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Quick update on fasting and April goal met!

April 30th, 2018 at 01:24 pm

Howdy, checking in here, in case anyone was worried. Fasting has not killed me, haha! I have been intermittent fasting daily- ranging from 18-24 hours. Most days I eat within a 3 to 4 hour period, like 4-7pm. I feel great most of the time doing this! I lost 3 lbs in the first 3 days, then started bouncing around a lb or two. Last Sunday-Tuesday I did a 48 hour fast. I had a headache on Monday, which was my first negative feeling since I started. It was gone on Tuesday. Feelings of hunger would come along, but go away quickly; showing a lot of the struggle is mental. The experts say that if you can make it two days, you might as well go longer because the hunger pangs disappear and you get more energy as your body is set to live on body fat. I am planning on going 3 days/72 hours, so from dinner last night (Sunday) to dinner Wednesday. I am prepared with my water, coffee, tea, salt if needed, and being at work during the day helps keep me distracted. At home, I have some books to read, will do light yoga/meditation and happy to go to bed early!

April goals: I came in under my $330 budget for Groceries!!! Finally! I came close, about $327. For May, my goal will be $300; it should be doable since I've been fasting and am not buying food all the time. I did buy some clothes from Old Navy, using a gift card from previous clothing returns. No spending on cosmetics/skin care. Next month I will have to replenish my face moisturizer, which costs $15.

Adventures in Fasting, Part 1

April 24th, 2018 at 09:33 am

(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor offering advice to anyone. This is my experience alone and hope that someone might find it interesting or prompt them to do their own research, as I have.)

Hello! For various reasons, I led myself down the path to experiment with Intermittent Fasting. Basically, it’s voluntarily not consuming food for a period of time- it can be hours or days. I have been practicing a form of this for years- “Skipping Breakfast”. I was operating with an eating window of 11-7 most days. For me, even when I eat ‘clean’ during the time frame, I will only be full for a couple hours and then the cravings hit. I was snacking all afternoon. After dinner (whether it was high protein/low carb or lots of veggies and big portions, whatever method I tried), I HAD to have something sweet or salty. Or both. I’m not overweight, but have gained 5-10 lbs in the last couple years (I’m a small person) and have a belly pooch. I need to get a handle on this before perimenopause!

My research led me to many sources. The most exciting to me is finding Dr. Jason Fung. He has many You Tube videos and podcasts. He has had success treating diabetics with fasting to get their blood sugar under control. There are many others- Michael Mosley made a documentary on fasting using the 5:2 method, for example. Of course, fasting has been done for thousands of years, as part of religion and healing- Hippocrates and others, so it's not really 'new' but it's been all but forgotten by the medical profession. There are a lot of different programs for fasting. I think that’s what is cool- one can do their own research and figure out the best way for them as an individual.

I’m currently in a 38 hour fast. I stopped eating at 7pm on Sunday night. I’ve only consumed water, coffee with a splash of heavy cream, herbal tea and homemade chicken broth with extra sea salt. (There are differing opinions on whether consuming anything other than pure water is a ‘real fast’). Last weekend I fasted for 24 hours and 22 hours with no issues, other than some tummy grumblings which passed in a few minutes. I had a harder time on this longer fast - major headache, fogginess, white-coated tongue. Pretty sure my body was detoxing and repairing yesterday. I slept great last night and woke up tired, but no headache. I meant to stop the fast at the 36 hour mark (7am) but now that the worst is over, I’m getting more energy and mood is great. I’m going to play it by ear and see how I feel during the day. I do have a smoothie and nuts if I need them, and all kinds of food in the work café.

I’m excited to see how this goes for me. So far I’m enjoying this process and learning about myself and what I am capable of. I am finding that it’s more mental than physical. I will make more posts on this subject soon, along with new insights. I’d love to hear your experiences if you have tried fasting.

Keeping up with my retinas

April 11th, 2018 at 02:48 pm

Hmmmm today I logged on and see my new avatar loaded, the one that wouldn't work last week! Weird! So now I'm showing my 'beach cat' body! (Do you see a cat on a beach? Or the cat with purple wig, which was my original picture?)

On Monday, I went to the retina specialist for my 3 month checkup. My retina is healed and still attached, woo hoo. Now it's time for the second surgery, to remove the silicon oil. The earliest available is May 9. I was hoping it could be sooner, but it's fine. He is going to perform a laser procedure on my other eye at the same time, as that retina is thinning, so I won't have an emergency later. I'm excited to get two things done at once.

I'm doing great on groceries. As of yesterday, spent $93.21 out of $330. It's time to cook more food, so going to Safeway to get a special on rotisserie chicken (saving bones and carcass for broth), plus some frozen broccoli and hamburger patties. I bought the small bowl of fruit at the work cafe. Pineapple, green grapes, orange segments, honeydew and cantaloupe. Plus some pumpkin seeds! I got a bangin' deal last weekend on a small piece of halibut. It was marked 50% off but rang up 75% off.

MONEY: Chase paid me the $300 bonus for my new checking account, but not the $200 for savings yet. Which is weird, because I fulfilled the savings requirement right away, but not the checking yet. Hopefully I won't have to make a stink about it... I have some mature savings bonds to cash next month, so I will visit my local branch and complain if I haven't received it by then. I still have not been able to get a focus group gig, or any online surveys worth anything. I wonder if I pretended that I made minimum wage and had 3 small children, if I would generate more interest? But why aren't any companies interested in a middle age woman with no debt and a lot of disposable income??

Weekend almost over.

April 8th, 2018 at 07:10 pm

It's been a good weekend, although the weather is crappy. Very rainy. At least I wasn't motivated to spend money on plants.

Yesterday I went to the movies. It's been awhile- at least a year. My BF wanted to see "Ready Player One". I enjoyed it, although I'm not really into video games and avatars and all the artificial/computer generated characters.... it had a lot of great 80s music. We had theatre popcorn, but i brought in beverages.
For dinner, we had bacon cheeseburger sliders and potato and radish salad.

Today I cooked: rice in instapot (have frozen veggies to add to it), chicken and mushroom alfredo with bowtie pasta, and zucchini & almond butter brownies. That should last us lunch and dinner for a couple days. Tuesday or Wed night will make a quiche and a big green salad. I have my coffeemaker set to brew coffee in the morning!

Wrap up- month of March and 1st week of April

April 6th, 2018 at 01:32 pm

For March, I exceeded my grocery/food goal by $29.00. Most of that was due to taking my BF out for a birthday dinner ($26 with tip). It was worth it!

My food goal for April is $330. So far, I've spent $53. That included getting a new bottle of EVOO and raw almond butter which are staples of the pantry and should last awhile. On Monday, after my retina appointment, I am treating us to our favorite pizza from Shakeys. A medium runs $20, but they are generous with the toppings so it will last two meals.

I did well this week regarding meals. Everyday I had plenty of food options at work, so I didn't spend a penny in the work cafe. Usually my big bowl of fruit is a wise purchase because it's a tremendous value, but I haven't been eating much fruit since doing my cleanse. Quiche is my go-to for lunch. This week I use grated parmesan cheese as a crust, then for the filling I used crumbled bacon, feta and jarred bell peppers. YUM! I also made basmati rice in my Instapot. Some of it was turned into Cilantro Lime rice.

One thing I'm stoked about: I pulled my coffee maker out of the pantry (after 4+ years) and brought my own coffee to work two days in a row! It's pretty good; much better than the weak stuff in the breakroom. I already had beans I bought from Amazon, and two bags of my favorite Kona coffee from my last vacation. I combine the organic decaf, organic regular beans and the pricey Kona stuff as I please and grind it fresh! I even have a couple cups left over in the fridge to heat up on the weekend.

What else... I have been saving my squeezed lemon/lime halves in a ziplock in the freezer. I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet... maybe blend them up in the vitamix this summer to make lemonade? I can also thaw and zest them for recipes. I already have a bunch of citrus peels in vinegar for cleaning.

Happy Weekend!!

Blog settings help, please!

April 3rd, 2018 at 11:54 am

Can anyone tell me how to delete and add a new profile picture? I can delete it, but when I upload the new file and click "update", it's either blank or the old one is there!!!

Friday Frugalia

March 30th, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Woo hoo, free food at work! First, doughnuts. They are giant monstrosities. I'm off sugar and gluten during my cleanse, but I cut two pieces (they are at least double/triple the size of typical) and wrapped them up for my Guy for a special treat. Also, someone brought in hard boiled eggs. I had one with my lunch and taking another home. I also purchased my bowl of fruit for $1.35. Pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, topped with walnuts. That will be great to snack on this weekend.


Some of the donuts. Almost too pretty to eat!

After work, going to the store to get a Free Safeway soup and a small container of mixed greens for $2. After my big salad rant the other day, I decided that I need to have a specific recipe(s) for my salads and then I'll buy just what I need, instead of getting a bunch of whatevers without any plan. Avocados are on Friday special for $1 so I'll buy one to have with my planned Salad entree.

I haven't figured out what meals I'm going to make for next week. Rice and potatoes will be involved since I have a lot of those!

Almost forgot: getting $10.04 from Mr. Rebates next week, for deposit into Spavings.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!

My thoughts on Salad

March 28th, 2018 at 01:08 pm

Yep that's right. SALAD. I'm rethinking a lot of things in my life that I believed were the 'right', 'healthy' things to do/have/consume.

SALADS. I'm done with 'em.

Okay, not really done with them forever. But I am done with having them as part of my daily diet. Here's why.

1. I'm reducing the stress in my life. Embracing minimalism. There's so many ingredients to buy and keep track of (if you want to make a proper salad)! Various types of lettuce, cut up veggies, nuts, croutons, bits of cheese, maybe dried or fresh fruit, eggs or chopped chicken, salad dressing.... everyone is into BIG SALADS that have all the vitamins and minerals you need. For me, it's too much work to prepare and store the ingredients. Lettuce and greens have a very short shelf life and often start wilting or getting mildew-y within a couple days. And having all the different storage containers to keep everything in. GAH!

2. The cost of fresh ingredients, especially the highly perishable produce. For a 2 person household, I often can't use it up before it goes bad.

3. You gotta wash and dry all the produce well and store it in an airtight container, or ziplock with paper towels and squeeze all the air out. I don't want E-coli or whatever else.... even the bagged produce or premade salads, that are supposed to be triple washed, often get recalled for contamination. There was a recent recall on plain old romaine lettuce.

I do love salads. If I see an enticing recipe and I'm in a certain mood, I will make them occasionally, maybe on the weekend. Or if I find a particular combination of components that I don't mind eating over and over until they are used up. For the time being, I am going to eat cooked/steamed veggies that I can prepare in advance and heat up with whatever else I'm eating. Some fresh, some frozen, whatever works for my schedule and budget.

What say you? Have you had similar epiphanies with food or anything else in your life?




Argh! Dang focus group!

March 27th, 2018 at 10:39 am

I received a voice mail yesterday to call in regarding a focus group. Not one that I applied for through the website, but sounded ok: $100 for an hour discussing Retail Shopping. I called as soon as I got home and it was full already. She said there's another one for Finances. So I spend about 10 min answering all the questions. At the end, the screener said I'm partially qualified, but will have to discuss a couple of my answers with the client to see if they are acceptable, and if so they will call me back. I'm sure that is the way they let you down nicely.

Great news: my FICO score is up to 815! It's usually 800+ but dropped recently due to charging my hospital bill. Paid that off!

I'm still waiting for my $500 bonus from Chase.

Haven't tried selling anything lately.

I wanted to put an extra $700 away in savings for being frugal in March, but decided on $400. I can always add more later. For April, my goal is another $400. (These figures don't count the Chase bonus money.)

I am getting my monthly massage after work. Really looking forward to it!!

I will stop at QFC before my appointment to pick up a Kroger gift card. I earn 6% back on AMEX and use it for Fred Meyer groceries and gas. After the massage, stop at F.M. and pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner today and tomorrow.

Frugal moves

March 25th, 2018 at 01:27 pm

It's been a great weekend. Woke up Sat morning to a dusting of snow, and it melted by afternoon. The sun has been peeking out throughout the weekend and really improves my mood.

Here are some frugal steps I've taken over the last few days:

- I pulled a new college ruled notebook out of my stash and named it My Frugal and Health Journal. I need one place to keep track of everything, in writing, on a daily basis.

- Made chicken stock in my Instapot from rotisserie chicken carcass.I love this because it takes less than an hour. Using the slow cooker, it's at least a 12 hour process. I also have a big ziplock in the freezer, that I add any veggie scraps or random chicken bones to, for future stock making. I try to drink at least one cup of my broth a day (add some water and warm it up.) It's so healthy for you! And keeps my hunger at bay between meals.

- Grocery: Fred Meyer: .99/lb asparagus, pastured eggs sale $4.99 dz, box of sliced mushroom 1/2 price, frozen veggies for $1. Even though diet soda was on sale, I did not buy, as I'm doing a cleanse and soda is not allowed, so no need to spend on it now.

- Grocery Outlet: I rode over there with my man. He was going to the hardware store in the same shopping area. I saw many things that I don't need right now but will go back later (like foil, grass fed ground beef, frozen veggies). I bought him some snacks: organic popcorn for .99 and gluten free crackers. I picked up a little bag of beet chips for me, also some chicken meatballs and Nathan's hot dogs for my lunches.


-This weekend I cooked ahead: made 'crack slaw' (ground beef/cabbage/onion sauteed with coconut aminos and sesame oil), roasted sweet potato and broccoli, made 'risotto' with cauliflower rice (I riced it myself) and mushrooms, steamed asparagus, cooked basmati rice.

-I mended one of my socks. It was a brand new pair that I put on yesterday. After a couple hours I realized a toe was poking out. Frown It is part of a Costco multi pack that I've had for a long time. I pulled out my little sewing kit and stitched the hole up. Not pretty but should make it last for a bit. They are really soft and cute socks too.

-I cancelled all my Amazon Subscribe and Save subscriptions for April. Decided I could do without them for a month. Saving about $50.

- Returning a few tops I ordered from Old Navy.


Purchases made:
- New home phones. Our last unit is about to die (can only talk for a few minutes before battery runs out), so i found a set of 2 (main unit with answering machine and one additional) on Amazon for under $40.

- Supplements. Trying to eat better, detoxing from junk food and keeping my energy up. I decided to invest in some quality supplements from an author and Doctor that I trust and respect. She was having a 20% off sale so I bought 60 day supply of them.





Looking at my finances

March 20th, 2018 at 07:47 am

I'm still taking the steps to get all the requirements filled on the new Chase accounts. I linked the savings account to my Capital One, so I could set up the $15,000 transfer. Next I logged onto my employer's payroll website to add the Chase checking and set up direct deposit of $125/week ($500/month). Now I wait....

Last night, I studied my 2017 Year End Summary for the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred (my main credit card.) It was very enlightening. My total grocery spend was over $5900. (This is what amex considers grocery; the stores that they give me 6% cash back on: Safeway, QFC, Trader Joe's are the ones I shop at that qualify.) That amount also included gift cards purchased at the grocery. The only way I could try to break the GC amount down, was to log onto my Amazon account. I added $1000 of their GCs to my account in 2017. Wow!!! I took advantage of my Prime membership way too much! Now I have Amazon's
VISA card, which earns me 5%, so there's not much incentive to use the gift cards, unless I get bonus fuel points from the grocery.

Still on my quest to earn more money on the side. I've been trying to qualify for some focus groups through a local company, but they haven't contacted me about anything recently. I'm bummed; one of them would have paid $875 over 10 1 hour visits. At this point, I'd be happy to get $100 for a one hour session. I have signed up online with a few mock jury-type websites. Also, Smart Panel, which pays $110/year for them to track your internet usage on phone and PC. That one pays in Amazon gift cards, which works great for me.