I quit smoking with a free app!

Monday, May 22, 2017
I finally quit smoking again. I was contemplating my options from getting a prescription for Chantix, nicotine replacement gum or patches, acupuncture, hypnosis, etc. All of those aren't cheap and while things have gotten better for me financially, I still have a lot of recovery to do in that department. So a few weeks ago I decided to check out the Google Play app store to see what might be available to help me quit for a lot less. The first app I chose (this time) did the trick. It was free and contained no ads either.

First a bit of history. I had been smoking since I was much younger and then I quit smoking cold-turkey for a few years using Allen Carr's Easy Way To Quit Smoking book. Then I made the mistake of having a few while on vacation and I slowly started up again. Not as much as before but it would be anywhere to 3 to 10 a day, sometimes more.

A few years ago I tried to ween myself off by delaying my first cigarette until after I ran while I was doing the Couch to 5k program. I never did run that 5k continually but I still go out trail running regularly just with lots of walking intervals in between the jogging. That didn't last that long. Around that time I also looked at other apps that would count how much you smoke and then try to ween you off by telling you when you can smoke. Those didn't work out for me.

I was ready to shell out some big money (to me at least) to go to a hypnotherapist to try their stop smoking program after hearing good reviews from a friend. Before I made the appointment I decided to look at what was currently available on the Android App Store when I ran across Jason Vale's Stop Smoking in 2 Hours. It had some good reviews so I downloaded it and decided to give it a try.

Having failed with other apps in the past I started off a bit skeptical.

It consists of 2 coaching videos you watch to to get started. Then there is a hypnosis audio you listen to each night. For the first 5 days you also get a video message from Jason Vale which you listen to first thing in the morning. There's also an emergency video if you're struggling and need some support.

I didn't plan on quitting that day. I figured I'd get a general sense for what the app was about, set a quit date, giving me time to mentally prepare and then listen to it then. Jason warns that you need to only watch the videos when you're ready to quit. You can't do it and then listen to them again. It doesn't have the same impact. What little I heard reminded me very much of how Allen Carr's book worked. I decided that I was just going to go ahead and do the program and quit smoking right then and there. It had me nervous that I didn't prepare but this is something I wanted for a long time and there was no point in waiting.

I watched and listened to both videos. As I suspected the approach was very similar to Allen Carr's method in the videos but with some differences. While you're listening to the first video he tells you you can smoke. I didn't smoke while  listening but I did take a brake to go out and have one since I try not to smoke indoors. I don't remember exactly but I think there's also one last one he tells you to have as well somewhere towards the end of the first video or during the second video.

The first three days were a little tough but with the help of the morning videos, the night time hypnosis video as well as reminding myself of everything he said, which I knew worked since it worked with Allen Carr's book. would help me to get through the minor, insignificant withdrawal symptoms that occurred for those 3 days. By the second day I was very confident this was going to work. I still had about 1/2 a pack left after quitting smoking that I kept in a kitchen drawer just in case. On that second day I gave the pack to someone I knew. They asked me why I was giving it to them and it felt good to tell them it was because I no longer smoked. I did share the info on the app too.

The daily videos for the first 5 days really helped me get through this. I was scared what would happen when the videos were finished but after having gone through those days without a cigarette I felt confident.

The hypnosis audio I think helped. At the very least it helped me sleep. I have a hard time sleeping at times and the first few days I listened to the stop smoking hypnosis I was able to fall asleep quickly. Some nights I'll still listen to it just because it helps me get to sleep. It's better than some hypnosis apps that I downloaded that were specifically meant to help with sleep.

I don't know if I was actually hypnotized or not as I've never really been to a hypnotist. I do know this though, I no longer smoke and I got some great nights sleep with those recordings. That was especially important since when I can't sleep late at night there's nothing to do really except smoke.

The apps were free. There weren't even any ads in them. I believe they were paid apps at one point. You can find Jason's app available for both Android and Apple iOs devices on his juicing website at

This is such a great app. If you're looking to quit smoking I strongly recommend you try it. If you quit using Allen Carr's book in the past and started again this gives you a similar experience in a different way. If you used this app in the past and started again, try Allen Carr's book. If you haven't tried either try the app, it's free and really does work.

Prime Pantry Review

Friday, December 11, 2015
I've been an Amazon Prime for a number of years. It's helped save me a lot of money and time by being able to go without a car for a long time or otherwise allowing me to save on gas and driving. I can get items delivered in 2 days, sometimes less with free shipping. Some of these items are not available or hard to find locally and they're usually at great prices. In addition I get access to other features such as a large selection of free streaming videos and music.

A new features of Amazon Prime is the new Prime Pantry. A service that allows you to order typically pantry items such as canned, jarred, dry and other packaged foods, snacks as well as a variety of cleaning and household items. You add items to your cart until you fill one or more boxes and you only pay about $5.99 for shipping. Shipping has only taken about 3 days for me the two times I've used the service. Since this is fairly new service I wanted to share my review.

The Prime Pantry Box

According to Amazon there are a number of different sized boxes. If you're using Prime Pantry I think it's worth it to try and fill at least one whole box to get the most out the shipping. The largest box I've received is 28" W x 18" D x 14" H and can hold up to 45lbs. It can fit a good amount of items to stock your pantry.

As you add items to your cart there's an indicator at the top of the page that will let you know how full your box is. When you go to checkout, it will recommend additional items that will fit in your box if you haven't filled it completely.

The volume of the items isn't the only factor in estimating box fill. Weight plays a role as well. My first order consisted of mainly light items and the box was almost completely full. My second ordered contained a number of heavier items and there was quite a bit of space left in the box.

On the plus side there was a Prime Pantry promo code for December 2015 for free shipping.

When the box arrives it's fairly easy to carry even though it's large and heavy. When your box arrives, cut the tape on the box to open it. On the side flaps you'll find two holes you can use as handles to carry the Prime Pantry box.

The box is thick corrugated cardboard and very sturdy. I haven't received any items that were damaged in shipping. Most of what you get though will be fairly durable but in cases where items are more fragile they do a good job with packaging. The bag in the center of the box above is a variety of snack packs of chips. They were protected inside additional cardboard and I didn't receive bags full of crumbs.

Prime Pantry Pricing

Items in Amazon's Prime Pantry are very good compared to my local grocer's regular prices. Quite often they're a decent amount less.

Where my local grocers come out ahead is with their weekly savings. When an item appears in my market's weekly circular it will generally, but not always be less than Prime Pantry's regular prices. You also cannot use manufacturer's coupons on Amazon Prime currently.

There are however coupons and special weekly deals on Amazon Prime Pantry that compare well to local market sale prices.

If you're ordering online fro Prime Pantry, or your local supermarket if they offer home delivery, you save time by ordering online and the shipping charges for Prime Pantry balances out some of the local special prices since delivery services in my area are around $20 or more. With the local market delivery you can select more items such as fresh produce and meat but those are typically things I like to hand select myself.

I've ordered 2 Prime Pantry boxes in the past few months and each time a nearly 100% filled box has cost around $100.

What It's Good For

As the name implies it's good for the typical items you'd stock in your cupboards or pantry. Foods with a long shelf life such as canned, jarred, or dried foods such as soups, vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals, etc. I try not to eat too many canned or prepared foods but sometimes time is a constraint to cook a full meal from scratch and I like to keep items that can make a quick meal to avoid ordering out. I really like the rice and past side dishes to make a quick meal out of some protein and vegetables I already have on hand.

Drinks such as sodas and drink mixes are also at very good prices. So are many varieties and types of snack foods including protein bars, breakfast pastries, nuts, cookies, crackers, chips etc.

Pasta is also priced very well even compared to my local grocers sale prices. Especially if you choose the large packages.

Cleaning supplies, health and beauty items, razor blades and baby items have good prices as well and you don't have to buy large quantities to save money like you might have to if you were buying them from Amazon's regular store.

Who It's Good For

If you don't want to have the expense of a car, or want to reduce the number of cars in your family, drive less or save more time you should definitely have an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Pantry is an added bonus.

I still try to walk and bike a lot of places for the health benefits and Amazon Prime allows me to continue to do that when going to the grocery shopping by having a lot of my bulk and heavy items delivered to me at good prices and great shipping cost. 

If you live in an area where many grocers are a considerable drive away, or not easily accessible for other reasons, like you work odd shifts that leave little time for shopping, you can order your pantry items at any time from any place you have an internet connection.

It's also a great time saver. If you're very busy or possibly if you own or run a business that keeps coffee and other drinks, condiments, snack foods stocked in your office's kitchen, as well as cleaning and office supplies, you can have these items delivered to you and avoid having to spend your or an employees time running out to get them then having to lug them long distances.

While prices are generally good, the prime factor is convenience. Since the types of items available on Amazon Prime Pantry generally have a long shelf life, you can save more money if you wait and stock up when there are local sales. If you don't want care about those savings and saving time is more important the prices aren't bad and you can get what you want delivered in a few days without having to spend time driving to the store, picking out items, waiting online then making multiple trips with heavy groceries into your home.

One minor annoying thing is if you add items to your box they get added to your Amazon Shopping Cart. This is a little inconvenient if you might want to slowly fill the box over the course of a week or more as you run out of items. It gets in the way if you try to order items from the main Amazon store. To get around that, first thing you should do is create an Amazon Pantry List then add Pantry items to your list from the product detail page. Unfortunately you can't quickly add items to the list from the search listings. When you've completed your list, simply add the items to your cart and check out. As you build your list you'll still see how much of the box the list fills.

I plan on using Prime Pantry every couple of months to stock up on some essential items I need to have around the house.

Bike and Kayak in NYC from Fort Lee

Sunday, July 26, 2015
Did you know you can go Kayaking in Manhattan? I didn't up until a few years ago when a friend told me about it. Best of all you can do it for free! It's a great way to get some upper and lower body exercise and enjoy the city in a way you probably haven't done before.

There are three different free kayaking locations you can from depending on how far you'd like to ride.

The ride starts in Fort Lee where you'll head across into Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge, follow the Manhattan Greenway along the Hudson River until you arrive at one of the three paddling destinations.

Cheap Comfortable Bike Saddles and Reviews

One of the big problems I had when I first started getting into cycling again a few years ago is that I couldn't ride for more than about 25 minutes. My legs weren't too tired to ride, my butt just couldn't handle being on the bike anymore and it was too uncomfortable to ride again the next day. After getting a more comfortable saddle and a good pair of bike shorts I was able to ride all day long! I've tried a few different affordable saddles under $50 and wanted to share my opinions and some tips.

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