How to Take on a Challenge

October 4th, 2015. Lake Tahoe, CA. Elevation 6200-9000 feet. Spartan Ultra Beast. 26+ miles. 50+ obstacles.

I haven’t REALLY challenged myself for over 4 years. I was a slacker in high school, even though I was involved in a lot. I did it all, going through the motions, but rarely applied myself. I never studied, rarely practiced outside of class or practice, and as a result, I prevented myself from moving to the next level. College was a little different since I took on so much that it was mathematically improbable for me to be able to complete everything without trying. Still, I lost valedictorian because I didn’t care. I missed Olympic trials because I wanted to be big.  

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#11 Greatest Video Game of All Time

We apologize for the huge lack of posts this last week, but we are ramped up and ready to go now! In comes #11 of the Greatest Video Game of All Time! If you are unfamiliar with this list, then check the following out:  #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20#19#18#17#16#15, #14#13, and #12. Enjoy #11! 

Kai – SimCity Series – For those few of you who haven’t heard of it, SimCity is the city-building game by Maxis that started the entire “Sim” franchise.  I played the original in elementary school (patiently waiting my turn as my school only had a couple Macs).  It was simple but straightforward. As mayor, you zoned the city and managed police, fire, education, and tax revenue.

The next game of the series was the amazing SimCity 2000, which switched the perspective from top-down 2D to isometric and really expanded the depth of the game.  It added city advisors, alien attacks, scenarios, and new city services.  

Several iterations followed, culminating with SimCity 4 (released in 2003).  EA and Maxis followed that with SimCity (2013) which basically killed the franchise due to bugs and a very small city size.  Since then Cities: Skylines has admirably taken up the mantle and made a city-building game worth playing.

I can’t recommend any of the previous games over Cities: Skylines, but they’ve provided awesome memories and created an entire genre of nonviolent, creative games.

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How to Decide on a Gym

In this day and age, it’s tough to find which gym you should join. From YMCAs to 24 Hour Fitnesses to Crossfit Boxes, there are a plethora of choices out there. And how do you know which one is the right pick for you? From high-class clubs like Equinox to $20/mo Planet Fitness, it’s hard to decide on a gym. More so, it’s hard to choose what will really benefit you (and your family) in the long run. Before you expect me to tell you what exactly you should be looking for, I will tell you that’s impossible. There are so many gyms out there, that I couldn’t give you the proper choice. Sure, I could go through a list of gym chains, but what if you have an incredibly awesome local gym like Ironhouse Gym in Mason City, Iowa? Instead, I’m going to give you a list of questions to ask yourself, look for the answers for these online, and ask the fitness facilities. Make sure they meet your criteria, otherwise, move on. You may not get every little thing you want, but make your list in priority order. Maybe the question, “Is this family-friendly?” is most important to you as you would like to exercise but also either have your kid in daycare or start swim lessons. This is about you! Here’s the list:

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Busting Pilates Myths

With all the new and upcoming fitness trends, it’s hard to discern what’s right and what’s just fluff. Is that oil really going to help me? Is that move really going to firm up my butt? Should I really drink all this beet juice? It’s hard to know the real truth, but that’s when friendly smart experts with super awesome infographics come into play. A big player in the fitness game nowadays is Pilates. Most people aren’t really sure of what it is. Is it yoga with more core? Is it harder yoga? What is it? Annabel Fitzsimmons lays it down for us in her article, Busting Pilates Myths on Health Perch
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#12 Greatest Video Game of All Time

I know we are one day late, but hey, we are still in the same week! Three weeks in a row–yes!! This countdown is on a roll and dangerously close to the top 10. As a refresher, this is the video game brain trust’s list of the top 25 greatest video games of all time and we are now down to #12! These are the ones you’ve missed so  far: #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20#19#18#17#16#15, #14, and #13

Kai – Master of Orion II In my opinion, Masters of Orion II is the best space-based 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) ever made.  I love science fiction and this game really makes you feel like you’re running an alien empire, but doesn’t overwhelm you with options.  There’s lore, multiple victory conditions, colonization, building, and space battles.  You design your ships, decide which technologies to research, and can even create your own alien species.

It’s a turn-based game like Civilization and definitely shares that “one more turn” compulsion.  It still holds up today as nothing in the genre has really come close (the sequel was probably the most disappointing game of all time for me).  If you’re looking to conquer the galaxy in an afternoon, I can’t recommend anything other than Masters of Orion II.

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Chocolate Banana Nut Protein Bars

Boy is this recipe a home run! I spent a good amount of time researching other protein bar recipes. Hungry had a great idea–we had some old bananas, so instead of banana bread, what if we made something fun like protein bars? We are always wanting more protein bars, and they can get expensive! This recipe is incredibly cheap to make (and easy). There are under ten ingredients and it is absolutely delicious. Nutritious and delicious–that’s my favorite kind of recipe. This one is fun because you can really have variety with it–you can substitute and switch out ingredients as you please. This recipe will have you gobbling down protein like no other!

photo 2 (53)
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Tomato Avocado Salad

In the past few weeks, Hungry and I have kicked up our fitness level to a certain degree. It’s been going fairly well, and we are a mission to achieve our goals and stay healthy! It’s not always easy. We have busy lives, a not-so-great neighborhood, and everyday troubles. However, we rise above and keep fighting for our passion! To go along with that are healthy recipes. Recently, our fridge and pantry have been chock full with delicious fruits and veggies. We’ve been getting great prices on avocados from Trader Joe’s which we’ve been certainly using to our advantage. We’ve been making different things like caprese salads, roasted tomato on toast, and yummy spinach recipes too. In this case, I simply combined a few ingredients to create something very tasty: a tomato avocado salad. 

Finished product

Finished product

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Education from Traveling as an American

In the Unites States, it feels like we are the center of the world. There is no second language and everyone knows or should know (in American opinion) English. We know we are a powerful country and certain unconscious thoughts feed into your mind because of that. And these thoughts will bleed out when traveling internationally, too, and sometimes it’s not pretty for either party. I’ve been traveling since I was a baby (a mother from New Zealand will do that), but I never started to realize my own American spoiled nature until recent travel experiences. Even though I consider myself an open-minded and culturally-sensitive person, some American travel habits can be just plain dumb. You can learn a lot from traveling as an American–about yourself, your habits, and other cultures. 

Chris'  favorite burger place in NZ

Chris’ favorite burger place in NZ

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#13 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Look at us, we’re on a roll! One week back to back already! Let’s see if we can keep this up. As a refresher, this is the video game brain trust’s list of the top 25 greatest video games of all time and we are now down to #13! These are the ones you’ve missed so  far: #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20 #19#18#17#16#15, and #14. Let’s hit it.

Kai – Goldeneye 007 – The only game on this list that I never actually owned (no N64), Goldeneye is an amazing game that I played at every one of my friends’ houses.  It’s a first-person shooter based on the Bond movie and is one of the best movie to game conversions ever made.

The single-player is really well done, with complex level design and objectives that scale with difficulty.  As good as that was, the multiplayer was even better, with insane tension and battles.  I’ve never played more splitscreen multiplayer of anything, even Mario Kart.  My friends and I would always load up license to kill (one-shot kills) and proximity mines.  It truly revolutionized multiplayer shooters going forward and is still a lot of fun.