June 3, 2014

Groovebook Review plus a free book!

If you've seen Shark Tank on ABC you might know what I'm talking about.  We don't have cable, or even an antenna at our house so I heard about this through social media.  I figured for $2.99 I'll give it a try.  

So what is Groovebook?  It's an app for iOS and Android where you upload between 40-100 photos each month and they send you a bound book of 4x6 photos.  Each photo is perforated for easy removal which is nice.  Also, each photo has the date and time the photo was taken.  It will also print the location if you have that feature enabled, which I currently do not.

But for $2.99 whats the catch?  It's a subscription service which means you will get charged $2.99 each month whether you upload photos or not.  You can cancel at anytime but they make their money on folks who forget about it and don't cancel.  As for the 40-100, if you don't upload 100 they will duplicate or even triplicate photos in order to get you to 100 prints.  Your book closes each month on the day you order your first one.  I closed my first book May 18, so on June 18 my next book will close and my card will be charged and I will get another book.  You can also choose to close it early.  Another cool thing is you can have books sent to others for $2.99 each.  

I know y'all are thinking about quality.  I read mixed reviews waiting for my book to arrive and lets just say they're not superb quality.  The paper is really thin for being photos and the colors are very flat, random photos also have random color casts that aren't in the original photos.  I could print better quality photos at home.  These definitely are not frame worthy but great for printing photos of a trip quickly or everyday snapshots and great for purse sized brag books.  Also, photos tend to be a little grainy when they aren't in the originals.  On a five star quality scale five being the highest, these are a 2.  If you want good quality photos these aren't it.  I don't think the majority of these will make the Project Life album, which is a bummer because that's what I was hoping for.    

The app itself if very user friendly and easy to navigate which is a plus.  

If you want to try Groovebook download the app from the app store or the play store and upload your photos, enter code JONES8359 and your first book will be free.  

*Disclaimer* This review is of my own opinion.  I was not compensated by Groovebook in anyway for my review.  

March 23, 2014

I'm a loser!

And that's meant in a good way!  I logged in another 4.8lb loss last week!  I know I'm late in posting this but I thought I'd update it!  Maybe I'll get a ticker or something for my side bar...

March 14, 2014


That's now much I lost after week one of doing Weight Watchers!  SEVEN pounds!  I realize that this amount of weight loss won't last but it's still exciting!  My weeks run from Wednesday - Tuesday, and I weigh-in Wednesday mornings.

I'll sum up some of this week in bullet points:
  • I went a week without Dr. Pepper, decided to splurge with some points one day and I could barely drink it, it was WAY too sweet.  Never thought I'd say that!  Now it's been another 4 days since that too sweet one and I really have no desire to drink it.  I don't do diet pop either, aspertame gives me a wicked headache.  
  • I have a VERY hard time eating all my daily points, and the weekly points?  Forget it!  I think I used them once last week.  Just once.  And we even went out to eat one night. 
  • Chicken salads are becoming a favorite, especially with this new Zesty Lime Vinegarette from Kraft.  
  • I love turkey wraps for lunch.  And I even get to use real mayo (I love mayonnaise).  
  • Girl Scout Tagalongs are only 2pp per cookie.  I immediately bought a box from my troop when I figured that out.  They're my absolute FAVORITE.  I can eat two and I totally take forever eating them savoring each bite.  
  • I still log my calories because I use the nutrition info to figure out how many points a food is.  I'm keeping a log of my frequently eaten food so I can just reference that on the fly.  I also log calories to keep my sister motivated too! (we're in an ass kicking competition :p )  Smaller numbers work better for my brain which is why I rely more on points. 
  • I bought an Erin Condren life planner with their annual combo sale to keep track of all my weight loss goals and achievements.  It also helped that I recently won a $100 gift card from them! 
  • I brought my food EVERY DAY for two weeks at work.  Before I'd eat out at least two meals and numerous snacks which usually consisted of Dr. Pepper and a candy bar.  Now when I need a snack and I don't have any left I'll hit McDonald's and get the parfait.  They're perfectly sized and delicious!  Let's not even get started on the money saved.  
  • I still hate Greek yogurt.   
I've embarked on the weight loss journey before and always gave up within a week.  I tried to do too much too quickly.  Now I'm focused on the food portion and then I'll add in some regularly planned exercise once I have the diet part down pat.  

Since I can't really afford the official Weight Watchers (I really wish is wasn't so expensive!) I'll give you some links to things that have helped me:

  • LoseIt - this is the free app I use to track my calories.  I use the free version but there is a yearly paid premium version with more options (FitBit connectivity, Nike+ connectivity, etc).  The free works just fine for my purpose.  What I like about this app is that you can scan the bar codes from your food and it automatically pulls up the food and it's nutrition values, it also automatically adjusts your calories for weight loss.  I scan ALL my food at the beginning of the day when I make my lunch for work, it takes a bit longer but it works.  Find me on there!  My username is audreyj84.
  • Exercise 4 Weight Loss - this website is amazing.  If you click here it will take you to all the weight watchers stuff.  They have calculators for EVERYTHING.  They have a listing of restaurant foods and their points (this came in handy yesterday when I forgot to bring a sandwich or wrap on the road with me and the nearest thing was McDonald's, Grilled Chicken & Ranch McWrap is 11pp).  There is so much more on the website and while it's not the flashiest site around it's pretty damn accurate.
  • Runs for Cookies - Katie is amazing.  She lost 125 lbs and has kept it off through diet changes and running.  She doesn't sugar coat things and has a wealth of information on her site.  It updates daily at 8pm.  When I feel like giving up I go here.  
  • Spark People Recipe Calculator - you have to be a member here to use this but it's a free membership.  It's VERY helpful when you make something and it doesn't come with nutrition facts.  Also, it helps when you want to make a recipe but would like to know what the nutrition facts are before you make it.  You can also input the recipe with substitutions you want to make and see how they affect the nutrition.  Some ingredients are non-negotiable for me such as butter.  I hate margarine and refuse to use it in cooking.  I do like reduced fat cream cheese and 1% milk so I'll substitute those if a recipe calls for regular cream cheese or whole milk or 2% milk.  I hate whole milk and skim milk too.  I only get skim in my Starbucks drinks.   
  • Nutrition Factor EX app - I'm not sure how I found this app but I'm sure it was from some random search a while ago.  I've kept it on my phone and am SO glad I have.  It's been a life saver when trying to figure points.  You have to input the carbs, fiber, protein, and fat yourself, it's a very basic app, and it'll calculate the points.  It's amazing.  For the iPhone it's an app with a blue background with a fork and a knife.  Not sure if it's the same for Google play but it's an awesome app to have.  
  • Instagram - SO many inspirational quotes and photos on there.  
Why I don't use myFitnessPal.  I've used it before.  I don't like how it doesn't have the food scanner and frankly it saves a lot of time.  I've never had a food come up wrong.  My fiance uses it and likes it because he says it's easier to input a custom amount of calories burned in exercise.  He weighs significantly less than I do so it's more important to him to use that feature.

I also paid for Ultimate Food Value Diary which combines calorie counting and Weight Watchers points.  I immediately deleted it from my phone because it was VERY overwhelming.  It had so many things to do and seemed really overloaded with crappy information and nutrition values.  It was very difficult for me to navigate and I got very frustrated by trying to figure it out.  It was a total waste of $3.99 for me.  My current system works just fine for me.  

I can already tell some very small differences.  I'm currently wearing a fleece right now that was a little snug in the midsection this time last year.  Now it fits well.  Just 7 pounds!  I also have a pair of Danskin capris (meant for working out) that were snug, they fit well and aren't as tight around my calves.  Just a couple small things but it's nice to be feeling something.  I can't wait to buy smaller clothes when the time comes!

March 10, 2014


Last week I didn't post anything for my personal one goal challenge.  Instead I focused on making healthy changes to my diet.  I tracked all my food on Monday and it was horrible!  On Tuesday I gave up mid way through the day and made a promise to myself to start getting healthy for good.  This meant changing my diet, completely.  

Most of the time I never bring food to work.  Last week I brought ALL my food to save money.  I work Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and even though I bought the occasional snack $5 a day was easier to digest than $20 a day.  But something changed on Wednesday, I didn't get a sausage mcmuffin like I normally do on Wednesdays, I ate breakfast at home, counted the calories in the app I use, AND I measured it out.  Then I did the same for lunch.  And dinner.  And it's stuck.  I have done it every day since then.  I actually have struggled a couple days to get all my allotted calories in.  I am also calculating weight watchers points too and it's getting difficult to use all my points in a day.  

I actually enjoy doing this.  I need to switch up my foods because I was only eating what I had at home but I've noticed food is lasting longer in my house, I'm actually paying attention to what real hunger is, and I've been paying attention to food labels.  Another thing I've done is that when I think I feel hungry I drink about 16 ozs of water, if I'm still feeling slightly hungry I'll grab carrots or fruit or something healthy for a snack, especially if it's between meals.  

We went out for dinner on Friday and I ordered a blackened chicken sandwich with veggies instead of fries.  Didn't put anything on the sandwich but the onions and green peppers.  It was amazing! The chicken was cooked on a cast iron skillet with green peppers, onions and seasoning and the veggie side was yellow squash (which surprisingly I LOVED), zucchini, and broccoli.  I could tell there was very little added fats in this too.  It was amazing to taste the food and how satisfied I was after I was done.  The portions were awesome too, just the right size.

February 26, 2014

Girl Scout Freebies!

I started up a Junior troop at the end of last year for my daughter.  She is VERY into Girl Scouting and being that there were no troops in the area she could join I figure I'd give her and other girls the opportunity.  I was a Girl Scout for 9 years back in the day and loved every minute of it.  With our cookie sales going full speed ahead I made some things that I could use to track our progress.  The first is a goal thermometer.  It's completely blank, with just goal marker lines and profile logo.  You should be able to right click and save this, it's 8.5x11 and is in jpg format.

The next thing I have is a ledger of sorts.  You put the girls names down the side and the activities on the top and go to town.  I use this for tracking attendance at meetings and cookie booths.  I also have a badge tracker that I filled in, it's a jpg but can be imported into photo editing software and you can add your own text and such in there, or you can hand fill it.  I also left enough space at the top so you can hole punch it if need be.

Please if you use any of these, all I ask is that you link back to here if you share them.  I've done the courtesy of leaving off a watermark but if I see others taking credit for these I won't hesitate to add one.  

February 25, 2014

One Goal Update

So far the goal a week has been going well.  I didn't get as much water in at the end of the week but I just have to keep reminding myself to do it.  It takes something like 21 days for something to become a habit right?

My goal for this week is cutting down on the amount of Dr. Pepper I drink.  I absolutely LOVE Dr. Pepper, even more when it's a fountain drink.  It's not uncommon for me to drink 1-3 large sizes from McDonald's in a day.  Yes, I love it that much.  I'm not going for elimination this week, I'm going for cutting down.  Elimination will come later.  I'm aiming for having ONE every other day tops.  I didn't have one yesterday at all and I didn't miss it.  I did buy one today but it's not very Dr. Pepper-y, it's more carbonated water than anything.

I'm still working in water every day and feel better on the days that I drink a lot of it.  I'm aiming for 4 bottles on work days and 3 on non-work days.  

If anyone reads Runs for Cookies you'll know that she LOVES David's Tea.  Well, I've been wanting to try some but I can't buy it online, my brain won't let me.  I was finally able to stop into a store yesterday and got a half bag of Alpine Frost just to try it.  I've never used loose leaf tea before so I was kinda flying by the seat of my britches.  The lady at the David's Tea I stopped at (1643 N Damen in Chicago) was super helpful.  I've read all about the Red Velvet tea and had my heart set on it when I got there.  She must've pulled about 10 different teas for me to smell and they were ALL amazing.  Some of them were very heavy on the peppermint which didn't wow me.  Then she pulled out the remaining winter teas and I fell in love with Alpine Frost.  You might be able to find it by itself in stores but on their website it only comes in the Collection.  It is a rooibos tea and there are apple pieces in there along with cinnamon, cardamom, and almonds.  It also has the most amazing smell to it, marzipan.  I immediately made a cup this morning and brought it to work, you get all the wonderful flavors and then the marzipan comes at the end, it's just to die for.  I can definitely see more of these teas coming home with me!

February 18, 2014

One Goal

By now I'm sure you all know of my love for Erin Condren, well my life planner has helped me keep track of a lot of different things big and small.  It's about to get used for a much larger purpose.  Over the years my weight has done nothing but climb.  I'm 100 pounds heavier than when I was a senior in high school and even heavier since before I got my drivers license.  I recently decided to use my planner to keep track of my One Goal.

One Goal is something I came up with that will hopefully keep me on track with my desire to start living a healthier lifestyle and start losing this weight.  Looking back every time I've failed it's because I do too much too quickly and get overwhelmed.  Drink more water, eat healthier, exercise more, blah blah blah, etc.  I've recently started thinking about it again so I decided to start small.  Each week I will give myself One Goal to meet and introduce a new one each week while still working on previous goals.  I'm hoping that building a healthier lifestyle will be much easier than shot gunning an entire new lifestyle in a day.  

This week my One Goal is to drink more water.  I have a 20 oz insulated camel bak water bottle and my goal is to drink 4-5 of those a day.  At work it's easy peasy, at home I'm tempted by the Starbucks and Dr Pepper, they're both quick runs through the drive thru!

I'm also hoping this will get me back into blogging, I've missed it!  I've tried starting a weight loss blog before but always failed on it.  I'll be using the tags One Goal and Fat Medic Slim along with both of those hashtags on other social media.  

It's just a simple note in my planner under the goals and to do section.  

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