Category Archives: How To Guides

I Resolve Not To Make Resolutions. Or Do I?

It’s a New Year! Time for a new YOU! Rah-rah-rah! Buy this, do that, be this! Go, go, go! Team awesome, here we come! Resolutions for EVERYONE!

HURRAY!

Holy shit. Are you ready to punch someone yet? You could include it in your exercise accounting. “Punched out Bob. 15 calories.”

I’m not paying attention to any of it because I don’t have the time to be awesome this month. I have the time to be “pretty good.” Maybe “above average.” Awesome’s a bit of a reach for me. Ask me in June.

However, there’s a big year ahead of me. I’m working up to Awesome.

As of this morning, I’ve survived one week without butter or margarine. This has meant I’ve eaten less bread. And because I’ve had less bread, I’ve had less cheese. It’s this whole crazy domino effect thing. Have I lost weight? Who fucking knows?

I’ll tell you what I know — my pants didn’t fit last week. I mean, collectively.

This week, things are better. And they fit again.

Still, I know what I should feel like and look like, and right now I’m not it. But I also know I need to stay sane. I’m moving in a few weeks, I have to respect my back injury and proceed cautiously, and I’m packing as much as I can on a slow-and-steady basis. Gotta tell ya: I feel it in every single muscle and I know I’m already getting fitter. I’m not sure piling on the gym-bunny visits would be smart thinking right now. More walking, sure, less butter, better bending/lifting form, and I’m doing all that.

And that’s a great start. No butter, and a zillion squats and hefted boxes, that’s a good start.

The last time I started a “diet” with a month of no butter, I lost 18 pounds in the first 5 weeks, and went on to lose 65, because I added something new to my changes monthly and had a constantly-growing mentality about the new lifestyle.

I want to have a good start on Doing New Things For a Better Me now, and not wait until I’ve moved to be smarter.

There’s only two goals I have this year; if you break it all down to its simplest terms, there’s two. One is, Be Better. The second is, Be Honest.

There are a lot of areas in my life that need improvement. To “be better” gives me a wide berth of where to go, what to do. If I improve one thing, great. There’s something else that can get tweaked. As far as being honest goes, I’ve been unhappy in Vancouver for a couple of years now and wasn’t being honest with myself about it. My life got away from me as a result. That’s what happens when you lie to yourself daily — whether it’s about a job, home, or your life.

I want to be more aware of the moment, more open about truths, and live that way. It’s better for writing, it’s better for communication and relationships.

So, honesty and betterment, in all their forms, are the goals for my year.

Oh, come on. There’s more, right?

Now, there’re a lot of things I want to do with my life this year, and I’ll be writing those goals out for myself — from weight goals and health ambitions, to money aspirations, writing benchmarks, and more — but you don’t need to know what my plans are there.

I don’t believe in that. I think as much as we can get help and support from others by way of sharing our “goals,” we can get shat upon as well.

Self-belief isn’t some unalterable force in my life. My confidence is often akin to a leaf in the wind. It goes where it blows. I don’t need people’s doubts, questions, or concerns clouding my horizon. And I can’t be finding my strength in their support or my sense of self in some fan club who rallies around me.

One way or the other, it’s on me, right?

It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes.

I commented on The Twitter last night that I think I’m finding my mojo, and that’s sort of what I was talking about. For a long time, I’ve been feeling sort of uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t feel like I had control over my life or my own actions. It was just… unright. I was unright. Maybe even wrong.

A week into 2012, and that feeling’s largely dissipating. Sometimes life just needs A Decision. Once you make the choice and go all-in, it’s amazing how much it can transform your mentality.

Of course, the fact that I’m taking my vitamins and eating better and getting a lot of physical work in the way of moving, well, THAT couldn’t be helping my mentality at ALL, right?

It’s that Domino Effect, I guess. Positive change is coming, so I’ve put other positive changes into play, and thus the Snowballing Of Awesome has begun.

Be better. It’s a start. Next month, I’ll have a new normal in my betterness, then I’ll have to be even betterer.

The best thing about having “Be Better” as the resolution is that it gives a bit of a softer focus on goals met/not. If you fall short, but you’ve still done more and been better than before, well, you met the “real” resolution. We need a kinder, gentler marker to measure against sometimes.

I hope your year is off to a similarly promising and exciting start. We could all use a little “up” in our lives, I suspect.

Happy New Year, and happy Monday, then.

I HAVE A HAMMER, Therefore I DIY Blog

HEY, people.

You know what I haven’t told you yet? I’m blogging over at BUILD DIRECT, your building supply geniuses on the web.

There, you’ll find me doing home improvement and DIY blogs on a whole range of topics.

If you like the content on the following posts, please comment on the Build Direct blog, not here. Share it, like it, tweet it — whatever you like.

Here are the summaries of my recent posts, and stay tuned for more.

  • 6 Ideas for Balcony Privacy: Honestly, sometimes the best thing about apartment living is spying on the neighbors. The flipside is, sometimes the worst thing is knowing neighbours are spying on you. In the summer, the world’s a fish bowl when it comes urban apartment balcony life. It doesn’t have to be that way. With creativity and crafty splurging, you too can enjoy a special outdoor space while not letting yourself be a spectator sport… READ MORE HERE.
  • Picking Paint Colors: It’s Personal, Not Theory: Committing to a new paint color can be nerve-wracking. A friend once taped 15 paint chips to the wall, and asked her visitors to choose their favourite — of 15 variations on beige. Her inability to break the Bonds of Beige isn’t unusual. Embracing color is a lot to ask in a neutral world… READ MORE HERE.
  • Area Rugs as Wall-Hangings: A Magic Carpet Decor Solution: It’s the oldest of decorating truisms: a house isn’t home until something’s hanging on the walls. It’s personalized touches like artwork or family photography that define your space. Today, it’s rare to see original art hanging in a home, or unique knick-knacks. As a result, we have a crisis of decorating identity… READ MORE HERE.
  • Rethinking Storage: A Personal Story: Space: Everyone wants it, but in a square-foot world, it’s increasingly a luxury. A material age presents a lot of space-making challenges. Where do we put all that stuff when urban dwellings are shrinking? READ MORE HERE.

Coming up in May, I have a whole series on DECLUTTERING the home. I also have a two-parter on growing a kitchen garden. And there’ll be other stuff coming up as well.

Are there DIY stories you wish were getting covered? Are there home-improvement ideas you’d like my thoughts on? Here’s where you can tell me that. Thank you! Enjoy the reads.

Miss California: The Boobs Are on the Job

I had to doublecheck my old-school calendar just now. Holy fuck, it really is 2009. Who knew?

Clearly not the folks running the Miss California Pageant.

Yeah, Miss California. You remember her? Perez Hilton went all “oh, no you didn’t [SNAP]” as a result of the ass-backward beauty’s anti-gay marriage stance she posited while she grinned and pointed her perky breasts at the —

[record scratches]

Right, the perky breasts. The now-to-be-infamous perky breasts paid for by the Miss California Pageant, so their homophobic girlie could have her cake and totally, like, not eat it at the Nationals. Continue reading

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News

Sex, even mere hanky-panky, is a workout.

All that squirming and groping and thrusting makes your whole body (if you’re doing it right) tense and flex. Maybe even throb a little.

Injuries can happen in sex. Hell, people die shagging when their hearts give out. From orgasm to aneurysm, just like that. Continue reading

Steff’s Easy-Start Guide to Changing Your Life: Part Two

I began this series last month, here’s part one. It’s pretty unstructured, but the early part of the series is focusing on the head game, because without the head game down, you’ll have no success. It’s all in the head game.

The most important thing you need to do if you want to effect serious change in your life is stop bullshitting yourself. No more excuses. Get it done.

What, you want to wait until everything’s perfect and momentum is good, the clouds are gone and the humidity is stable? Right. Come back here to Planet Earth, where rarely do you ever get what you want when you want it, even in restaurants where you’re paying for precisely that.

That’s why you gotta take what you want. Fuck happenstance and trials and tribulations. Shit happens, always will happen. That’s how life unfolds. I’m down 60 pounds this year, even though the last four months have been consumed with bouts of insomnia, several illnesses, debilitating back injuries, cockroaches infesting my home, and even overtime for the last three weeks steady while rehabbing my back injury, and yet I’ve lost 25 pounds in that time. Continue reading

How to REALLY Do Kegels: Things I’ve Learned In Rehab

PLEASE READ THE COMMENT DISCUSSION ON THIS POSTING, SINCE THERE ARE VALID CONCERNS BEFORE FOLLOWING ANYTHING IN THIS POSTING. Let me be perfectly clear: This is NOT a posting about how to heal back pain. This remedy is for MY back pain, conjured after a few hours of one-on-one time with a physiotherapist who took $65 an hour for his diagnosis. If you have back problems, go to a professional because there’s no way you should be self-diagnosis, ‘cos that could seriously fuck you up.

THIS is about the proper way to do Kegel exercises, why getting the technique is right, and a bit of a warning about doing them wrong, as I’ve learned from personal experience.

Again, got back problems? There are professionals you need to see, not laypeople’s blogs because you think they know their shit, right? Okay. Good. Disclaimer done. Here you go:

________

Well, I’m seeing a physiotherapist for rehabbing regarding my sorry-ass back after blowing it out in September. I’m apparently on track to be “healed” sometime in February. No, seriously.

Despite losing 50 pounds via cycling a couple thousand clicks and climbing some 45,000+ steps and yoga and shit, my back just up and died something fierce. Apparently all that activity is precisely why

Physiotherapy’s interesting when you have a good practitioner. I landed myself a geek who recognises the smarty-pants geek in me, and he’s breaking down very clearly all the ways my body works so I understand the mechanics behind what’s failed inside me, and how to circumvent such failures in the future.

Part of this means I’m learning about my body in a very new way.

Ironically, the number one thing I’m supposed to be doing in order to prevent this injury from ever, ever returning? Kegel-based exercises. As I wrote on Twitter, at the end of the next three months, I’ll have the strongest, most powerful twat in the world. Why? Because I’m to do 360 Kegel-based repetitions a day. Yes, 360 vagina-clenching excercises. Not like I was Little Miss Stretched-Out in the first place, either, so I’m a little daunted by the extent of these, urm, repetitions. I shall be She of the Vice Grip, I tell ya. Continue reading