Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Potential for the next viral video trend – Fritz the Dog – The Fritz Challenge

I was browsing through Twitter recently and I found a video of a dog in slow motion trying to catch different food items tossed to him by his owner. It is a simple concept but what makes it funny is you think the dog is going to catch the food, but every time he misses it. The video also has encouraging background music that works perfectly with it and adds to the enjoyment.

It turns out, the dog is named Fritz and he and his owner Evan Ball have a Youtube channel with many videos like this. His first compilation video has had viral success with over 7 million views and the channel has a fair amount of subscribers.

As I watched a few more of his videos, I wondered if anyone else had made a parody of it or made their own version. It turns out there are a few, but not nearly as many as I would have expected. Here is an example of one by comedian Scout Durwood:

I soon realized the concept of the Fritz dog video would make for a great viral trending video challenge much like we have seen with the Harlem Shake and the Mannequin Challenge. It is a video that is easy to replicate, can be customized with unlimited possibilities, and has a catchy song that can be added to tie them all together.

Here are the proposed guidelines for this challenge:

1. Video is of an animal or person trying to catch different foods in their mouth.
2. The video is in slow motion.
3. The video uses the same background music (Fritz the Conqueror by Evan Ball)

The Fritz videos are a couple years old so they are not new, but I still think it has the potential to catch on again as a challenge video. What do you guys think? If you decide to make one, feel free to share the link in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pet Peeve – Squeaky Door Hinges

There is one thing that can be quite annoying yet it is something that can be easily fixed and that is squeaky door hinges. They can be on doors at home, in businesses, even car doors and things like cabinet doors. Pretty much anything with a moving hinge can start squeaking over time.

It seems most people don't pay any attention to this, but I tend to notice it a lot especially if it is a from a door that is used a lot. I find the squeaking to be pretty annoying so I always oil hinges whenever they start to squeak. Usually I use a spray type oil or sometimes a mineral oil or olive oil which tends to work as well.

Some recommend actually removing the hinge pin out of the door to oil it. This may be the most thorough solution, but I have found usually just oiling it from the outside is enough to fix the squeak. Also, if the door has other moving parts such as a door closer at the top, you may want to oil these at the same time to make sure everything is working smoothly. 

Fixing a squeaky door is very easy and only takes a few seconds yet it is something that many people and businesses overlook. If you have a door that is making a lot of noise, it is worth getting some oil and taking a minute to stop the squeak. For business owners, make sure to check the doors every once in a while as they may squeak from the constant opening and closing from customers.

Does anyone else find squeaking doors to be very annoying? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Car Repairs Are So Expensive

Owning a car is great because it gives you the freedom of transportation but that convenience comes at a cost. Cars are pretty expensive as it is, but it is the cost of repairs that really add up over the years. It's a cost that many people may not think about until there is something wrong with their car and they have to take it in.

Recently I took my car in for some repairs so this issue was on my mind. I took it to a new place that had many good reviews because I was not satisfied with the other place I usually take it. While this new place is fair, the costs for repairs are still very expensive. I have an older vehicle so I don't like putting a lot of money into it.

I live very frugally and don't spend a lot of money so when I get hit with a large bill for car repairs, it seems astronomical compared to what I am used to paying for daily living expenses. Although it can be expensive, I think it is something you just have to figure into your budget.

An alternative would be buying a new car that hopefully would have fewer repairs needed, but of course that would be a huge up front expense and it will still end up needing maintenance and repairs over the years.

Recently I started a new job where driving is a big part of it, so it is important to have a reliable vehicle. I figure the cost of the car repairs can be figured into tax deductions because the car is being used for business so a percentage of it will be a business expense.

Another thing to consider is resale value of your car. If you don't fix anything and it is falling apart by the time you go to sell it or trade it in, you will not get much for it. On the other hand, if you take care of your car and it is in good shape when you go to sell, it will have a higher value and be easier to sell.

Some people may opt for leasing a car so they have a newer vehicle and don't have to worry about repairs as much. Leasing may help avoid having to take it in for repairs over the years, but you may end up paying more per month and then once the lease is up, you are left with nothing while if you buy the car, at least you still have the car once it is paid off.

So what is the solution? I think the best advice would be to try to take care of your car with preventative maintenance to avoid more costly repairs down the line. Do research to find out which cars have a low “cost to own”. Vehicles that are more expensive are likely to have repairs that are also more costly.

When it comes to taking your car in for repairs, ask around to see if anyone has any shops they recommend. Do plenty of research to see what customers are saying about the repair shops. When you decide to try out a new shop, have them fix just one thing even if they recommend to fix a bunch of different things. You want to be sure they will do good work for a reasonable price before you authorize them to do a lot of work on your car.

If you know which parts your car will need, try to buy them on your own since most shops will mark up the prices on the same parts if they have to order them. Check for parts on Amazon, Ebay, and auto parts stores to find the best price.

If you take care of your car and find a reputable shop that has fair prices, you can help keep repair costs down for the life of the car.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

California Olive Ranch - Everyday Olive Oil Review

I add olive oil to many dishes to add flavor and healthy fats to my diet. In the past I would buy the cheapest extra virgin olive oils or the ones that were on sale. The last one I bought was a store brand and it went bad within a few weeks to the point where it was not even edible and I had not even use 1/4 of the bottle yet.

I decided it was time to try out some higher quality olive oils. I did some research and decided to try out California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. They have many different types but I decided to go with the Everyday style first which is a versatile oil that can be used for many things. I noticed it was available in most stores but the prices varied by store. The best price I found was about $8.39 at Target for the 16.9 oz bottle.

Upon opening it up, the closure system is pretty interesting. The cap unscrews but underneath, there is a built in nozzle that pops up when you pull the cap off. This allows the oil to pour out slowly and keeps it neat so it does not make a mess. When you are done, the cap fits back into the nozzle and screws back onto the top.

For the taste, I found it to be very good. It did not have any bitterness and had a smooth and buttery flavor. I have been using it on bread, as well as dishes like pasta and rice. So far I am about 1/4 of the way through and it still tastes good. Hopefully it will hold the quality through the entire bottle.

The bottle itself is a square shape that makes it look bigger than some of the similar brands with a rounded shape, but if you compare the ounces, they are about the same.

If you are looking for a good extra virgin olive oil that is not too expensive, but don't mind spending a little more compared to the cheap varieties, I would recommend trying out California Olive Ranch olive oil.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When you see a police officer, do you feel safe or nervous?

An interesting question is “When you see a police officer, do you feel safe or do you feel nervous?” Many people may say nervous or something similar because often we associate police officers with giving tickets.

For example if you are driving and you see a patrol car on the side of the road or driving behind you, you may instinctively press the brake and check your speed as to make sure you do not get a speeding ticket. In my experience, the most interaction I have had with police officers has been traffic related, whether it is getting pulled over for a traffic violation or having to call them to file a report for an accident.

It is a shame because there is so much more to police officers than just writing traffic tickets. They are here to enforce the law and keep everyone safe. They play an important role in keeping a peaceful and civilized society. Even though I am a bit wary of police officers when I see them on the streets, I must say I have a lot of respect for them and what they do.

Police officers have chosen a profession that can potentially put them in harms way on a daily basis. They are expected to deal with situations and people that may be unpleasant or dangerous and are expected to enforce laws that others are breaking. This takes a lot of bravery especially when working in high crime rate areas.

So a question is, why does it seem like most of the focus is on traffic tickets when there are much more series crimes being committed? Maybe it is because in some locations that are more suburban or rural, there is not a lot of crime so the only thing left to enforce is minor things like traffic violations.

Because of this, I think it gives people a bad impression of the police. For example, you may get pulled over for going 10 mph over the speed limit or for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. These are pretty minor things and are not really a problem in most situations, but you may end up getting a ticket and have to pay a lot of money.

Of course if you are driving recklessly or unreasonably fast, then yes it should be addressed and would warrant a ticket but for the minor things, they could be more lenient. I think if more focus was put serious crimes, people would have a better impression of police and would not always get a bad feeling when they see them in the rear view mirror.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Goldfish - Honey Mustard and Pretzel Mix Review

Goldfish crackers have been around for a long time and chances are you have tasted some of the common varieties. I had only tried some of the basic flavors until I got a sample of the Honey Mustard + Pretzel flavor. They are surprisingly good! On my next trip to the store I decided to pick up a pack in this flavor.

They come in a purple package and retail for about $2. Be careful to read it carefully because they also have a cheddar flavor mix that is in a purple package that looks almost the same. I have not tried the cheddar mix flavor yet, but I may try that one next.

The flavor of the honey mustard Goldfish reminds me a lot of Gardettos snack mix with a little more of a honey mustard flavor. They have the standard Goldfish and Pretzel Goldfish mixed together and both have a honey mustard flavor but I find the pretzel to have a stronger flavor.

Nutrition wise, they are not too bad. In terms of fat and sodium they are about on par with other similar snacks. If you like Goldfish or honey mustard flavor, I highly recommend trying the Goldfish Honey Mustard + Pretzel mix.

Have you tried any of the other new Goldfish flavors? Which one is your favorite?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Instacart Review – Working as a Full Service Shopper

A few months back I was browsing job listings and found one for a company called Instacart. I had not heard of it before, but it turns out Instacart is a grocery shopping and delivery service that is available nationwide. It allows customers to order groceries from many of their local stores through the Instacart app or through the website. I enjoy grocery shopping and have some experience with delivery, so I decided to apply.

Applying and Getting Started
The online application was incredibly quick. As I remember, it did not even ask for much other than basic information. A couple weeks later I was invited to schedule an “in person” session. At this session, I was able to ask questions, do a practice shop, and get set up with an Instacart credit card. After this, I was able to start picking hours. From what I understand now, they have tried to phase out the in person session so you will be able to get your card by mail.

Before getting started, I did the tutorials, read all the information in the help center, and tried to learn as much as possible on sites like Youtube where other shoppers have posted about their experience. While Instacart provides you with the basics you need to know, there is a lot more information out there to learn. I eventually found a Facebook group that is active and has a lot of tips and advice from other shoppers.

First Impressions and First Day
On my first day, I was scheduled to work a shift from 8-10am. They send you a message 30 minutes before your shift starts that tells you they are looking for an order for you, or that there is an order ready for you that will start at a certain time and location. Since it was my first day, I did not really know where I was supposed to be so I went to the Whole Foods where I had the in store session. I kept an eye on the app and waited for an order.

Turns out, that day and time it was slow so I ended up not getting any orders. I soon learned that you do not have to head out to a store until they actually assign you an order. If you live within your zone, you can actually stay home until they have an order ready for you.

Shopping and Using the App
The next day I started getting orders. I was a little nervous at first, but overall the job is pretty easy. You are given a list of items to find in the store. Most of them will have pictures and details to help find them. Once you find the item, you use the camera on the phone to scan the barcode. This will tell you if you found the right item.

If you can't find something, or something is out of stock, you have the option to find a replacement or to refund the item. You can also message the customer during the shop to get feedback, for example if something they wanted was out of stock and there are a few other options available.

Once you are done, you go to checkout and use your Instacart card to pay for the order. Usually this goes pretty smoothly. So far there was only one time where I had an issue where the card got declined but customer support was able to fix it fairly quickly.

After you pay for the order, you pack up the groceries and navigate to the customer address given in the app. Once you get to the customer's house, you give them the groceries, mark the order as“Delivered” and you are all set!

Overall Impression
I have been working as a Full Service shopper for a few months now and I really enjoy it! I like the independence and flexibility of the schedule. Also the money is pretty good considering the job is not very difficult and does not require much in terms of qualifications or advanced training.

As a Full Service Shopper, you do the shopping and delivering. For some markets, they do have positions where you can do shop only or deliver only. I enjoy the diversity of doing both as it keeps you moving and makes it so it does not become boring.

How much you will like this job can also depend on your location and zone. Some zones are more busy than others. Also the pay rate can vary quite a bit depending on which market you are working in. My zone is somewhat newer so it is not very busy but they do offer an hourly guarantee so you will be guaranteed to make a certain amount per hour, even if you don't get that many orders during your shift.

As I got into the social media groups, I noticed that many people out there working for Instacart are not happy with the company and some of the changes they have made recently. Apparently it used to pay better and because of a change that was made, it caused the tips to go down which people were not happy about.

Personally I don't have a problem with the company and I think the pay is pretty good at least in the zone where I am working. When I worked at previous jobs I used to dread going to work each day. With Instacart I actually look forward to working each day. If you like grocery shopping and driving and it sounds like something you might be interested in, I recommend checking out Instacart to become a Full Service Shopper.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Youtube Channels To Check Out for 2017

Each year we come up with a list of the best Youtube channels, for example last year with the Best Youtube Channels of 2016. This year, instead of waiting until the end of the year to share some of the best new channels, I figured we could give a sneak peak of some of the new channels to check out for 2017. This list features channels that have not been covered in any years prior. Here are some of the best Youtube channels for 2017 so far:

1. FLEB (Puzzles)
Fleb is a puzzle enthusiast and designer who makes videos about different kinds of puzzles. In each video, he tells us a little bit about the puzzle and then goes over the process of how to solve it. In case you do not know much about puzzles, you may be surprised at how many different types of puzzles are out there and how much creativity goes into making them.
In this video, Fleb goes over how to solve the X Box mechanical puzzle.

2. See Jane Drill (Do It Yourself / Home Improvement)
Leah from See Jane Drill makes some of the best and most easy to understand do-it-yourself type videos. I found her channel when searching for tips on one of my own home improvement projects. She is very skilled and knowledgeable in this area and she makes videos that are very helpful when fixing things or doing new projects around the house.
In this video, she goes over how to unlock a bathroom door if someone accidentally gets locked inside.

3. Katie Ryan (Funny Characters / Vlogs)
Ava from the Katie Ryan channel is a young girl with a big personality. She is known for her characters which are basically exaggerated impressions of adults. She is the star but sometimes her mom and dad make an appearance. The channel is relatively new but she has already developed a following on other social media channels. Don't be surprised if you see her with her own TV show some day.
Here is a compilation video of one of her most popular characters "Charlene".

4. Pump Chasers (Workout and Lifestyle Tips)
Chris Jones from Pump Chasers is a trainer known for his work out videos, but he is much more than just a trainer. His videos are vlog style and cover everything from workout and nutrition to business and lifestyle. He has a charismatic personality which makes the videos fun to watch even if you are not into working out.
In this video, he goes over the true meaning of one of his more controversial phases.

5. Vlog Creations (Funny Vlogs / Pranks / Stunts)
Ross from Vlog Creations is most well known from his main channel "Ross Creations" where he does stunts and pranks. He started the Vlog Creations channel to film more of his everyday antics and daily life. While it does not have the same wow factor of some of the things from his main channel, it is still very entertaining and even better than a lot of the other prank style channels out there.
In this video, he goes on a private waterslide, picks up a family of hitchhikers, tells people he is going to call the cops, and runs into a guy on the beach who has a problem with him.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ben & Jerry's vs Halo Top Ice Cream Taste Test – Mint Chocolate Cookie vs Mint Chip

Recently I was doing some grocery shopping and saw the Halo Top brand of ice cream which had some flavors that looked interesting. I did a little research on it and it seemed to be getting pretty good reviews. I also read that it had become the top selling pint ice cream brand in the US. This is pretty impressive considering it is a relatively new company, so I decided to try it out to see how it compares to another well known ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry's.

I don't eat as much ice cream as I used to, but my favorite flavor of all time is Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie. I saw it was on sale recently so I decided to pick up a pint of the Mint Chocolate Cookie as well as the Halo Top Mint Chip so see how they compare. The prices for the pint were pretty similar with Halo Top being a little more expensive.

Comparing the nutrition facts, Ben and Jerry's has a lot more calories and fat per ½ cup serving. It is also more dense, for example a serving of Ben and Jerry's is 106g while a serving of Halo Top is 64g. So in terms of calories, you are getting more for your money with Ben and Jerry's but if you are looking for something lower in calories and fat, Halo Top would be the way to go.

Upon scooping them out, the Halo Top has a more icy consistency compared to the Ben & Jerry's which has more of a smooth, squishy texture. In fact the first scoop of the Halo Top went flying out of the pint while the scoop of Ben & Jerry's sticks to the spoon. I found it interesting the Halo Top packaging has a light green color often associated with mint chip, but the ice cream inside is actually more of an off white color. The Ben & Jerry's has more of a pure white with the cookie speckles mixed in.

So how do they taste? The Halo Top tasted ok. The mint ice cream seemed to dissolve fast in mouth. The mint flavor was ok but not great. The chocolate chips tasted pretty standard compared to chocolate chips in other ice creams. After eating a few spoonfuls, I was a little unimpressed with the flavor. Maybe I went in with expectations too high. But considering how it is so low in calories, fat, and sugar, it is actually not too bad.
In comparison to the Halo Top, the Ben & Jerry's just has a much better taste as can be expected since it has more fat and sugar. It is more creamy, savory, and sweet and is something you want to eat more of where as with the Halo Top, after a few bites, I didn't really want to eat any more. For me, with this comparison, the Ben & Jerry's still comes out well ahead in terms of taste and flavor.

I can see the appeal of the Halo Top though. If you are someone who really likes ice cream, but you do not want the high calories, fat, and sugar, Halo Top is a good alternative. It gives an ok experience and you don't have to worry about the nutrition. For me, I don't mind the extra calories, in fact, I have been trying to eat more calories so the Ben & Jerry's takes the win in this case. It would be nice if it was lower in fat, but in small servings, it is ok to have as a treat once in a while.

What are your thoughts on these ice cream brands? Do you have another favorite brand besides Ben & Jerry's or Halo Top?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pogo 18oz Water Bottle Review

I have been using the Bobble water bottle for some time now and while it is great for home use, I find it to be a little too big to take on the go so I started looking for some smaller options. After doing some research, I found the Pogo water bottle in an 18oz size which looked to be perfect! It was about $6 which was quite reasonable compared to some of the other brands so I decided to pick one up.

The Pogo water bottle has a flip up top which protects and seals the drinking spout. They call it a "chug lid" which allows you to drink the water quickly without restriction. This bottle does not have a built in filter like the Bobble, but I have been using it in combination with my  Pur water filter to fill it with fresh water from the tap.

I got the grey color bottle but it is also available in other colors like blue, pink, and purple. Upon trying it out, the size works out pretty well. It is able to fit in the cup holder in my car and fits well into a reusable lunch bag.

The top unscrews to fill it up and allows for easy cleaning. The flip up top snaps down to seal the opening to prevent it from leaking. I found it did a good job at keeping it water tight and it does not leak when turned upside down. The cap also has a rubber loop in case you want to hook it on to something to make it easy to carry.

So far it has been working out well. I especially like the cap design which covers and seals the drinking part. It is also dishwasher safe which make it easy to clean as well. I will update this article with a long term update once I have used it for several months. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Don't stick a key or metal in 12v car outlet - Blown cigarette lighter fuse

The other day I was cleaning my car and I noticed it was dirty inside the cigarette lighter 12v electricity port. Without thinking I took my car key and started scraping the inside to try to clean it up a bit. Immediately there were sparks! I didn't even think about the fact that even though the car was off, there is still power supplied to this port and the metal key managed to trigger an electrical flow.

Luckily the key I was holding had a plastic rubber base so I did not get electrocuted but it still surprised me! I was hoping I did not damage anything serious. The car started up fine and other power features such as the power windows were working fine.

Then the next day I went to plug in my car charger for the phone and it did not work. So apparently the sparks did cause a problem. I did a little research and found out it was most likely a blown fuse. A fuse is a little thing that will break if it is overloaded with electricity which is what happened when I put the key in the outlet.

I looked them up and they are pretty cheap, only a few dollars. Also, it looked like it was easy to replace them which was nice. So I headed over to the auto parts store. I popped the hood to find the fuse box and the blown fuse. Sure enough, the fuse was clearly broken right in the middle.

I was thinking I would have to buy a new one but right in the lid of the fuse box, there were a bunch of spare fuses! The one I needed was there so I was able to swap it out right away without even having to buy a new fuse. I'm not sure if all cars have spare fuses like this, but in case you are going to change a fuse, check the lid in case there are any extras provided with the car.

So I put in the new fuse, plugged in the car charger and it was good as new! It was nice to have an easy car repair that did not cost any money for a change. Lesson learned, don't stick a key or anything metal in the cigarette lighter / 12v port even if the car is off.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spectrum Walnut Oil Review

I try to incorporate healthy oils into my diet on a daily basis in order to get calories from healthy fats. Not surprisingly, my go-to oil is olive oil which is very common and fairly affordable as well. I usually get extra virgin olive oil in the bold or robust variety for the best flavor.

While olive oil is great and can be added to many dishes, I started to become a bit tired of it so I started to look for some alternatives. There are several olive oil alternatives out there such as peanut oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. I was looking for something that would have a good taste so when I saw there was an option for walnut oil, I decided to give it a try.

I found Spectrum Walnut Oil at Target. It is also available at other retailers. It was about $7 for a 16 oz bottle which is not exactly cheap especially compared to olive oil, but I decided it was worth a try.

Upon trying it out, I found the taste to be quite good! It definitely has a subtle taste of walnut. The oil itself is light in texture and light in color. I found it went very well with things like bread or dishes such as rice or pasta.

The nutrition facts are very similar in comparison to olive oil and it also has omega 3s so I would consider it a good alternative to olive oil. I would probably get it again, but I might try out some of the other oils as well to see how they compare. If you are looking for a good alternative to olive oil, I recommend trying out walnut oil.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Google Maps vs Apple Maps vs Waze – Which is the Best Navigation App?

Recently I started a new job that requires a lot of driving to different locations so I have been trying to find the best navigation app to use. So far I have tried Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. Here I will recap the positives and negatives of each of these navigators to help determine which is the best one to use.

Google Maps
If you have ever looked up directions on the computer, you have probably used Google maps, so it will be a natural transition to use it for navigation. Google Maps is very detailed especially when it comes down to building and structures. It has visual representations of businesses and residences and has most of the stores labeled so you can see exactly what they are.

Google Maps has the power of Google search behind it so it is very good at looking up addresses. In terms of options, I would say it is in the middle of Apple Maps which is more simple and Waze which has a lot of customization and extra features. The map is pretty easy to use but takes a little while to learn what everything does.

Navigation tends to be pretty good for the most part but I did notice some issues, for example in several cases where you would want to make a left to turn into the destination, it will tell you to go up to the next intersection and make a U-turn. It could definitely use some improvement in this area.

Overall it is a solid choice for navigation but could still use a little improvement in some areas.

Apple Maps
If you have an iPhone, Apple Maps comes pre-installed and ready to go. I found it to have the most pleasing look of the 3 options. Also it is the most simplified and easy to use. The buttons are big and there are not a lot of distractions. This can be good if you just want something easy, but for those looking for more options and customization, you may like Google Maps or Waze better.

Although the map is very easy to read, it is not as detailed as Google Maps. For example it does not have the structures of businesses and residences on the map. Navigation is clear and I like that the audio navigation is loud so you can hear it when you are driving without having to turn up the volume. I noticed on Google Maps and Waze, even on the loud setting they can barely be heard in the car.

For accuracy, I found it to be similar to Google Maps in that sometimes it takes you a bit out of the way or tells you to make a U-turn when there is no reason to do so. I did have one issue where a destination was actually not in the right place on the map so I was not able to find it when I got there. I had to open Google Maps to find the correct location in this case.

Overall if you are looking for an occasional navigation and something that is the most simple and easy to use without all the bells and whistles, Apple Maps is the way to go.

Waze takes a bit of a different approach by making the experience more interactive and social. It allows drivers to contribute a lot of information such as where there are police, road hazards, or construction. Waze has a lot of customization settings but because if this, it can seem a little busy with too much going on.

One thing I didn't really like was it has a lot of extra stuff on the map that you don't really need. For example it has icons for restaurants and even advertisements for products. I'm guessing they are getting money for those which helps keep the app free, but personally I don't want ads on my map when I am just trying to get from point A to point B.

One other thing I don't really like is that you have to set the app to use your location “Always” even when you are not using the app. There is a sleep mode you can put it in, but again, you should not have to manually put it in sleep mode when you are not using it.

As for navigation, I actually found it to be a little more accurate than Google Maps and Apple Maps. It took me to the right locations and did not tell me to go out of the way or take unnecessary U-turns. On the other hand, I found it was a little more difficult to get the app to find an address with a search as it would pull up many results and you are not sure which one to pick.

Overall, it has a lot of potential and is a good option if you like the user contribution aspect and are looking for a navigation that is more engaging than just simple directions.

After trying out all 3, really there is no clear winner. There are some things I like for each of them, but at the same time, they each have their flaws as well. I like the look and simplicity of Apple Maps. I like the detailed map and search ability of Google Maps. I like the accuracy and user contribution of Waze.

Which one am I going to use? Right now I will probably use Google Maps because it is very detailed and is pretty reliable at finding an address with a search. I do wish it was a bit easier to use like Apple Maps. Also I wish the voice navigation was louder by default without having to manually increase the volume of the phone just to hear it while driving.

These seem to be the big 3 when it comes to navigation apps, but I may continue to look for other options in case there are any other navigation apps that are better. Do you have a favorite navigation app of these 3 or another not mentioned here? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trying to Gain Weight When Nothing Else Seems to Work

In a world where it seems most people are trying to lose weight or stick to a diet to prevent themselves from gaining weight, it may be odd when someone says they are actually trying to gain weight. But for many people like myself who have always been very skinny, it can be very hard to gain or even maintain weight.

Right now I weight 105 lbs at a height of 5'7''. For a man in his mid 30's, this puts my BMI (body mass index) at 16.4 which is very under weight. My goal is to get to about 120 which will bring it into the "Normal" range.

To accomplish this goal, many people will say, “Just eat more food!”, but to someone like myself, this is easier said than done. I eat 3 meals a day and always look to eat foods that are high in calories yet healthy at the same time. I try to add extra things to each meal not for taste, but to just to get more calories. I rarely feel hungry because I usually eat before I even get to that point.

The trouble is I tend to get full very easily. 500 calories of food in a meal will fill me up to where I do not want to eat anymore. In order to gain weight, I have to get up to about 750 calories or more per meal. To some people this may seem like a piece of cake, but trying to force yourself to eat more than you want to at every meal is not fun. It really become work.

I find, by eating too much, it ends up making me feel physically uncomfortable and sometimes even sick to the point where the food may have trouble getting digested and absorbed properly which becomes counterproductive. Because of this, I will really have to plan meals carefully and try to fit in extra calories here and there without getting over stuffed.

Exercise in combination to eating more is also recommended to help gain weight. Years ago I was very active with cardio exercise but these days, I just walk, lift free weights, and do calisthenics like pull ups, push ups, squats, and sit ups. I try to do these exercises daily but never really do enough where I am sore the next day. I will try to increase the intensity of the workouts to help build muscle which should help with the overall goal of gaining weight.

It seems like it has been about 10 years since I have been wanting to gain weight yet I never made any progress. In fact, I am probably at my lowest weight I have been at in a long time. Every once in a while I would try to keep track of calories for a few days, but never really stuck with it.

Starting now, I have decided to take a more dedicated approach to this issue. I have signed up on a calorie tracking website that makes it easy to keep track of your calorie intake each day. I have done the calculations so I know how much is needed to gain 1 pound per week. If I can stick to the program, I should be able to reach my goal of 120 lbs in about 4 months.

Doing the calculations really puts it into perspective that it is going to be no easy task. It will take hard work, discipline, and planning to achieve this goal, but I am going to try to make it work.

I also took some “before” pictures as extra motivation to compare with the final results that should hopefully show a difference in a few months time. I am also posting about the journey here on the blog and will try to post updates about the progress and final results.

Are you someone who is now or has struggled with gaining weight in the past? Feel free to comment below on your experience or any tips you may have that can help others in the same situation.

2 Week Update:  
I have been keeping track of my food with a calorie tracker aiming for about 2200 calories a day which is supposed to add about 1 pound per week. It is hard to get an exact calculation on most of the food so I have been estimating and for most of the days I have been getting pretty close to the target amount.

At this point I ideally I should be up 2 pounds but I just weighed myself and I am almost the same weight as when I started 2 weeks ago. This is pretty disappointing considering how much work it is to document everything you eat and try to eat more food than you might like just to reach a calorie goal.

It is possible I was over estimating some of the amounts of food or maybe I actually need to eat more like 2400 calories a day in order to start gaining weight. I guess I will try to increase my calorie amount a little more to see if any improvement can be made. It will be tough because I feel like I am already eating a lot as it is. We'll see how it goes.

4 Week Update:
The past 2 weeks I did not keep track of calories but just tried to do a good job of eating enough at each meal. I'm up about 1 pound since the last update which is not bad considering I have not been keeping track of the calories. I will probably try to keep up the calories to see if more increases can be made. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Google Search Results Need Improvement – Top Results Given to Spammy Sites

There's no denying that Google is the number one search engine and is one of the best ways to find things on the internet, but as of late, I have noticed a decline in the quality of search results provided. Often I will do a search on a new topic hoping to find a good site with clear and helpful information only to find the top results give the opposite experience.

I will click on a top recommended site and immediately be bombarded with a pop up to sign up for a newsletter. This is one of my pet peeves and the kind of thing that will make me click the “Back” button immediately to find a better site that is not going to try to spam me with pop ups.

If you manage to get through the pop ups, you may get to the site hoping it will have the information you are looking for only to find out it is a slide show that you have to click through 10 pages when all the information could have easily been listed in the first page.

No one likes these kinds of things so why is Google putting them at the top of their search results? I think some better attention needs to be put into the curating of these results. Sure the websites might be nice looking, but if it is spammy and does not provide the information the visitor is looking for, it is not a helpful result.

I know much effort goes into reviewing search engine results to make sure they are the best possible, but as of right now, somehow sites that are not very good are being given top placement in the results. Has anyone else noticed this trend?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wordpress Privacy Protection and Whois Information

Recently I got a message that one of my other websites which happens to be hosted by Wordpress was going to expire in 1 month. It was for a site that is not too active and I was debating on whether or not to renew it for another year. The cost to renew is $26 which is pretty high compared to Blogger which only charges about $10 per year.

I noticed that Wordpress charges separately for privacy protection. This basically means when you register your website, your personal information such as name, address, phone number, and email will be kept private and they will display their contact information instead. With Wordpress, they charge $8 for the privacy protection.

Since the renewal was coming up, I was testing out some of the settings and disabled the privacy protection to see what would happen. Upon a search, I noticed that it did in fact publish my personal information for the domain ownership. So I decided to re-enable the privacy protection for the remainder of the term. The only problem is, they do not allow you to re-enable it without paying the $8 again for a new year.

Of course I was not happy about this, basically having to pay another $8 for something that was already supposed to be in place. I paid the charge and the privacy was restored. I contacted Wordpress by email to see if they could refund the charge because the privacy should have been covered through the end of the year. I expected a reply saying something like unfortunately the only way to re-enable it is to pay the $8 again for the year, but to my surprise, they actually refunded the charge! Thumbs up for good customer service!

I started thinking, why is it the case where people's personal information is available upon a search if they register a domain name? This seems like a breach of privacy. I guess it depends on which service you register your domain name with and if you decide to enable the privacy protection feature. It seems like if this is an option, it should be standard for all domain registrations.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why I Dropped Out Of College – Was it the right thing to do?

Like most kids that grew up in my area, it was expected that I attend college after high school. I had always been an average student. I was well behaved but I was not the type to try to get straight A's or take advanced classes. I was a bit lazy when it came to school work. Still I went to a decent college after I graduated.

In the beginning, I didn't really know what I wanted to major in. I liked physical activities and my parents mentioned that teaching was a good job to get into. So I decided to major in Physical Education with a minor in Health Education as was recommended by the school.

The first couple years were pretty good. I took mostly general education classes and a couple of major based classes. The 3rd year I was taking almost all Physical Education classes. It was not just about sports; There were a lot of technical classes like learning about the body and how everything about it works. There were also a lot of teacher based classes, learning how to actually teach.

Around this time, I was starting to get tired of college. I was not really motivated to be a teacher. The classes kept getting more specialized, making us learn things that no one needed to know to be a gym teacher. I didn't really want to be a teacher, but I didn't know what else to switch to. This one just one of the many reasons that persuaded me to drop out.

Another reason was the cost. While my parents paid for most of it, I did pay for a portion. I noticed the the costs were high and kept rising, everything from classes, to room and board to books. I felt like the school was more of a business trying to earn money than an educational system. We were not poor, but we certainly were not rich and I knew these costs were hard on my family. Not only that, but my sister would be going to college next year. That would mean they would have to pay twice as much at the same time. I didn't want to cause these expenses for something I was not interested in.

Another thing that stressed me out and was a huge factor in my leaving college was a condition I have called hyperhidrosis which means I sweat a lot, even in normal situations when it is not hot and I am calm and relaxed. I would sweat from places like my hands and feet and this would make it very uncomfortable to be in classes. You might think it is not a big deal, but imagine wetting your palms with water and not drying them. Then go about your life and imagine your hands always being like that. It becomes a big problem and very stressful. A couple times in the 3rd year it got so bad I had to excuse my self from class just because I was near a panic attack because of the sweating. This is something I still deal with to this day, but I have been able to manage it better with treatment.

Another specific example of something that made me want to drop out was when I had this project for one of my physical development classes. We had a big assignment and part of it was to go find some young kids and observe them doing various physical tasks, like running and jumping. Well being a college, living in the dorms, I didn't have access to any kids to observe. I remember even going to a Walmart and considered asking parents if I could observe their kids doing activities, but I was not comfortable doing that. I probably should have contacted the teacher and asked if he had any ideas or solutions, but I didn't. Instead I just didn't do the assignment. This really lowered my grade in the class. I knew I had to make it up on the final so I studied hard and ended up getting a 99% on the cumulative final. Even with this great score I still ended up with a D+ in the class. Because it was a major class, I had to get at least a C to pass it. So basically I was going to have to retake the class where I just got a 99% on the final which was over everything. I was not about to do that.

So it was the summer after my 3rd year and I was working delivering pizzas to earn money over the summer. I had been doing this for the summers and breaks for the past few years so I was comfortable with it and I enjoyed working there. It was decent money, I liked the people I worked with, and the job suited me well. I was not looking forward to going back to school in the fall. After some time I thought about what it would be like if I just kept working and took some time off to decide what I really wanted to do. As soon as I considered this, it was like a huge relief and a weight was taken off my shoulders. Because of the minor I had, I would have had to take at least another 2 years of college that I did not want to do. On the contrary, I could keep working at a job I liked and could earn money and take some time do decide on another career path. So after careful consideration, that is what I did.

Of course my parents and everyone wanted me to stay and finish college, but I stuck to my decision. You might ask, when looking back, do I regret my decision? The answer is no, I didn't regret it then and I still do not regret it to this day. I made the right decision for me. I might have done things differently if I could do everything over, for example, maybe go to a smaller school and major in something else like computers, but at the time, taking a break and working was the right thing to do.

Looking back years later, everything turned out ok. If there is one down side to it, it is that not having a college degree does limit your options more when looking for a job. I have still be able to get other jobs but there would be more opportunities available with a college degree. Because of this, my advice to others would be to try to graduate college if possible.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

RA Fischer MD-1A Iontophoresis Machine Review – Long Term Update

Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is an issue that affects a small percentage of the population and can make life very difficult for those who have it. I have written about my experience with this condition in a previous article. Over the years I tried several treatments from antiperspirants to oral medications and eventually decided to try iontophoresis to treat this condition.

Iontophoresis works by using a machine connected to trays of water to deliver an electrical current to the effected area such as hands or feet. By doing this, it is supposed to help reduce the amount of sweat in these areas. There are a few companies that manufacturer iontophoresis machines. I decided to try out the RA Fischer MD-1A unit because they had an option to rent it to try it out for a month.

This was around 2011 when I first started using the machine. It took a while to see results but I did see enough improvement in the reduction of sweating to go ahead and purchase the device. It has now been about 6 years and I am still using the machine to help with hyperhidrosis. It is not a 100% cure and I still sweat quite a bit, but it does help to make it more manageable.

My current schedule consists of treatments for the hands about every 2-3 days or so with a 15 minute session, switching the polarity for each session. I do both hands at the same time and use my foot to control the knob on the device to adjust the intensity of the current. I usually turn the milliamps up to about about 10-12. I find this setting is pretty comfortable unless you have any cuts or cracks from dry skin on your hands, then it can sting quite a bit in these areas.

As I recall, and it looks like it is still the case, you must get a doctors prescription to order the unit. Also, when I purchased the unit, I submitted the bill to health insurance but they did not cover it so I ended up having to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. I recommend checking with your insurance to see if they will cover this device.

Overall the machine is not cheap but it is still working after years of treatments and I have not had to replace any parts or anything so I would say it has been worth it. If you have been struggling with this condition, I recommend trying out an iontophoresis machine such as the RA Fischer.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Advice to the Younger Generation from an Older Person

With age comes wisdom and over the years we make mistakes and learn a lot the hard way. No matter how much you study and try to learn things, some things can only be learned with age. This is why it is important to get the perspective of those who are older than you and see what advice they have for the younger generation.

As someone in their mid 30's I certainly do not claim to know everything and I do not have nearly as much experience as those who are much older, but at this age, there is a lot of advice I would give to a younger version of myself so I thought I would share some of that advice here. Here is some of the advice I would pass along to the youth of today:

Try hard in school and take advantage of the opportunities available.
When I was in school, I did ok, but never really challenged myself to excel or get more involved. School is one of the basic things our society is built on and how you perform during these years can have a big effect on the opportunities available to you later in life.

Try out different courses and clubs even if you think you would not be interested in them. I never got involved with any performance type classes such as acting, singing, or dancing, but looking back as an adult, I think it would have been a good experience to at least try some of the classes like this.

Education becomes even more important when you get to the college years. While college is not for everyone, I would recommend try to go to college and get a 4 year degree if possible. Just having a degree no matter what it is opens up a lot more job opportunities when you get older.

Make an effort to start and keep relationships when you are young.
Growing up, you will be around many people your own age who are from the same area so even if you feel like you do not relate to anyone, just age and location alone, gives you a lot in common with these people. It is a great time to meet people and develop relationships with friends and also partners.

As you get older, it becomes more difficult to meet people and develop relationships as people are more busy and already have groups of friends established. If there is someone you like, make an effort to talk to them. If you pass up the opportunities, you may regret it later in life.

Take care of yourself physically.
One thing about getting older is your body starts to deteriorate and you start to have more issues and ailments. When you are young, your body is resilient and if you get hurt or sick, your body heals and recovers quickly. As you get older, it is easier for things to go wrong and when they do, it takes longer for them to recover.

Taking care of yourself starting from an early age will help so you have less issues as you get older. For example, things like protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen is a good idea. Try to eat healthy and stay active by working out or getting involved in sports. Avoid activities that are more risky that may result in injury.

Develop good habits such as brushing your teeth,wearing your retainer, and flossing everyday and avoid bad habits such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Taking care of yourself starting at an early age will help to make sure you are more healthy as you get older.

Don't worry if you don't know what you want to do or what direction to take.
A common question is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. We are presented with this question at an early age and often told to choose a path even before we really know what we want to do. It is hard to know what you want to do when you are young because you do not have much experience with different things especially when it comes to jobs and careers.

Many adults still do not know what they want to do and end up changing jobs every few years. Another thing is that interests change over time. What sounds like something you would want to get into when you are 18 may be very different from what you want to get into when you are 30. A lot of it will be trial and error.

Keep in mind a job and a hobby are two very different things. You may think you want to do something that sounds fun like design video games or be a music producer. These kinds of things are fun as a hobby, but as a job, they actually become a job so they may not be as fun anymore in a case like this. Look for subjects you are interested in and feel you can do well in, but also subjects that have plenty of career opportunity.

Make the most of each day and don't waist time.
As mentioned in a previous article, time seems to speed up as you get older. When you are young, it feels like life is so long and you have all the time in the world, but before you know it, you will start getting older and soon you will be at an age thinking, “How I am this old already?”. Time is limited so make sure you are using your time wisely. There is usually something to do even if you are bored and feel like there is nothing to do. We all have 24 hours in a day but how we choose to use it is what makes a difference.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Lindberg Glasses Review – Are they worth the high cost?

For most purchases, I tend to go for the best deal and try not to spend a lot of money, but for certain things, I don't mind spending a bit more. One of those things is eyeglasses. As someone who wears glasses for distance, I wear glasses pretty much all day so it is important to have a pair that is comfortable and looks good.

I purchased my current Lindberg glasses back in 2009. It's hard to believe I have had them for about 8 years and they are still holding up strong. They were definitely not cheap especially when you add in the cost of the lenses, but I figured, for something that I will be wearing on my face all day, everyday, I might as well get something good.

I purchased them from an eyeglasses boutique retailer that carries some of the higher end brands. For the Lindbergs, they had many in store to try out, but when you order them, they actually measure your head to get the exact dimensions and then the frames are ordered and built to your exact specifications. I think this is great considering most frames you buy in store are the ones on the shelf that everyone has been trying on. Also with the custom build, it allows you to choose the color and shape options so you can get them exactly how you want.

I remember when my glasses came in the first time, they accidentally made a mistake and ordered a different shape for the frame. Luckily, they were able to re-order the correct frame at no charge so it was only an inconvenience because it took longer to get the frames.

Overall I have been very pleased with the glasses. As mentioned before, I have been wearing them every day for 8 years and they are still in great condition. Even the original lenses are still in good condition. There have been countless times where I have accidentally scratched them on things, even metal. I then check the frame thinking I just ruined them only to find out they are still in perfect condition. I guess the metal and color used is very durable because they show no signs of wear even after all these years.

The nose pads however did wear down after a few years. They are a high quality, but the silicone did start to break apart eventually. Luckily, I was able to take them to a local eyewear place that carries Lindberg and they were able to replace the nose pads for free! I was very surprised by this, especially considering the high cost of the frames.

As for comfort, they are super light and do not cause any discomfort or irritation. They fit very well which is expected since they are made to order.

Are they worth the high cost? If you take care of your glasses and plan to keep them for several years as I have, I would say yes, they are worth it. The quality is top notch so you can expect them to hold up longer than cheap frames.

Recently I had another eye exam and my insurance covered some basic frames. I would have liked to get another pair of Lindbergs but since my current pair is still good, I decided to just get a cheap pair as a backup. The difference in quality of the cheap pair vs the Lindbergs is very clear when trying them out side by side. The Lindbergs are lighter, more comfortable, and better looking.

I wish the Lindbergs were not so expensive, but I would probably get another pair when I need to replace my current frames. If you are someone who takes care of your glasses and doesn't mind spending quite a bit more for high quality frames, I would recommend checking out Lindberg.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lego Designers – Alan Yuppie, JK Brickworks, Keep On Bricking

Years ago as a kid, I had Lego sets and loved building with them, but then like many, I stopped playing with them when I got into my teen years. Recently, as an adult, my interest in Lego was rekindled and this year, I picked up a few sets and have really enjoyed not only building the stock sets, but also making my own original creations with them.

These days with the internet, it makes it easy for people to share their creations online. I have found a lot of great builders out there and I thought I would feature some of my favorites here on the blog. One thing that is great about Lego is it is a global brand so there are many great creators from all over the world! Here are some of my favorite creators right now:

Alan Yuppie – Alan Yap aka Alan Yuppie is a builder from Malaysia who specializes in Lego Transformers. He is able to make original models with Lego that actually transform from robot to vehicle and back. I first discovered him after finding his Wheeljock Transformer which was made from the 31046 set. I built it and even made a video for it here.

His most recent project is Optimus Prime from Transformers The Last Knight movie. I also recommend checking out his Liokaiser combiner Transformer which is incredible and combines 6 individual Transformers into one! You will find most of his work on his blog as well as more frequent updates on his Facebook page.

JK Brickworks – Jason Allemann from JK Brickworks is a Canadian Lego builder who is fairly well known in the Lego world. He has made some of the most amazing creations and is especially skilled at building projects with moving parts. He even had one of his designs the Labyrinth Marble Maze chosen to be made into an official Lego set.

Some of my favorites from JK Brickworks include the Sisyphus Kinetic Sculpture, the Lego Ball Clock, and the Combination Safe. You can check him out on his official website as well as on Youtube.

Keep On Bricking – Peteris Sprogis from Latvia is another one of my favorite builders who is known for his alternate builds using the pieces of official Lego sets. He has been known to make 10+ different models from the same set and he is particularly skilled and making vehicles. He also makes wonderful videos showing step by step instructions for how to build many of his designs. 

Some of my favorites of his include the 31046 Tumbler and Classic Cabrio Car, and the 10252 Buggy. You can check out his work on Youtube as well as Instagram.

What do you think of these designs? Do you have any favorite Lego builders? Feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Not Touching Food With Your Hands – Why and How To Do This?

Many people have heard you should wash your hands often to avoid getting sick. The theory is that throughout the day, you touch many things, shake people's hands, go to the bathroom etc, and by doing these things, you may pick up germs in the form of viruses and bacteria. Then if you hold or touch the food your are eating, the germs may transfer to the food and ultimately get into your system. This is why there are regulations in place for food workers not to touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.

My years ago, I remember getting sick often and I hated being sick. So I started to educate myself on ways to avoid getting sick such as washing your hands before you eat. I did this for a while but soon realized trying to wash your hands every time before you eat can be impractical and sometimes it is just not an option. Also it can get to a point where it becomes excessive and you start washing your hands too often to the point where it starts to take a toll the skin.

I wanted to find a solution where I did not have to worry about potentially contaminating food by touching it, but at the same time, not have to worry about washing my hands all the time. So I started to look for ways to eat food without touching it.

The first and most obvious way to do this is to use utensils such as fork, knife, and spoon. Many foods are expected to be eaten with utensils like this. If you are out at a restaurant you can almost always find something on the menu that is meant to be eaten using utensils. Even if it is something like a sandwich that is usually eaten by hand, you can still use a knife and fork if you want. People might question you about it, or you might feel like George Costanza, but sometimes it is better to have piece of mind knowing you are minimizing your chances of getting sick.

Another method to avoid touching food is to handle it by the wrapper. Many foods, especially fast food come wrapped in paper or foil. For example you can eat a hamburger or a burrito by opening it half way and holding it by the wrapper. This keeps a barrier between your hands and the food.

Another method when neither of the first two are an option is to hold food by the edge and eat around it. For example with pizza, you can hold it by the crust and just eat everything except the part that you held. This can work with things like bread rolls as well.

Of course there are many arguments to this practice of avoiding touching food. One argument is that we have an immune system that protects us from germs like this and it can even be helpful to expose yourself to more germs in order to build up resistance. It is true that our immune systems will protect us from most of these germs, but the few that are very harmful will still make you sick if they get into your system. I don't know about you, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Another argument people may say is “Just wash your hands”. It is good advice but as mentioned above, this is not always practical or possible. Even if you try to wash your hands before you eat, for example at a restaurant, chances are you may have to touch more things such as a door handle, a menu, a hand to shake... before you even get back to your food.

Some may still say avoiding touching food is overreacting and impractical in itself. I don't necessarily disagree, but as mentioned above, I don't like getting sick so I don't mind taking extra precautions if it means less chance of potentially picking up harmful viruses or bacteria.

This issue can also pose a problem when others are preparing your food. When you make your own food, you have much control over it so you can make sure it is sanitary from start to finish. When others are making your food whether it is in restaurant or at a friends or family gathering, you don't have as much control over it so sometimes you have to take a chance and hope they are preparing the food in a sanitary manner.

Upon doing a little research on this topic, it seems president Donald Trump also avoids touching food with his hands. I didn't find a concrete reason given for his case, but I would guess it would be the same reason as discussed here. Especially for someone in his line of work where he is shaking hands with people all day, you can imagine why he would not then want to go pick up a sandwich with his hands.

Are you someone who also does not touch food with your hands or do you think trying not to touch food with your hands is crazy? If you have any feelings on the issue one way or the other, feel free to leave a comment.

Being Oblivious to the Concept of Socialization

Socializing is a common practice among adults as a way of getting to know each other but this skill may not seem so obvious to everyone. As a young child, like most, I played with kids in the neighborhood. I was outgoing and socialized with others by playing games and sports.

As a teen, I become more reserved but still managed to socialize with others at school and during after school sports. Around this time, I did not really understand the concept of socialization. I only knew of socializing as a byproduct of doing an activity. It never occurred to me that it would be a stand alone activity.

As I got older into late high school and college years, people began to start having parties where they would invite people over and the main activity would be just talking. Maybe they would have some music and some snacks or something but no specific activity planned. I remember going to these parties at first and just being kind of confused and bored as if there was nothing to do.

Soon I became accustomed to socializing as it is an activity that becomes more common as an adult. I still would not consider myself a social person and still I prefer to socialize while doing an activity rather than having “talking” be the activity.

I think it is more comfortable and natural to talk with people while doing something because the focus is on the activity so there is no pressure to try to make a conversation. If conversation happens, great, but if not, it is no big deal because there is something else to focus on.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Portillos Lemon Cake Shake Review

Portillo's lemon cake had been off the menu for a long time but because of a request on Reddit and a lot of support from those who missed it, Portillo's decided to bring it back! I like lemon desserts so I have been looking forward to trying it. A while back I had the chocolate cake shake which was great and I was hoping they would be able to do this with the lemon cake.

I went to place the order and the cashier was not sure if it could be done, but they checked with a manager, and yes, it can be done! So I put in an order for the lemon cake shake. I figured I would get the taste of the lemon cake and the deliciousness of the shake all in one.

So how does it taste? It has a very familiar lemon taste. Pretty much what you would expect lemon cake to taste like, mixed into shake form. The consistency was very thick and well mixed. It can take a little effort to get it through the straw but when you do, you are rewarded with a tasty treat! It is very rich and after about 1/4th of the shake I was pretty full so I saved the rest for later.

How does it compare to the chocolate cake shake? Both are great. The lemon is more of a lighter more tart taste while the chocolate is more sweet and savory. Overall, if you like lemon taste you won't be disappointed.

The Portillos lemon cake and lemon cake shake are available for a limited time now through July 31st.

Update: Lemon Cake and Lemon Cake Shake availability extended to August 31st 2017.