Blog Tour Award 6-29

A couple weeks ago I was nominated by Miusho at Emotional Luggage for the Blog Tour Award.  She’s pretty awesome, if you haven’t checked out her blog you should do it….right after you finish reading this post.

Thankfully I had a couple weeks to complete it or put it off until the day before it was scheduled to post then sit down to fill it out 🙄  I feel like some of the awards craze has slowed down so hopefully people are ready to take on this new award.  I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with blog awards but I will say my favorite part is the nominations because it brings exposure to other blogs.

Nothing too crazy, usual fare, nominate other blogs, and answer some questions.

These are the copy-pasted rules for this award:

1) Pass the tour on up to four other bloggers.

2) Give your nominees the rules and a specific Monday to post.

3) Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.

  • How does my work differ from others in my genre?
  • How does my writing/creative process work?
  • Why do I write or create what I do?
  • What I’m working on at the moment

The Questions

  • How does my work differ from others in my genre?

This is a tough one to answer because I don’t know if I have a specific genre.  My blog is basically life, health, food, cats, my job search, and basically whatever other topic happens to cross my mind that day.  The biggest difference between my work and others in my genre is it’s all about ME 😀

It’s my life and the transitional phase I’m in right now on my journey working toward finding happiness in my life.

  • How does my writing/creative process work?

I try to write everyday but similar to other writers I have days where my brain is blank.  Most of my posts are just written on the fly, every so often I will write a draft and come back to it but 90% of my posts I just sit down write, edit, write some more, and post.  I usually have a vague idea of what I want to write about so I usually sit down usually in the morning, start writing, and just see where things go.  Some days I have no idea what to write about and I follow the same process usually resulting in a random post talking about laundry 😛

I think this post is the longest I’ve worked on a post since I started a draft when I first received notice of the award.

  • Why do I write or create what I do?

I’ve always loved to write, poetry, random ramblings, stories, etc. Words have always been an outlet for me especially in the hard times.  As most of my readers know I started writing this blog when the store I’d been working at for 12 years closed (Closing the store).  I was going through such a huge change in my life I needed an outlet to express what I was going through, what I was feeling, and all the things I didn’t think I could say out loud.

I didn’t expect anyone to read it but thankfully people did read, like, share, and comment.  I found a great blogging community, people with similar stories, people who were living their dreams, people who simply offered support and kind words along the way, which help keep me going.

  • What I’m working on at the moment?

Getting a job, lol.  I love Meal Plan Mondays so I’d like to add in more themed days because it sometimes makes it easier to create a post if I’m feeling stuck.  I’m continuing to organize my blog and have recently considered trying out new themes but change can be scary plus I feel like I’m still learning this theme.

The Nominations

I will pass the tour onto Tony at The Blog of Tony Burgess, Angela at The Keen Peach, Ompong at Photo ni Ompong  These blogs are very different from one another but each are written are by amazing people.  I enjoy reading their words, seeing their photos, and interacting with them so I hope you will check them out.

All the blogs I read are wonderful so I would like to nominate anyone else who would like to keep the award going.

The Deadline

It’s supposed to be a Monday and next week is a holiday so we’ll say 7-13, just enough time to completely forget about it until the last minute 😉  It gives you lots of time to either write it then schedule it to post and forget about it or do what I did, create a draft then remember when you’re cleaning up your blog 😀  Either way works.

Too Hot!!!

This kind of heat is so miserable.  It’s too hot to really do anything outside.  In order to keep my apartment cool without turning on the air I keep the ceiling fans going and all the blinds closed.  All the blinds closed makes me apartment dark, like a cave, which makes me tired and lose track of time.  I thought it was about 5pm but sadly it’s only 3pm.  This is sad because I thought it was almost dinner time.

I want to open all the blinds but don’t want the heat to rise in here.  I also want to reheat my leftover pizza from yesterday but I might see how it tastes cold to avoid turning on the oven, kind of missing my microwave right now, lol.

IMG_8861My cat laying out on the floor depicts what I feel like when it’s this hot. I just want to lay on the floor and not move (or maybe I just wanted to use this cute picture of James the cat) but I’m getting a bit antsy so I think I’m going to find a project or maybe just kick back with a good movie.

I spent the last couple hours organizing my blog.  I’ve been saying I’m going to do it for awhile now but haven’t taken the time to really dig in and get it done.

I discovered last night I had over 150 categories 😮

I’ve now scaled down to about 40 and will probably try to get it around 30, much more manageable.  One of my inspirations for doing this was this post, How to WordPress from Miusho at Emotional Luggage.  It’s an older post but helped me understand categories are for me and organizing my content, tags are how my content is found.

I managed to get rid of all the categories that only had one post attached then made executive decisions about getting rid of other categories.  I didn’t think it was necessary to have “change” then also have “lifestyle change” and “career change” so I got rid of “change”  Same with “road trip”, “vacation”, “weekend getaway” I just kept vacation.

I was using categories as tags so I had weird, random tags that don’t fit with my content enough to be used on a regular basis.  I don’t need a whole category for popcorn or tofu instead putting those posts under food or healthy eating.  I also discovered a few posts with about 30 tags so I cleaned up some of those as well.  This continues to be a learning process.

I’ve been doing so much physical cleaning lately I guess I felt it was a good time to clean up my blog.  If I hear good news tomorrow I won’t have as much time to sit and clean up my blog so now is the time plus I actually felt like getting it done today plus I need to keep busy while I’m hiding in my cave.

I did get a call from the store manager job asking me to come in for a second interview tomorrow but I had to decline.  I think I would be stepping right back into my old job just in a different store so I need to trust in my abilities and continue to have faith that good news is around the corner.

Enjoy the last bit of the weekend! 🙂

Terrifying New Food Choices

Every so often something happens in our lives causing us to want to rant.

This is a bit of a lengthy post for me but I was inspired. I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian but I am someone who within the last 6 months began to pay attention to the foods I was eating and make changes.

I’m not perfect.  I still eat a greasy burger or indulge in a good restaurant meal every so often but I mostly avoid fast food and limit processed foods.

Laying in bed last night watching TV I saw a new Pizza Hut commercial showing their latest and greatest creation, Hot Dog Bites Pizza 😕

My first thought was “That looks disgusting”.  Second Thought was “Why?!?”  It was one more in a recent string of horrible food choices I’ve come across recently.

Little Caesar’s Bacon wrapped pizza.
Deep fried Big Mac.
Jack in the Box’s Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger.
Now Pizza Hut’s Hot Dog Bites Pizza.
Another in the long line of combining unhealthy foods with other unhealthy foods.  Genius.

As recently as last year I would have seen any of these food choices as amazing and been rushing out to try them but now…..unless these become my only food options, say in a desert island scenario, I will not tasting any of these items.

I’ve been the person not paying attention to what I was eating, not checking labels, not worrying about sugars or sodium, not looking at ingredients.  I might have looked at calories because I was usually always dieting but the only important thing in my mind was the amount of calories and later in life, the fat content.

No fat=Good even if it did come with a list of unpronounceable ingredients and high sugar content.

Thankfully I’ve learned some fat is okay and while keeping your calorie count in a normal range is good there’s so much more to food than just the calories.  This is the part where I again proclaim I don’t have it all figured out, I still make mistakes, and I’m not an expert but I am learning.

My wake up call was being told I was pre-diabetic.  It was basically change or get diabetes.  It was an easy choice.

I began to research, read labels, and replace processed foods with whole foods.  It was like a revelation and one that I want to share with as many people as possible because it’s changing my life.  It’s sad because until people stop eating these foods companies will continue to make them and health problems will continue to rise.

High blood pressure.
Heart Disease.
Just to name a few of the top ones associated with eating habits.

I love to research so I decided to gather nutritional information on the food items listed above.

Bacon wrapped pizza I actually couldn’t find the information for the pizza on Little Caesar’s website but a serving size of 1/8 pizza for the Deep, Deep dish pepperoni is 390 calories, 4g sugar, 670mg sodium.  Adding the bacon probably adds another 70 calories or so and ups the sodium.  Calorie count isn’t terrible if you just eat one piece but how many people eat just one piece?
Deep fried Big Mac.  It’s not a menu item (yet) but the standard burger is 563 calories so the article linked estimates another 1000 calories added with the batter and deep frying. According to McDonalds nutritional information, 9g sugar, 960mg sodium for just the burger then add in batter and oil.  Yikes! 😮
Jack in the Box’s Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger.  It’s basically a grilled cheese sandwich stacked on top of a cheese burger.  840 calories, 1970mg sodium, 8g sugar.  So much sodium, plus most people will add fries and a soft drink.
Now Hot Dog Bites Pizza (Pretzel Piggie) Calorie-wise it’s not too terrible but this is for just one slice (Again, How many people are eating only one slice?) from a 14″ Large Hand tossed pizza, 300 calories, 720mg sodium, 2g sugar.

I included links to the websites, some you have to scroll down to the bottom and download a PDF to view all the information.  If you eat fast food frequently it’s worth it to check out the nutritional information.  As mentioned above I never paid attention to sodium or sugar but now I understand why I was pre-diabetic.

According to the American Heart Association the recommended daily sodium intake is 1500mg/day, obviously there are exceptions to the rule but this is just a general guideline.  Many fast foods will put you well over that intake with just one meal or even one food item so if you’re eating these foods consistently it’s dangerous for your body.

“Ninety percent of Americans adults are expected to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes, and eating too much sodium is strongly linked to the development of high blood pressure” (American Heart Association, 2014)

Then there’s sugar.  I discovered sugar in foods I never thought would have sugar.  It’s scary how even simple things like sauces, drinks, even canned vegetables can have sugars.  When I talk to people I’m finding few people pay attention to sugar.  Most people are shocked to find out how much sugar they consume vs. how much is recommended.

Recommended daily sugar intake for women is 25g or 6 teaspoons or 100 calories.
Recommended daily sugar intake for men is 37.5g or 9 teaspoons or 150 calories.

Some sugar sources are obvious, a 12 oz coke has 39g of sugar (Personal recommendation, if you’re drinking soda you should try to quit).  Others are sneaky, some jarred pasta sauces can contain 10 or more grams of sugar in 1/2 cup, which emphasizes why it’s so important to check the labels!

I think I’m done with my rant for now.  I genuinely hope people will wake up, realize how terrible food choices affect their bodies, and start to make changes.  You don’t have to throw away all your food or start some complicated meal plan or diet or start trying to jog 5 miles everyday.

I’ve found it doesn’t have to be super drastic and even the simplest changes can make a huge difference.

My biggest tip to anyone looking to change their health habits is to find what works for you.  You need to find ways to alter your lifestyle so you can go from someone who is focusing on getting healthy to someone who just eats healthy and is active without thinking about it all the time.

I’m nowhere near done with my journey.  I continue to make mistakes but I also continue to learn how to live a healthy life without cutting out food groups, without suffering through work outs (because I’ve found exercise I enjoy), basically without over complicating everything.  I’ve made simple changes in my life that have made me healthier and happier so I hope I can inspire others to do the same.

Featured image found on E! Online