Saturday, March 16, 2013

You have how many unread emails?

My name is Aisha and I had 5000+ unread emails in my Gmail inbox. About a year ago I started keeping track of the number of unread emails in my inbox. It was a cry for help. I was hoping someone would take pity on me and offer to clean it up. Yeah no takers.

I had a feeling I was missing important email and I was starting to look like a flake to some people. I'm on three nonprofit boards and I was not doing my duties when I couldn't find things in my email. I read a  lot of productivity blogs and they often feature many email solutions. This week I read a lot about email so I figured it was time to take control of my email.

First I used to help me get off a bunch of mailing list and delete the messages associated with those list. Great, but I seemed to still have a lot of email lingering. I also now had The Swizzle sending me a daily email. That seems like the opposite of what I wanted.

Then I signed up for after I saw them on Lifehacker. It sounded great but then I was in the queue for over a week. During that week I didn't know if it just wasn't working, was slow, or just sucked. So I gave up. About a week later I got an email saying that my inbox was ready. What? I already broke up with you before we started. I tried to log in and got a message saying it was broken. Yeah that's not cool either. We were over before we got started.

While I was waiting for Mailstrom to get its act together I found Sanebox. It basically goes through your inbox and auto sorts things into to stuff that needs to stay in your inbox, archived, or you can read later. Just had to press the button and say poof! It's gotta free trial then after that it's like $2/month. I also like the feature that it strips attachments in future emails automatically and saves them into Dropbox. Losing attachments was a real reason I couldn't get a hold of my inbox. I'm not afraid anymore. This may mean I need DropBox Pro at some point.

But I still had a lot of old email that was sitting there. After Andre told me that it was a Baltimore startup, I went back to . I guess it started working because Sanebox had already helped me get the box down. It has a multiple sort functions. So I could see that had I 1500 emails from just three people, none of which I probably needed to keep. Poof!  Deleted or Archived.

So within the last week I have deleted about 25K worth of email.

Now I need to do this for my two other email accounts. Le sigh. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Springing Forward My Health

As you all know I go on and off of trying to be healthier, though I  don't obsess about numbers on the scale anymore.  I am more concerned about the fact that I seem to bust my ass once a month, that I am tired after one flight of stairs, and  a two year old would probably put a hurtin' on me in a fight. I have been thinking very hard about trying to change but I needed to reflect on my past a bit before I came up with a plan of action. 

Family History

First things first. Both my parents had high blood pressure and my dad died prematurely because like me, he faked at eating right. I would come home for visits and all I saw was rice milk, tofu pups, and eggs. I thought he was eating pretty well. I guess I should have wondered what about lunch and dinner. When I moved home temporarily to take care of him, I found out the truth. From his bank statements I saw he was eating El Pollo Loco and Ms. Marilyn's Soul Food, a lot. I also learned that my dad didn't know how to cook. I remember growing up he would make oatmeal and waffles. My mom made everything else. I just figured that it was a gender role thing. Nope he didn't even know his way around a tuna sandwich. 

My mom on the other hand fed us lots of foods, both good and bad. We were only allowed to eat Cheerios and Kix because the other cereals were full of sugar. However, Pop Tarts were a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. I guess icing doesn't have sugar. Totally mixed messages. Given my mom's background she was making sure we had enough food, no matter what it was. We always had vegetables but mostly from a can. We always had fruit too.

I have a pretty decent knowledge of what's good for me and what's not. Where I struggle is that I focus on what makes me feel happy or comfort. I need to focus on what makes me feel alive, healthy, and strong. I eat the right foods all the time, but I also eat a lot of cupcakes. I am working on it now through Weight Watchers. 

Weight Watchers Simply Filling Technique

Danica's Daily  does a great job of explaining the technique so I won't get into that.  For me this technique was appealing because I didn't need to count the oatmeal, bananas, and the grilled chicken. On the regular Points Plus plan you track everything! What I need to do is track the cupcakes and french fries. I would always forget about the bottle of wine I had the night before. That's why I think the Simply Filling technique will work for me. 

This is week one and it's easy and hard at the same time.  It's easy to have delicious meals made of the right stuff. It's hard when you didn't tell your husband you were going to do this and he brought home a pound of prosciutto and the gelato you bought last week is still here. It's easy to pack a lunch with the right foods in the right portions. It's hard to not eat your entire Chipotle burrito bowl. But overall it's easier for me right now because the alternative was to not track any of it all and expect to magically look differently.  

Body Pump

If I am going to be able to wrestle that two year old I need to get stronger. That starts with working out.  I got a little present from a past mystery shop in the mail in last month.  I temporarily joined a gym for a mystery shop a few years ago but I guess I was still in their database of old members. This gym normally cost about $100 a month but they were offering a Family membership for $60. While their locations are not that convenient during the week I thought I could start by committing to one class of Body Pump per weekend. That alone pays for the membership.

It's a challenging workout for me and by the next day I am super sore. You get a decent cardio workout as well. I am committing to once a week and will try to add in at least one more workout. The gym is also near one of my favorite bike trails so when it gets a little warmer I might be able to do both things. 

Next Steps

I am not exactly sure. I am going to track how I feel about the Simply Filling technique. It seems easy but I think others might be able to learn from my experiences. Also my husband is a fabulous cook and I want to share his recipes. Many of them are simple but interesting. Deer with sautéed collard greens anyone?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breathe: Naturally Tackling a Cold/Flu

A couple of days ago I woke up with a killer sore throat and a stuffy nose. I forgot to take a flu shot and CDC said that it wasn't that effective this year anyhow.  I am always super slow to react any signs of flu/cold but this time I wanted to get on top of it. So here are  few tips.

Step 1: Listen to your mother

If you are sick, eat a lemon. Growing up in Southern California , I had no idea how spoiled we were to have fruit trees in our backyard. We had a lemon tree that bore fruit year around. Whenever a cold appeared, the first thing mom tell us to do was eat a lemon from the tree. Just peel it and eat it like an orange. I found that it would dry up mucous with a quickness and take extra does of Vit. C doesn't hurt.

Honey, Lemon, & Ginger
Building on that advice, I drank lots of Naked Power-c machine this winter. I figured it was cheaper and tastier than Mucinex.

Step 2: Have some tea

Any type of tea will do. The hot liquid will soothe your throat. It helps if you add honey or lemon. I found this recipe of a honey lemon concentrate that I plan to keep on hand. 

Step 3: Make some chicken soup

This is where I diverge from moms advice. She would pop open a can of the name brand chicken soup concentrate and added water. It's pretty easy to whip up some homemade chicken soup if you start with store bought broth. I'll ask B to give me the recipe.

Now if it is really bad here a few other things

Step 4:  Steam!

Use a steamer or take a hot shower. That will help to break up the mucous. 

Step 6: Use a Neti pot.

Years ago my friend Gibran told me about Neti pots.The idea of putting water up my nose was terrifying. Well one day I was so miserably stuffed up that I said what the hell. Gross but effective. Put some lipgloss on afterwards so you feel less gross. ( Visit Gibran's tea shop)

Step 5: Apple Cider Vinegar is a boss

Drink 2 tablespoons in 16 ounces of water.  Grab a box of tissues because you will be blowing your nose soon. 

These are the things I have found effective. Do you have anything else to try?