Pulse Oximeters

I first heard about the pulse oximeter when I was younger. You know when you’re watching ER (I’m dating myself — everyone watches Grey’s Anatomy now) and you hear a flurry of medical speech? “Heart rate dropping! BP 140/60, pulse-ox 90…” That last bit is a pulse oximeter reading. But these machines aren’t just for hospitals any more. Pulse oximeters are becoming popular with athletes and small medical practices too, as a quick, pain-free way to find out how oxygenated the blood is.

When you exercise, oxygen is carried to your muscles via the bloodstream. This is why you breathe heavily; more activity from the muscles means more oxygen is required to keep your body moving. This is an essential performance issue, so you can see why a pulse oximeter is a helpful device. Athletes can monitor their blood-oxygen levels in real-time as they train simply by clipping the small device onto their finger. It also shows the heartrate, which is another essential training statistic.

Now that these devices have moved out of the ER and into small, cell-phone-sized devices that cost less than $100, there’s no excuse for athletes not to own one and take care of their bodies as they train.

Children’s Storage Solutions

Next month I’m going up to Scotland for my niece’s christening. (She’s the baby sister to the nephew I’ve mentioned in other posts.) As a proud auntie, I’m looking into gifts that fall outside the realm of traditional silver tchotkies; something that will be fun and also useful for the family.

They live in a smallish house, so I’m thinking about getting some type of childrens storage for their bedroom. Right now, their toys are just EVERYWHERE, and now that there are twice as many, it’s getting a tad out of hand. Ideally I want something neutral that the niece and nephew can share (because sharing is good :)) and also portable, in case it ends up downstairs or goes on holiday with them. There are really cute baskets and cases at the link above; it’s just a matter of picking which one. They also have a really neutral storage chest that I’d love to get, maybe for one of their birthdays this summer (since it’s a bigger gift). And of course I’ll fill it with a toy or two, because mums love storage and kids love toys.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

If there’s one thing that I could drool over all day, it’s cars. From the moment I turned 16 (and, let’s be truthful, it goes back further than that) I would obsessively identify cars on the road. I could spot a Ford Mustang from across a parking lot, even if I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face.

Here are a few of my recent faves:

Volvo Xc60 AWD – I <3 AWD cars, and Volvo is cool again thanks to Edward Cullen. The XC60 is my favorite kind of car — a crossover that looks great on-road but can drive off the beaten path too. It’s also sporty, with plenty of room in the trunk for sports equipment or gear for a doggy day out. It has a 3.0L engine, so it’ll give you plenty of punch too.

Honda Accord Ex-L – Honda Accords used to live firmly in the “dependable” category, but these days you get a lot more options. For example, Honda used to make a V6 Hybrid, which appeals to both my sporty side and my green inclinations. They stopped production on these a few years ago, but you can still find them on pre-owned car lots and they’re well worth checking out. The cool version out now is the Crosstour, which has a V6, decent MPG (16/28) and a streamlined, hatchback look. It comes in red too, so I’m sold.

Mazda Mx-5 – Admittedly, the Miata used to be one of my least favorite cars, but a lot has changed in the last decade. The new Miatas are much more modern-looking. The specs are still unspectacular, until you remember that these things are also small and light. Even with a four-cylinder engine and ~170hp, Miatas can still move.

Aston Martin – The model doesn’t matter; it’s an Aston Martin! Nothing says performance like Britain’s finest sports cars. My personal favorite has always been the DB9, not surprisingly because it appears frequently in video games. It may be out of my price range for now, but it can’t hurt to dream for the future!

Find All the Best Deals

Now that Christmas is over, there are a lot of great deals to be had on items you didn’t find under the tree. I used to use regular search engines to search for products, but this past year I started using ShopWiki to find the lowest prices on products.

A few things on my 2011 Wish List:

Sunglasses – I hope to have these by the time the crazy-bright UK sun comes out around June. Now that we have a nice big garden to tend and play in, I’ll be spending a lot more time outside and my eyes will need to be protected. For me, the style is more important than the brand, so I use ShopWiki to narrow my search down (to sporty style, in case Santa is reading this).

Woman’s Watch – I’m kind of a sucker for watches anyway, but I’ve been looking for something a little more rugged than the watch I currently have. ShopWiki can narrow down my search right away so I don’t end up looking at products that don’t apply to me.

ShopWiki also has fabulous shopping guides written by real humans (!) on a variety of topics, so if you know your crazy Aunt Mildred loves her fashion accessories but you don’t quite know where to go from there, the guide gives you tons of ideas and links to cool products. And I can’t stress enough that, even though ShopWiki is a shopping search engine, they’ve spent a significant amount of time putting these guides together and making them relevant for consumers. I wish I could write for them (hire me, please!).

Window Boxes to Spruce Up Our House

I’ve talked a lot about being a new homeowner and the changes we’re planning on making. For those who are new to the blog, let me back up — we bought a house last year that “ticked all the boxes” but needed a little bit of work done to it. It was in an area formerly made up of government housing, so the house is functional but bland. We’ve been looking at ways to spruce it up and make it our own.

My latest brainstorm is adding window boxes to the outside. This was also something I’d considered in our old apartment, but because we were only renting it was never a priority. Now, though, we’re looking into it and I’m so surprised by all the options out there. Window flower boxes come in all shapes, sizes and materials, so we can do up our house however we want and keep it under budget.

Our house is pretty neutral so I think we’ll end up with white garden window boxes, so it goes with the rest of the external decor. We’re saving up now for our big spring spruce up, and I’ll post pictures as soon as we start working on it!