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Product Review: SodaStream Fountain Jet

(Full disclosure: SodaStream provided this product at no cost to me.)

This is what I’d consider my first “real” product review. And it’s pretty darn cool (I feel like an actual blogger. Eep!).

The product: SodaStream Fountain Jet. It has usurped my margarita glass fruit bowl as the coolest thing in my kitchen. What is it? It’s a soda making machine. In. my. kitchen.

Upon opening the box, I was a little intimidated by its contents. Not because of the machine – that came with a tag with a 3 step set-up guide. I was intimidated by the sheer number of flavors they sent me – they asked what flavors I wanted to try, and I said I wasn’t picky, any of the diet flavors would do.

 

Look at all those!

They sent me ALL the diet flavors. And a MyWater flavor essence pack, too – wow! Speaking of set-up – it was fairly easy, even for non-technical me.

 

I can do this...

I did, however, first Google “carbonators” to make sure I wouldn’t accidentally blow myself up with the bottle, ’cause that would be so me, you know? Satisfied I would be left in tact, I followed the instructions, installed the carbonator (the white bottle in the above photo), and filled one of the two reusable bottles with water, and got ready to become The Carbonator.

 

Blurp... blurp...

Two pushes of the button, release of the bottle, and I was now ready for the task of choosing a flavor. That took a few. I’m a citrus girl, so I decided to go with:

 

Lemonade! Yum. 😀

(P.S. I make soda barefoot. That’s the only way to do it, I swear.) I poured in a capful of the flavoring, shook the bottle gently, and took a sip – it was pretty tasty. It tasted even better after I put it in the fridge for an hour to cool it further. I also made diet pink grapefruit, and that was also delicious.

 

This one's a pretty color.

Actually, the only flavor I didn’t care for was the energy drink flavor.

Pros:

– easy to assemble

– looks cool on my counter top and is a great conversation starter (immediately raised my social standing)

– can have any flavor soda at any time you want

– great for making mixed drinks for those 21 and older 😀

– overall, great tasting flavors

– earth-friendly. The bottles are reusable and I’m not tossing out a plastic bottle or aluminum can each time I drink soda.

– product has expanded to several retail stores. In fact, my town really only has one “big box” retailer, ShopKo, and I was pretty surprised to see SodaStream on an endcap as I was passing through the housewares section.

Cons:

– again, the energy drink flavor. It did not make my tongue happy.

– doesn’t seem to stay fizzy as long as store-bought soda

– can exchange the carbonator with the SodaStream company only (which, despite some fairly regular use, I haven’t had to do yet)

Overall, the SodaStream Fountain Jet gets two thumbs up. But since I need one hand to take pictures, it gets this:

 

Thumbs up, SodaStream!

Want to learn more? You can check the Fountain Jet and other SodaStream models out at http://www.sodastreamusa.com/. Have you tried the SodaStream? What did you think?

(P.S. Yes, I’m from Wisconsin. No, I did not call it “pop.” Yes, I called it “soda” ’cause I think that sounds fancier. ;))

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The Ballet Body (Booty?)

I’ve been taking ballet lessons, once per week, for three months now. And I love it. Like, crazy-want-to-marry-it-and-have-its-babies kind of love.

The thing is, I didn’t expect it to affect my body image so much. Even more strangely, it has impacted it in both directions.

The bad: typical ballet attire is skin-tight. Leotard, the aptly-named tights, and I get away with a wrap skirt to disguise my holster hips. So, while I’m wearing nothing but stretchy material pulled soundly around each bulge on my body, I’m in a room with walls that consist nearly completely of mirrors. And I’m expected to jump around in this environment.

This is a total buzz kill. At last week’s class I was leaning backwards on my elbows against the barre, and when I looked in the mirror, my stomach pudge in my black leotard looked more realistically like a spare tire than the one hidden in the trunk of my car. TRUE STORY.

Though, some of my anxiety was relieved after my teacher told me that the mirrors in her classroom are bowed outwards, making everyone appear ten pounds heavier. I breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that one, though my inner annoying voice chimed in with “The mirror didn’t create that spare tire!”

Most often, the mirrors don’t bother me. Honestly, I’m too busy trying to make my body move in ways it never has before. The after effect: I feel totally graceful nearly 90 percent of the time now. Walk to open the door of my apartment? No way, why not grand jete? Merely bend over to pick up an errant piece of paper? Pfft. Arabesque all the way. I point my toes when I walk, jump out of bed, step out of the shower, etc. I don’t turn around – I spin. I even stretch with my arms in the proper positions.

So I’ve come to the conclusion: ballet makes me feel pudgy, but graceful. And I can work on the pudgy part. 😉 I will never have the perfect ballet body. I’m not built to be a stick – I’m built to be a shaped more like a gnarly tree trunk. I don’t have a ballet body – I have a ballet booty, and I’m proud of it.

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Oh, Boys.

Right. I know I’m missing some results posts – but what I really want to blog about right now is…

Guys.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I live in Collegetown, USA. Guys my age are more scarce than helpful employees in a big box store. I honestly want to card any guy I do meet to verify I’m not flirting with jail bait. Apparently I also don’t notice when men notice me, say complimentary things about me, or flirt with me, either. And while there are a couple of guys I know that I’d be interested in dating, they’re not biting.

So I went fishing online. That’s right, I dove into eHarmony’s pond. Friends have been encouraging me to do so (even to the point of bribery) for quite some time, but I just wasn’t ready until now.

I won’t lie, it’s an ego-boost to have guys contact me with interest. It’s also nice to be able to kind of weed out any pot-smoking, perpetually unemployed anarchists. However, it feels far too close to the same process I use to select and purchase a pair of stilettos online. We’ll see how it goes.

It’s just nice to finally feel ready to date – I haven’t for a long time. Right now, my self-esteem is at an all-time high and I’m taking advantage of that.

A recent event has kind of marred the whole idea of relationships for me, but even that is being tempered by my newly-found self-esteem and confidence. Instead of blaming myself for a situation, I’m laying it where it belongs: at the feet of two very selfish people. New Lisa  is not about to let anyone screw up her success.

Fair warning: this blog may be filled with my date escapades in the future. Let’s hope my dating pool contains more Prince Charmings than frogs.

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Weeks 80-83: Woohoo!

Okay, so I’ve been absent. What have I been doing? Out living life to the fullest!

Partying in some scandalous outfits. Training for a 10K in September. And yesterday, kayaking for the first time ever.

Beyond the general scary aspects of kayaking (tipping over, falling out, and you know, drowning, etc.), I was kept from jumping in and floating down the river because I was too nervous that Old Lisa wouldn’t fit in the kayak at all. Or I would be so heavy I’d make it sink. Or extra tippy. Or that if I tipped, my hefty hips would trap me in the kayak.

New Lisa donned a life-jacket and took the plunge, so to speak. I actually managed to stay in the boat for the entire 3 hour trip (go me!).

That isn’t to say that I’ve been sliding. Actually, I’ve had a pretty decent four weeks, weight-wise, since my last post:

Week 80 Results:
Starting stats:
Weight: 247 lbs.
BMI: 36.5

Today’s stats:
Weight: 169.8 lbs.
BMI: 25.1

Week 81 Results:
Starting stats:
Weight: 247 lbs.
BMI: 36.5

Today’s stats:
Weight: 168.2 lbs.
BMI: 24.8

Week 83 Results:
Starting stats:
Weight: 247 lbs.
BMI: 36.5

Today’s stats:
Weight: 168 lbs.
BMI: 24.8

Where is Week 82, you ask? I pretty much hopped aboard the S.S. Failboat. I went to my sister’s cabin for the weekend and, horror of horrors, forgot my scale. By the time I got back, the next time I would’ve weighed-in was Tuesday morning, and with that being half-way through the week, I just decided to wait until Saturday.

Recap: I love life. And I’m loving it at a “normal” BMI. I’m continuing to lose weight even though I’m running long distances (to me, anyways) four times per week.

Two words: HECK YES.

(There’s some Wisconsin-talk for you. See? It does pop out every now and then.)

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I Just Can’t Quit You, 2XL Pants

As quickly as I’ve gone through clothing during this journey, there are a few pieces that I just can’t let escape from my closet.

In some cases, the reasons for letting these too-big reminders of my pudge days stick around are easy to understand. For example, my pair of 2XL purple pajama pants have escaped the trash bin because a) they’re extremely comfy and b) they match my bedroom decor. I’m a big loser; I like things to match. It makes me squee with creative joy when something that’s in my bedroom (in this case, my legs in purple pants) matches my bedroom.

Or, there are my sorority shirts. More commonly known as “letters,” I used to have enough of these to wear every day of the week during college, if I so chose (and often I did). If you’re a newbie to the fraternal world, throwing away letters is simply unacceptable. Doing so is the equivalent of using Old Glory to bag and toss your dog’s excrement on your evening stroll around the neighborhood. So I carefully bagged most of my letters and have them in storage with the rest of my old clothes, even though it’s not permitted to sell your letters to someone who is not a member of your sorority.

One sweatshirt remained at the back of my closet, like a stretchy gray reminder of my flab-but-fun days gone by. I reasoned that I kept it because, really, can sweatshirts be too big? Hardly. But recently, I felt empowered to let it go (to someone on whom it will also be too big, but let’s not go there).

Most of my previous bar/hookerwear wardrobe has remained unscathed as well. The glint of sequins and regret kind of seems to wink at me from the far reaches of my closet every time I open it. Tank tops, halter tops, extremely odd-strap tops… all worn previously (with a shrug sweater) to highlight my one good feature, my extreme cleavage. (As if my flashy bewb-age would somehow disguise the fact that I was fat from the eligible bachelors in the establishment? A.k.a. Look at my DDs. Be hypnotized by them. Don’t notice my fat rolls underneath. Oh, Old Lisa’s logic. So sad.)

Hiding in shame in a garment bag is my bridesmaid’s dress from my sister Stacey’s wedding. Don’t get me wrong, the dress is beautiful; I just regret the size on the tag. The process of trying on bridesmaids dresses was painful. Sample dresses did not come in my former size. Often, I was left to hang out and consult with my sister as the other two ‘maids slipped on dress after dress. I am grateful for the bride’s kindness, though; if there was a sample dress that I might possibly fit into, she asked me to try it on, even if I knew there was no way she could be considering it for her wedding. (I remember one particularly hideous pumpkin-colored number. Gag.) But on the day of her wedding, even if I hated my weight, I felt beautiful in that dress, with that makeup, that hair. So I keep the dress as a reminder of both celebrating a wonderful day with a wonderful couple, and to remember that there were days, even pre-Weight Watchers, that I felt like a beautiful person.

Size 20 remnants aside, it’s fairly rare for my clothes to actually fit me, anyways. As I type this I’m wearing a tank top that’s too big, layered with a t-shirt that’s too tight, pants that seem to be okay, and undies desperately trying to cling to my hips. Let’s not even broach the topic of my other lingerie item; I don’t think I’ve owned a brassiere of the correct size since this whole thing began. Either my cup is half-full or my cup runneth over, if you know what I mean.

That’s one of the things I really look forward to at goal weight – staying one size. Not having to shop for clothes and think “Okay, I have to buy this a little small because if I don’t, it will be too big in a few weeks and I’ll have wasted my money” would be fab. I can’t wait to buy a dress or a pair of jeans because they fit my body at that time, without worrying that as my shape/size changes, that particular piece of clothing won’t look as good.

So while my current wardrobe contains a pack of misfits, I’m content with the knowledge the someday soon, that’ll all change. Goal, here I come!