Skip to main content

Seasonal Buys: Summer Purchases and Why I Bought Them

If there was a popularity contest between Summer and Winter in Northeast United States, my money would be on Summer. Even though summers here can be intolerably muggy and incur high electricity bills from the air conditioner, there’s something about its more relaxed pace and its breezy, comfortable nights that beats the bitter cold and long, dark nights of winter. And then there’s outdoor BBQs, trips to the beach, and walking around in sandals.

I’ve been curious about how seasons influence buying patterns. To celebrate these summer months, I decided to reflect on my summer purchases and to think about why I made them, maybe even delve into the “job” I hired them to do.

Read More

Power nutritious breakfast

How to Eat a Super Nutritious Breakfast & What to Buy

Over the years, I’ve experimented with various types of breakfasts, hoping to find the sweet spot between something that tastes good, is easy to make, and gives me the nutrients and energy to start my day off right. In this post, I’ll be sharing my “go-to” breakfast that I eat at least 4-5 times a week.

The Ultimate English Muffin

The centerpiece of my breakfast is the English muffin. My preferred brand of choice is Vermont Bread Company’s Organic & Natural English Muffins. I’ve tried all the different varieties (Whole Wheat, Golden White, Honey Wheat, Multigrain, etc.) and my hands-down favorite is Spelt. Spelt is species of wheat that’s been around for a long time and known for being an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. Its taste is not as distinctive as whole wheat, so it becomes a nice canvas for whatever I put on top.

Read More

Feet Mobility Exercise Tools to Prevent Injuries & Run Better

I ran my first half marathon last year. Before last year, I had never run a race longer than 3.1 miles. I put in a good four months of training and even hired a running coach to guide me.  I was very proud and loved the experience. But one thing I didn’t like was the pain I endured in my feet and ankles towards the end of my training. I had a nagging pain right under my right big toe that wouldn’t go away and after some 5+ mile runs, my ankles would always be very sore. During my training last year, the pain became unbearable at certain points that I had to take a week off before I could start again.

This time around, I resolved to approach training in a smarter way. I did some research on injury prevention and came across a fantastic book by Crossfit San Francisco founder and physiotherapist Kelly Starrett. It’s called Ready to Run and I can’t emphasize how impactful this book has been for me. In many ways, it’s not only helped me to become a better runner, it’s helped me to rethink the way I move and live my life everyday.

Read More

Rishi Turmeric Ginger Tea

Tea Season is Here

One of my favorite parts of autumn and winter is that it’s tea-drinking season. During the warmer months of summer, I rarely crave any warm drinks (except coffee), but the moment it dips below 50 degrees, I’m all about the tea.

One of my favorite teas is Rishi Turmeric Ginger. It’s got a yellowish tint with an herbal, spicy flavor and makes for a great nighttime drink since it’s caffeine-free.

These are the ingredients:

  • organic ginger root
  • organic turmeric root
  • organic licorice root
  • organic lemongrass
  • organic orange peel
  • organic lemon peel
  • essential orange and lemon oils

I typically get about 2-3 steeps out of a bag before the flavor runs out, and since it’s caffeine-free, I don’t mind refilling my mug with hot water over and over again.

Read More

Fire TV Stick Box

Amazon Fire TV Stick: Better than Chromecast and Apple TV?

I went away to the Catskills with some friends this past weekend. While I was eager to explore the outdoors and enjoy a break from city living, I also knew that a new episode of Game of Thrones would air on Sunday night. I didn’t want to stream it on my iPhone or laptop. I wanted to enjoy it on a TV. I knew the AirBnB we were staying at would have a TV, but there was no mention of a streaming device with HBO Now.

While I own an older Apple TV and Google Chromecast, I decided to buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick. For $39.99 (for the standard non-voice remote), it seemed worthwhile not having to deal with unplugging them and untangling them from the mess of wires behind my TV. Also, I wasn’t sure Chromecast would reliably stream HBO Now. I was also interested in getting a device that would let me stream Amazon Video without using my laptop. So how did it go?

Read More

Audible is a membership-based audiobook service from Amazon.

How My Audible Membership Improved My Health, Intelligence, and Leadership Skills

Audible is the audiobook service offered by Amazon. I’ve been using Audible almost daily for the past couple of years, and I can sincerely say that it’s been a life changer.

A little bit about the service and what you’re actually buying with a membership:

  • It’s $14.95/month for the Gold Membership and each month, you get 1 credit that you can use to buy a book. You’ll notice that some books are quite expensive if you were to buy them without a membership, climbing to the $50+ territory. (use this link to get two free audiobooks when you sign up)
  • I make frequent use of their refund feature (go to Audio Purchase History and you’ll be able to return books). When I finish a book before I get the next month’s credit, I opt for a refund of the book and use the credit to get the next book. I’ve done this more than ten times now and it hasn’t posed any problems for me.
A view of the Audible Library screen.
This is what my “Library” on Audible looks like.

I’ve always felt that reading books is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. I keep a running list of books that I want to read, constantly scour for new books on blogs and book review sites, and ask people if they’ve read anything interesting or helpful recently.

Read More

Darn Tough Socks: Merino Wool

Darn Tough: Best Wool Socks for Winter and Great Gift Idea

After spending most of my life wearing cheap cotton socks, I’ve become an evangelist for wool socks. Starting with Smartwool and Wigwam socks from CostCo. a couple years back, I immediately felt the benefits of wool socks. They were more durable, odor-free, and kept my feet warmer than cotton socks. In New York, where I live, the winters can be brutal, and having the right socks on can be a huge boost to daily comfort.

Last year, I stumbled upon a brand called Darn Tough. Based in Vermont, Darn Tough was conceived in an effort to keep the family-owned Cabot Hosiery Mills in business. They specialize in making high-quality socks and they also offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee. All you have to do is fill out a form and send your socks back and they’ll replace it, no questions asked (I have a couple socks on their way because my dog chewed holes into them — update 12/14/15: see the end of the article for what happened).

Retailing at $15-20/pair, Darn Tough is not cheap. However, if you factor in durability and the lifetime guarantee, I think it’s a pretty fair price. I opted for the Merino Wool Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks in black. I thought it was a good-looking sock and the length seemed just right. Here’s the mix of fabric:

  • 61% Merino wool
  • 36% Nylon
  • 3% LYCRA spandex

Read More

I Got 12 Buncha Crunch Boxes for Under $12

Sometime last year, they stopped selling Buncha Crunch at BAM Rose Cinemas, where I usually go to watch movies. Instead, they sell Ritter Sport Chocolate bars. I’ve been super bummed, and the last time I went, I settled for popcorn with Pepsi.

Buncha Crunch is my go-to candy whenever I go to the movies. There’s something very comforting about the waxy, 540-calorie treat. It’s got a nice crunchy texture that I prefer over the softer Goobers. I also find that it’s not as sweet as M&Ms, which I find to be too sweet when consumed by the boxful. Coupled with a Diet Coke, it is a delightful combo to partake while at the movies. Most of the time, I’ll finish the entire box by the time trailers are finished.

Read More

Peanut Butter & Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams and The Bees Knees

Tasty Peanut Butter and Eating 30g of Protein Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up

Since January, I’ve been pretty disciplined about eating a hearty breakfast every morning. Since reading this blog post (based on Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body) on eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, I thought I’d try it out. The overarching principles of this “slow carb” diet include the following:

  • Avoid “white carbohydrates”: bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, and any other carbs in these categories
  • Eat the same few meals over and over again
  • Don’t drink calories: stick mostly to water and unsweetened tea/coffee
  • Don’t eat fruit (I like this because I’m allergic to most)
  • Take one day off per week (eat whatever)

Read More

Polar Bottle 24 oz. Insulated Water Bottle

I’ve been training for a sprint distance triathlon. Part of the training has been going on long bike rides. Staying hydrated during these rides, especially as the weather gets warmer, is very important. Rather than wastefully pick up a Poland Spring bottle for each ride as I’ve done in the past, I decided to invest in a proper water bottle.

I never gave much thought to a water bottle. I’ve collected a few free ones over the years from participating in century bike rides, but I never liked how they made the water taste plasticky. I prefer using my Sigg bottle, but its small size and twist-off cap make it less than ideal for drinking while riding.

At a bike shop near my apartment, I came across Polar Bottle. The one at the store was 24 oz. in size, which I thought was ideal for my needs. It’s also insulated with a lining around the bottle, which keeps the water colder. I didn’t really like any of the color options there, so I picked one up with a patriotic theme. It cost $11.99.

Read More