My Favorite Things of 2021

It’s been another year & I am back with another favorite things list. I hope everyone who reads this had a great 2021! On to the list.

686 Everywhere Pant (Slim)

On last year’s list I posted about my love for the Denali Travel Pant. I still love and wear these pants to this day. However, for my birthday this year, my wife bought me 2 pairs of the 686 Everywhere pants. While considerably more expensive than the travel pants I had worn up until this point, the Everywhere pants are a massive upgrade in every way. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I have been wearing them very regularly since getting them and even purchased a 3rd pair later in the year. I cannot recommend these pants enough.

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low Pro GT Skate

I picked up my first pair of Blazers this year and I couldn’t be more happy with them. I have never been into the Air Force 1s or Dunks but the Blazers has always been appealing to me. I love how these look and also how they feel on foot. I have some similar shoes in the Vans Old Skools as well as the Adidas Sambas that are not close to these in comfort. Very happy with this pair of shoes.

Blundstone #585 in Rustic Brown

I purchased my first pair of boots in over 10 years this year. I picked up some Blundstones on a trip to Austin this year and have been very happy with them. These boots are tough, comfortable, and I love the way they look. I plan on having these around for the next 10 years.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Hip Pack

I purchased this fanny pack back in April and it has proven to be a very handy bag to take with me on the go. First off, it packs into it’s own front pocket and becomes very small, so you can easily bring it anywhere. It’s also made of a very durable ripstop material and is extremely lightweight. I hate carrying a bunch of items in my pocket when I am walking around the city and this little bag is perfect to put all of my small items in. I can carry my iPhone, wallet, keys, chapstick, sunglasses, and a spare battery pack all in this little pack. You can wear it around your waist like it’s the 80s again or, you can wear it crossbody which is what I prefer.

iPad mini 6

I have already wrote an entire post about my love for this little tablet. I still love it and use it everyday. It is extremely portable and is a pleasure to use. Long live the mini!

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

I am a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch and was very happy to upgrade to the new OLED model when it was released this fall. It is a very nice upgrade over the regular switch in several key ways. Obviously the new OLED screen is the star of the show, being both larger in size as well as much more vibrant. Throw in a massively improved kickstand, better speakers, and those sweet, sweet white Joy-Cons and you have yourself a pretty solid upgrade.

Apple Fitness +

I love Apple Fitness + but of course I would right? It seems like it was made for people just like me. I am very fitness oriented and, as a huge Apple fan, I have all of the required gear already. While not for everybody, I love that I can do classes from my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV wherever I am and the Apple Watch integration is so, so good. I love working out outside more than anything but when the weather is not cooperating, I am pumped to open up Apple Fitness and close my rings for the day!

Pikmin Bloom

I have been playing Pikmin Bloom for a little over a week and a half now and wanted to give my thoughts. Pikmin Bloom is a new game on both Google Play & iOS from Niantic, the creators of Pokémon GO.

For those unaware, I will do my best to explain what Pikmin Bloom essentially is. The goal of the game is to walk around outside and find seedlings scattered about. You grow the seedlings by walking a certain amount of steps until they are ready to be plucked. They will then follow you on the map and help you find other items and additional seedlings.

You can feed your Pikmin nectar found from fruit that the Pikmin gather to have them sprout flowers on their heads. You collect the petals from their flowers and plant them as you walk to grow flowers everywhere you walk. Along the way, you may encounter giant flowers that require you to plant smaller flowers all around them for them to bloom. Once the giant flowers bloom you can collect valuable items each time you walk past them. After you reach a certain level, you may also encounter mushrooms, which you can tackle alone or with up to four other people. Upon taking down the mushrooms you will gain various items as well.

This trailer gives a brief overview as to what the game is all about:

As someone who really enjoyed Pokémon GO for a time, I was curious to try out Pikmin Bloom. I don’t play very many phone games, (I much prefer playing the Nintendo Switch for portable games) so I figured I would try it out for a day or two and then be done with it. I did not expect at all to fall in love with it but that is exactly what happened! Below are some of my favorite things about Pikmin Bloom so far:

  • I love that like Pokémon Go before it, Pikmin Bloom encourages you to get out and walk. In fact, with less things to stop for in Pikmin Bloom versus Pokémon GO, I find myself walking more and stopping less to interact with the game. As someone who loves walking anyway, this game is perfect for me and I find that it pushes me to walk even further than I typically would.
  • Another thing that really incentivizes me to get out and walk is that the app lets you look at any players on your friend list’s total lifetime step count. This has been a huge motivator for me to get out and walk more!
  • I also love how simple the game is right now. You can get in and out in just a couple of minutes. It respects my time which is definitely what I am looking for in a phone game.
  • I like how there are special Pikmin, called Decor Pikmin, that wear special costumes tied to where you found their seedlings originally. This feature encourages you to walk around places you may not typically think of to try and get all of the various forms of Decor Pikmin.
  • I also like the social aspects of Pikmin Bloom. Not only can you send postcards that your Pikmin find to your friends, but if you are with your friends irl, you can walk and plant flowers together, as well as tackle some of the harder expeditions together. It’s a lot of fun to play with a friend or friends!
  • The last feature I wanted to highlight is the daily log feature. Every night, you will get a notification to go into the app and look at how you did for the day. It will show you how many steps you had that day as well as show on the map all of the flowers you planted for the day. It will then ask you how your day was and prompt you to post a picture or pictures from your phone that were taken that day as a memory. I initially did not think I would like this feature but it turns out to be a lot of fun! I am looking forward to looking back at my daily log in a few months and being reminded of all of the things I did on various days through the pictures that I uploaded.

If all of this sounds like something you want to check out, I highly encourage you to download it and try it out for yourself. Now is a great time to jump in as Niantic is holding the first Pikmin Bloom Community Day this Saturday on November 13th. You can download it on iOS here and on Google Play here.

My Favorite Things of 2015

Hey guys, as we enter into another year I wanted to take minute to look back on 2015 and see what some of my favorite things of 2015 were. These are all things I acquired or enjoyed last year. Here’s to an even better year in 2016!applewatch1

Apple Watch – I love my Apple Watch for many reasons. I love how it looks, I love getting notifications on my wrist, I love how many times it saves me from pulling my phone out of my pocket, but most of all I love the fitness tracking and activity goals it provides. I have been more active this year than in the past 6 or 7 years and trying to fill those little activity rings every day was a big part of it. I even joined a gym for the first time in my life when it got too cold for me to exercise outside. Yes, this product is not for the masses yet but I couldn’t imagine going without it. Link

 

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It’s so beautiful.

S’well Water Bottle – I ran across these in a store downtown and instantly fell in love with the design of this water bottle. If Jony Ive designed a water bottle, I believe it would look something like this. It also keeps my drink cold for 24 hours plus which is awesome. It is expensive but I have loved using it all year. Link

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4th Generation Apple TV – I’ve had every version of the Apple TV but the 4th generation is far and away Apple’s best set-top box they have ever released. From the powerful processor that makes everything run so smooth, to the new app store with a ton of apps to download, it is a pleasure to use. Siri voice control works extremely well & the screen-savers (yes, screen-savers) Apple included are absolutely breathtaking. This is the box we use to watch everything now. The only time the PS4 get’s turned on anymore is for gaming. Link

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Joby Mini Gorillapod & Square Jellyfish Spring Tripod Mount – I have fallen in love with shooting time lapses with my iPhone 6 Plus this year and these two items work together to help me shoot them. I love how compact this whole setup is. It is amazing what you can capture with an iPhone and a few simple tools these days! Link1 Link2

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Oakley Method 360 Backpack – I have a huge weakness for bags and picked up this one down in Austin this year. It has been my everyday bag from that day on. It has all the right pockets and can hold a ton of stuff if needed. Link

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Even with all the hype this movie blew me away. I’ve seen it twice and would see it again in a heartbeat. A true cinematic masterpiece.

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My first two boxes. Sniff.

Fiery Chicken Fries – Burger King – Burger King’s Chicken Fries are one of my all-time favorite foods & when Burger King brought them back permanently in early 2015 I didn’t think that it could get any better than that. I was wrong. In the summer for one month only Burger King released Fiery Chicken Fries and they were glorious! I ate so many of them that I got sick. As soon as I felt better I got some more. I have ate a lot of fast food in my days and I do believe that the Fiery Chicken Fries are the greatest fast food item of all time! Honorable mentions go to Wendy’s Home Style Chicken Strips & Jack In The Box’s Spicy Chicken Bites, may they both rest in peace.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook. I am ibmacin on everything.

Losing Weight In the Nerdiest Way Possible

I’ve been wanting to lose some weight for several years now. I went from a fairly physical job to a desk job a few years ago and didn’t really change my eating habits. I also feel like my metabolism has slowed dramatically as I move into my upper twenties. I can no longer fill my body with garbage and be skinny as a rail. It was a good run though.

I feel like I need to lose about 30 pounds to get to where I want to be. A few things stand in my way though. First I am an extremely picky eater and most of the food I like is not exactly healthy. Second, I have trouble sticking with any kind of diet. It is real easy for me to stop trying after about a week. I think I have stumbled upon something that works for me though. Unsurprisingly, it involves a bunch of tech. Here’s what I’m using-

  •  #1 is definitely myfitnesspal. This service is what keeps me honest. They have a website as well as iPhone & iPad apps. You just enter in your height & current weight, tell it how much weight you want to lose, & it gives you a daily amount of calories to stay under. It has a great catalog of foods and makes it easy to save specific meals and foods so they are easy to enter into your food diary. You can also find friends that are also using myfitnesspal and encourage them and they can do the same to you. I have entered in all of the food I have eaten for the past 57 days. It just becomes part of your routine. Seeing how many calories are in some of my favorite foods has been extremely eye opening. I was putting a ridiculous amount of calories into my body.
  • Next important would by my Fitbit Flex. I received this for my birthday in April & have worn it every single day since. It keeps track of all my steps in a day and definitely encourages me to be more active. You can connect it to your myfitnesspal account and have the steps show up in the myfitnesspal app. Get a lot of steps & it will add more calories to your day’s limit. Pretty cool. It also acts as an alarm & sleep tracker, which is a nice bonus. Lastly the tracker itself is removable from the band and there are bands available in a bunch of colors, perfect for people like me who want it to match all of their outfits.
  • Also important is our Fitbit Aria scale. This scale connects to our home wifi and uploads all my weigh-ins to my fitbit account & from there to my myfitnesspal account.
  • Lastly I use the Runkeeper app to track my walks, jogs, & bike rides, which also are then sent to my myfitnesspal account. If that wasn’t enough I use my Pebble Smartwatch as a display that I can quickly glance at to see how I’m doing.

So that’s what I am using to help me lose weight. I have been using all of this faithfully for two months now and have lost about 13 pounds so far. I’m almost halfway to my goal! I really can’t recommend myfitnesspal enough. There is no way I would still be watching what I eat without this service. I will try to post an update when I reach my goal.