Taking the opportunity to help a caregiver

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Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Today has been “one of those days, ” a day when I feel like no matter how hard I try, I keep smacking into the proverbial brick wall.

One positive thing that happens from “a day as such” is that it tends to put things into proper perspective, and I can usually find motivation to put one foot in front of the other and keep on moving. For me, that usually comes with getting outside of myself and trying to help someone else.

Several months ago, when I was contacted to be a brand ambassador for Verizon as one of the #Boomer #VZWVoices bloggers, I often wondered why I was chosen. My blog isn’t as big or as well-known as some of the other’s who were chosen. When we all met in Chicago, I was floored by the success of these talented women bloggers, who were more than willing to share their lives in person and through their blog posts. They have also been generous in sharing their areas of expertise. It is really nice to “see” them again when we have our Webinars.

A few weeks ago, while in a conference, we #Boomers were introduced to some Verizon products, which will be highlighted at the gatherings each of us will host in our home areas. One item really caught my eye, as when I had started blogging, it was because I was looking for support, and used writing for therapy, as my dad suffered with Alzheimer’s.

Anyhow – back to my frustrating day. I took a call from a colleague who presented another brick-wall-challenge that I get to hurdle. Yippee! (Good thing I have a #FitBit!) She knows some of the craziness our family has gone through in the past few years, and though she called me with news I didn’t want to hear, she also took a few moments to just chat and listen to me vent. Bless her heart!

I returned the favor, and asked how she was doing, as I know she struggles daily, caring for her spouse who has Alzheimer’s. And though she has a network of support throughout the work-day, I know that when she is at work, she worries about her husband.

I admit, I have often been a little afraid to share posts about products, as I don’t want to come off like a salesperson. However, there is a great product through Verizon that would really make this woman’s stress level a bit more tolerable, so I took the opportunity to share it with her. And she was very receptive and wanted to know more about the product.

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For caregivers, the Sure Response mobile response system may be that piece of technology that will make their lives a bit easier. It has GPS tracking, emergency phone service and several other features that would help in the care of a loved one in the event that he or she wandered off or needed assistance in their home due to a fall or sudden illness. This video explains more detail on the Sure Response program, and of course, the product would work for anyone of any age – those living alone, those terminally ill, dementia patients, and children.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that God places us where He needs us to be. Maybe that is why I was “chosen.” Maybe watching my mother care for my dad has been put to good use. Maybe it makes me more sympathetic to caregivers. Maybe my rough day turned someone else’s bad day into a better one. Maybe I gave someone hope when I just couldn’t feel it myself.

Maybe I will never know.

All I do know is this: some days, it may be that we are just a shoulder to lean on. Other days, we may be more proactive in how we can help. In either case, when I have a bad day, I will do my best to step outside myself and realize that someone else may have it worse.

I will not ignore the nudge to help, even if I sound like a salesperson 🙂

If you live in the metro Detroit area and are interested in attending an upcoming event, let me know in the comments below. As the date nears, I will be posting additional info. If you are not from this area, but are interested in attending an event, let me know that as well, so I can direct you to another #Boomer blogger in your area.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

 

Taste test – the last entree

Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign. I have been provided with free products and remuneration in exchange for my honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting.

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Well, I have to say that I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to taste Healthy Choice entrees and their Greek Frozen Yogurt over the past few weeks. What a privilege to be asked for my honest opinions and thoughts to share with my readers.

The last product in the food-tasting series I was asked to try were Healthy Choice Baked Taste entrees. Because I love all things Italian – especially foods – I chose to taste the Baked Ziti. Once again, following the directions, I popped the entree into the microwave for a quick lunch. Our kitchen smelled delicious as the marinara and cheeses melded together. Grabbing my fork, I was excited to dig in and taste the product, and again, I was pleasantly surprised.

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The pasta was tender but not mushy, and the marinara sauce was very good. And – bonus – the pasta wasn’t swimming in a sea of sauce! There was a perfect balance between the two! Additionally, the entree contained several cheeses, and as you can see by the photo, the cheeses were visible! No hunting around to see that, in fact, cheese was included, as the box claimed! And it was a nice a blend of Italian cheeses: Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and mozzarella.

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Because I am a carnivore, I needed a little more sustenance than this entree provided. So, after I tried the product un-doctored, I added some of my own Italian-style baked chicken that was left over from our previous night’s dinner. The entree was a nice compliment to my diced chicken, and indeed made a fine, quick lunch, which I enjoyed along with a small, fresh tossed salad. There are many baked entree choices to choose from, and clicking on the Baked Taste link will give you all the options, plus information about each entree.

Though the Baked Ziti entree was good, and I would purchase it again if I was dining solo, I would use tend to use this as a side dish instead of a main entree, because, well, I have a heartier appetite than most ladies I know! And, going back to my earlier comments in my previous reviews, I would love it if these products contained more organically grown ingredients. But, it is refreshing that there are no added preservatives or food colorings.

Of all the Healthy Choice items I was honored to try, my favorite, by far, are the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers. For the freshness, presentation and overall taste, I believe they may have revolutionized frozen meals.

It is my hope that this series has been a benefit to my readers. Let me know if you have tried any of these products, and if so, what you have thought of them.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

The day I lost my #FitBit

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

It is no secret…I am not a big fan of exercise. In fact, I have injured myself more than once trying to stay fit! However, I know that staying active – when I don’t hurt myself – is really necessary to good health, both physically and mentally. Especially as a boomer.

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While in Chicago for our Verizon training and kick-off, we #Boomers were given a FitBit One wireless activity and sleep tracker. Jokingly, I called it my fitness stalker, because it records every step you take, every move you make…

Anyhow, I took me a while to muster up the courage to activate this very small, high-speed device, because – well – I was afraid it would show me just how inactive I can be. As I writer, I am on my rump a good portion of the day. So, sometime during mid-August, after the crazy summer started to settle down (storms, power outages, daughter being very ill, etc.), it was time to get into gear and see how much I moved – or didn’t move – in a day.

Seriously, if it took ten minutes to sync the little tracker to the laptop, create an account and download the mobile app to the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD I am also reviewing, then I would be surprised. I clipped the tracker on, and away I went.

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Always wanting to know how close the grocery store is to my home, off I walked to grab a few groceries. Then, a little yard work, up and down the steps to do laundry and a short bike ride with my granddaughters. Quickly it was revealed to me that I didn’t move as much as I thought. I synced the tracker to see my stats throughout the day, and realized I needed to move a bit more.

As I am really competitive with myself, my goal was to break the previous day’s step record. That would’ve been ideal had I clipped it on before I walked out the door! Ugh! You can bet that the next morning, I didn’t forget!

And then, I was hooked.

I received a badge for over 5,000 steps. The next day, I walked over 6,000 steps. The day after that, I was trying get to over 8,000 steps. The tracker really did motivate me, and I walked the entire floor of two super-sized stores, ran many errands, did laundry, walked to the grocery store and then walked to my neighbor’s for a knitting group. Secretly, I wondered if my stitching would record on the FitBit.

The world will never know.

At 10:45 p.m., exhausted yet exhilarated, I grabbed my FitBit to sync up and view my amazing, awesome, physically active day.

It was gone.

Gone! I searched high and low until midnight, digging through the laundry, crawling around the yard with my awesome flashlight app. I contacted my neighbor, who didn’t see the tracker. I texted texts, posted posts and tweeted tweets.

Gone. I am still stunned, because the clip was extremely strong. A little bump wasn’t going to budge or nudge it off my pocket. I am thinking I was pick-pocketed!

Feeling deflated, I crawled into bed. I couldn’t even track my sleepless night with the FitBit because, dang it, I had lost it!

The next morning, I was again walking through the yard, down the street, up and down the steps, digging through my knitting bag, climbing under the car, moving furniture, checking dog crates, warning my son to look for it while he cut the grass. I probably tripled my activity as I re-traced my steps, trying to find my FitBit. I bet I had a better workout just trying to find the tracker than if I had been wearing it!

It took a few days to resign myself to the fact my FitBit was gone. Oh, and to add insult to injury, my FitBit stat report arrived via email, showing all the progress I had made, up until my “inactive” period. I wanted to cry! I could have had some really great numbers to post, if I hadn’t lost my tracker.

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So yes, the FitBit works. That device will motivate you to move, whether it is attached to you or laying in a parking lot somewhere, waiting to be found.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one? Has it motivated you to move? Share in the comments section!

Woo whoo! The folks at Verizon/ComBlu took mercy upon me and sent another FitBit One! Look what arrived today! Thank you!!!! 🙂

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Taste-testing, again!

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Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign. I have been provided with free products and remuneration in exchange for my honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting.

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My second round of food tasting for Healthy Choice was for the new Cafe Steamers. I rarely purchase frozen meals, because they are usually not very tasty, and with the size of our family, we’d be waiting in line all night to use the microwave. And, again, as I stated in my previous frozen yogurt post, we are trying to eat healthier – more organic and more locally grown foods.

So, I admit I was a little nervous in trying out the Beef Merlot. The photo on the package enticed me to choose it. It looked delicious – beef, carrots, potatoes and green beans in a savory sauce. Plus, I was curious as to how the steaming method would work. Placing the bowl in the microwave, I left the plastic wrap on as directed. As my dinner began to cook, the aroma filled the kitchen. So far, so good, as the Beef Merlot smelled delicious. In fact, my teenage son commented on what I was cooking. As I carefully peeled the wrapper and tipped the food from the steamer section into the bowl holding the sauce, I was impressed that the food looked good! No shriveling, the color was good, the veggies appeared crisp. Carefully mixing the sauce into the meat and veggies, I was looking forward to tasting.

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I wasn’t disappointed. The beef chunks were tender, the veggies were crisp and the potatoes were just right. And, it tasted good. I was pleased with my quick dinner.

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For lunch the next day, I tried the Chicken Linguine with Red Pepper Alfredo. Using the same cooking instructions, I was again impressed with the coloring, texture and taste of the product. The veggies were crisp, the chicken was tender, and the noodles did not get mushy. Though I did prefer the Beef Merlot, the Chicken Linguine was good.

Apparently, the “tray-in-tray technology” that separates the ingredients while cooking works, as the vegetables are crisper and the pasta is al dente.

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers would be handy to keep in the freezer for a quick lunch or if you find yourself dining solo. There are several varieties to choose from, including vegetarian dishes. There are no artificial flavorings or colors – yay! My only recommendations to improve the product would be to try to add organic meat and veggies, tone down a little on the salt, and, for big eaters like me, add a little more meat or chicken to the dish. Pare up the Cafe Steamer with a fresh salad, and you have a nice, quick meal.

Wanting to learn more or see all the options available in the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer line? Just click on Cafe Steamers for details.

Have you tried Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers? If so, what do you think? Let me know in the comment section.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Sure, I’ll try some Greek Frozen Yogurt

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Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign. I have been provided with free products and remuneration in exchange for my honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting.

One of my latest ventures in blogging is to test, review and write about products. In a short series, I will have tasted and tested products from Healthy Choice. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to try frozen yogurt? And as much as I love Greek yogurt, I was really excited to try the frozen concoction.

Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt is made with real non-fat milk, yogurt cultures and dairy protein. It tasted just like yogurt – creamy and tart. Before I dived in with my spoon, I let the container sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften. I was pleasantly surprised, as other frozen yogurt I have tried didn’t really have that yogurt taste.

The flavors I sampled, strawberry and raspberry, were both good. The strawberries gave the frozen treat an extra tang and tartness. My favorite of the two was the raspberry frozen yogurt. I think the sweetness of the fruit really balanced the yogurt tang. The bad girl in me wanted to bust open another container of the raspberry yogurt and drizzle some melted dark chocolate all over it. But I figured three containers of frozen yogurt in one day may be a bit excessive!

I was really appreciative of the serving size. To me, it was perfect – enough of a serving to satisfy one’s sweet tooth without going overboard on portion. As someone who beat Type 2 diabetes by changing my diet, losing weight and exercising, I am all for smaller dessert portions. The best way to blow a diet, or give up a change in better eating habits, is to deny oneself things like dessert! The Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt has 100 calories with 4 grams  of protein per serving, so whether enjoying a container for a dessert or to satisfy a mid-day (or mid-night!) sweet craving, this product would fit the bill.

In addition to the flavors I tried, Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt also comes in Dark Fudge Swirl (which I am going to try soon!), Vanilla, Blueberry and Honey (Sweet! If I add wheat germ, would it be considered breakfast??!)

Now, I wouldn’t be true to myself or my readers if I wasn’t upfront about what most of you know about me – that I am doing my best to eliminate household chemicals and eat organic and locally grown foods. So, that being said, I was really happy to see that there were no artificial flavors or colors in the two Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt snacks I tried. And, since all-organic all the time is not always possible, or affordable, it is nice to see that there are some better choices hitting the frozen food section for those of us doing our best  to make better food choices. I would love to see Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt offer a line of organic snacks, or even just eliminate the modified corn syrup. So, while I wait for that day, I in the meantime, I will add this frozen treat to my “I can have this for dessert” list.

For readers wanting more information on Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt, feel free to click on this link: httpsss://bit.ly/132oiw1. Additionally, if you would like to try Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt, you can download and print off a $1 off coupon with this link: httpsss://bit.ly/14MKQ5O

Happy snacking!

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© Lynne Cobb – 2013

No power? No problem!

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

A few weeks ago, my husband and I headed out to meet some friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The sky was stormy-looking, and it had just started to rain. We both commented that had we grilled, like we originally planned, our burgers would be a tad bit soggy. A few moments later, we could see the lightning putting on a great show, as the rain came down in torrents. There were a few good, strong wind gusts, and by the time we got to the restaurant, the skies were clearing.

But the damage was done. We were about two miles from home, trying to enjoy the time with our friends, and all of our phones were buzzing with texts from the kids at home and at work.

“We don’t have power,” and, “Did we really lose power at home?”

Great! We really did pick a good night to go out to dinner! Sometimes our timing is good! We ate and drank in air-conditioned comfort, and our dinner companion’s received the good news that their power came back on. Our teens were at work, so we didn’t get any further updates on our power outage.

But…we did get texts from the kids telling us not to take certain roads home because of downed lines and trees.

Wow – the storm was that bad? Oh yes – and then some. Trees and power lines littered our neighborhood – uprooted, landing on roofs, blocking major roads and knocking out power. The storm, quick as it was, packed quite a punch.

The power was not on by the time we got home.

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Our neighbor’s tree fell in the back of her yard, crushing the cyclone fence that divides our property, and narrowly missing another neighbors’ brand new garage. Whew. But, what we weren’t expecting was that same tree would pull the electrical lines from our house.

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The weekend we had planned just took a complete, 180-degree change. And that’s when my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD proved its worthiness.

First and foremost, the phone call-quality is top-notch. That was proved when I started making calls to the utility company. Then to the fire department, which deemed our house un-safe, which prompted a call to the insurance company, which prompted more calls to several area hotels, because we weren’t the only ones who sustained damage and in need of a safe haven. Oh yes, then a call to an electrician. On and on and on.

Thank goodness I had added the flashlight app to this phone! During our #VZWVoices #Boomer training in Chicago, one of my fellow bloggers was raving about her flashlight app. I am so glad I listened! We were able to find all the lanterns, candles and flashlights using this great feature.

Let’s not forget the awesome camera that I used to capture a zillion photos from all angles. The pictures could be directly uploaded from my phone to our insurance company – using their mobile app – which I had downloaded a while back! Additionally, any receipts could be photographed and uploaded for the claim.

As we waited for news on the lines being fixed and power being restored, I installed the DTE app to track progress and report additional problems. (Kudos to DTE, as their app features a flashlight, too!) And, of course, I just had to check email and Facebook and Twitter. Plus, I used the mobile hot-spot feature so that my husband could use his laptop.

But wait? Didn’t I say we had no power? I did. That’s why this phone was a God-send. In the 70 hours we had no power, I charged my phone once, while we were at the hotel! The extended battery life on this device made using all the apps, hot-spotting, phone calls and more totally do-able. It made navigating the power outage so much easier.

The only thing it couldn’t do was make a great espresso. And my soldier used his Army survival skills to conquer that problem. Which I captured with my phone…

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How has technology made your life easier? Share in the comments below!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

This #Boomer is having too much fun

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program, and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

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A few weeks ago, I posted a blog letting the world know that I was chosen to be part of a group of #Boomer bloggers. It was wonderful to meet so many talented, articulate women, whose blogs are great! (Note: I will get to adding them to my BlogRoll – soon.)

As members of the #VZWVoices, we were traveled to Chicago, put up at the Allerton Hotel, and attended classes where we learned about the device that would become an integral part of our lives: the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD. To get us to really use this device, we have been given unlimited data – and anyone who has data constraints knows that is an addicting feature.

So, the requirements we have for sharing our experiences with our phone is to be completely honest. And honestly, I am in love with the camera. 

Leaving the conference, my head was swimming with facts and features and I couldn’t wait to get home and play with my new tech toy. But I admit, I haven’t tried even a smidgen of the features, because I keep playing with the camera! It takes great pictures. And since I am not a professional photographer, and haven’t ever owned a “really good” camera, I am spending way too much time taking pictures and playing with the photo editor. And, for those who know me too well, I freely admit I don’t have a lot of patience. So, for me to take a picture, edit and play and tweak the features in an instant – well, yes, I am hooked.

Above is a very simple shot I took of some sunflowers I bought yesterday. Below, I have posted the images as I tweaked them:

Black and white:

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Documentary:

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Posterized:

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Auto Fix:

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Again, all done in seconds! Just remember to “save” any changes you want to keep (yep – learned that the hard way!).

Stay tuned for more updates, and photos!

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb

A brand new opportunity!

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program, and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

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Yep! It is true! I have been approached and asked for my opinion! So, you will see this disclaimer on my blog when I write about my adventures with the new device.

How cool it that?

I am really excited on so many levels. One, a new tech toy to play with! Two, my opinion will matter to someone other than me! Three, I will get to meet some other “Boomer” bloggers, which is really going to be great. The chance to meet new friends – fellow writers – and network and pick their brains about the blogging world is just wonderful.

It has been a crazy few years. In fact, I started this blog to help journal my feelings with my dad’s Alzheimer’s. Then, he got so sick that I didn’t have the heart – or the time – to write. After my dad died, my blog kind of morphed into my own little “column” of random ramblings, grief therapy and observations.  I have shared some ups and downs, and I am happy to say that, yes, sometimes, out of the blue, an opportunity lands in your lap.

So, stay tuned. I plan on capturing the moments and sharing them with you. The journalist in me can’t wait to investigate this product! The writer is dying to know if I can blog from it! The traveler in me can’t wait to get to my destination and meet everyone!

And the blogger in me can’t wait to share all of this with you soon, soon, soon!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

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