H 2 the O

In case you’re wondering, this post isn’t about ‘hos. I can’t actually imagine what would propel me to write a post like that, humorous as it sounds.

In fact, dear readers, today’s post is about water. More specifically, the arduous task of drinking the stuff. People are very divided on whether they LOVE water or HATE water.

I have several friends who have zero problem drinking water throughout the day. They have a water bottle on their person at all times or will happily go fill up a large cup at the water cooler. I’ve also known people who can’t go an hour without a sip before they say, “Oh my GOD I’m so thirsty,” as if they’ve been wandering the desert for a few hours. (Does drinking water beget drinking water?)

I am one of those people who can go hours without consuming a drop and I feel fine. It’s not the healthiest for my body and I do know that I feel more awake and alert when I’m properly hydrated, but it is actual work for me to remember to have fluids between my morning cup of joe and whatever I decide to consume with lunch and dinner. I have to put up a sticky note or set a timer to jolt me out of the lull I get myself into when sitting at my desk working.

One issue I have is that I am what I call a “compulsive drinker.” If I have a beverage in front of me at my desk, I will continually sip on it until it is gone, especially if there’s a straw, and then I’m aggravated when there’s nothing left. I am not an ice chewer by nature but if I’ve gotten in the habit of sipping on whatever is in front of me, I’ll chew the ice, too. But when my sad glass or cup sits empty, I find myself annoyed that I have to interrupt whatever it is I’m doing to get up and refill it. So I suppose my solution, whether subconsciously or not, has been to avoid making it a habit to keep myself hydrated at all, because I can’t be “bothered” with it.

Am I alone in this?

Anyway, after a recent incident of becoming insanely dehydrated and feeling like crap, I decided to make it a priority to drink more water throughout the day. I brought a CamelBak to work in the hopes that it would remind me to drink up.

If you don’t own a CamelBak, run not walk to your local sports store and grab one up. Or order one online, if that suits your fancy. They are seriously beverage holders of awesome proportion. Plus, because of the straw thing going on, it makes it a lot easier to suck down what you need and be about your business. (That’s what she said.)

The downsides to drinking water. Yes, there are a couple.

  1. The whole bathroom thing. Being hydrated generally means feeling pretty good, except for needing to pee every fifteen minutes. An aching bladder really disrupts productivity in the workplace, though constantly getting up to use the restroom provides a quick reprieve from the office. Still, do you know what washing your hands with antibacterial soap at least twice an hour does to them? I’m going through hand lotion like a person with OCD.
  2. Secondly, and it needs to be said: water is boring. Yes, it can be incredibly refreshing but most of the time when I’m just trying to get in my quota, I’m chugging it so I don’t have to think about it. Lately, I have been adding a little sugar free cranberry cocktail to my Camelbak, then filling the rest with water and ice. It definitely helps the medicine go down. Other alternatives are adding lemon, lime, or even cucumber, as a friend of mine suggested. (Don’t knock ice cucumber water ’til you’ve tried it. It’s delicious.)

Quite frankly, I think the soda business does so well for itself because they’ve made water somewhat exciting, if not completely bad for you. I don’t drink sugar soda and I try to keep a lid on diet soda, because it’s a matter of choosing your poison. Forty grams of sugar and citric acid vs. a nasty chemical called aspartame plus citric acid. There is a reason that Coke can be used as a cleaning solvent, just saying. But I’m not immune to the deliciousness of Coke Zero, Fresca, or Diet Dr. Pepper, three of my faves. Still, I try to indulge sparingly.

The benefits of drinking H2O are you feel more alert, your body temperature and metabolism are regulated much more efficiently, and it keeps false hunger away. And somehow it prevents you from being bloated and retaining water, though you’d think it was the opposite.

Being dehydrated is the exact 180 to all of the pros, not to mention there is reason to believe women can suffer from a UTI when they get really dehydrated. Gross and ouch! If you don’t know what a UTI is, consider yourself touched by Jesus. I would only wish chronic UTIs on my worst enemy, male or female.

I probably won’t ever stop grumbling about getting in my eight glasses a day, or however much I’m supposed to be drinking. But I can’t deny I’ve felt a lot better, bathroom trips notwithstanding, since I began being more mindful of my water consumption. I guess all the experts were right.

Damn it.

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#189 (via Bear Lawyer, LLC)

If you don’t know Bear Lawyer, you’re missing out. I don’t make a habit of reblogging much here on WordPress, but this guy earned a coveted reblog spot.

#189

via Bear Lawyer, LLC

A hug from the soul

Make lists of positive aspects. Make lists of things you love—and never complain about anything. And as you use those things that shine bright and make you feel good as your excuse to give your attention and be who-you-are, you will tune to who-you-are, and the whole world will begin to transform before your eyes. It is not your job to transform the world for others—but it is your job to transform it for you. A state of appreciation is pure Connection to Source where there is no perception of lack.

— Abraham*

“They” always say that when you are at your lowest, it is when you need to feel gratitude the most.

I don’t know about you, but I have a really really tough time doing that. When I am severely down in the dumps and despair is the main feeling radiating throughout my mind and body, clinging to gratitude does not come naturally to me.

However, while I sit in my house this weekend thinking of those on the East Coast who are contending with Hurricane Irene, I remember to be grateful.

I sit comfortably at my computer in an air-conditioned home, with plenty of running water and food at my disposal, the weather is beautiful, the streets are quiet. I have a good job and work with really nice people. I get weekends off; I had time to relax and even nap today. My dog is sweet and healthy, my boyfriend and I are not suffering from any health issues at the moment, and we have celebratory brunch plans for Kevin’s birthday tomorrow.

We have a functioning car with working seat belts, air conditioning, heat, cruise control, airbags, cup holders, automatic windows, remote, and CD player. It’s five years old and is at a time in its mechanical life that it needs a little extra TLC and maintenance, but that is the way of life. I am grateful that it runs well and gets us where we need to go. When I complain about wanting a new car, I will try to remember to recite this to myself.

Despite the litany of things I worry and mutter about throughout the week, I am not lacking. I have more than enough. Relatively speaking to those in the world, I am a rich woman, and that is not easy for me to say. (I focus on feeling poor wayyy more than I do feeling abundant.)

But today, I am making a point of taking the time to reflect on all that I do have. Feeling gratitude and appreciation is like receiving a hug from my soul. It sounds corny but it’s really true. It’s in that feeling place that I can acknowledge that all is well. Again, not easy to remember in the day-to-day stuff we all get caught up in.

So even though I am not directly affected by Hurricane Irene this weekend, I know many people on the East Coast whom I care about and I am thinking of them.  And I remain grateful for the loved ones in my life and for my circumstances. Right now.

The Rainbow from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.stuckincustoms.com

 *Excerpted from the book “Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Esther and Jerry Hicks, 2008

Notice anything different about me?

No, I didn’t get a haircut.

No, I haven’t lost weight.

…………..

Yes, it’s the new theme! Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I really like it, like a lot a lot. Others who shall not be named aren’t as keen to it but that’s because some people don’t like change and aren’t female so pink and green aren’t exactly his thing. Okay, we all knew it was Kevin.

I decided to just go for it since changing my theme has been eating at me for quite some time, and then I spent a few hours tweaking this thing like crazy. I’m still waiting for the guy who developed it to tell me what to do about the header but it’ll do for now.

Isn’t she pretty? If I were wearing say, a new dress, I’d be twirling around while I preen.

There are a few options I haven’t exercised yet but overall, the theme is exactly what I wanted. It’s got a few extra bells and whistles and a lot more widget area, so I could spread things out without feeling quite so cramped. The footer looks way better and I think navigation will be infinitely easier, too.

New items are an Archives page in the main menu and social media buttons to the right. And let’s not forget about the font. I’m no longer publishing in the Georgia font. Thanks be to God, I have moved on and can have a nice, easier-to-read font on my blog!

Pretty spiffy, right?

I lurve it.

And for anyone who has questions about upgrading to a Premium Theme on WordPress, they do give you the option of getting a refund if you’re displeased with the theme overall. While I don’t think I’ll be asking for one, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.

Hooray!

Edit: I updated the iPad feature included with this theme, so that for those of you who are lucky ducks and have one, you’ll see a specific launch image when you add Zoe Says to your home screen and open the site from there. (I’d be pretty honored if one of you out there actually added me to an iPad home screen.)

Where I finally understand this whole viral thing

Truth time. A little secret from me to you: I really didn’t understand what “going viral” meant until maybe last year.

This guy looks viral.

Using my brain and what we call “contextual clues,” I finally figured it out but for whatever reason the term didn’t click for me for some time, even though it makes logical sense.

In the regular world, though, the word ‘viral’ does not bring forth positive images. Anytime someone talks about a virus or infection or contagiousness, we want no part of it. But in social media, it’s the best thing that can ever happen to you. So basically, digital wet sneezes are a good thing.

(Ugh. I just grossed myself out typing ‘wet sneezes.’ Don’t get me started on sneezes.)

In our era of instant gratification, news and information is now spreading so fast that something even taking a few days to become popular is slow. Which is craziness! Technology has basically turned hearing about something “through the grapevine” into a competitive frenzy, where news travels at the speed of…..well, internet connectivity.

It’s gotten to the point where, when someone finds something out two or three days after most people have chewed it up and spit it out all over email forwards/Facebook/Twitter/StumbleUpon/Reddit/YouTube/Google+/Tumblr/Pinterest/Foursquare/LinkedIn  or what have you, there is always a person who will reply, “Dude, you’re just now hearing this? Where have you been living? Old news, bro.”

Remember America’s Funniest Home Videos? I think that show is still in existence….Anyway, prior to YouTube it was the only way silly home accidents which were poorly shot could ever go viral, and even then, they didn’t guarantee that people would see them, because that would mean people would have to choose to tune in to watch Bob Saget host the show. It would have been funnier if he could have been himself instead of the cleaned up version of himself.

Off the top of my head, I can name several examples of things that went viral and of course, it’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to add your own examples in a comment! The ones I thought of are:

Friday by Rebecca Black. Talk about a train wreck of a song and music video. I heard about it on Tumblr and then Twitter. I had to see for myself. The sequel is even worse because it’s not catchy in the slightest. (Should there have been a sequel? No.)

If you’re like my friend Scott and you still haven’t subjected yourself to this nightmare but want to give in, here’s your chance:

And if you want to see the best version someone could ever possibly perform of that song, it’s when Stephen Colbert sings with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. Go here for that piece of television magic.

Three words: Evolution of Dance. I don’t even remember how I heard about this – an email forward, maybe? But it still holds up. This video was a big deal because he got a million hits on it and that was before a million was no big thing.

This next one is by the infamous Alexandra Wallace who made a racist rant about Asians in the library at UCLA. The backlash was incredibly funny. She had no idea that her ignorant decision to make fun of a singular group of people would end up forcing her out of her own school. An ABC After School Special could have told her that.

And here’s the response to her rant (my personal favorite) by the talented Jimmy Wong. Warning: his song will get stuck in your head! But in a good way.

And last but not least, we have The Bed Intruder Song. A couple of guys took Auto Tune and made an interview with a “regular Joe” from the projects into a national sensation. Ke$ha should give them a call since they clearly know how better to use Auto Tune than she. This thing blew up and a full version was released on iTunes. I may or may not have purchased the ring tone.

So basically, you either have to be incredibly talented or incredibly dumb to have something go viral. I’m happy to say that out of the examples I mentioned, only one was due to stupidity. Alexandra, I hope you’re in a better place, honey.

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Bagels: A Remembrance

Topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic & salt

Photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker on Flickr

This morning, as I munched on my toasted “everything bagel” with butter, I was inexorably drawn back to my years in New York City, one of the bagel capitals of the world.

Prior to moving there, I had certainly had my share of these round wonders. Panera makes a fine bagel, if I do say so myself. However, there really is something to be said for the culture of bagels in New York, something I have experienced nowhere else.

In fact, by the time I had graduated from college, I declared myself to be a person who really didn’t like bagels. And if you just thought to yourself that I must be crazy for holding that opinion, get in line. My friends thought it was incredibly bizarre. I think I just had a natural aversion to them for years. I have never liked using bagels for sandwiches, either. Too thick and chewy for a sandwich, at least from my perspective. The idea of a plain bagel with cream cheese sounded incredibly unappetizing to me (in fact, it still does).

Google "NYC bagels" and this is what you get.

However, something shifted for me when I lived in New York. Not only are bagels everywhere – bodegas, delis, bakeries, cafes – but people line up for them like they’re going out of style. A distinct Sunday Morning Bagel Ritual takes place in hundreds of shops each week in that grand city, where thousands of people slowly gravitate towards their favorite local place to “get on line” and call out their regular order. And no two are the same!

I was in New York for five years but I probably didn’t appreciate the bagels there until the last two. At the last place I worked, they had Bagel/Donut Fridays. Usually there was no stopping me from partaking in a donut or two, but one day, I started noticing a particular bagel staring back at me. I later learned that it was called an “everything” bagel. On top of these round creations are poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, dried onion, and salt.

Craving something salty to go with my sweet donut, I tried one. I loved it.

Everything bagels renewed my palate for this local delicacy. They’re insanely messy to eat and you will spill no less than three thousand pieces of bagel debris on yourself while you eat it, but the mixture of flavors can’t be beat. I became a total convert.

And! I even started frequenting Brooklyn Bagels in my neighborhood (though I lived in Astoria, Queens). There was one on Broadway around the corner from me and they had a great array of things to eat, including French Toast Bagels, which I don’t even have to say were amaaaaaziiiiing. One had to get to this place before 10am on Sundays or there would be at least a fifteen to twenty minute wait. It was worth it, though.

Like the rug in The Big Lebowski that tied the room together, frequenting my local bagel shop for my “usual” really solidified the love I had for my neighborhood, and even living in that enormous metropolis. (Astoria rocks and if I were to move back to New York City, I’d totally live there again.) I have extremely fond memories of getting breakfast at Brooklyn Bagels with Kevin when we were first seeing one another. Can you beat an everything (or French Toast) bagel with a cappuccino? I propose that you can not.

While I now have to settle for buying my everything bagels by the half dozen in a bag from the supermarket, toasting them myself and buttering them, they still bring forth these treasured memories which I hold dear to me.

Bagels are more than just “something to eat” in New York City. They are an experience. They are New York.

A satisfying breakfast to say the least.

Can you keep a secret?

Shhh.

Photo courtesy of ~robot robot lover on Flickr

I had a fleeting thought the other day: are bloggers good secret keepers? Or are we in a special category because we have a public Internet presence? (I suppose saying “public Internet” is like saying PIN number–redundant and unnecessary.)

In my case, I can certainly keep things to myself that other people tell me in confidence. But I am a pretty open person and don’t mind talking about myself to most people, creepoids excluded. I also have a hard time buying gifts more than one week in advance for loved ones and not spilling the beans on what it is. I may have mentioned already that Christmas poses a huge problem for me because the anticipation just kills me. For weeks, I drop hints about how much my loved ones are going to love what I got them. Last year, I gave Kevin half of his presents early because I couldn’t stand to wait.

Now, I’m not saying I’m one of those people who has no tact or just blurts out what I’m thinking. I can actually be a pretty quiet person. I just mean to say that in my friendships with people, I have to compartmentalize friends into categories like Can Tell This Person Anything, Everything But Sex Stories or Fart Jokes, or Doesn’t Get My Humor. I suppose everyone has to do this to some degree but I keep detailed mental notes on what I can and cannot talk about with certain folks.

Having a blog allows me to write down many of the meandering thoughts that pass through my brain at any given moment. Sometimes it’s a miracle I even remember a topic for later if I don’t write it down right away. I find that a lot of my ideas or wonder-ments come to me while I’m driving (formerly it was on the subway when I lived in New York). But like dreams, they can be easily forgotten, gossamer wisps lost to the wind.

Naturally, not everything I think about or that has happened to me is written about on this blog. I have considered writing on more private topics but then I think that that goes against the grain of what this blog is about and would be better suited for a different medium – certainly a different kind of blog.

Still, I admire authors who have the ability to write short stories or memoirs of their lives where it gets rather down and dirty; we are reading about intimate moments that I don’t think I could fathom putting down on paper for any old stranger to read. Two examples come to my mind: Running With Scissors and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. One is by Augusten Burroughs and the other Chelsea Handler. Granted, the latter author’s books are written with a huge dose of tongue in cheek, but we’re still reading about all of her sexcapades in gritty detail. Hm, the word ‘sexcapades’ is officially on my blog now.

As for Running With Scissors, all of that dude’s family business is out there for anyone on the planet to know, albeit with a lot of humor and hindsight thrown in. I struggle with how much I want people to know about me and thoughts that I have which are deeper than complaints about salesmen and even what some of my childhood pasttimes were. I don’t know that I could keep a blog that is much more like a diary and one which I allow the world to see. I really possess such admiration for those who can regularly write out their innermost thoughts. Maybe it’s something a blogger or writer progresses towards, much like an actor who works on successfully drawing upon certain experiences in his or her lifetime to evoke a specific emotion for a scene.

But that begs the question again: does being a blogger/writer necessarily make a person naturally more open? Or can s/he remain an immensely private person regardless? Perhaps I should be directing this question to someone like J.D. Salinger, a notorious recluse, even after (and in spite of) the success of his books. (Side note: I do not think The Catcher in the Rye is one of the best stories ever written. Quite the contrary.)

Here’s my first attempt to put something out there I normally wouldn’t: bad as it sounds, I rather hope that if I get to the point where I feel comfortable publishing some seriously private ish, that I have a generous book advance in my bank account. That’s not to say that people are clamoring to read my life story, but it’s the private stuff that usually garners more attention and is more interesting to read.

How’s that for revealing? Eh, it’s a start.

And because this is Zoe Says and I usually leave you with something arbitrary or funny, the below picture is of a book I can actually highly recommend. Its title is apt. Some might call it “chick lit,” a term I’m not entirely comfortable with, but it’s a good story written by Miss Sophie Kinsella. If you don’t mind modern day romantic comedies with a British female protagonist, I can assure you that you’ll enjoy it. And with that, I’m off to my private life. I think it’s suppertime.

Shaking things up

For anyone who has seen this blog develop over the past three years, you know that I have gone through a few themes. Each one has gotten better aesthetically and functionally speaking. I really like this current one a lot, actually, though there are a few things I would like to change. Furthermore, it’s become quite popular so I feel like it’s losing its panache.

One of the factors I am dying to change is the font. I am soooooooooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired of the Georgia font. Was that emphatic enough?

When you’re with WordPress.com, you have to take the font that is given to you with your theme. I’m not ready to depart from this awesome platform yet (as in, moving this to a self-hosted WP site) so I wanted to put this out there to you all:

  1. Do you change your theme every so often? If so, why? (I am a theme nomad, myself.)
  2. Anybody going to shed any tears if I go ahead and change my theme? When I do, it will be a drastic difference, let’s just put it that way.

The one I have my eye on has the font I like and it will have a few more frills (read: girly). I have used very non-gender-specific themes up until this point but since it IS my blog and people know what to expect by now, I don’t think a little more estrogen is going to have people run screaming from the blog. I really don’t know if I have more women or men readers – so far, it’s seemed pretty balanced. The point is, it’s all about self-expression, right?

I welcome your thoughts! I’ll be making a decision on this by the end of the month, I suspect.