Based on a friend’s recommendation, I tried this new and healthy food subscription service called Graze Box. My box came in today after about a two week wait. The boxes are $6 each, but you can get your first and fifth boxes free if you know anyone who already subscribes. If not, you can use this code here in the photo of my box below:

Graze Box Invite Code: MC21M6NQB

Get your first and fifth Graze Boxes free with this Invite Code: MC21M6NQB

Using my invite code will get you your 1st box AND your 5th boxes totally FREE! Yay!

The site will ask for your credit card information, but I have read other reviews and can see from my account that quitting one’s subscription is a vey simple process. If it were not, I would not have tried graze because I didn’t think much of the boxes at first. They offer fairly small portions, but the snacks are actually very tasty and made from high quality ingredients.

I had tried another similar product called Nature Box in the past, but Graze are superior in taste. They also have a greater range of snacks to choose from. Their site also allows you far greater control over which snacks you wish to try in your future boxes. For instance, I didn’t want any popcorn or pistachios, so I placed all of those options in the trash. Conversely, you can select “try” or “love” for the ones you want to be sent regularly.

Each snack in my box is delicious. Here are the four different flavors:

Fruit and Seed Flapjack

Fruit and Seed Flapjack – ate some already ^_^

Rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits. Soft, chewy, and not too sweet! I’d try this one again!


Graze’s Chocolate Orange

Belgian dark chocolate, orange raisins, and hazelnuts. The chocolate and raisins both have a hint of orange. My favorite!

Nacho Libre -

Nacho Libre

Salsa almonds, cheesy sombreros, and jumbo chili corn. Better than I expected!


Rock the Casbah


Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dates. Love it!

I have my next box set up to arrive in another 4 weeks, though you can select every two weeks instead; Perhaps I will switch ;)



Losing body fat is easy

by ashleyelder on February 27, 2014

Unless you are already almost entirely pure muscle, losing fat really only comes down to a few, simple steps. All these weight-loss teas and pills are unnecessary.  I’ve been using a traditional approach to cutting weight and have lost at least 15 pounds of mostly  fat and water weight in nearly 8 weeks. And I have’t even weighed myself on an empty stomach – I’ve only done it at night, so I probably weigh even a few pounds lighter.

Lift weights regularly

Lifting is necessary otherwise you will lose muscle. Someone who is losing weight and only doing cardio or no exercise at all will be skinny fat, not lean and toned. Lifting causes the body to build muscle, and this in turn makes it less likely for the body to eat away from its muscle preserves. In the gym, use whatever technique is best for you to build muscle. I generally complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise.

Eat protein – lots of it

To lose fat but preserve muscle, a constant replenishment of protein is necessary. If you want to have a toned physique, it doesn’t matter whether you are gaining or cutting weight… consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is needed for optimal results.

Count your calories to a T

All weight loss really comes down to is burning more calories in a day than you consume. I have read and heard countless accounts now of people who claim to be counting their calories, but are not losing weight. This is simply not possible. In reality, these people are usually only guesstimating how much they consume. Let’s say, for example, they are eating a salad and don’t include the calories of the dressing. That would actually account for more calories than the lettuce. One tablespoon of olive oil has about 100 calories, whereas a serving of lettuce has no more than 10 calories.

Counting calories diligently is really the best way to lose fat at a steady and reliable pace. Here is the formula for losing one pound of fat per week:

maintenance calories – 500 calories = daily caloric needs

The reasoning behind this is that 500 calories x 7 days in a week is 3500 calories, which is equal to one pound of fat.

The most convenient way to monitor calories is the brilliant app called “My Fitness Pal,” which allows you to keep a log of everything you eat and to track your changes in weight. I use it  nearly every day to log in every meal. It even has a feature to scan the barcodes of packaged food to quickly bring up their nutritional values. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still use their database online.

Prepare your own meals

Restaurants either don’t provide nutritional information about their foods, or the information they provide is oftentimes inaccurate. The only way to truly know the nutritional values of your meals is to prepare them yourself. In order to do this, a food scale is necessary so you can weigh out each ounce or gram of food.

Be patient

If developing a leaner physique is important enough to you, you will improve your eating habits. Most people will slip a little and eat over their allotted calories every once in while, however.

Over the last ten days I actually had 4 burgers and fries, 2 slices of pizza, and an ice cream cookie sandwich. Sometimes I succumb to eating socially.. One of my professors brought pizza for our class and I couldn’t say no! I made up for this by starting HIIT/ High-Intensity Interval Training again. I hadn’t done it in weeks. My favorite form is doing sets of good ol’ sprinting as fast as I can for 15 seconds, followed by rest. It must really work, because I lost 2 pounds even though I ate all that junk food and surpassed my caloric deficit every day! I knew and accepted that I ate too much each day, but did not beat myself up about it. I enjoyed each of the foods and company I had, and I will continue to the next day with a fresh start, every day.

So if you find that on a particular day or even during a whole week you are overeating, simply continue to the next day or week with a clean slate. If this isn’t enough, do a little more cardio. Calories in, calories out.


The Keys to a Successful Romantic Relationship

by ashleyelder on February 16, 2014

I found this great passage on relationships from Quora, which is like a more intellectual version of Yahoo Answers. It strikes me in particular because I ended a four-year-relationship seven months ago, and am still going through some of the fallout, particularly relating to the other person’s feeling of loss.

I think these are great points:

Respect. Respect for yourself and each other.

Great communication
( listening, talking, expressing, understanding etc….)

Great humor and playing together

Mutual interests and/or hobbies

Time apart to have fun independently

Want the same things in life ( kids, no kids, etc……)

Support each other

Be a team

No manipulation

Don’t talk shit about your in-laws

Choose your battles, don’t get into arguments about dumb shit that doesn’t really matter. Little arguments build up after a while, kills the good vibe of your relationship. Resentments build up.

Let go of past hurts. Forgive mistakes.

Don’t put each other down.

Don’t fight dirty. Don’t hit below the belt ( verbally ) in an argument.

This is one of the most important ones…..I’ve heard this a million times in life.

” Keep the fights clean, and the sex dirty. ”

So great sex is important too.
People get comfortable and lazy about that one.
Especially married people.

But great sex is extremely important.
Never get in the habit of NOT having sex.

Being physically intimate is just as important as good communication.
They go hand in hand.

If you are communicating well, you feel connected and you want to have sex more.

If you have sex more, you feel connected and communicate better.
They go together perfectly.

If all of these elements are aligned and humming along,
the result is a successful relationship.

At times I have considered getting back with my ex, but we would not actually meet each of these points. So far, I have been content being single. I enjoy spending time alone or with others.


Obedience in the workplace

by ashleyelder on February 13, 2014

I could have been fired from my job on campus today. I proctor exams for students at my University. The other day an issue arose during an exam, and I decided to amend the situation on my own.  One student came late for a legitimate reason, and I extended her time. This is actually a huge no-no; We proctors are supposed to call for any dilemma that occurs.

My supervisor emailed me to come in and speak. She sounded at ease in the message and the office when I saw her. Actually, she seemed pretty happy to see me and was smiling. I like my supervisor and was smiling too. Her supervisor called me out on this, saying she was not pleased with my attitude. Putting on a somber face satisfied her. I do really care about my job though. The reason I extended the student’s time is because I wish to accommodate students in the best way that is fair. But because I am the lowest status of worker,  I am not allowed to make these choices, even if they are rational.

My thinking I can come up with my own solutions was the main concern of the lead supervisor. This is the only formal job I’ve ever held, so it was a wakeup. Experiencing something is different than hearing about it.

The lead supervisor warned that I could very likely lose my job. Most interestingly, my supervisor emailed me about one minute later to say I can keep  my job! I just need to call the office for anything that arises, which is fine.

How come I didn’t lose my job if this was such a serious offense? I think it’s twofold between tactfulness and having a strong work record. I proctor more exams than most students and have never been late to a single one. I also dress fairly formally, I suppose you could say WASPish or preppy, which looks more professional. Even though I committed an offense, I still brought up several of my strengths during the conversation. If I didn’t appear altogether, I may have lost my job.

It’s very simple to call the office for a small issue, so it’s no problem. Certainly, though, not being to make one’s own choices could be very dissatisfying.


Packaging for Online Shopping

by ashleyelder on February 4, 2014

I have yet to sell any product since I am still working on the site configuration, but I have suddenly thought of the topic of packaging. 

How significant do you think the packaging is that envelopes the items you purchase off the web? Usually I think hardly anything of it, since it’s normally unremarkable. But I will never forget the fabulous packaging I received when I ordered a pair of ballet flats from Tieks by Gavrieli.

Would there be such a rage over Tieks if they didn't include fancy packaging?

Would there be such a rage over Tieks if they didn’t include fancy packaging?

Being a startup, I wonder if the unique styles and good prices are enough to gain repeat customers. If the packaging is exceptional, perhaps it is enough to make up for newbieness. Or is my product noteworthy enough that more expensive packaging is unnecessary?

In any possible light, nice packaging can only enhance the reputation of one’s brand. I would like to practice including special packaging for gifts as part of customer service.

It’s when you run your own business that every detail of the buying and selling experience permeates your mind.

I have to lean toward noteworthy packaging.

I have to lean toward noteworthy packaging.


Cutting progress on Super Bowl Sunday

February 3, 2014

Yesterday I did a full-body routine, which I do three times a week. It’s takes me about two hours each session, which can be tiring toward the end. I may devote a few days of the week solely to glutes so I can focus on them without feeling as worn out. When I first started […]

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Shop progress on Super Bowl Sunday

February 2, 2014

While most people are watching the game today, I am working on the website of my online retail shop. I am using the platform called Magento, which is a product of Ebay. It looks very professional and has the ability for lots of growth, but it has a much higher learning curve than WordPress. Today […]

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My final year of college

February 1, 2014

Welcome to my new blog. Throughout the course of my college career I’ve had a few blogs about very particular subjects, of which I had little more to say about after a while. I’m tired of creating things that don’t last, however. This is now the official one. Yes, I intend to keep this one […]

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