Category Archives: Product

Gestational Diabetes: one of the best sucky things to have happened to me

Before I received my gestation diabetes diagnosis, I didn’t consider that I would fail the glucose tolerance test. I had passed every blood sugar/urine test that I had ever had.

When I found out that I had failed, I went through several emotions: shock, disbelief, denial. Even during the required nutrition education class I was bargaining, questioning the accuracy of the test as applied to Asians since much of research in America tended to be done on people of European descent.

Since I was not getting out of the diagnosis, I complied with the diet and took my blood sugar test four times a day. I had to log the results as well as what I ate. They provided a paper template but I dislike writing things down. I looked for an iOS app but none of them met my needs. I decided to create a Google Spreadsheet that had the same fields as the log they gave. To make it interesting, I added some statistics and charts.

My results were so good between the first and second meetings with my diabetes counselor that she said I could skip two or three days when it came to testing my fasting numbers. By that point I was hooked on data collection and did not want to mess up my charts by omitting data.

Although I got good numbers most of the time, I had bad numbers when I strayed too far from the rules of the diet. There was no denying that I had GD. I’m the kind of person who preferred to vary what I ate so I had to get creative to substitute foods for lower carb versions.

One of my favorite finds was almond milk. With cow’s milk, I did not like to drink it by itself; I would only drink it when it was part of a tasty cereal. I relished the taste of almond milk in a glass.

A couple of years ago, I thought a Vitamix would be nice to have, but I did not seriously look into buying it until the month before my due date. I was getting bored with the same old snacks, and believed that a Vitamix would encourage me to eat more fresh fruit. It was even better that it was my birthday and my husband offered to buy it as a gift (that we would share, of course). We have had it for a week but we have already made so many different and delicious things: various smoothies, soups, freshly ground wheat flour, slushies (that started out as ice-cream).

I have been less likely to feel tired, which I have noticed tended to happen after eating a lot of carbohydrates. My husband, who has been supporting me by participating in the diet, had made the same observation.

The GD diagnosis started out as terrible news but it really has encouraged me to eat healthier and I feel physically better in addition to knowing that I am avoiding having my baby suffer the effects of my potential to have high blood sugar. Although GD can result in bigger babies and changes in due date, my baby has been right on track and my OB said that the due date remained the same.

Kitty-Proofing the Bathroom

One of my cats, Mr. Knightley, likes to destroy toilet paper and eat plastic. That meant that I had to keep my bathroom door closed to keep him out of trouble. That was not great for ventilation after showers. For years, I looked for a solution that would protect the toilet paper and discourage him from eating the plastic lining of the trash can to no avail.

I have finally found two things that helped me to make it safe to keep the bathroom door unattended. I bought a toilet roll holder from Ikea that had a cover. It was a great find since every other solution I had seen cost much more than the $10 I paid for that one. It was very easy to install, requiring just two screws.

I found the trash can solution at Target. It is a round step can by simplehuman studio. The key feature is “smartbucket”, which prevents bag overhang. It was pricey for a trash can, but the peace of mind of mind that there is less plastic for my cat to find and eat makes it worth it. I am actually going to get another one today for another room in the apartment.

I hope that information helps someone who has a cat as mischievous as mine. :)

My New Bluetooth Headset: Discovery 925

I had had enough of my previous bluetooth headset. Once I got an awesome new phone, the old headset did not do it justice because I could not use it reliably.

Here were some of the pet peeves I had with my two-year-old headset:

  1. It was out of batteries when I needed to use it and did not have access to the charger
  2. The proprietary charger meant I had limited options when I needed to charge it
  3. I did not get enough notice before it ran out of batteries
  4. The over-the-ear design was a hassle if I wore glasses or had my hair styled in any way

Amazingly I was able to find a bluetooth headset that addressed my pet peeves. I have had my new headset, the Plantronics Discovery 925 for a few weeks now so I cannot remember exactly what brought it to my attention. Maybe it was because it was one of the newest models that Plantronics had. Nonetheless, here is how this headset is superior to the one it replaced:

  1. It came with a carrying case with a rechargable battery that charged the headset. I can recharge both when the headset is in the case. However, while I am out and about, the case comes in handy to charge headset.
  2. It used a standard micro USB charger. It came with two chargers… one for USB and one for wall charging. Since my Palm Pre also used micro USB for charging, it effectively tripled the chargers I had to available to charge either my phone or headset. That meant I could charge while I am at home or at work.
  3. There were two ways for me to find out when it was time to charge. If I hit the big button, it will blink an indicator and if the red light glowed, it was time to charge. While wearing the earpiece, an audible alert will bring attention to the need to charge.
  4. The elegant yet secure design did not have a loop to get in the way. This made it easier to insert into my ear and not have to struggle with my hair or ear.

I liked how it came in different colors instead of the usual black and gray. I decided to get gold because I liked the color and it was less obvious against my skin.

Plantronics listed the price at almost $150. I bought mine from Amazon.com for about half of that. I also got to use a gift certificate credit so that was awesome.

When I considered getting this headset, I envisioned the toughest use case would be my wedding day. My hair and makeup would be done. I didn’t want to run around holding a phone to my ear. This headset would answer the challenge because it would not touch my hair when it is in my ear. It would securely and comfortably enable me to do last minute communications. Plus, it does not look as ugly as most headsets tend to look. However, sometimes I would forget that I was wearing it so I hope that that will not happen during the walk down the aisle. :)

Epilation Experience

I have become a fan of epilating. I avoided it for years because I was afraid of the potential pain. However, when I researched it last month, it seemed the technology has improved a lot to minimize pain. I was sold on the Braun 5270 Silk-épil X’elle Body System Epilator due to the reviews that reassured me that it was not going to be a horrible experience.

In my research, I found lots of tips to help prevent too much pain. I’ve put them together for my own setup. I now look forward to my weekly epilation sessions.

Preparation Tips

  • before the very first session, shave 1 to 3 days beforehand so that the hair is not too long and yet have something for the epilator tweezers to hold on to
  • exfoliate to avoid seeing micro bits of dry skin flying
  • take a hot/warm shower/bath to help open the pores
  • per instructions, dry legs and do not apply cream/moisturizer

Process

The Braun 5270 comes with a beginner head. It would be a good idea to try using that for the first time. It massages the skin to help distract from the tweezing feeling. Sometimes, it even tickled but it was not uncomfortable. The scariest part of the process was the loud noise. Unfortunately, it meant that it was too loud to have the television on in the background. I played some music to help me relax.

Move the epilator slowly over the legs, going against the direction of hair growth. If you have experience tweezing eyebrows, you would likely know the trick to reducing or preventing pain is to stretch the skin around the hair follicle. This worked while epilating, too.

During the first session, I was able to move on to the advanced epilator head. That’s how practically painfree it ended up being. The results passed the smoothness test where I rubbed my legs together. It never felt that good when I shaved with a razor.

When done, moisturize. Use the included brush to clean the epilator head.

Electric Razor

The Silk-épil came with an electric razer head. It was useful for hair that I was too afraid to try to epilate. The results were better than using a regular razer because I did not get itchy bumps.

Conclusion

Epilating took longer than shaving, but it was more comfortable sitting in the living room instead of standing in a wet bathtub. What I really like about epilating is that it gave me smooth results that would last between weekly sessions. Because I could do it on a more convenient schedule in a more comfortable setting, I now have hairless legs even during the winter when most days I would wear jeans or pants. Then I can wear dresses/skirts without having to plan ahead.

Something to note is that I have fine hair. This could contribute to the lack of pain for me. It is possible that people who have thicker hair might experience more pain, but I do not know. Just a heads-up so readers do not go after me if they do not have as great an experience.

With Manual Control Comes Great Power and Responsibility

Last week, I got my new camera, the Canon Powershot SD 990 IS, just in time to use it during the weekend. I went with some friends to the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch to check out the pumpkin patch and to (try to) go through the Amazing Corn Maze. I was really looking forward to the photo-taking opportunity because I envisioned a very colorful environment. I particularly wanted to take advantage of the camera’s special color selection mode to highlight the orangeness of the pumpkins.

Alas, when I got home, I was underwhelmed by the results. Some of the photographs did not look very colorful and in fact looked kind of bluish. I could see the photographs in an album in Picasa underneath another album taken by my old camera, Canon Powershot S45, that had much more vibrantly colorful photographs of roses. I was thinking that I would need to return the camera. I was glad that I bought it from Costco, which has a relatively generous 90 day return policy. I then thought maybe I should take some test shots with the same subjects and compare the two cameras when I had time and interesting, colorful subjects.

When I picked up my camera to check on something else, I noticed that the color balance was on Indoor-Tungsten/Incandescent. That would totally explain the weird coloring since incandescent lighting makes things reddish, so to counteract that, the camera would need to add blue. However, if the actual environment isn’t reddish, there is not enough to counteract the bluishness.

I posted examples below to illustrate my point. I double-checked the EXIF data to confirm that it’s not my imagination that I had the wrong setting for white balance.

Guess which one is which.

The second one was the one that was on the Tungsten setting.

That was an important lesson, and a tip that I would like to pass on so that others do not have ruined photographs. I got a camera that gives me a lot of manual control over settings but because I was not careful, I got some disappointing results.

As for the corn maze, three of us were prepared with headlamps, since we were doing the night time version of the maze. We heard a lot of maze goers express their envy of our preparedness, though some were obviously annoyed at the lights shining in their eyes in an otherwise very dark environment. It took quite a while for us to figure things out and we kept ending up in the same spots. When we were 3/4 of the way through, someone gave us the solution, unsolicited. I was kind of annoyed and grateful. It kind of spoiled the experience to know how to get out without effort other than walking, but it was kind of frustrating also to be lost.