Monday, July 30, 2012

2012 Beers From Around the World

In our house we celebrate the start of the Olympic Games with a tradition we've kept for over 12 years. That tradition is "Beers from Around the World".

On the night of the Opening Ceremonies we'll order out some food and have beers from different countries (as the name implies). We buy a variety and share each bottle.

Rules: Sample the U.S. beer when the U.S. Team comes out and save a beer from the host country last.

Here are some pictures we were able to find from prior years:
















A couple of years ago a friend asked us to tape our sampling. I just found some of them on YouTube, along with our follow-up 2010 Winter Games. We're not going to share those with you - you can look for them on your own. But we will share this year's sampling. Here are the 2012 BFAtW Sampling videos (broken down in segments for easier loading):


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Life with Pedometers

My name is Holly and I am addicted to pedometers.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step right? I started wearing a pedometer daily over 10 years ago. I first used it as a way to get some exercise. This was before I was running. I would strive to get the magic 10,000 steps a day that everyone said you needed to stay healthy.

I started off with a high tech version called the Sportbrain. This was a really cool little pedometer. The first version didn’t even have a display. You would have to put the “egg” into a port, which would then dial up (yes dial up) the company and download the steps to the site.  It was a great tool.  For no extra fee they would run challenges that you registered for. Get a certain number of steps during the time period and you automatically get the prize. It was very motivating for me and I loved it. Eventually they came out with a unit that had a display so you could see your progress without having to plug it in. That model also had a USB upload. Unfortunately Sportbrain’s service started going downhill and they stopped doing the challenges so I moved on.

I used a basic Omron pedometer for a few years and it was great. They are low cost and accurate, but no bells and whistles.  I liked the extra feedback that the Sportbrain gave over the Omron.

Then along came the Fitbit! I was so excited when I heard about this product. It took awhile for it to come to the market and I was one of the early adopters. It is very small and can be worn on the belt/bra or in your pocket. Data uploads wirelessly whenever you are close to your computer that has the base charging station attached to it.

The website has a lot of information and feedback and I loved it. Unfortunately my first one lasted a month before the display died. Fitbit sent me a replacement. The next one lasted about a year and again they replaced it. The last one the plastic cover came off and I had to superglue it back together. These are not inexpensive: $100. I had enough and moved on once again.

My latest love is the Striiv.  This is also about $100. No monthly fees and you can see your data online, but currently only your cumulative steps, the current day and previous day. I am hoping that eventually you will be able to go back and see older daily data.

The cool thing is that as you step you are accumulating points towards donations. To date I have donated 14 days of water for one child, 78 polio vaccinations and 31 parking spot sizes of Rainforest. Pretty cool!

It also has an environment creation/management game called Myland. The more you step the more you can buy in the game. It will also give you pop up challenges throughout the day. Such as go climb 15 steps. Or get 10 more minutes of activity. Very motivating.

I have had the Striiv since April and it still works perfectly. It has been through a few marathons, plus lots of sweaty workouts, and it is still going strong.

I highly recommend the Striiv, or just wearing a pedometer in general, to get some extra motivation throughout your day.

All images sourced from the Internet.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Live Update - Rock and Roll Chicago: Half and Mini-Marathon

Dave here: I'm in Grant Park in Chicago waiting for Holly and the rest of the Team AllEars crew to finish the Half. I did the mini-marathon his morning: a 5k. I wish they would just call it what it is. I didn't even do a quarter of a marathon this morning.

They have wifi in the park so I downloaded blogger's app to test while I wait. If this post seems out of our normal format structure you know why....

The main act in about 90 minutes is Cobra Starship. Should be fun.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Peru Ugly

It's that time again! Dave chooses photos from a recent trip and uses various iPad apps to make them "artistic". Other examples are:

British Virgin Islands 2012 (2011 on Tumblr)


Apps used:

    Photo frameSnapseedPixlromatic


Dave just purchased PhotoWizard and he thinks it's a good all-in-one tool for regular editing and artistic effects. You can mask and overlay images creating some fun results.


Mostly black & white

Just for fun

Sorry if this page took forever to load........

For more from our Peru trip use this link.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chain Livin': Boat Picnic

We live in the Northeast corner of Illinois. Milwaukee and Chicago airports are both an hour away from our house. During the winter this can be a very cold and miserable place to live. But in the summer, it's fantastic! Our town, Fox Lake, is known as "The Heart of the Chain o' Lakes".

11 lakes are connected via The Fox River.  It's one of the busiest inland waterways in the U.S..... When we first moved here, and didn't own a boat yet, we'd ask neighbors how to get to a restaurant by car. They had no clue because they only visited some restaurants by boat. 10 years later we've found ourselves in that position once or twice. Just yesterday we were driving with friends to a lunch spot we've been to by boat many times and had to remind the driver to make the turn.

Our typical boat outings on Saturday entail going somewhere for lunch, then head to Blarney Island for the afternoon band. We hardly ever just anchor somewhere and sit for hours. Why do all that work to prep the boat just to sit in the water? We had an experience that has made us change our tune.

Dave had a few days off around July 4th and was able to shop and prep. When Holly finished work for the day we loaded up the boat, moved it about 200 feet, and threw the anchor. We brought the Standup Paddle Board out and played with that for awhile. We also just sat on our noodle chairs for long periods of time in the lake, taking breaks for a few courses of a picnic dinner. The last time we picnicked on the boat was probably seven years ago to watch the July 4th fireworks. Some drunks drifted into us and caught our anchor line on their prop. That was our last fireworks trip.

First course: Shrimp cocktail kept fresh in crushed ice. At this time we were drinking New Glarus Totally Naked. That's the beer's name and not a description of our state of attire.

Time for a little more swimming. While in the water we saw our friend Bill leave his house and jump in the lake. At first we thought he was coming to join us for a drink or two. He was actually swimming out to us with a bottle of wine and a set of glasses on a tray. The wine was even uncorked. He wasn't able to hang out with us since his son, a chef at a high-end Chicago restaurant, was cooking dinner.
Perfect timing since we were having a cheese course next. We used the shredder asiago blend we already had at home to sprinkle over fig spread on a a little pizza.

Main course. Chicken with peanut dipping sauce and Thai cucumber salad.

We've always wondered how to make this and it seems the simple recipe is just equal parts sugar and rice vinegar. The recipe Dave found included jalapeƱos which added heat we don't experience at our Thai restaurants.

Dessert: homemade (can't you tell?) chocolate covered strawberries rolled in Kichiwa Pops. The Pops are cereal we brought back from Peru. These were good, but not pretty.

Now that Holly has the Standup Paddle Board we've been spending some more time after work on the lake.