No Geek Zone

Our "No Geek Zone" is an area of our website where we share everything from great stories to recipes to comics.  Life can't be all geeky so remember to take a moment to enjoy a good laugh, time with friends & family and even a little time for yourself.  :)

17 Small (And Totally Doable) Tweaks That Will Change Your Year

Written by Misty Lane. Posted in No Geek Zone

1. Put A Fruit Bowl On Your Counter

According to Cornell professor Brian Wansink’s research, people who have fruit bowls on their kitchen counters weigh eight pounds less than those who don’t. It’s an easy way to turn mindless grazing into increased produce consumption. Try putting a fruit bowl on your desk, too, and an apple might just become your go-to afternoon snack.

2. Eat Breakfast

Various studies find that breakfast eaters weigh less than those who don’t, and that the vast majority of people who have successfully lost weight eat breakfast. Don’t overthink this meal. Hard boil five eggs on Sunday and voila! That’s a week. Grab some string cheese and eat that. Keep yogurt in an office fridge. Buy a piece of fruit wherever you buy your coffee in the morning. That alone may ward off cravings for mid-morning donuts.

3. Pace

Gyms are great, if you go. Most people don’t (or else they join January 1st and quit by February). But anyone can squeeze in extra movement here and there. If, on each workday, you take 200 steps during a phone call, another 100 steps while waiting for food to heat up in the microwave, and 100 steps while brushing your teeth in the morning, you’ll walk an extra mile each week. That’s 50 more miles per year than you would have been walking.

4. Figure Out Tomorrow’s To-Do List Before You Leave

Mornings are a great time for getting things done. But if you show up at work unsure what you want to do, you’ll waste many of these valuable morning minutes deciding. Instead, assign yourself tomorrow’s tasks before you leave work at night. Give each task a time. Yes, you’ll probably have to change this schedule more days than you don’t. But having a plan helps you make sure that important things get their due.

5. Think About Your Weekends On Wednesday Nights

Anticipation accounts for a major chunk of human happiness. So take a minute or two on Wednesday night to think about what you’d like to do over the weekend. If you’d like to go to a concert, you could take this minute to order tickets, or to send a text to a friend asking if she’s free. Do this weekly and you’ll not only have more weekend fun, Thursdays and Fridays will feel better as you think about the weekend plans you’ve already made.

6. "Use" One Commute Per Week.

Studies find that the morning commute is, from a happiness perspective, the low moment of people’s days. So take a minute on Sunday night and download one podcast worth listening to during your drive on Monday morning. Ideally, you’ll find this tweak so helpful that you’ll start figuring out ways to better enjoy all your commutes. But once a week is much better than being at the mercy of morning shock jocks in perpetuity.

7. Go Outside During The Day

Getting outside is linked to better mood and concentration. Whatever time you lose in leaving your desk, you’ll likely gain back in renewed focus. Run an errand, or ask a colleague to do a walking meeting if the weather’s nice. Either way, resolve not to let a day go by without seeing daylight.

8. Get A Plant For Your Desk

It’s cheap and turns out to work magic in terms of productivity.

9. Log Your TV Time.

You don’t have to stop watching, just change your approach. Write down what you’re going to watch before you turn on the TV. That way you’ll mindfully choose programs you enjoy, rather than watching for hours more than you intend.

10. Set A Bedtime Alarm

For better sleep, ask yourself two questions. First, what time do I need to get out of bed? Second, how much sleep do I need? Count back your answer for the second question from your answer for the first, and then set an alarm on your phone or watch for 30 minutes prior to this time. The alarm will provide an external signal that it’s time to wind down. That means you don’t need to be the killjoy telling your partner it’s time to turn off the TV. It’s not you, it’s the alarm!

11. Move Your Alarm Clock

Put it far enough away from your bed that you’re not tempted to hit snooze. Sleeping in nine-minute increments is a lousy way to start the day. Be honest about it, and set your alarm for the time you actually intend to get up. Enjoy every second of deep sleep until then. Bonus: Use a real alarm clock, rather than your phone. That way you won’t be tempted to check email within 60 seconds of waking up.

12. Create A Positive Password

If you have to type something daily, it may as well inspire you. Don’t use an easily cracked word like "happy" on its own. But taking meaningful words and putting a few characters or numbers in the middle could work.

13. Send One Good-Karma Email

You send dozens (if not hundreds) of messages daily. Take one minute and make one a note of appreciation, or a note of congratulations, or a note sent to ask an old friend how life is going. The replies you receive may make you look forward to checking your inbox.

14. Save And Donate Your Change

You might be able to swing a surprisingly big donation every six months or so with the nickels fished out of your pockets daily. Try getting your kids involved and let them choose the recipient.

15. Choose An Alternate "Bit Of Time" Activity

You’ve got three minutes while waiting in line. You could check your email. Or you could do something else (see our list of 17 productive ways to spend 5 minutes). Pick a fun something else (like scrolling through old photos), and aim to do this at least once a week.

16. Floss

If you change nothing else in your life, doing this daily will at least make your next dentist visit more tolerable.

17. Hold Yourself Accountable

For any of these tweaks, find someone to email weekly, maybe on Friday, to report how it’s gone. In a pinch, you can draw a smiley face on your planner as a reward for keeping a habit all week. Intentions alone don’t make changes. Doing small things repeatedly, on the other hand, really will.


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Slow Cooker Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Written by Misty Lane. Posted in No Geek Zone

  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced mild green chilies
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 package (30 ounces) frozen shredded hash browns
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper



  • Cook sausage according to package directions; cut into small pieces and set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine the green onions, bell pepper, chilies and cilantro; set aside.
  • Spray a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer a third of the hash browns, sausage, green onion mixture and cheese. Repeat layers twice.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper; pour over casserole.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160°F.

Slow Cooker Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw

Written by Misty Lane. Posted in No Geek Zone


  • 1/2  cup(s) ketchup
  • 1/4  cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon(s) chili powder
  • 1/4  cup(s) (plus 2 Tbsp) cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1   (1.5-lb) pork butt or shoulder, trimmed and cut into 3-in. pieces
  • 1/2  cup(s) lowfat sour cream
  • 1/2  small green cabbage (about 1 lb)
  • 1/2  cup(s) fresh cilantro
  • 4   rolls, split
  • Potato chips and pickles, for serving



  1. In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, whisk together the ketchup, sugar, chili, 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pork and toss to coat. Cook, covered, until the pork is tender and shreds easily, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. Forty-five minutes before serving, in a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, remaining 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp water and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Core and thinly slice the cabbage, add it to the sour cream mixture and toss to coat. Let sit, tossing occasionally. Fold in the cilantro before serving.
  4. Using two forks, shred the pork into large pieces; gently toss in the cooking liquid. Fill the rolls with the pork and slaw. Serve with chips and pickles, if desired.


Baked Omelet Squares

Written by Misty Lane. Posted in No Geek Zone


1/4 cup butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 (12 ounce) can sliced mushrooms

1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives

chopped cooked ham (optional)

sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)

12 eggs, scrambled

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.


Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender.


Spread Cheddar cheese in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer with mushrooms, olives, sauteed onion, ham, and jalapeno peppers. In a bowl, scramble eggs together with milk, and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over ingredients, but do not stir.


Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until no longer runny in the center and slightly brown on top. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve.