts when you activate something that’s already inside of you, not something that you need to create inorganically.

“Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

One thing most of us need help with when it comes to motivation is cleaning and tidying. If you’re looking around you right now and see a stack of disheveled papers and a few too many Starbucks cups, you’re someone who could use this book to help motivate you come 2017.

Marie Kondo is an organizational guru who is here to not only help you with words, but with pictures. With both a written and visual representation of what your mess looks like and why you’re holding onto it, she sets all readers up for organization success.

Fitness Tech to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

by Keetria on December 12, 2016

fitnessgiftsThe holidays are approaching and you’ve likely got a lot of wishlists you’re focusing on right now. For your own wishlist, you’re looking for new items you want – maybe they’re to expand your life, like a new set of motivational tapes. Maybe you want something more fun than functional, like an art kit or inline skates to get back in touch with your 80’s teen spirit. Others will want similar things, from boxes of chocolate to boxes of ties.

Here’s something to consider: we’ve all likely put on some weight during the winter months, and come New Years we’ll all be resolving to take that weight off. Most of us will fall through on this promise unless we’re properly motivated…and what’s more motivating than having neat tools to help make that reality actually happen instead of it becoming yet another resolution that goes unattended to.

Fitness tech is cheaper than ever, and it’s also widely available. No longer are you looking at buying bulky and expensive treadmills in order to help get fit for the New Year, so let’s take a look at some desirable and chic fitness tech products you may want to get this holiday season – for someone else or to treat yourself!

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

This piece of fitness tech may not fit the criteria of “cheap,” but boy is it neat. Wareable recently gave this product their award of Fitness Tracker of the Year, and for good reason – this Garmin offering expertly combines fitness monitoring with ample tech that makes up for the price tag of over $200.

One of the biggest draws to this particular product is that a phone is unnecessary to use it. Many don’t realize Fitbits only truly work when you’re looking at their app simultaneously, which means running and jogging while paying attention to your Fitbit app if you want to take a good look at your specs in real time. All of the tech that is involved with the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is installed into the device itself. It also includes GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring.

Misfit Ray

This fitness tracker falls more in line with most price ranging, coming in at a little under $100 at most retailers. Unlike the Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers, Misfit looks to svelte elegant designs when creating their product lines. The Misfit Ray is very clean and minimalist, and so is the app that you pair with the device.

Misfit products are best for those who want to start managing their health but who don’t want to go full gym nut just yet. The Ray tracks steps and sleep patterns and offers smartphone notifications, and that’s about the extent of its capabilities. Minimal indeed.

Moov Now

If you or someone you know is already really into fitness and you’re at a loss for the perfect gift, look no further. Made for those who already love intense training, the Moov Now is a leg-worn smartphone holder that coaches you while it monitors your steps and activity. The programmed capabilities include different difficulty levels designed to make training progressively harder, just like a normal coach or personal trainer would.

The price point on this device is also very excellent – you can find it at most major retailers for only $60.

Theblessinglegacy
A wonderful story of perseverance, faith and a Father’s belief in his young daughter’s fruitful future Odile Kondou’s, The Blessing Legacy: A Memoir of Africa, A Father’s Faith, And A Destiny Fulfilled  is a touching memoir of a destiny fulfilled. With her family battling against the odds, Odile invites you into the impoverished village of her youth. Raised in the West African country of the Ivory Coast, she puts the reader on the front lines of her desperate attempt to change the culture of her family’s past, and that of the village she was raised in. Highlighting the struggles of her remarkable Father – often rejected by family members and others in the community, The Blessing Legacy recounts his constant sacrifice, determination and unfailing belief that God would provide.

Despite the setbacks of her youth, Odile continued to believe in her Father’s inspirational words and the values he instilled in his children. The Blessing Legacy is her testament; A wonderful testament that triumphs over her past experiences with hardship, rejection, and defeat. She found herself in all the despair, and with her Father’s continued encouragement and positive outlook Odile was able to find hope and success. If you’re interested in reading The Blessing Legacy: A Memoir of Africa, A Father’s Faith, And A Destiny Fulfilled, the book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Why We All Enjoy Apple’s Unveiling Events

by Keetria on September 15, 2015

AppleBigEvent
The Art of Anticipation:
Back in the spring, Apple had many people anxiously awaiting their unveiling of the Apple watch, the first brave jump forward in the realm of wearable technology in quite some time. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that it was “The most personal device they had created”, and users rave about the useful elements it packs into this tiny wearable device. What is it about this iconic brand that makes it an absolute leader in the art of anticipation? The simple logo, unforgettable command of the market, and way in which the tech crowd truly gets revved up before a release seem unparalleled in the phone and gadget industry.

Before the introduction of the then-so-souped-up 486 processor, Apple’s II C’s were what many used for day to day computing, and users love the fact that the Macintosh did not have a universal language. At times, they were known to be way too expensive, but this trait also fueled consumer desire, as well as the ability to co-exist with XP and Windows Vista with the release of the Mac Book Pro around 2006.

The Excitement of Seeing What’s New: Almost every consumer around the globe wired to the internet knows that with some products, you’re always going to have a line out the door in anticipation. Currently selling three versions of the iPod and with versions of the iPhone seeming to come out more often than your lawn needs to be mowed, it was in January of 2007 that the iPhone was first introduced to a world that was more than anxious for it’s unveiling; the blogs and news wires had been alive for weeks.

Initially coming with an AT & T contract and a choice of 4 or 8 gigs of memory, the capacity was doubled just a year later to 16 Gig memory potential and prices were nearly slashed in half as the world took notice, and they one by one acquired customers that would probably never have a tendency to switch. There are many things different between a Samsung, Droid, and iPhone, but most of the savviest customers on the planet prefer the latter. September 25 is when the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus become available, and we guarantee that many people you know are waiting.

Being One of The First To Hear The News: The success of Apple and the drastically high number of folks who always want to be the first to see what’s cooking in their arena of tech offerings comes at no surprise. This is not quite the same as when America becomes enamored with programs like “Dancing With The Stars,” caught up in the very cultural phenomenon, and talking with everyone on social media to see what they missed. What’s really being cultivated here with great care and prowess is the fact that the apps, gadgets, ability to get email, and take very high-quality photos are right in the palm of your hand. Of course they are also in the same place with Droid and Samsung units, but the mystique and magic carpet element of Apple has always been held in high regard: the iPhone 5 sold two million units in the first day of pre-ordering alone.

Years ago, Apple overtook Nokia as the world’s largest smart phone maker by sheer volume, and the large draw to it’s features and appearance is more epic than ever. Being one of the first to hear what features these hot devices will have, all the specs available, and what will happen with the megapixel capability and more is all part of the visionary ride to anyone obsessed with Apple. Truly more of a brand that was portrayed in movies that really showed us what the future would be like, Apple will always hold the key to many geeks and artist’s hearts; what’s really changed is that the rest of the entire sphere of tangible consumers is now fully, (and quite happily), on board.

Last Minute Grab: 5 Tech Gadgets for the Holidays

by Keetria on December 22, 2014

Once the holidays roll around, it’s a time in which gadgets are highly appreciated. This year’s batch of toys will be as good as any, full of high tech offerings. When the snow starts falling and you go to the airport to pick up relatives, you’re going to want to have some of the hottest new gadgets in your possession. Today, we’ll take a quick look at some of the coolest tech toys available this holiday season; any friend, family member, or business associate will be more than happy to find under the tree.

Beyerdynamic T-70 Headphones:

Crafted in Germany with the highest grade components and amazing voice coil technology, these are a gift of the highest sound influenced status to the audiophile in your circle. The standard ¼ inch adapter is gold plated, showing off just how tight these babies really are. Known to be about the most comfortable headphones on the market and one that really pushes soundscapes towards the bright level, these are simply divine. Reviewers told us that they heard things never heard before while test driving these, and were blown away.

Go Pro Silver 4 Hero Camera:

The features reviewers enjoyed most on this device were being able to swipe left to capture mode, and a quicker mode menu to cycle through. The touch screen does drain battery on this awesome machine, so its useful to have an on/off switch. The superview option gives great aspect ratio without too much distortion, and a Protune option for easing blur and edge appearance. Editor’s Choice by PC mag for the best action camera to date and hailed by many as the sleekest camera around for the price, it will be perfect as a companion gift to a vacation. What better way to document your trip?

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro:

Cnet reviewers said this was “easily the best new laptop of the year”, and this slim 13 inch gem will be a great companion as you travel far or just commute to class. Incredibly light, and with a core that core that allows for better operation even if not all the way cooled down, it’s a 360 degree foldback dream. At 2.6 pounds, its well designed, great for assignments, streaming video, and browsing. One reviewer stated that gaming hits the battery particularly hard, which usually tops out around a 7 hour life span; not surprising with the juice needed for today’s games. A nearly 4k pixel resolution screen, ability to fold to a kiosk type device, and out of this world keyboard design make it a huge favorite. You’re going to see many business travelers sitting next to you with this one during 2015.

Sony Playstation 4:

It’s been around for a year, but this is one gaming powerhouse. Titles like “Uncharted 4; A Thief’s End”, “Bloodbourne” and “The Order 1886” are exclusive to this platform, and a sleek futuristic design includes a blu ray disk drive, two USB 3.0 ports, and a digital optical audio out port. The sloped design really stands out letting us know it’s sheer one of a kind technology, and an 8 core AMD processor is inside under the hood. A 500 gb hard drive and 8 gb of RAM are part of this souped up playing machine that will have many people playing games instead of ice skating or sledding outside over the coming year.

Pebble Steel Smartwatch:

With a 1.26 inch display, durable waterproof construction, and a cool RGB notification light, this is a very over the top yet subtle at the same time gadget. Games, weather apps, productivity tools, firmware updates, and more are loaded into this little gem of wrist garb. At first glance, it does not seem colorful or flashy, but grocery lists, maps, and square type paying options are available on the Pebble. Sports scores and restaurant reviews are other super cool features you’ll see on this gadget for the holidays; in a few years the Pebble will have truly mind blowing capabilities. This year should be no problem finding the right gadget for people on your list, and you may even end up under the mistletoe in no time.

New Fitness Apps for Health + Longevity

by Keetria on November 30, 2014

With the technology available to us these days, it’s no wonder that everyone loves to have apps for fitness. As we spend more time trapped in the cubicle and making sure our obligations are taken care of, the need for training and fitness apps has exploded. There’s nothing quite like listening to some tunes while you get a little cardio, burn previously acquired calories, and track your progress. When users were surveyed they reported that not having much time was their main hurdle, and apps that quickly got them to their daily goal were what they really wanted. We’ve picked three fitness apps that will keep you on top of your game no matter how full your platter is, and leave you looking healthy, lean, and ready to conquer whatever comes across your path.

Nike Training Club:

This totally free app has over 90 custom tailored workouts, and does not cost anything to install. Once you pick what workout is right for you, (Get lean, get toned, get strong, or get focused), you can also choose the longer 45 minute regimen or a workout from a pro like Maria Sharapova. The app is available for the iPhone and Android from Google Play, and a stellar option for click through workouts. This is one of the core apps that opens the door to you looking, feeling, and dealing with everyday life better; and the branding behind it is top notch.

Gain Fitness:

In the vast world of those who really want to improve in their fitness, this app is one of the truly customized that cuts to the chase and gets you shedding pounds and looking better. You just start with your ultimate goal, how much fat loss you want to achieve, and plug in where your location is, be it the gym or just where you live. There are great HD videos and as the trainer’s voice explains each unique exercise, which really gets you as close as possible to a real trainer. The application keeps track of your important performance history and just how many calories you have burned overall. Users really rank high the endless combinations and push notifications, citing this app as one that really feels like what a trainer would put them through.

Pocket Yoga:

The ancient art of stretching and breathing is so beneficial, some claim it changed their lives forever. Logging your exercises and taking notes of your progression are key elements of this app, a great one to partake in as yoga gets more and more popular by the day. Sun salutations, ultimate relaxation, and peace come at a price, but also leave you lean, mean, and looking fantastic. Within this app are three different difficulties, practices, and a stellar feature that tracks your future possibilities. Don’t you want to know how great you can look in the near future with some hard work? These days being on a mat in a new yoga venue is the coolest way to get limber, and more and more people will be following suit in the near future. Pilates and intense poses are sweeping the nation, and this app will educate all its Android users on how they can better themselves with yoga.