Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Metaball: A "Gym in a Ball" Fitness System

Metaball Fitness System

The Metaball is finally available for Pre-Order!  Greg Plitt spent 4 years perfecting this "gym-in-a-ball" that can work for anyone with any body type.  It's portable for travel, office or home and can bring you to the best shape of your life.  I have tried this ball.  It's pretty awesome.  It's light enough weight to handle but heavy enough to feel like you are working.  You start with a small weight and can work your way up to heavier weight.  The ball disconnects into two handheld weights to be used for bicep curls, flys and anything you can do with household weights.  Clicked together, you can use it as a kettle bell and do swings.  Held like a ball, you can work your abs and actually have fun. It's hard plastic that wont break, believe me, even if I threw it across the room.  It's everything you need in one compact spot.  My kind of deal. 

Yes, Greg, is cut and has an amazing body.  I am not saying you will look like him after using it, but you will be on your way to great authentic body movement, losing fat and gaining muscle.



There are some great testimonials that show how it has helped people drop some pounds and tone up.  

I have a problem with High impact or high intensity workouts.  Even though they are effective, it hurts my kneed and leaves me winded.  I prefer to use lighter weights and move around.  This Metaball is so perfect for that.  You can workout in place or use them super actively with his wide range of workouts available.  

I think Metaball can make people excited about working out.  It doesn't seem daunting or like a lot of overwhelming equipment.  You just begin, one day at time and work towards total body fitness.   Check it out! Tell your friends!

Check out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @getmetaball 









The 90s Child Mourns Its Jester


Born in ’86 I was that child in lycra shorts and neon with matching Saltwater sandals.  I donned a “Nicki and Alex” style haircut and fashionably walked in kid hair shows.  My first movie was "The Little Mermaid" for which I became utterly obsessed with singing and long flowing hair and of course Mermaids.   Shortly after this whirlwind of a perfect childhood, my world changed, starting with reading “Dinosaur Divorce” in a stale office, a few miles from home.  I kissed my garage door goodbye, literally, and my mom, my sister and I drove away to an apartment complex, where daddy wouldn't live. 

As the first kid to have divorced parents in a close knit private Catholic school in the early 90s, I lost friends and stopped getting invited over for sleepovers.   I lived in the dream world of movies and I remember the day my Father took me to see Aladdin.   That Halloween I begged to be Jasmine even though my dad only wanted me to be a skeleton or witch or something bloody.  Typical.  Then came along “Mrs Doubtfire,” a movie that I took to heart all through my life.


Robin Williams, in character, fought for his kids.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  What do you mean he will do anything to see them?   What do you mean he never gives up?  My father loves me, yes he does, but as a kid I always felt like I was in the way.  Every other weekend at Sears or playing video games or doing household chores.  It wasn't not like "Mrs. Doubtfire" at all.  He cancelled weekends for trips to Cabo and got married again in Vegas and didn't invite his kids.  But Sally Field and those kids, they went through a divorce too, and they were all okay in the end.  Even super hottie, Pierce Brosnan, couldn't stand in the way from a man and his kids.  



It changed me.  I saddened me.  I wanted that so badly.  A dad to fight for ME.  Robin Williams became Peter Pan, too.  He flew, he cooed and he believed in magic.  He stood on a desk and told us to be ourselves, to be accepting.  He entered the afterlife and explored grief, death and loss. He played deeply troubled characters and funny outlandish characters, sometimes infused into one.  Robin Williams had the energy I held as a child, a spastic and silly energy that no one could ever turn off.  I loved him and laughed at his movies and felt happy that there will "crazy" people out there like me to look up to.



The one time I met him, he was kind and smiled softly much like that of the Genie.  

I have felt the darkness of manic depression.  My whole life has been either the highest euphoria or the lowest sadness.  I've done the work to be well, but at times that can get away from a person.  I pray that his soul will be saved, despite the way he left the world.  I pray that he knows, wherever he is, that millions loved and adored him and we wish him well.  

Luckily for me my dad and I have become very close.  It turns out that as adults we relate a lot more and continue to grow in our understanding of each other.  I don't know what I would do without my father, despite the fact he didn't raise me or become a woman in disguise.  He's more than made up for all of that now as a mentor, listener, supporter and best bud.  Love ya dad and miss ya, Robin. 

Me, 1991

Sister, Nephew, Dad and Me, summer 2014

My family calls me, Al or Al Bones or Aly.  It always feels endearing when someone calls me AL.
Just does.
And so I tip my hat to the talents of Robin Williams.  
I say Rest in Peace and I will miss you.


Brb, Sobbing

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hydrangea Cove - Vintage Boutique, Coastal Decor, Garden and Gift Shop


Have you heard about Hydrangea Cove?


This shop is perfect for gifts and home decor.  Inside the store, is like an oasis of coastal and vintage.  
I literally want every single item in the store.  It's a family owned shop, run by Susan Christopher.  Her passion has always been to bring Nantucket styles and the Hamptons charm into her West Coast beach home.  She's an expert in french style vintage cottage decor, gardening and bringing sophisticated and soft hues into the each room for the perfect beach house.  Susan travels all over to curate the best and most sophisticated collections of items that make her store unique and great for home design and gifts.


Vintage signs and gardening decor and style


Her home and puppy were featured in July 2011's San Diego Home and Gardens Magazine




Jacaranda Living Embroidered Towels

I can't even begin to tell you about the hours I spend on the Hydrangea Cove Pinterest Boards and Tumblr Pages teeming with beachy sunsets, shabby chic cottages and elegant gardens.


And let me not forget that the shop dog is an adorable French Bulldog!
Hank the Frenchie, who is always at the shop, ready and waiting for pets and interaction with customers.  The shop also sells cute items for dogs like bowls, collars, and toys.  You can even custom design a collar and leash from the UK Preston collars company at the shop for a quality collar.

Hank the Frenchie\

Help out small businesses and stop by this quaint little store.  Perfect gifts and greeting cards for mom and baby.  Rugs, pillows, lamps and ceramic dishes as well as wooden custom made signs.  So many great items here you cannot find in other stores.  Susan will gladly help you design or order items you don't see!

929 Turquoise St
San Diego, CA 92109


Friday, August 1, 2014

Crowdfunding Films and Innovation: Rise by David Karlak

Kickstarter Campaign to finish the film RISE


What happens when Robots start to feel human feelings? Are they just machines or so much more?  Be a part of helping this film RISE finish post-production.  A compelling story and beautiful VFX and new technology has been created and used to bring CGI to an entirely new level.  Soon we will be able to experience other worlds and bring dreams to reality with Virtual Reality!  

As someone who has experienced this, I can say that it's worth the $35 or more to try VR out.  It will blow you away and soon it'll be everywhere.  Why not help launch it off the ground.

Donate to a truly innovative campaign! 
Only a $35 donation gets you a demo experience of a scene in the movie
IN VIRTUAL REALITY!  

Blog Links on RISE
Gorilla Film Magazine 
Medium


Monday, July 14, 2014

How to get rid of fleas from your home and cats



Now let me tell you right now, that getting fleas in your home and on your cats is very normal.  However it doesn't make it less gross or awful and friends who have never had pets will judge you and tell you it's all your fault and blah blah and those animal haters can go to hell.  Anywho, just know that hot weather brings out the worst in bugs as you all know and not all of us can afford to live in air conditioned condominiums.  No, some of us live in mid century complexes with holes in the original window screens, no A/C and a stray cat in the yard that won't go away because the lonely lady nearby won't stop feeding it.

So after all the googling and crying and vacuuming, I decided to share my process.  My two kitties are now treated and flea free and cuddly as ever.  even thought they hated the flea bath I can tell they know that I love them and cared for them even when they don't like water or being combed or dealing with all that mess.

I'm going to list this and they might not have to be done in this order, but the point is, it helps to have a friend/lover/best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse help you because it's a lot of work for one person to do, especially if you have a large apartment and with carpet.  I will give you my given circumstances so you can judge what you should adjust because everyone is different and every cat is different.  I've never had dogs or ferrets or any other animal with fleas so I'm just giving what I know and learned about treating my home and my two kitties who are 1 and 2 years old.

My apt:  No A/C, real hardwood floors, some rugs, couch with washable slipcovers. 2 bedroom, 1 bath, living room, kitchen

Steps in not necessarily this order:  The second you see a jumping speck....GET TO WORK, because it only gets worse...FAST!

1. Treat your pets ASAP! Bathe cats in flea shampoo or light sudsy dish soap, rinse thoroughly and once combed all the fleas out (put them in soapy water to die) make sure the cat is dry and then apply correct dosage of Advantage II based on age and size of cat. Cheaper on amazon. Do so ONCE monthly and no more than that.  Follow all instructions.  I choose Advantage because I know it works. I don't want to waste time using anything cheaper and risk that it not be instantaneously effective.  Seeing your cat(s) itching and in pain is not fun for them or for you, so treating them asap is imperative. Then whatever fleas are present, if they try to bite they will die and it prevents any more fleas from attaching on or laying eggs.  COMBING out the fleas ended up being on the best things I did! It got out the ones i couldn't see and saved my kitty from more bites and itches.  TO PREVENT ANY CAT from getting fleas in hot summer or humid months of the year always preemptively treat your pets.  It's worth the investment so that you don't have to add toxic chemicals to your home with flea bombs and will save you and your cat all the heartache and trouble.  Also One cat didn't mind the bath, the other made the most awful noises and cried and her heart was beating fast. You gotta do it, use towels to hold them, take them in the shower, make it work.  (I also keep my cats nails trimmed, I'm the boss in my cat home and they trust me, however, not all cats are this trusting) If you can afford it, many groomers do flea baths.

2. Wash everything humanly possible.  I don't care if you have to camp at the laundromat, anything that could have gotten clear un-seeable flea eggs on them which will hatch in 24 hours, you will want to kill instantly, not just with spray but with hot soapy water.  Sheets, pillows, curtains, slipcovers, towels, laundry, even laundry you already washed and left out is probably infested. You are not just worried about the jumping black specks...its the ones that aren't jumping yet that are the tiniest to spot and hardest to kill and hatch when you aren't paying attention.

3. Spray with home spray.  I used Sentry Home Spray It pretty much smells like Febreeze and worked.  I kept spraying on and off for two days and it did most of the work.  Couch corners, under couches, on bed legs, couch legs, anywhere your cat has been.  You can tell where the fleas hang out because there are little red/brown blood spots which are from the fleas.  They live off blood, so they excrete blood.  At least it's not "real poo" so wipe up all those red dots and flea spray the shit out of that area.  I'll be on my 3rd bottle of this spray and it has held up well and I bought it at Petco and then Amazon for the cheaper price.  Sometimes you gotta spend the extra bucks when you cannot wait that two days to get to delivered to your door. Make sure if you do a thorough spray that you let it settle and dry before you vacuum or sit or let your pets near the areas you sprayed.  It's not meant to be on Cats directly. There are separate sprays, shampoos, collars and such for the cat themselves.  Homesprays are only for your carpet and furniture.

4.  Dump out all litter.  Seriously the fleas will be in there.  It's where your cats sits and scrapes and hangs out.  Just dump it all out.  Wash each litter box with soapy hot water and rinse and dry with paper towels.  Then add fresh litter, aaaaaaahhhh that's better...says everyone (well especially the cats)

5. Throw out anything that can't be salvaged.  That ratty old rag you use sometimes...dump it.  Anything that's a cheap toy...corrugated cardboard...toss it.  Anything that won't survive a spray or flea bomb, just get rid of it.  You'll be happy you don't have fleas then if you keep it and think...GOD DAMMIT, IF ONLY I THREW OUT THAT CUTE LOBSTER TOY THAT NOW IS RIDDLED WITH FLEA LARVAE WEEEE, EEWW GROSS. I IMMEDIATELY REGRET BEING SENTIMENTAL ABOUT TOYS I THINK ARE MY CAT's FAVORITE.  You are a human and yes, we know you love your pets. Throw it out, your cat will be happier that it doesn't have fleas, you are the one who will be sad about the lobster, not them...

6. Vacuum. Vacuum. Vacuum.
Not kidding. The more you vacuum, the better. I PUT A FLEA COLLAR IN MY CANISTER VACCUM TO KILL ANYTHING I PICK UP JUST IN CASE.  Read about it on a blog, amazing advice. It's like I'm triple killing the fleas...take that, that's what you get fleas!

7. Kill any flea you see by smashing it with your nails or fingers, smashing or crushing.  The little ones are the hardest, the adults are crunchy. Vacuum. Vacuum. Mop. Vacuum. Spray. Spray. Vacuum. It's not over until it's over.  If you swat the flea away, you just freed it to lay eggs on your pillow...ew.

Some people take a 100% all natural approach which may take longer.  Do what you like, just know if you have pets, you need to keep them in mind.  Flea foggers and bombs put heavy toxic chemicals not just on places your pet goes but also on all of your stuff.  So while leaving the house for 12-24 hours to kill all the fleas seems like a good idea, it only goes where it goes...spraying allows you a lot more control over what places get treated and have a better chance of you killing off the infested sections.  I personally would avoid RAID products for inside the home.  Go to a Pet Store and ask an expert.  The point is to keep you and your pets flea free without poisoning yourself or them.  Be smart, ask for help, and you're doing a good job already if you googled this and are reading this article.  There are plenty of all natural products, things you can make yourself and many pet stores with all sorts of products.  Ask a groomer, they usually have a go to product they know that works.

8. Flea traps.  Not sure how these work yet, but I have some coming via Amazon.  Gonna set some up just to see if I catch any stragglers. (I'm thinking "A Bug's Life" Status, no matches though...)


My cats are flea free having done all of the above and a thorough thorough apartment cleaning. (I'm serious) I basically didn't sit down for 10 hours.  It was worth it.  Cats are happy, Momma is tired but happy and now it's just upkeep and making sure I treat the kitties with Advantage every month that it is hot and humid.  Cat proofing your apartment constantly is a good rule of thumb.  Fleas, bugs, bedbugs...they will come about from time to time, but the less stuff they have to make a home in the better.  My cats are indoor cats so this seemed like a fluke incident, but it does happen.  So if your cat is indoor/outdoor it is no question...ALWAYS TREAT WITH ADVANTAGE!

Questions? Tips? Add ons? Tweet me at @alexinhwood or comment here! Thanks friends and pet lovers!



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trich: Again and Again (Updated)



Shame. Not everyone knows the feeling of constant shame. Then again, I cannot speak for the masses.  There is a shame that one feels when it comes to their own body. I feel shame all of the time because I injure myself constantly. My hair pulling is obsessive and compulsive, so no, lazy advice giver, I cannot just stop when I wish to. I feel shame because I have a lot less hair. I am talking a lot. I am talking like I have to wear it in certain ways to avoid looking odd. I am talking, wash hair everyday so I don't pull more when it's more oily and textured. I am saying that my part is wider in three different parts. My boyfriend complains of feeling spiky hairs growing back when I rest my head on him.  I have to use endless amount of hairspray, clear mascara and sprays to keep my hair from standing straight up as it grows in patches. My hair doesn't sit comfortably in a pony tail because it is all sorts of odd right now. Odd as in thin, so its just doesn't have the bulk it once had.

Shame, real shame. I've done it to myself. But the sick pleasure in playing with my hair, which is something I have always done and enjoyed, took a turn when my hair textured changed, more grays appeared and my stress level was hiding beneath odd behaviors. I bite my nails, I count rhythms, I cut my cuticles until they bleed, I pluck my eyebrows incessantly, I rip fabric from my sweaters, I pick at my face, I pull mascara off of my eyelashes.  All of these things make me feel amazing while I am doing them. I feel like the obsession with perfection, cleanliness and general texture and touch are a part of it, mixed with a general affliction of anxiousness and a search for a balance in mood and comfort.

Writing about it makes them more real I guess. I had always considered them quirks. But nails and such can be mended, hair however takes a lot longer to grow and can really depress someone. I have always loved my hair and love to do manipulate it.  Braiding, curling, straightening, you name it. It's fun to do, but when you have half the amount you used to have it becomes a looming sadness that I am not what I once was.  Oddly, I don't care what other people think about it, because luckily it's not necessarily visible. Most people give me odd looks if I'm pulling or crazy braiding/twirling in public, but usually it's an at home thing...sort of.

my bald spot at home, braiding and unbraiding to keep hair up...
but then i pick out pieces because it feels fun 
to pull strands out of a braid or a pony tail...
and then I have to redo the braid or ponytail...
me all the time while watching TV...
I need to learn to knit...


I just started out loving to braid, comb with my fingers and play all day long and especially with newly styled soft hair. It was something I always did as a child and more and more as it got longer in high school. I want to stop. The release of pulling out a "bad-hair" is just so relieving though. I feel like I won something, I got the bad guy, but then I want to keep going to feel success more and more. But then I already hate myself and I am sad, but then I am happy because I like it. Most times I am not thinking this deeply about it, but I am writing out my feelings about it so I can acknowledge them and learn to let go.

I take an anti depressant and ADHD medication everyday and I feel much more neutral. My life has direction and a path instead of constant ups and downs and anger and sadness and happiness. My relationships and work have improved so I know it's a good thing. I wonder if the new focus can attribute to the pulling or of I am just more aware of it now especially because I know it's not just a quirk, it's something I want to stop.  But how to do it? How do you re train your brain to not seek the comfort it uses?  How can my hair become beautiful again? How can I love myself as I am and not pull out misguided imperfections?

I know that many many people suffer from this and it goes unnoticed and undiagnosed.  People think it's a habit or a tick and that you can just quit. But for many it's chronic and come and goes in waves alongside life struggles and hard times or sometimes when you are just bored.

Watching TV and driving long distances are my biggest enemy. You have hands with not much to do and time. I am working on those times the most by just stopping the behavior once I realize I am doing it. Usually a few minutes later, I don't ever realize I am doing it again. It truly is an OCD addiction and I am so shameful and so afraid that I will go too far and that I will need to get a pixie cut or wear a wig.  I do not have the chin for a pixie cut and I love my hair.  Not having it makes me obsessively sad. As I am going down this road, I might as well write about my struggle, so others know they are not alone.

Please feel free to email me at alexinhwood@gmail.com if you would like to share your stories or maybe chat about it.  Thank goodness for social media to help connect us all.  I think I would like to talk to other people about what they feel about it also.  No one I know has the same issue, but many know someone who has it but no one seems to talk about it.

Anxiety, depression, OCD, trich...sometimes I feel like an unlovable disaster...but I am not.  I have imperfections and I am working on acceptance of them in myself and others. While I have actual behavioral things to work on I know that I am someone with a large heart, full of compassion. I love unconditionally and truly want what is just and fair for everyone. I have faith that I can be better and have beautiful hair again.  I want to get rid of this shame.  Shame is not worth the pull.

FOR MORE INFO ON Trichotillomania

UPDATE:

I'm back on

Viviscal Hair Growth Program, Extra Strength, Tablets 2 per day

Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin & Nails 5000mcg of Biotin, Caplets 3 per day

and I use filler fibers on my bald spots...it really helps me feel a lot better about my bad spots and make me not touch my hair...bec you have to wash your hands right away if you get fibers on your fingers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And then there was Nolan...

I have a new role in life.  I never knew what this would feel like.  I did help raise my brother, I was 10 after all when he was born.  I've given baths, changed diapers and babysat already for years.  It has been a little while however for a baby to be in my life, one that I will see often and be close to.  College years and after that haven't presented me with that many interactions with babies and I was hesitant that I would handle it well.

I waited, paced for hours.  Waiting for my sister to give birth.  At the beginning, I was in the room, but I couldn't stop crying.  I wasn't even sad or trying but the tears would not stop, I cannot watch my sister in pain.  So after many tears and some hefty contractions, she got the epidural and felt a lot better.  I was just happy she wouldn't be in that kind of constant pain anymore.

I waited with my brother and mother, and then my dad and then my friends.  It was a long day, but not as long as some first time mothers.  I received a text from my mother, who was pacing outside of the birthing suite, to the doctors and my sister's chagrin. BUT, I ran into the room and saw him.  Living and breathing Baby Nolan.  He was officially here and my sister did it, she really did it.  Her face was priceless and she was doing okay.  I cannot believe it was over, and that the real adventure is just beginning.

He is perfect.  He is aware, looking around, looking at me.  It was a feeling I can not really describe.  I am an Auntie now, and I will cherish that title.  I will spoil him and love him and teach him.  His hands and toes and ears and fingernails, all of those things, the details, the very humanness of him...I can't believe it.  He is finally here in all of our lives.  How will he change me?  How will he change others?  What is his mark on the world going to be?  So many things we do not know, but I am going to savor the moments and love him effortlessly.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Price of Feeling Beautiful

 
2010 - 110lbs
                                                                       2014 - 130lbs

From not healthy...to healthy...

I can honestly say that I am happier now with my body than I have ever been. I used to have a flat stomach and my ribs would show. I thought I was beautiful. Even though people were always complimenting me on my small size, I was never quite content. I didn't feel like a healthy woman that loved herself. I was always hungry, anxious and set on maintaining this "perfect" ideal. When you constantly receive compliments on your small frame you start to develop a sort of disorder all of your own. One that is, to constantly maintain perfection, to constantly be what people admire. I felt that if was ever bloated or gained a pound, that everyone would notice. I was afraid people would say to me, What happened? You used to be so skinny? But when I got the help I needed in regards to my anxiety and depression, I did gain the weight I needed. It was and has been a struggle to adjust to my new curves and no longer perfectly flat stomach. But I am so much happier and appreciative of my new physique. I take pride that I have more energy to go to the gym and it feels like a reward to take care of myself. I have more muscle and yes I weigh more than I used to, but I realized that the number doesn't matter. I don't care what size I wear anymore, I care about what makes me feel good. I go shopping now and I too, get discouraged. I try on the size I used to be, and then I think, well shit, what was I thinking, I'm not a miniature person anymore. I look at teen clothes and they look minuscule, but I used to shop there, well into my 20's. But now, I grab the medium or the Large or even the size 6 or 8 and think, I don't even care, I just want it to fit well. Sometimes I can't find a single flattering thing and sometimes I get lucky. Why is it that women feel like we are supposed to look good in everything. That's really impossible. I would rather be me than a clotheshorse, than a 5'10" model, yes any day I'd rather be me. It took a long time to be okay with being normal. It took a long time to love myself. Once I STOPPED being so harsh on myself, I realized that comparing and hoping and wishing to be like anyone else was just ridiculous. I hope women can learn to love themselves more and more as I have. The older I get the more I enjoy how my body changes. I am still struggling with pulling out my hair but I am working on it everyday. I do feel ashamed and dumb that I can't seem to kick the habit. Even typing this, helps to keep my hands busy, which means that I am not pulling. We all have flaws. But I've learned to not persecute myself so harshly to just acknowledge that I may not do everything the way I wish, but I can grow and evolve and become better every day. The Price of feeling beautiful is free. You just have to do the work, and to stop seeing yourself through a distorted lens. Embrace each unique part of you and love it. The more confident and accepting you are of those parts, the more others will follow suit. You attract what you are, so LOVE yourself, expand your vision of beauty, forgive yourself of flaws and imperfections, embrace your individuality, experience your own vision of sexy... ...then you will ACHIEVE LOVE and be able to give it and be able to accomplish wellness.

Sometimes skinnier ISNT BETTER.  Sometimes it means you need to assess what is keeping you from eating, why you aren't happy, and what you can do to change for the better. <3


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