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I’ll admit it:  “Cellfire” as the name of a Web site automatically makes me think of companies spamming my phone.  Luckily, first impressions are not always correct!

If you shop at Shop Rite, Kroger’s, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Shop’nSave or Foodtown, you should be signed up for this site.  Jared and I first discovered it through Fios TV, and I think the concept is awesome.  By registering with the site, you are able to register your store loyalty cards and add coupons directly to the card.  No more coupon clipping or searching for coupons you’ve misplaced (Disclaimer:  I’m still a coupon clipper, and my system is so organized it would make your head spin.  But I digress).  Simply log on, add the coupons you want to your card, and the discounts will be automatically taken at checkout.

The site has a multitude of ways to keep consumers connected to the coupons they choose, whether it’s online, through your TV or through a mobile app.  The offers are for popular brands that you might shop for anyway, making it worth the time to sign up and browse.  The site also features a section that allows you to print coupons by installing an App onto your computer.

I’m desperate to use this site and all its features, but for some reason Jared and I are having a problem with our Shop Rite card, where the site doesn’t seem to recognize it.  We’ve noticed this before too in Shop Rite when they try to look us up, so I think the problem is on our end.  Once I’ve got it up and running properly, I’ll be sure to share any hints and tricks I’ve found when using the site!

Anyone else currently using this with success?  Or have you had trouble as well?

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Thanks to Hip2Save, I’m discovering all sorts of fun sites lately.  Yesterday, I saw a notice about House Party on the Facebook feed.  After some exploration of Hip2Save’s blog post and the House Party site, I thought it would be a fun site to share.

The concept is pretty cool:  House Party lists a number of different events sponsored by various brands that are looking to get the word out about their products.  As a member of the House Party site, you apply online to act as host for the various events.  If you are chosen, you get some free stuff and great products to use.  All you have to do is host the party!

So what’s the catch?  Parties do have to be hosted on a specific day, so if you’re booked for like months on end like we always seem to be, it might be hard to find something cool to host.  Also, there is no guarantee you’ll be chosen.  Basically, it seems as if you have to meet certain requirements, and there are only so many party packages to go around.  Also, you are expected to be an active part of the community, sharing photos and information from your party.  Fun for a blogger like me, but probably not a real incentive for most other people.

I’m super into this concept.  Number one, because I like free things, and number two, because it’s a great excuse to get people together.  My only concern is not getting enough people to attend!  While most of the upcoming parties are on dates that I wouldn’t be able to host, I’ll be on the look out for some fun ones.

Who’s in??  Would anyone come to something like this, or is it annoying?  Feedback, please!  Otherwise, I’ll update once I have my first party 🙂

Just when I think I’ve been pushing myself to the limits when it comes to working out, I find a new DVD that makes me wonder if I’m ever really working hard at all.

Similar to the HiiT video, Cathe’s Cardio Core Circuit incorporates a lot of plyometric movement that has your heart pumping within the first few minutes.  The DVD is set up into 5 intense little rounds.  When I first started, for some reason I thought it was 7 rounds, and I honestly didn’t know how I’d get through them.  There are 3 cardio drills that are done for 30 seconds each, and then repeated.  After that, there is a small session of intense core work.

Regarding the cardio, there is a LOT of jumping and bouncing around.  Honestly, if you have any kind of lower body injury, such as knee or ankle pain, I really would not recommend this workout.  Knowing you only have to do each move twice and then you move on helps to keep you motivated, however, it’s definitely not for beginners.  There were a few points where I had to stop just to try to get my breathing back on track.  I’ve never found myself wishing for jump squats, but to be honest, those were a welcome break after some of the other moves!

The core moves are very advanced.  I’m sure I’ll work up to them, but Cathe does a lot of squat thrusts and push up type things that have always been very hard for me.  She does provide some modifications, though, and those will have to do for now!

This is not the kind of video that I could do more than once or twice a week.  While it’s most definitely a FABULOUS cardio option, I was very sore in my legs the next day and even the day after that.  Make sure you bring a lot of energy to this one…you’ll need it!  While it’s certainly not impossible to the point where I’d need to turn it off, it’s a true challenge, but the rewards outweigh the pain 🙂

How many times can a girl possibly talk about Jackie Warner?  A lot, I tell you, because I just keep discovering quick, great workouts that really push me to my limits.

My boss was yet again kind enough to lend me Jackie’s Xtreme Timesaver Training DVD.  You may recall my recent lust over Fitness Magazine’s round-up of the best workout DVDs of 2011?  This one made the list in the “Ultimate Quickie Makeover” category.  While this is only a 30 minute workout, since it involves full body weight training moves, you won’t really be wishing for more when that 30 minutes is up!

After I first did this workout, my legs were shaking when I was done.  Like, shaking so bad I could hardly stand up.  Since Jackie works your upper and lower body simultaneously, there is a LOT of static holding for the lower body.  Some examples include holding a runner’s lunge while doing rear delt flys and holding a sumo squat while curling.  Each move is done for one minute per side (where applicable) and I do have to admit that some of those holds are extremely painful to hold.

Thankfully, as with most Jackie workouts, there are beginner modifications.  Even though I’m not a beginner, I sometimes still modify part of the movement.  The full beginner modification does not use weights at all, and usually drops to a knee, or doesn’t hold as deep.  For the runners lunge hold, I do end up dropping to a knee about halfway through, although for some reason I can hold almost for the full minute on my right side.

From a weight perspective, I will be the first to admit that I have a weak upper body and I feel the burn there before I feel it anywhere else.  Since you’re doing this moves rather quickly for a minute, I’m still only rocking 3 pound weights. On a similar note, Jackie is a huge fan of working the shoulders, and my shoulders are usually in a good kind of pain for a day or so after this workout.  I also feel it in my glutes pretty quickly as well.

My favorite move is the last one, where you’re leaning over and doing a shoulder raise, working both your obliques as well as your shoulders.  Feels fabulous, and I have to say I’m starting to notice some awesome oblique definition as well.  Some other great ones are the curtsy squat + punch combination and the bicep curls while lifting the leg up and down off the ground.

Although this is a strength training DVD, there are a lot of face paced moves in here that do get your heart rate up and leave you a bit breathless.  The whole point of the DVD is to maximize your workout in only 30 minutes, and the combination of strength moves and just overall movement makes that easy to do.

Check out a short preview below, and good luck!

Money is tight for everyone these days.  While some are fortunate enough to have a gym in their apartment building or work building, for those of us without those resources, it can be hard to justify a gym membership.  I’ve been doing home workouts for about 3 years now.  While it can be hard to find a video that makes you work hard enough to feel it, Fitness Magazine just made it easier for all of us with our own home gyms!

The Top 10 Workout Videos for 2011 breaks down the best of the best as far as home workouts are concerned, providing variety as well as a great workout.  From Bob Harper to Jackie Warner to Jillian Michaels to Denise Austin, this list really includes something for everyone.  Fitness Magazine even broke down the amount of calories you would burn, as well as what you need, and included a snippet from each video.

This is really one of the best resources I’ve seen in awhile.  After reading this list, I was super tempted to go out and buy all the ones I haven’t tried (I’ve tried Jillian’s 6 week 6 pack as well as Jackie’s XTreme Timesaver Workout).  While it can certainly add up, as some of these videos cost up to $20 not counting some of the equipment you might need, if working out at home is your main source of exercise, it’s certainly worth the investment.  For now, I’ll hope  that I win the pack of 10, although I’m sure that’s a long shot. 🙂

I haven’t checked to see if any of these are available on Netflix, but that’s another great option if you’re looking to try before you buy as well as find something that motivates you to work hard at home.  Thanks to Fitness Magazine for such a great resource list and for remembering those of us without access to gym equipment that still like to work hard!

I am fortunate enough to have an awesome boss who is even more committed to finding great workout options than I am.  And I benefit from this passion of hers, because she’s awesome enough to let me borrow the ones she finds so I can see if they are worth buying.  Our latest find comes from Cathe Friedrich.

Are we jumping?

Anyone who follows the conversations in the exercise and fitness world knows that high-intensity interval training is often recommended as the best way to burn fat in short, intense workouts.  Jillian Michaels bases a lot of her workouts on this philosophy, as do many other trainers.  It really takes your cardio sessions to the next level as far as I’m concerned.

Cathe’s HiiT High-Intensity Interval Training DVD certainly rivals other videos I’ve done with this method for intensity.  As in, it’s one of the most intense cardio routines I’ve done in awhile.  Below are the two options I tried on the DVD.

30/30: The 30/30 segment does require a step for some of the movements.  30/30 is broken into 30 second blasts with 30 seconds of rest and includes both a warm-up and a cool down.  As my boss warned me and I soon found out, don’t get discouraged by some of the step moves Cathe uses in the warm-up.  They are very fast-paced and hard to catch on to for beginners, however, the interval portion is easier to follow.  When I say easier to follow, I mean it’s easier to get the movement down, but certainly not easy to complete.  Even Cathe is out of breath and can’t talk after some of the blasts.  With a lot of jumping, this workout can be a bit hard on your knees and ankles, however, for 30 second blasts it is certainly tolerable.  I was breathing so hard after some of the blasts that I thought I’d never recover.  And that just feels good!

Pyramid Program: The pyramid segment does not require a step and is an AWESOME way to get your cardio in each week.  Cathe takes you up the pyramid, increasing the blasts and rests, then takes you back down.  Then you do it all over again.  Once again, there is a decent amount of jumping, and I certainly felt this workout the next day in my legs and even a bit in my arms.  The warm up is fun and energizing, and after completing the pyramid two times, you’ll definitely feel like you worked hard.

The only segment I did not try was the 40/20, with 40 seconds of cardio and 20 second blasts.  If it’s anything like the other segments, however, I’m sure it’s worth the work.

I’m not going to lie about it-these workouts are challenging, and if you’re just starting out, I would not recommend you start here.  However, if you’re looking to make big changes through a home workout, these should most certainly get put into your rotation immediately.  The only drawback is that the video is expensive-about $27 on Amazon, plus you have to buy a step to do some of the routines.  However, the overall benefits of doing a workout like this even just twice a week certainly pays off.

I love this time of year.  Everyone’s making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, while those of us that have always committed to that goal are revising our plans and continuing to keep up with the usual, envying those who begin to drop pounds immediately.  The upside of this is that the New Year’s advertising by health and fitness experts allows us to easily incorporate some variety into our routines!

I’ve talked about my great love for Exercise TV before, and how convenient the plans are.  I downloaded the 10 Pound Slimdown about 2 weeks ago and am now in Week 3 of the routine.  While I can’t say I ever believe a plan that promises you’ll lose that much weight, it never hurts to try a new routine.

Chris Freytag is the trainer for this video, and I was familiar with her through a video I bought awhile ago by Prevention.  I was a little worried the workouts wouldn’t be challenging enough after I’ve worked out with the likes of Jackie Warner and Jillian Michaels, but this series is actually pretty great.  The printable calendar instructs you regarding which workouts to do each day, rotating through a series of 5 workouts with 2 days off. I’m always attracted to workouts that build in two days off.  While I’m certainly committed to working out, sometimes it’s just not possible to get in a full 7 days, nor is it healthy.  Your muscles need time to rest!

Chris Freytag uses circuit training to take you through 20-25 minutes of lower body, upper body, core, yoga and a total body blast.  While yoga isn’t my thing, I have tried the other 4 and found them to be pretty effective for only 20 minutes.  The moves are challenging enough to keep me huffing and puffing, but not so challenging that I can’t complete them with good form.

Using the free plan on the TV still gives me access to each workout video, as well as the calendar and meal guide.  The DVD costs about $20 and to download the workouts it’s about $15.  I don’t think the workouts are longer if you pay for them, so I’m constantly wondering what the appeal is.  Perhaps they won’t always be available?  Whatever the case, breaking up a week’s worth of work into 5 20 minute segments has allowed me to stick to a plan and not skip days due to the fact that “I don’t have time”.  This is a great place to start, whether you’re making resolutions or renewing your commitment to feeling great!

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly brand loyal when it comes to face wash.  In fact, over the course of these few years I’ve been writing, I’ve probably reviewed about 3-4 different facial cleansers.  All of them have worked great, and for that reason, I haven’t seen the need to stick with just one product.

I received a coupon for L’Oreal Go 360 Clean face wash, and decided to give it a try.  The commercial actually caught my attention with the little scrubber.  After reading about how wash cloths can hang onto a lot of bacteria, I’ve been looking for ways to wash without using one.  Sure, washing with just your hands is fine, but I always feel like I’m not quite doing a great job.

The Scrublet, as it is called, pops right out of the bottle for easy access and storage.  The Scrublet has a nice feel, with soft “bristles” for lack of a better word that are flexible and not too rough on your face.  I’m doing a poor job explaining them, but they’re like bendy little things that stick out of the disk.  Just look at the picture, lol!

The wash itself is gel based, which I haven’t used in awhile.  One small drop on the Scrublet works up an incredible lather.  And let’s face it, it’s fun to use.  Makes me feel like I’m getting a spa treatment each time I use it, which I think is the whole appeal to females like me.  The scent of the wash is a bit strange to me, but is apparently supposed to smell like naranji, orange flower, and mint.  I wouldn’t say I catch all of those, but it does smell clean and not too “medicine like.”

After using the disk and the wash, my face does feel noticeably smoother.  I haven’t had too many problems with breakouts yet since using, so I’ll consider that a success.  The only issue I am struggling with is some dryness, however, that could be attributed to weather changes as well.

For around $7 a bottle, I’m anxious to see how long this lasts.  While it’s definitely a nice wash and the Scrublet is neat, I’m honestly not sure I’m willing to pay that much for a face wash that works similarly to other ones I’ve used.  I have some concerns about the Scrublet being clean after so many uses, but I’m sure if I soak it in hot water once a week or so, that should take care of it!  Overall, it’s  a great product with great benefits; just not sure the cost is justified at this point in time.

I talk a lot about shopping online and getting great deals.  In fact, I would actually go so far as to say I’m borderline obsessed with searching for the best prices and coupons.  I have my standards that I’ve mentioned before, like Ebates and Overstock, however, as we begin to decorate a bit more in our new house, I’ve had to expand my horizons a bit to find exactly what I need.

ShopSmart magazine‘s October issue spoke right to me with their “6 New Ways to Save” article.  I was a bit surprised they didn’t mention cash back type sites, but the article was really focused primarily on getting the lowest price, not necessarily the best coupons.  Since I’m a former search engine junkie (and still think I put together a mean search term), I was interested in their first tip regarding using search engines to shop.  The winner out of the four sites they tested was PriceGrabber, a site I have admittedly never used.

In my continuing obsession to find the perfect scarf valances for our living room (because the ones I bought from Overstock just aren’t doing it for me), I decided to give PriceGrabber a try.  The site has a very simple layout, with a huge search box right at the top, making it easy to get started.  While a search for “288 inch scarf valance” only brought up two options I hadn’t already seen, they actually turned out to be exactly what I was looking for, for the right price.  Clicking on the product takes you right to the manufacturer’s Web site where you can continue to shop.

I can see myself becoming obsessed with this site.  PriceGrabber features a deal of the day, where you could save up to 55% or more (today’s deal is a volt impact driver…not super exciting, but a great price!).  When you register for an account, you have the ability save products as you browse.  I think I’d have to do a lot of shopping to make that useful, but still a nice feature for those of us with a poor memory.

For the coupon lover in us all, there is a section featuring merchant coupons.  The list is ridiculously extensive, today featuring 294 coupons.  With the ability to select a merchant from the drop down list, this is a great way to consolidate deals in one place without clicking around too much.

Overall, I can see why PriceGrabber was rated #1 by Shop Smart magazine for being a great place to start your search.  With community features, reviews, coupons, extensive shopping categories and quick search functionality, PriceGrabber could be the first and last place you need to go to start your online shopping engine.

Oh, and did I mention there’s an App for that?

I’ve already sung the praises of Verizon FIOS and their awesome workout options.  And, I have FIOS to thank for leading me to my Friday feature!

I read about Exercise TV months ago in SELF magazine, but to be honest, with the way our internet connection was in Bedminster, there was no way I was interested in working out on a small little computer screen that took forever to load.  However, seeing their videos on FIOS intrigued me again, and I was very pleased with what I found on their site.

First and foremost, they do a fantastic job of driving people to their site.  The workouts that I chose to do had a calendar that you could print for a full plan available online.  Um, yes please!  Once I was there, I discovered there were a wealth of plans you could print online that correlated with what was on your On Demand service.

If you’re not as cool as me and don’t have FIOS, that’s ok.  You still can watch full length workout videos right on the site, as long as you don’t mind the small screen.  The options seem pretty diverse, which is great for a free service.  Even better, the ones I checked out are the right balance of challenging while not being over the top.

The Premium Pass is a new paid feature offered through the site that offers workout and nutrition plans that can be done easily from home.  It seems that plans start at around $10/month, and offer things like video download credits, 200 workouts, plans and playlists.  The highest plan goes for around $130 for 6 months and includes advanced features like a meal plan, subscription to SELF magazine, and ask the expert features.  Can’t say whether or not things like this are worth it-I guess it depends on what you need!  I will say this, though, considering some sports clubs can cost that per month, this might be a better option!

Exercise TV has really helped me kick my boring workout routines to the curb, with the option to offer variety in easily searchable fashions.  Since I’m nursing a pretty major knee injury, my focus has been on upper body and core, and the site and TV make it easy to find workouts that fit this need.

Happy Fat Burning!

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