Crowdsourced Library Displays

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books. The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want. We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help. Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books.  The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want.  We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help.  Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

I love this Padlet, made by Jennifer LaGarde (Library Girl). We need to all add to it, stat. 🙂


A Great Way to Get Kids Thinking about Plagiarism

Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter

Caroline Moss

Jul. 15, 2014, 10:57 AM 798,639 40

via Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Man, I wish Scott hadn’t used the F word in his original tweet.  However, I think that we can still use this as a really relevant case study on plagiarism (with a little, um, censorship).

The gist is this: a random guy tweets something funny.  Other people steal his tweet and repost it as though it were their own.  Even famous people.  One comedian even accuses Scott of plagiarizing him.

Scott’s thoughts on the experience are fascinating- I loved that he said that he doesn’t understand how people can read something, relate to it, and then say “yup, that’s mine now,” without giving one thought to how it effects the person who created it.

I think that this example is so much easier for kids to “get” than what we’ve used in the past.  I love it.  It’s mine now — with proper attribution, of course. 🙂




Wow. Having a blast at BEA. Right now, I’m sitting in line (yup- popped a squat on the floor) to meet Jennifer Niven. Already met David Levithan, Ransom Riggs, and Gayle Forman. It is a good day.

Infographic Library Displays!

Last year, my parapro, Wendy, and I were having fun doing some quality professional development on Pinterest one day, and we had an idea.  We decided to take some of those great Infographics that Epic Reads and others are always posting, and to turn them into some amazing library displays.  We were tired of the same old, same old.

Here’s some inspiration for you. 🙂  The only supplies you need are a color printer, some time, some good markers, and a die cutter (I used my Silhouette Cameo, but you can use whatever you have).

We turned this:


Into THIS!


IMG_1285 IMG_1286 IMG_1287

I was really happy with that one.  I think it is my favorite.  But this one was pretty boss, as well…

We turned this:


Into THIS:


IMG_1279 IMG_1280 IMG_1281 IMG_1282 IMG_1283 IMG_1284

And this year, I did this one…



Became THIS:


IMG_1277 IMG_1278

How did we survive before Pinterest?  Check out Epic Reads for more great infographics, too.  They are so creative over there.

For those of you who are heading into Spring Break tomorrow (ME!), enjoy!  Here in Chicagoland, it is supposed to snow today. Grrr. >:(

Happy Reading!


5 Questions with Stacey Kade

My high school will be hosting its very first Writers Week in April.  We have a lot of great stuff planned.  There is one thing, in particular, that I am really excited about.

On a whim, I decided to reach out to bestselling author Stacey Kade, to see if she would be up for coming to talk to our kids.  I knew that she lives in the area, and thought, what the heck.  She said yes!  This is going to be such a great experience for our students.  I can’t wait.

Stacey has written two excellent series, The Ghost and the Goth series, and the Project Paper Doll series.  And, for anyone who didn’t read the free short story about Will and Alona, you’re welcome (Spoiler alert! Do not read this if you haven’t read the series.).

I had the opportunity to ask Stacey FIVE QUESTIONS in anticipation of her visit next month, and for our students, Stacey gives a challenge in the last answer…

Why do you write?

I write to entertain myself first. To tell myself a story. And because it becomes an itch beneath my skin if I go for too long without writing. 🙂 But it’s also my job. And I feel that’s important to emphasize. I have deadlines and requirements that I must meet, just as anybody does with a job. It’s not simply about what I want to do and when I want to do it. It’s more complicated than that, especially as a full-time writer.

Which of your characters would you love to have lunch with?

Ha! Um, all of them? Seriously, for the ones I’m writing now, I have all kinds of questions. And for the ones I’ve already written, I’d love to catch up with them and see how they’re doing since last we “spoke.” It could be like a reunion buffet. 🙂

Do you have a “writing ritual?”

I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, mainly because if you become too dependent on certain elements being present that will stop you from making progress. If you tell yourself, “I can’t write unless I have a certain pen or I’m in a certain place,” then you’re giving yourself an out on writing that day. And if you’ve got a deadline, you can’t afford that lost time. Being on book tour and a tight deadline for revisions several years ago broke me of that way of thinking.

That being said, I firmly believe in the power of ritual and training your brain to understand that this sequence of events means, “It’s time to write.” I do all of my drafting at the coffee shop near my house. I have a preferred seat and a preferred drink while I’m there, too! 🙂

What new thing of yours are you most excited about?

Oh, gosh, this year is big, and I’m really excited! I have two new books coming out in the same year, for the first time, and they’re less than three months apart. My first adult romance, 738 DAYS, is coming out on June 7, and that was a story that I wanted to write for years but never thought I’d have the chance. And my first YA contemporary, FOR THIS LIFE ONLY, comes out on August 30, and that is also a story I didn’t think would sell (due to controversy, religion, etc.)  It’s deeply personal to me as a pastor’s kid myself. My main character, Jace, is a pastor’s son. Jace suffers a near-death experience after a car accident, one that kills his twin. But when he doesn’t see God or the light or angels during his near-death experience, he finds himself kind of lost and questioning, which doesn’t go over well with his family or the church.

What should I have asked you but didn’t?

Hmm. Not sure but I think the answer is 42. (I will give away a book to the first person who comes up to me and tells me the source for that reference.)

You can read more about Stacey and her books at her website.

Amazon links to Stacey’s books:

51zlm4ThPsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ thehunt-100x150@2xthetrials-250x375theghostandthegothqueen-of-the-dead-stacey-kadebody-soul-stacey-kade

Teaching Research in Middle School and High School

I always try to get into classes when they are starting some sort of research project for the first time.  I talk about Boolean searching, citing sources (even for pictures), and our databases.  The first few times I did this (a few years ago), I explained the databases and then I could see the kids were like, “yeah whatever.”  They used Google for their research while I cringed.

I needed to spice it up.  So, I added the Tree Octopus and the horrible MLK site, and wow did that work.  If you don’t know, you can google Tree Octopus, and a very credible-looking site will come up.  If you google Martin Luther King, the first site that comes up after wikipedia is one created by a white supremacist group.  These actually got them thinking about the fact that I’m not lying when I tell them that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Sometimes, I even pull up this site, and say, “See! Any yahoo with a computer can make a website!”

Today, I found another great resource- one that I think will hit my kids even harder.  These are two pictures posted by ABC for an expose 20/20 did on counterfeit merchandise.  The news feature was pretty interesting- I highly recommend checking it out.  I love this- one of the websites in the picture is the real one, and one is a fake…

Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:
Retrieved from:

In both cases, the one on the right is the fake.

How great are these examples for teaching kids to use databases?  It really shows that even when you are diligent about using good sources, you really can’t trust google searching for academic research.

An Idea for Library Self Promotion

Last year, I was at the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference, and heard a couple of really good librarians from Hinsdale South High School talk about the ways they push into classrooms.

They mentioned one idea that really stuck with me.  They created a flyer and called it a “take-out menu.”  Then, they put it in Chinese takeout boxes with a fortune cookie, and gave it to teachers.  I loved this idea.  Couldn’t stop thinking about it.

With my graphic designer husband, I knew we could do something ridiculously cool.  So, in August, before school started, we did.  I am really proud of how it came out.


Notice the Fortune Teller Miracle Fish and the Chinese Finger Cuffs?  There was a fortune cookie in there, too, but I ate it. 🙂 My thinking behind those was this: I was giving these to teachers at the beginning of the year kickoff meeting.  It is not exactly an exciting meeting, if you know what I mean.

I bought a gross (144) of each thing on Amazon, and my entire total was 60 bucks.  Not too shabby.

Everyone seemed to really love them.  And I know people actually read the menu, because I have already had a few people come to me to ask about some of the new services I detailed inside.  That was the goal, so we’ll call this a win.  I think it is going to be a great year.





UPDATE: I have had a few requests for the actual menu… you’ll have to recreate it for yourself, but here it is, for inspiration…



FYI- Don’t try to contact me at the info on the menu… I don’t work there anymore. 🙂

Read Aloud Round-Up: The 10 Books I Suggest Most for Middle School Read Alouds

It is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of my job: when a teacher comes into the library, practically jumping up and down because their read aloud is going so well- and I was the one to suggest the book they are reading.

I have a few qualifications for a good read aloud.

First, it can’t be very long.  I have ADD.  And I’m a fast reader.  If a book runs too long, I will abandon it half way through and leave the kids hanging.  That’s not good.

Second, it needs to be suspenseful.  Every chapter should offer some action or important information.

Third, it can’t have too much detail.  That gets real boring real fast.  I understand that detail is great when you are reading to yourself, but for a read aloud? No.

These are the tried-and-true titles.  The ones that multiple teachers have used multiple times and have always found them to work.

1. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen


2. Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann


3. Juvie Three by Gordon Korman


4. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


5. How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’Malley


6. The Shadow Club by Neal Shusterman


7. Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman


8. Read All About It by Jim Trelease (this one was especially good for my Read-Aloud ADD)


9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (some classics never get old)


10. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

when-you-reach-meIf you decide to do any of these, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I think you’ll love them!



5 Little Flips to Modernize Your School Library

I had the best time tonight. I had dinner with an old friend, a new friend, and an old acquaintance who really should be a friend.

We gossiped. We talked about books. We talked about the fact that we were talking about books.

I noticed something at dinner. I was sitting with a teacher and two tech integration guys. And me- a library media specialist. There was this unspoken (and mumbled a couple of times) thing in the air about librarians. I think they felt comfortable about it because I’m an unconventional librarian- I have surround sound, for god’s sake. But, in the grand scheme, nothing has changed. The perception- the stereotype- is still there. And I can’t go it alone.


We all need to work together to change it. Otherwise, those of us forging the newer path look like we are just “jerks” bent on making the rest of you look bad. That isn’t the goal. We want to push our profession forward. In order to do that, we all have to be in this together. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve heard by the “water cooler” and you can go from there…


1. Tech Integration. It isn’t just the tech integration guy’s job. As a matter of fact, I get a little salty when my guy crosses the tech line into my territory. I would have to say that 50% of the tech integration stuff is OUR job. They can keep the google integration, grade book programs, blogging, smart boards (barf), and teacher websites. If we aren’t pushing databases, ebooks, audiobooks, literacy apps, etc., then how will we stay relevant? And if your tech guy starts teaching Boolean searching, you have my permission to go medieval. I almost did.


2. Environment. This isn’t your momma’s library. I have gotten so many positive remarks since I started piping music into my library. I play mostly Vitamin String Quartet (modern music, classical style) – my music policy is NO VOICES. I’m a musician, so I realize that if there is too much going on, I will pay too much attention to the music. However, I have noticed that my own productivity has gone up because of the music, so I know that the kids’ has too. And Thrift Shop done classically is a trip. I also bought couches and bean bags a few years ago. It’s a mess. The bean bags are all over the place- my assistant and I happily clean them up every morning. You have no idea how nice it is to see kids lounging with a laptop, concentrating. It’s magical. Ditch the stodgy view of what the library should look like. The kids need a safe, comfortable, serene place to work. Like I said- the compliments come in every day. From teachers AND kids.


3. The books. I just received a compliment about books today. I am a middle school librarian, and the books in my library aren’t available in the other middle school libraries. Parents are asking friends and relatives to check books out of my library for their kids (against policy, but I let it slide). Put your beliefs aside. Put your prejudices aside. Put your preconceived notions aside. Put your fears aside. Some of your students are gay. Some of your students have eating disorders. Some of your students are victims of abuse. Carry books for everyone!!! Only restrict THE MOST edgy books- the 5% most edgy books- in your library. Don’t make everything good available ONLY for the oldest students. They might not be the ones who need them!!! You have a varied population, and you need to cater to everyone! It’s in our code of ethics. Don’t be afraid of the .01% of parents who might be offended. If they show up, tell them, “I have 1000 students and I need to have something that speaks to everyone. If your child checked something out that you find questionable, please tell your child to return it and talk to me about a book that would be great for them.” Done. Was that so hard?


4. Back to Tech. We need to get more tech savvy, people. I just acquired 14 iPads for my library, and I plan to use the hell out of them. I have plans. Buy some books- iPads in Library is a good one. Troll the internet- Twitter and Pinterest are my favorite resources for Ed tech tips. Find an ebook supplier (I use Follett) and then go into classrooms and market the hell out of it. Don’t buy another goddamn encyclopedia. Find a Web 2.0 tool that relates to info literacy, research, reading, or whatever, and master it. Then, offer to teach it to kids. When I started, I had three false starts… Nooks, Kindle Fires, and a third party ebook client…. FAILS. Don’t let the fails set you back. If you have questions, ask me. Don’t do that librarian thing – well, I tried and it didn’t work, so I’m not trying again. Technology is horrible. It doesn’t work in my district. NOPE. You are wrong. Technology doesn’t always work anywhere. Oh well. Move on. Make it work.


5. Push IN. I surprised the hell out of one of my administrators the other day. She walked through the library and saw me teaching… Then she did a surprise visit to a teacher and found me teaching…. And then she dropped into another classroom and (you guessed it) saw me teaching. She didn’t realize that I do as much push in as I do, and that’s a good thing. When you surprise them like that… Priceless. Is every day like that? Of course not. I got really lucky that day 🙂 but it isn’t rare, either. I constantly badger teachers to let me come in and teach something, anything. Come on- we are the best people the school has to teach research skills, for instance. Do you have any idea how many lessons you can prep on research? Especially with Common Core???

Bottom line? MARKETING. You need to run your library like a business. Be a retail manager. What is going to bring in revenue?

Tough love. 🙂


Five Graphic Novels that will Change Your Mind

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from parents and teachers that graphic novels aren’t “real books.” It hurts me inside every time I hear that.

The visual literacy gained from graphic novels is real.  Not only do you need to comprehend the words on the page, but you need to interpret the images, and how they relate to the words.  Some graphic novels do depict superheroes and action like the comic books we are all familiar with, but there are so many richer themes going on in graphic novels as well.  Even the superhero comics can be good, though- the themes of good triumphing over evil and social justice above all are really great things for kids to learn.

As a librarian, I find that even my most reluctant readers can lose themselves in a good graphic novel- and then I see them coming back for more and more.  They don’t realize how good these books are for them.

Now, I know that some may need more convincing than that.  So, I put together a quick list of five graphic novels that may change your mind for good.

epilep1. Epileptic by David B. – David’s brother is diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11. What follows is a desperate search for a “cure,” where his parents try everything (even things that are crazy or harmful) to cure David’s brother during a time when not much is known about the condition (the 60s and 70s). David uses vivid imagery and metaphoric characters to represent some of the people and situations he encounters along the way (a macrobiotic healer is a tiger, for instance).

persep2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Students tell me all the time that this was an eye-opening read for them.  Persepolis is Ms. Satrapi’s memoir of her experiences from the ages of 10 to 14 living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  She weaves together a story of the horrors of the conflict, coming of age as an independent, smart girl, and the history and culture of Iran.


Maus3. Maus by Art Spiegelman – Speigelman depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats in this Holocaust story.  The story is true- Speigelman’s father was a Holocaust survivor, and the entire story is based on his memories of what happened to him during that time.



american-born-chinese-cover4. American Born Chinese by Gene Yang – Yang weaves three stories together: one about a mythical monkey who wants to be a god, one about a popular white kid embarrassed by his stereotypical Chinese cousin, and one about a Chinese-American kid who wants acceptance from his white peers.  The book teaches acceptance: from others, and from oneself.


odyssey_cover_400px5. Anything by Gareth Hinds – Hinds turns classics in to another kind of art by turning them into graphic novels.  He keeps the original language of the piece, and he is extremely thorough.  These have absolutely no resemblance to the “Illustrated Classics” we grew up with- these are graphically gorgeous adaptations that adults can appreciate just as much, if not more than, teen readers.


There are a ton of others- some even better than these (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, etc.), but I wanted to show you a cultural mix that might surprise you.  I didn’t even delve into the genius coming from Asia.

Pretty please with a cherry on top: next time you see someone with a graphic novel, DO NOT think that it isn’t a real book.  It is real- and it just may be even more real than some of the Kindle candy being published these days.

Read one! You might love it- never know unless you try!


Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Endnote (Oh My!)

Hi All!

I just wanted to drop a line to share my experience today- I have spent the last four hours researching and testing the various source management tools out there, and I have to say that my classmate, Paula is my hero.  She suggested Mendeley, and Mendeley won for me.

Here is my two cents (take it or leave it, obviously):

icon2_zoteroZotero: A little over my head.  The learning curve is steep, and the interface isn’t as user-friendly as I would like.  When I tried to import my pdfs, they did not come with the source information.  No app support.  If you start fresh with Zotero, I think you will be very pleased.  Everything is in the cloud, which is vital these days.  For me, I had a ton of pdfs saved in Dropbox that I wanted to be able to drag and drop into whatever program I chose, and have that program recognize the files.  I couldn’t figure out how to make Zotero do that seamlessly.  You can create folders for different topics, which is good.  If you are a Firefox user, Zotero might be the best choice.  They have a plugin.  I use Chrome, so it wasn’t a feature I would use.

8322ade9fa513f6511f643c0066a87a7Endnote: Not free.  Expensive (which is even worse than not free).  Not as user-friendly as the other options.    I couldn’t figure out how to download the info I was looking for (although, according to their promo video, it IS possible).  They do have a 30 day free trial, so you can try it for yourself.  And they have cloud support and an app, which is good.  I got frustrated with the desktop program, so I didn’t try those.

images-1Refworks: Even more expensive than Endnote.  Twice, actually (Endnote costs $113 for two years of access, Refworks costs $100/year).  No free trial.  End of research. 🙂


imagesMendeley: Free.  Drag and drop and everything is there: the journal, issue, volume, pages, stable url, abstract- everything.  Most of the time, at least.  When it isn’t, you can search Google Scholar right from the record.  If that doesn’t work, you have to do it manually.  Out of the 200 I imported, I need to enter about 30 manually.  The interface reminds me of Evernote Desktop, which makes it really user-friendly and idiot-proof, which is good for me.  It has a little bookmarklet like Zotero, too- so when you are doing new research, it’s easy.  I tried it, and it works.  You can also create folders to keep things organized.  App support is there, but reviews say it tends to crash.  The one thing I wish I could do is annotate right in the app.  It will let you highlight and annotate, but only on a computer.  I don’t see that feature available in the app.  I will say that so far, it hasn’t crashed on me.  It’s in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere, although, obviously the desktop version has many more features (true with Zotero as well).

So… there’s my opinion.  Like I said, take it or leave it- but I thought it would be really sad if four hours of work was wasted on just me. 🙂  Obviously, no one thing can give you everything (why???).  Mendeley had the most bang for the non-existent buck for me.  Oh- there was one other one that might look good- qiqqa- BUT they don’t support Mac.  Who does that anymore?  And why do they all have red and white logos? Oh, dear, I need to go to bed.  Four hours of researching research tools has gone to my head.


An Honest (Optimistic) Look at DailyBurn and DailyBurn Ignite

20130822-101516.jpg8/22/13 (Day One)
Today, I decided to try the DailyBurn program. I did a lot of research (hello- Librarian!) on the different options available on my Roku. I was just looking for the best exercise channel, and I found it surprising that there were very few bloggers talking about this. I usually trust bloggers’ opinions over any other, so I decided I would add to the conversation.

174737_137614426285009_7428335_nI checked out the following options: Gaiam (which is my second choice), The Gymbox, the free channels, and DailyBurn. I thought The Gymbox’s videos were a little low-quality (from what I could see in the previews). There was only one trainer in any of the videos, the routines looked really outdated and old-fashioned, and the trainers looked really low-energy.

Gaiam-TVGaiam’s videos are great, obviously. I liked that in addition to the exercise videos, you also get a lot of general wellness content. The reasons Gaiam came in second for me are two-fold. First, it is hard to come up with a “routine.” You have to do a lot of browsing and searching to come up with an activity for the day, and there is no continuity unless you put in some effort to come up with a plan for yourself. I wanted something I could follow- something designed by someone other than me. Also, many of the videos require special, gimmicky Gaiam-specific equipment, such as that Mari Winsor contraption and The Wave weird stepper. I already have the basic equipment. I don’t want to buy any more- and especially not As Seen on TV crap.

The free options? Well, let’s just say you get what you pay for. I’m not totally knocking them, though. If you don’t want to or can’t spend any money to get fit, it is really nice that they exist.


So, back to DailyBurn. I chose this one for a few reasons. I liked that I answered a few questions about myself and my expectations, and then the site came up with a plan for me. I will be doing 30 days of Yoga, to start. I can change it up from there. They offer dance, Insanity-style workouts, quick 15-minute bursts, and more. I think it will be hard to get bored. The videos look to be high quality and high energy, which was important to me, as well.

iphoneapp2I like that it is available on my Roku and on my iOS devices. I will probably only use my Roku, but I like knowing that if I need to use my iPad, I can. Actually, now that I think about it, I am presenting at a conference in November, so I might just use that feature in my hotel room.

The surprise for me was the Ignite program- I wasn’t expecting it, but I am really excited about it. It is an add-on, but it also comes with a 30-day Free Trial (a definite perk to the whole program), so I can try it out for a month. DailyBurn costs 10 bucks a month, and to include Ignite, it’s another 5 bucks. Not bad, considering that Weight Watchers costs that much for a week, and this has many more features.

384049-xbox-daily-burnIgnite looks to be an anti-inflammatory diet, which is why I am excited. For a 34 year old woman, I have horrible acne. My doctor recently told me that if I want to clear up all of my acne- including the stuff on my back and shoulders, that I need to go the anti-inflammatory route.

It is also really detailed- no room for questions- and includes an app for tracking on my iPhone. I need an app. Don’t ask me why. I just do.

fuel-chocolate-0838c016aa55e6c7fc97abcd6c3dd882They also sell a protein shake to go with the program, and they suggest drinking it within an hour of waking up, every day. They are explicit about the need to have some kind of breakfast within an hour of waking. I suck at eating breakfast, so I bought the shake mix. It wasn’t cheap- $65 for a month’s supply. I am also going to need to buy almond milk and flash frozen strawberries to go into the shakes. So, breakfast every morning will come out to be about $3.50. I guess that isn’t too bad. Especially if I lose fat and clear up my skin in the process.

So, I was looking for some good exercise videos and I got a whole fitness program. If it works, then I can definitely handle $15/month plus the cost of food (which I would be spending anyway, of course).

I will update this post in a month. Wish me luck!

Much, much later…

Here’s my response to a reader…I was a bit of a slacker. This is from a couple of months ago:

After this response you can read what I’m up to now…

Sorry! I keep meaning to update this… Yes- it helps my acne tremendously. I have a hard time sticking to an exercise program, so not so much on that. 🙁 But they are good workouts if you are so inclined. The diet plan, well, once you get the hang of it, you don’t really need to pay the fees anymore (if at all, since you get the first 30 days free). I didn’t find that I lost any weight just following the diet plan, although I did try some gluten free bread products, which are not low calorie in the slightest. And, I am a vegetarian, so the no soy products thing was hard for me. I think that in order to keep up with losing the acne AND losing weight, I am going to have to stick to no dairy and cut carbs to next to nothing. The Perricone Prescription is a really good book on that. I love the shakes- and they are dairy free, so I will keep using those. Overall, I think it is one of the better all-around plans out there. Whole, unprocessed foods… No-brainier, really. Oh- the apps absolutely suck. I hope, for all of their subscribers’ sakes that they will revamp those.
Hope that helps! If you have a chance, please let me know what you think if you try it.


Okay. Here’s the skinny (pun intended). I just bought a precor elliptical and I love it. I use it every day. And I am still trying to stay on track with the daily burn style diet, although some parts are hard for me. The gluten-free thing ends up sabotaging losing weight- unless you are okay with nothing breadish at all. Gluten free stuff is four times more caloric than anything.

Also, I once lost 80 pounds on the whole calories in-calories out idea, so I can’t completely subscribe to something that doesn’t believe in that. I’m willing to try other things because I have back pain and acne- but anything that doesn’t recognize that calories are calories is a problem.

One of my commenters (I love comments!) mentioned a pill that was featured on ABC. I did a LOT of research (I’m a librarian) and found that reviews are VERY mixed, and it is expensive. However, in the interest of being unbiased, I let the comment stand. The pill is part of a MLM though- Amway-style.

At its heart, Daily Burn IS gluten free breadish free,and calories in calories out, but their apps suck. The Daily Burn videos and Gaiam are the best on Roku- with very different styles.  Daily Burn videos are much more modern.  It is like you get all of the cool infomercial videos without paying infomercial prices, which is really nice.