Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Olympics: Commercials

The Olympics bring two-weeks worth of commercials, many of which are made specifically to coincide with the big event. You get the Morgan Freeman-narrated Visa ones, the celebrity-endorsed Subway shorts, and the kooky local bits.

My favorite advertisement shown during the Games doesn’t even mention the Olympics, but it sure makes me laugh every time I see it. “I’m only human.”

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Are there any new commercials you’ve seen for the Olympics that you just love? Get your heart all warm and fuzzy? Make you jump up and down shouting, “U-S-A!” then maybe shed a tear or two?

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Olympics: British Musicians

I’ve noticed many of the artists I hear for the first time these days who cause me to say, “Man, this song is really good,” are British.

So here I present a playlist with some (and just some) of my favorite songs by musicians who are based in the UK or originated there. What are your favorite Brit hits?

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I Quit Sugar: Week 6

Week six! Two more weeks and I’ll have completed the experiment. I’m looking forward to continuing this new lifestyle, though, because I feel pretty amazing.

It takes an army to pick a berry. Actually, these folks admire Stanley Boyer, kneeling, as he picks strawberries in 1946. Boyer was one of the best strawberry pickers in the Portland area. His record was 21 crates of strawberries in a six-hour day, which I suppose is quite a lot.

It takes an army to pick a berry. Actually, these folks admire Stanley Boyer, kneeling, as he gathers strawberries in 1946. Boyer was one of the best strawberry pickers in the Portland area. His record was 21 crates of strawberries in a six-hour day, which I suppose is quite a lot.

Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar,” gives some good tips about adding some sweetness back in during week six, specifically what you can get to eatin’.

  • Fruit! I was so, so, so excited to get back to fruit! Blueberries, kiwi and strawberries are all low in fructose, so I gobbled them up.
  • Stevia. This is a natural sugar that comes from the stevia leaf. It’s super sweet in small amounts, but is kind of expensive. I bought the Truvia brand and don’t expect to be using it all that often, so the initial cost will even out over the months.
  • Coconut water. I didn’t like this stuff at first, but I have tried several different kinds. I love the bottles with coconut pulp in them!

Wilson’s book has a recipe for coconut “granola,” which includes coconut flakes, ground almonds and cashews/peanuts/walnuts, but I haven’t gotten to try it yet.

I really don’t have many more updates this week because I have gotten to a state of balance. So exciting! I even comfortably wore a swimsuit today, which I haven’t done in a long, long time.

Anyway … give-a-way! Give-a-way! Look for this on my week eight post. In the meantime, let me know what you want to see me give away!

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Picks Of The Week: Olympics Edition

Obsession of the week: Daytime, nighttime, all the time Olympics madness!

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

No surprise, the Olympic Games have taken over many people’s lives. I am in full obsession mode, staying up late to watch NBC’s encore (and hour shorter) presentation of prime time since I work nights, and waking early to do everything I need to do before work in the afternoon/evening, all while avoiding spoilers.

Need convincing of my London 2012 addiction? Wednesday morning I watched Team USA win gold in women’s gymnastics and saw Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian while anchoring the men in the 4×200-meter free relay, which the USA won for the third time in a row. I skipped out on the medal ceremonies (sorry America!) and rolled into bed around 3:15 a.m., at which point I took what can only be classified as a long nap, then made it to a last-minute 8 a.m. dentist’s appointment. This is what I get for being frugal. But it was absolutely worth it!

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Music stream of the week: “London 2012” AOL radio station

Craving your favorite British hits? Looking to discover new songs by artists from the Olympic host country? AOL Radio has you covered with this awesome station, playing tunes from The Beatles, Oasis, Kate Bush, ELO, Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, Radiohead and more. Oh, and one of my favorites — Spice Girls. I’m holding out hope for a reunion performance at the closing ceremonies.

Muse’s “Starlight” just came on the station. I love that song. The band wrote this completely lame and uninspiring anthem for the London 2012 Games:

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Good tip of the week: Olympics workout game

As someone who likes to play bingo during the Oscar telecast, I was glad to find this Olympic-themed workout game from SparkPeople! I commented to the roomie on Sunday that I would be fat by the end of the Games, what with all the sitting around I did watching sports on the weekend. But with this fun set of I-Spy exercises, I’ll probably become as buff as the athletes for whom I’m cheering. Who am I kidding? I’ll definitely be as ripped as them!

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Inspiring female athletes of the week: Jordyn Wieber, Missy Franklin, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

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  • Wieber, a 17-year-old gymnast and World Champion, came off a heartbreaking miss at competing in the women’s all-around and helped her teammates triumph over Russia and Romania. Team USA took the gold for the first time since this.
  • Also just 17 years old, swimmer Franklin is racking up the medals, including her first individual gold in the 100-meter backstroke.
  • Great Britain’s 2,000-meter rowers Glover and Stanning shot from the starting line and didn’t let up, winning the race by a boat-length, securing their country’s first gold of the Games and the first ever for British female rowers.

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I Quit Sugar: Week 5

In week 5 of this experiment, Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar,” suggests ways to detox. I have been doing many of the things (activate nuts, make kale chips, drink tea) since the earlier weeks, so I’m taking this post to talk to you about some good things to have come from quitting fructose.

These are in no particular order because everything that is good is equally so!

Good thing No. 1: Weight loss

I weight a little bit more than this baby being weighed during a college homemaking class (year unknown). Side note: My, how the times have changed!

I weigh a little bit more than this baby being weighed during a college homemaking class (year unknown). Side note: My, how the times have changed!

When I started all this, I was hoping to lose a few pounds and get back to a healthy weight. I don’t need a scale to tell me my clothes fit differently. I used to put my belt on the first notch, but now I’m comfortably at the second. Woot!

Good thing No. 2: Saving money on food

This 1954 family shops at their local grocery stor--wait a minute ... is that kid sampling the cat food??

This 1954 family shops at their local grocery stor–wait a minute … is that kid standing sampling the cat food??

In week one I said I spend way too much money on food, and I don’t even eat out often. This week I compared last month’s food spending with my costs pre-quit. I’m proud to say I have cut my grocery bill by 25 percent. This is awesome. I’m eating less, which lets me enjoy good foods that used to be luxury items because of their prices: avocado, quality tea, coconut/almond milk, a coffeehouse latte, just to name a few.

Good thing No. 3: Balanced state

I have been sleeping well, like these sailors taking a nap on the flight deck of the USS Lexington in 1943. This photo is precious, by the way. Oh, you know you were thinking it!

I have been sleeping well, like these sailors taking a nap on the flight deck of the USS Lexington in 1943. This photo is precious, by the way. Oh, you know you were thinking it!

I am beginning to feel like my body is happy with me. My digestive issues are essentially gone. I sleep through the night, can focus during the day, and have no problems falling asleep.

Good thing No. 4: Increased willpower, motivation to try new things

This kid in Amsterdam in 1987 is too cool for the first day of school. He needs a little motivation to get his booty in line.

This kid in Amsterdam in 1987 is too cool for the first day of school. He needs a little motivation to get his booty in line.

There were a carrot cake and some books in the break room at work this week. I hovered over the cake for a minute, then looked at the book next to it, which was something about spiritual health. I laughed at the thought of someone reading that book and eating cake at the same time. Most people wouldn’t even think about how the book and the cake are connected.

This journey, this lifestyle change, is as much physical and mental as it is spiritual. I have pushed myself to break routines — even if it’s just taking a different route to work or visiting a store I’ve never been to before. I have become more motivated to live positively and look toward and plan for the future. My hope is to keep growing my spiritual, physical, and mental health for long as God gives me.

I did not eat the carrot cake, but I did eat an Olympic cupcake yesterday. Just one. An amazing test of willpower when there are a dozen staring me down, and considering a month ago I would have eaten four without batting an eyelash.

OK, y’all. I’m moving on to week six, which is when I get to start adding some sweetness back into my life, such as a low-sugar fruit each day!

Also, a giveaway is coming. Thanks to those who have already voted in the poll below; for those who haven’t, now is your chance!

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