FTD’s Groupon Bait & Switch!

I decided to pick up FTD’s $40 for $20 groupon this morning as it looks like a good deal however as I found out quickly this deal is definitely NOT worth it.  I had previously looked for flowers on FTD’s site and knew I wanted to get the Simply Cheerful Mix for $19.99 + another arrangement to get my order total to $40.  After receiving my groupon certificate for FTD, I followed the directions and went to http://www.ftd.com/groupon only to find that the same arrangement that was $19.99 through DealCatcher was now jacked up to $39.99 via the Groupon landing page.  Long story short I realize that groupon certificates don’t normally stack with other offers but it seems extremely shady and definitely goes under the BAIT & SWITCH column in my book!  I think I’ll stick to 18F or Proflowers offers at this point.

On another note, Groupon gladly refunded my order and even mentioned that they had already fielded a number of other complaints for this offer.

Chrysler to Double Cash For Clunkers Vouchers

I just read in the news that Chrysler will double the federal government’s cash for clunkers vouchers starting Thursday. Best of all, even if your car does not qualify for the government’s voucher, the Chrysler offer will apply to any buyer regardless of the age and fuel economy of the trade-in vehicle. In other words, if you pick the right car and already qualify for the government’s vourcher you could get up to $9,000 off a new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge.

List of Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles for Chrysler, Dodge & Jeep


2010 Dodge Caliber

Combined MPG– 26

MSRP – $17,090

2010 Dodge Journey 2WD

Combined MPG – 21

MSRP – $21,600

2010 Jeep Patriot 2WD

Combined MPG – 25

MSRP -$18,170

2010 Jeep Compass 2WD

Combined MPG – 25

MSRP – $19,095


Washing machine that uses one cup of water

Picture-5Professor Stephen Burkinshaw of the University of Leeds has developed a washing machine that uses one cup of water. According to the article I just read, “It uses less than 10% of the water of conventional machines and 30% less energy by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny reusable plastic beads to attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions”. Xeros, the company behind the technology, will begin selling the washing machine to hotels & dry cleaners before entering the consumer market.

For more information check out their site:

#1 Buyer of Organic Cotton – Walmart!

walmart_organicAccording to a recent Organic Cotton Market Report by the Organic Exchange, international retail sales of organic cotton grew 63% from 2007 to 2008.  At the top of the list for retailers / brands that are purchasing organic cotton is Walmart (believe it or not). I haven’t been in a local Walmart in some time however I just did a search on their site and found 136 men’s, women’s & children’s apparel items all featuring organic cotton. The best part is that all of the items are actually reasonably priced. I found a boys tee for $3, men’s tees starting at $4, women’s tank tops starting at $4 and women’s skirts / dresses for as low as $10.

Also on the list of top ten retailers / brands is GreenSource (#9 ), Pottery Barn (#8) and Nike (#3).  For the complete list, check out Tree Hugger.

If you have no idea what organic cotton is or why you should purchase it, here is a chart to show you the differences between conventional and organic cotton.


Cash for Clunkers Bill Passes House

clunkerThe House on Tuesday passed a $4 billion plan to subsidize new car sales for consumers called the “Cash for Clunkers” program.  The program would give consumers up to $5,000 to turn in older gas guzzlers and buy new cars if also passed by the senate.

How would it work?
The government will send up to $5,000 to the selling dealer on your behalf if you meet ALL  of the following criteria:
1. You trade in a car that has been registered and in-use for at least a year
2. Your trade in has a combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 18 or fewer miles per gallon (Check your vehicles combined rating)
3. Your trade in is at least 8 years old
4. Your new car is less than $35,000

Original Article – http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/09/news/economy/cash_for_clunkers/index.htm

A Healthy Salad from Moes Restaurant?

My co-workers and I are picking up Moe’s for lunch today so I decided to check out their salad options. Below are the 2 options I found on their site:

closetalkerpersonaltrainerThere is the Personal Trainer which weighs in at a whopping 880 calories and 62g of Fat along with the Close Talker which somehow found a way pack in more calories and fat. It has 1030 calories and 68g of fat.  If I chose to eat either of these I would have already met / exceeded my Fat for the day and had 70 – 90% of my sodium for the day along with approx 50% of my calories for the day.

I instead opted for a soft taco called “The Funk Meister” which has chicken, black beans, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo for 280 calories and 10g of fat.  I’ll most likely have something else along with this however I try to keep each meal I eat to between 300 – 600 calories.

I’m not sure how popular these salads are at Moes but would bet that if the calorie / fat information were posted along side the price on the menu, these items would not be ordered nearly as much.

Eating healthy at an Italian Restaurant

We went with my family to Lamberti’s, a local Italian restaurant, this weekend. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently in a biggest loser competition at work and am trying to lose weight / make healthier decisions while I’m out.  I would love it if every restaurant offered nutrition information however it seems only big chain restaurants actually offer that information.

I did however do a little research about Italian restaurants and healthier choices prior to going to dinner.  Here are some of the items to avoid along with some items to look for if you are looking to make healthier decisions.

Avoid Any Meal with the following:
Alfredo (as in fettucine)

Anything Stuffed with Cheese (bummer for me since i love cheese)

Healthier Selections:
Marinara Sauce
Neopolitan Sauce
Minestrone Soup
Marinated Vegetable Antipasto
Piccata (lemon-based sauce for either chicken or veal dishes)
Plain Pasta
White Wine Sauces

img_7420I decided to go with the Cappellini Primavera which had the following description:
Seasonal vegetables and tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and light garlic marinara

I’ve been counting calories for a few weeks now and have become much more aware of serving sizes.  When I got my dinner delivered I was somewhat disturbed by the massive amount of cappellini they gave me.  Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious and I enjoyed eating dinner however what disturbed me was that I used to eat almost the entire meal and now I realize how many serving sizes I used to eat.

After eating approx 1 serving which is a little over 1 cup of cooked pasta (8oz), I had the rest put in a to go box.  When I got home I decided to weigh the remaining amount on my food scale. As you can see my leftovers weighed in at 1lb 10 oz which is a little over 3 servings of food.  I am basing the serving size on the cappellini (1 serving = 1 Cup or 8 oz).

Here’s the scary part.  Lamberti’s does not have the calories mentioned on their site however here is my best estimate at how many calories are in this entire meal:

Estimated Calories in Cappellini Primavera from Lamberti’s
800 Calories for the Cappellini (4 Servings x 200 calories)
476 Calories for the Olive Oil (4 Tablespoons x 119 Calories)
160 Calories for the Lt Garlic Marinara (2 Servings x 80 Calories)
1,436 Calories

Red Robin Low Calorie Choices?

redrobin2As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in a biggest loser competition at work, if you can call it that since there are only 2 of us in the competition. Last night I went to Red Robin for dinner which I knew was possibly going to make me go over my calories for the day.  I decided to go to their site prior to visiting the store so I could plan out my meal.  I first looked at their “Lighten Up” menu which is supposed to be their low cal offerings.   The 2 lowest options were their “Lettuce Wrap your Burger” for 422 calories and the “Garden Burger” for 517 calories.

Lettuce Wrap your Burger
422 Calories
27G Fat

The Garden Burger
517 Calories
18g Fat

Crispy Fish Burger
603 Calories
28G Fat

Grilled Turkey Burger
700 Calories
43G Fat

Grilled Salmon Burger
745 Caolries
38G Fat

I did not want the “lettuce wrap your burger” or the garden burger which left me with fish, turkey and salmon burgers.  I instead opted for a standard cheeseburger but had them not put on the seasonings / mayo.  Below is what I ended up choosing:

Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger w/o mayo & seasonings
740 Calories
37g Fat

Red Robin Steak Fries (shared with my wife)
195 Calories (390 calories for entire serving)
27G Fat (54G Fat for entire serving)

All in all I ate approx 935 calories and 64G of fat for dinner. That does not sound that good but to put this in to perspective I will show you what I would have normally picked at Red Robin.

Chili Chili Cheeseburger + Steak Fries
1367 Calories
74G Fat

Mudd Pie (eat 1/2)
695 Calories (1390 for entire serving)
34.5G Fat (69G Fat for entire serving)
2062 Calories
108.5G Fat

My plan over the past few weeks during the competition has been to not cut out foods that I like but to make better choices at home and while I am out.

Long time no blog

I realize it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog.  I have had lots of things to write about and little time to write about each topic.  In the coming weeks expect to see a few posts about some new gree products that we purchased over the past few weeks including the Solatube we had installed in our bathroom on Earth Day.

On another note, this week is “Bike to work week”.  Ok so Friday is actually bike to work day but it seems the powers that be are trying to turn it into an entire week.  I do live but one mile from the office and have not switched over to biking to work 100% of the time but am hoping that I will start biking to work more frequently in the coming weeks.

I have started a “biggest loser” weight loss competition at work against Dan.  We are now three weeks in and I have lost 17lbs.  There are a few factors that make that number a bit higher than it really is (ie we weighed in after lunch in jeans the 1st day and before breakfast in shorts every week since then).  I am still happy for the amount of weight I have lost as a result of tracking my calories and running.

That’s all for now!