How two-factor authentication ruined my day and made me wonder if I need a Facebook detox

There’s nothing I despise more than an overly complicated process, especially one that leaves me in a frustrated tizzy. I’ve got a fair amount of technical knowledge, having done some programming in the past and spending several years in IT in a variety of analyst and management roles. So, it’s not like I’m a total idiot that doesn’t know how to work a computer. At some point over the past month or so, my iphone has become very confused about whether I’m me or my daughter in several apps. I’m pretty sure at some point, she logged into Facebook on my phone and when she did, it changed the associated Facebook login to hers for all the apps and websites that had been using my Facebook profile for login. So now, when I’m in Instagram trying to share to my Facebook page, even though I’m logged into my Instagram account and it shows my business page as being linked, when I try to share anything to that page, it wants me to log into Facebook and then blows up because it’s retained her login and she’s not an admin on my Facebook page.

There’s no option to change the Facebook profile that’s logging in, I just get this ‘hey, you’ve logged in with FB before do you want to do it again?” screen and my options are to log in as her or I can click cancel and it basically terminates the process and comes back with “well then no sharing for you”. No amount of unlinking, relinking, deleting, reinstalling, rebooting both apps managed to resolve this issue. I finally logged out of Facebook on all of my devices and then tried to log back in, hoping it would drop the auto-login through instagram. Well, now I can’t freaking get into Facebook AT ALL because earlier this year all my friends were getting hacked and I brilliantly decided to turn on the stupid two-factor authentication. So now it’s requiring some damn code as a secondary login and there’s literally no other option. The code was supposed to have been sent via SMS. I’ve been waiting well over an hour and still haven’t received a damn code. I get SMS notifications every time someone farts in FBland –  they’ll send me those in a millisecond if I don’t remember to adjust my notification settings, but the code I need to log in and finish dealing with this app issue – that takes them “up to 12 hours” to send a code. What. The. Hell.

In my impatience, I click on the help link and the help documentation tells me that if I’m not receiving a code via SMS, I have to use the “code generator” tool – which can be found… wait for it…..INSIDE the Facebook app (which I can’t log into) by clicking on the “bars” icon. Um…. Call me clueless, but how in the holy f$ck am I supposed to get into the app to click on these bars to generate a code to log into the app I can’t even get into in the first place? So, okay – more clicking around and it looks like my final option is to send Facebook a request with my ID to prove I’m actually me. Nice. So, I fill out that form and attempt to patiently wait for a response. Meanwhile – while I’m dicking around in this login loop from hell, some 9 year old in another country has probably already managed to hack into my account from the backend and is posting crazy shit and trying to get my friends to click on viral links. Awesome.

All I wanted to do was share the picture I posted on Insta to my FB page – should have taken 0 seconds. This is the kind of crap that makes me crazy – simple things that have become convoluted, overly complex time-wasters. Seriously, I’ve wasted at least two hours trying to troubleshoot this nonsense. And now, while I’ve been sitting here typing out this rant, Facebook support finally sent me an email – “hey, it looks like you’re having trouble logging in, just click this link to get back in instantly” So I click the link (after carefully double-checking to make sure it actually came from Facebook support) and where does the link go? TO THE F-ING PAGE ASKING FOR A F-ING CODE I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN!!! đŸ€Ż

After waiting almost the entire day to get a response from Facebook help, I was rooting around the inter webs looking for information that might help me hack into my own account – sad, but true – desperation will make you do crazy things! I happened upon an article that listed ways of getting into your Facebook account, which triggered a tiny remote memory in my head from earlier this year where I had apparently printed out some tiny sheet of single-use backup codes that would help me get into my account if I got locked out. After another hour trying to remember where I put the damn thing, I was FINALLY able to get in – hooray!!! And now I’m going to stop and think about my security settings and how wise it is for a 46 year old woman with two kids who lives in a zoo to have to rely on a tiny sheet of paper hidden in her overburdened desk drawer as the sole means of accessing her FB page in the event this ever happens again…and maybe I should spend some time thinking about how irritated I’ve been all day about not being able to get into stupid Facebook – addicted much? 🧐

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How mushrooms made me a better person

I’ve never been huge fan of mushrooms. I’ve always found them to be kind of strange in texture and taste – rubbery and a little too earthy, almost like eating dirt. I absolutely despise them raw on salads. The fact that they’re parasitic in nature, often found growing in dark, damp locations, on dead plant matter and sometimes the backs of insects – ew! – doesn’t make them any more appealing. Even their classification conjures negative images – fungi…fungus. Not something I want to be eating. Or do I?

Several weeks ago, I listened to an awesome podcast by Rich Roll featuring Tero Isokauppila, the founder of a company called Four Sigmatic and a mushroom expert. It was absolutely fascinating and frankly, I’ve been a little obsessed with mushrooms ever since. I’ve known for a long time that there were health benefits to certain types of mushrooms. My family has been consuming copious amounts of Shakeology for years and while I credit it for our greatly improved immune function over the past 8+ years (that and the fact that we generally avoid eating crap), I guess I just kind of glossed over the fact that the formula contains 4 powerhouse mushrooms, each with a boatload of purported health benefits. These are just FOUR of the roughly 270 mushrooms known to have therapeutic or medicinal benefits, but let’s take a look at all of the amazing benefits each has:

Maitake

Maitake is the Japanese name for the mushroom Grifola frondosa, often referred to as “hen of the woods”, “ram’s head” or “sheeps head”. These mushrooms are typically found growing in clusters on the base of oak trees. They have been shown in studies to inhibit growth of cancerous tumors and boost immune function. In traditional medicine, this mushroom has been used to treat diabetes and hypertension as it has properties that help regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

Reishi

Reishi is the Japanese name for the kidney-shaped mushroom, Ganoderma Lucidum, which are often found growing on dead or dying trees or old tree stumps and logs. These mushrooms are also called ‘king mushrooms’ or Ling Zhi in Chinese. They’ve been shown in studies to:

  • reduce inflammation,
  • improve anxiety and depression,
  • boost immunity,
  • lower blood pressure,
  • reduce cholesterol and insulin resistance,
  • inhibit cancer cell and tumor growth,
  • improve liver and kidney function,
  • improve sleep and
  • aid gut health.

Quite a list of benefits for some strange looking growth on the side of a dead tree! One caveat with this type of mushroom, however is that it’s not always recommended for people with auto-immune conditions as it can further stimulate immune response – not a good thing if your immune system is already attacking your own body.

Chaga

Chaga mushroom, is a Russian name of Inonotus obliquus, a parasitic mushroom commonly found on birch trees that’s been used  as a folk remedy in Northern European countries for centuries. Chaga is a potent antioxidant and adaptogen with anti-bacterial properties and has been shown in studies to help:

  • reduce the growth of certain types of cancer (namely colon and liver),
  • reduce inflammation,
  • reduce spikes in blood sugar,
  • protect against dangerous blood clots
  • balance immune system function
  • boost exercise endurance
  • improve cognitive function

Some caveats: Because of it’s ability to stop blood platelet aggregation, Chaga should not be taken in conjunction with blood-thinning medication. People with auto-immune diseases should also be wary, as Chaga could make symptoms worse.

Cordyceps

Unlike the other three mushrooms which typically grow on dead or dying trees, Cordyceps mushroom is an entomopathogenic fungus – which means that it typically grows on the external surface of insects and eventually bores into the insect and kills it. Charming. Despite its description sounding like something out of a flesh-eating zombie flick, this mushroom purports a host of impressive therapeutic benefits, some of which are:

  • anti-aging benefits (yes!)
  • prevents the growth of cancerous tumors
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases energy
  • improves stamina and boosts athletic performance
  • reduces reproductive problems and sexual dysfunction
  • protects against cold and flu
  • improves liver function and assists in detoxification

Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Cordyceps is also prized as a general longevity and immunity tonic in Ayurvedic Medicine. Because of it’s immune-boosting capability, it may not be appropriate for those with auto-immune conditions.

I’ve been focusing on adding a variety of mushrooms into my regular diet – medicinal mushrooms in dried powder form and fresh mushrooms in my recipes. Mushrooms have tough cell walls which make them indigestible if not cooked. Mushrooms also contain small amounts of toxins that can be problematic when eaten raw, but that are destroyed by the cooking process. They taste immensely better when you cook them anyway, especially if you sautĂ©, broil or grill them with a healthy fat. They have a decent amount of protein and add bulk without adding many calories. They take on the flavor of any sauces or seasonings you use, so they work well in a multitude of recipes. Mushrooms are a good source of riboflavin and niacin as well as selenium and potassium. If they’ve been exposed to sunlight they also contain vitamin D (you can do this yourself to boost the D content of your mushrooms). They have a meaty texture when cooked properly and I’ve used them in a variety of soups and stews to add more heartiness without adding more meat. Over the course of the past month I’ve been using a mushroom blend in my coffee and I have to say, I really feel like it’s improved my focus, given me more energy and reduced some of the symptoms of inflammation I’ve been experiencing in my advancing age. 😂

***Mushrooms aren’t for everyone and of the more than 10,000 identified species, less than half are edible so make sure you get yours from a reputable supplier or do extensive research before attempting to forage your own. If you have any questions about your personal health and whether mushrooms may help or harm you, please talk with your doctor.

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4 simple things you can do to start losing weight today

I don’t know too many people who aren’t trying to lose a few pounds. Aside from a couple of annoying people I know who somehow manage to eat like total shit, never workout and still look amazing, most everyone I know is on some kind of diet. I’m not a big fan of diets in general, mostly because they end up being too time-consuming or involve too much sacrifice or too much change at one time and frankly, the research shows that they just don’t work. So, instead of trying to stick to any particular diet, or counting calories, policing every bite of food and doing all kinds of math trying to figure out if my input is greater than or equal to my output, I decided to focus on making a few simple tweaks to my lifestyle. Within a week, I had lost a few pounds and noticed a marked reduction in this bloated belly thing I had going on. I was also sleeping better, waking up less stiff and creaky and feeling more energetic and focused throughout the day.

1. Drink more water, less alcohol

Somewhere along the line, I got into this bad habit of drinking a glass or two of wine before bed. I’m sure it was fueled in part by all that ‘health’ advice floating around out there that touted the benefits of drinking red wine. The wine-tasting club my husband and I joined probably didn’t help either. There’s something about boxes of wine piled up in your basement that just screams “drink the wine! drink ALL the wine!” The problem is that even if there are some health benefits, it’s really not enough to balance out the negative effects especially when consumed in excess. Beer and wine have calories, and sugar – so even if you’re just having 1-2 glasses a day, that’s roughly 800-2000 calories a week (depending on whether you’re drinking beer or wine and 1-2 glasses a day) of beverages that aren’t providing your body with much, if any, nutrition. Alcohol is also a toxin. As far as toxins go, it’s kind of an awesome one in that it relaxes us and makes us feel good and is socially acceptable – but it’s still a toxin and your liver and kidneys not only need to work extra hard to process and filter it out of your system but they do so at the expense of any fat-burning that may be going on. Basically, until that alcohol is metabolized and filtered out of your system, fat-burning mechanisms are on pause. Not a good thing if you’re trying to fit into your skinny jeans again. Alcohol has also been shown to reduce the quality of your sleep, increase food cravings and lower your inhibitions – so you’re more likely to eat a bunch of garbage, make poor choices, do something embarrassing and then wake up tired the next day. Alcohol also messes around with your hormones and as a woman in my late 40’s, the last thing I need is anything else screwing around with those – Mother Nature is doing enough of that herself these days.

Anyway, I’m not giving up booze completely, but I also don’t think I need to have it every day or even several times a week. So I decided to just save it for special occasions – and truly special occasions, because let’s face it – we can come up with all kinds of things that are “special” when we know there’s a reward involved. Hell, with the way my life’s been going lately, making it to bedtime with a shred of my sanity still intact is a “special occasion”.

It’s tough to break out of a habit that you’ve been engaging in for awhile so I found that I had to substitute something else where my glass(es) of wine were and try to form newer, healthier habits. So now I’ve gotten into a different habit of having a glass of kombucha (I put it in a wine glass so it feels more special) or hot tea, or water infused with lemon or fruit/herbs/cucumber. After less than a week of doing this, I noticed that I was sleeping much better (less waking up in the middle of the night) and this bloated belly thing that had been plaguing me started subsiding. More than a month later I’m feeling less inflammation in my joints, my brain seems to work better and while I still don’t have six-pack abs, my stomach is flat and my skin looks much better. And I find that I really don’t miss all the wine as much as I thought I would. In fact, I’ve been to several holiday parties recently and just didn’t even feel like drinking much at all. And instead of blowing through bottles of our wine-club wine, I’m saving them for pairing with special dinners, gifts and truly momentous occasions.

2. Go to Bed

Sleep is one of those things that we tend to shrug off like it’s a nuisance activity instead of a critical and necessary state of renewal and repair. If you’re all fired up about losing weight and you have to choose between an extra hour in bed or an hour at the gym, your tendency will probably be to drag yourself out of bed and hit the gym. Seems to be a no-brainer – if you want to get ripped, you can’t blow off the gym, right? The problem is – if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re creating a hot mess of hormonal nonsense that is counteracting your workouts. A large number of studies have been done over the years that indicate a strong link between obesity risk in adults and children and short sleep duration. Not getting enough sleep has been associated with weight gain even in preschool age children. A study by researchers at UC Berkeley found a correlation between sleep (or rather, lack of it) and increased BMI in adults and adolescents. Even one hour less sleep each night had a rather sizable impact on their BMI over a 5 year period.

3. Sit less, walk more

Sitting is killing us – literally. Yet many of us spend more than half our day on our asses. Even if you’re getting enough exercise, all that time on your posterior is wreaking havoc. Prolonged sitting has been correlated with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, back pain, increased anxiety, slowed metabolism – the list goes on and on. We were meant to move, not sit in one position for extended periods of time. It’s tough when you’ve got a desk job, but there are things you can do to mitigate that. Take frequent breaks, switch to a standing desk, go for a walk during your lunch break, walk around when making phone calls, have walking meetings with co-workers, etc. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV at night, do some stretches or yoga on the floor. If you’re like me and you get really focused on a task, so much so that you kind of lose track of how much time you’ve been spending on it – set a timer so you’re reminded to get up and stretch or move at regular intervals.

4. Eat less sugar

This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people still think sugar is no big deal. But it IS a big deal – and they shove that shit into everything. If you do nothing else with your diet, just stop eating foods that have added sugar. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after you get through the initial withdrawal. And there will be a withdrawal period, especially if you’ve been eating a lot of that crap. Sugar is a drug – and probably the most insidious, because it’s perfectly legal, highly addictive  – studies have shown that it acts on the same part of the brain as opiates and amphetamines – and it’s deadly. And no, I’m not being overly dramatic. Sugar consumption has been linked to a multitude of health issues as well as increased weight gain, hormonal issues and reduced immune function. The scary part is, the average American consumes 30% more sugar than they did just 30 years ago – twice as much as in 1900 and 45 times more than people did 300 years ago! Is it any wonder we’re all fatter and sicker than ever? According to the USDA, the average American consumes 180 lbs of sugar a year! That’s insane! Anyway, one easy way to have a huge impact on your diet is to focus on added sugars – if you try to avoid eating anything with added sugars – you’ll avoid most of the crap food out there. You just have to be careful about reading labels, because sugar has about 60 different names and manufacturers like to be tricky. If you find label-reading exhausting like I do, just focus on consuming fresh foods and keep the packaged stuff to a minimum – and avoid anything with more than a few, recognizable ingredients. Fresh foods take a bit more time to prepare, but you’ll make up this time by not having to do all that reading. 😉

 

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Welcome to my crazy life!

Welcome! I started this blog because I enjoy writing about and sharing insights into the craziness that is my life and frankly, I needed a place to put it besides Facebook because it’s MINE and I don’t want Zuckerberg (or anyone else) owning it. I’m selfish like that. I can’t say for sure what this blog may end up transforming into, but my intent is to share my thoughts on the world and anything else that I think other people need to hear (ha!) or might be even remotely interested in.

I love learning, trying new things, and most importantly – sharing things I’ve learned, especially when I feel like it’s something that has not only changed my life for the better, but could potentially do the same for someone else. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all striving for isn’t it? To grow and get better, whatever that means to you personally – whether it be to make more money, be more successful, get healthier, live longer, have a better relationship with the people in your life, feel more fulfilled and happy… the list goes on and on.

My life in a nutshell is a giant swirling mass of chaos. I’ve got two kids – one’s a full-blown teenager and the other is about to be. They’re about as different as they could possibly be, which tends to cause a lot of drama around the house. My husband and I are older, wiser and less-adorable versions of them. Again, tends to cause a fair amount of drama. Add in a dog, two cats, two guinea pigs, and a rabbit and you’ll start to understand why my life is literally, a zoo. That being said, I’ve heard before that your physical life is a representation of what’s going on in your head and I can totally see how this might be the case in my world. My brain is a hot mess. My interests are varied, my talents are broad and my passions are as fluid as my mood. I envy those people who know clearly what their calling is, what their passions are and what their purpose is in this life. I’m still fairly clueless about what my purpose and calling is and selfishly hoping this blog will help me flesh that all out. 🙂

Anyway – I hope this blog makes you laugh, makes you think, teaches you something, inspires you to try something new, changes your lifestyle habits in a positive way and if nothing else, makes you feel better about your own life.

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