Tuesday, July 31, 2012

21/40: The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

The EspressologistThe Espressologist by Kristina Springer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right? With overtones of Jane Austen’s Emma and brimming with humor and heart, this sweet, frothy debut will be savored by readers

Cute, fun and likable characters. Completely craved Starbucks after reading this one. Also left me wondering what Jane would say about me and my favorite drinks of choice: Tall Caramel Macchiato or a Tall Java Chip with no whip.

The characters were stereotypical. Nice Girl Jane, best friend, mean girls, jealous coworkers, angry boss and multiple hot guys to choose from. It was a quick, fun read. I started Saturday morning and finished it that afternoon.
The idea that you can tell a little about a person by their regular coffee drink is probably pretty accurate.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

20/40: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery Of WitchesA Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:
 In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense.

This was a so-so book for me. I liked the premise of it. I liked the different creatures and I loved the mystery and intrigue. I felt it was far too long. I found myself skipping over parts that seemed unimportant. Skimming a book is never a good sign.

The characters were great, but I had a sad realization that the relationship between vampire and woman was eerily like that of the possessive one in Twilight. I just couldn't get that out of my head. The good thing is, Diana is a witch and incredibly strong. Or at least she appears strong. For a character that is stubborn and has so much power inside her, she was rather "woe is me, I can't do this" for the majority of the book. Even when she discovered her power and started to train, she was still weak as a witch. I'm not sure if it was her love or if she was just pretending to be strong at the beginning. 

Matthew was close to being my new book boyfriend. At the beginning I was all "Oh Matthew, you are so amazing". But then he lost his luster. Sorry Matthew Clairmont, you didn't make the cut. 

I don't have a desire to pick up the next one. It ended on quite a cliffhanger and I can see how a lot of people would pick up the next one right away. The length of the end of the story was too much for me to pick up the next one. Feeling like I'll never finish a book and just want to get it down and over with is never a good sign.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Healing Process: The Plan

In my last Fitness Check-in post I talked about starting a healing process for my wrists.
I want nothing more than to hit the gym and get stronger, bulk up, tone up, whatever you want to call it. I want my "cover of a fitness magazine" upper body back. Sadly, after several failed attempts over the years, it's time to grow up, put my big girl panties on and realize I'm not 16. I'm 27. I need to take things slow and allow my body to heal in it's own time. Gently.

I'm on the wait list for a neurologist. It could take months to get in, but it's at least in the works. I'm on nerve blockers that help ease nerve pain. The fact that they are working (for the most part) means we've nailed the culprit. Maybe not where, and maybe not the exact issue, but we've narrowed it down to nerves.

This is good news because now I can start healing and strengthening. Normally when I say strengthen I mean picking up weights or using the machines we have. This has always been the way I do it. And I've finally realized it only works for so long before I relapse in pain and can't do anything for weeks.
It's time to try a different method. Rather than strengthen the larger muscles to give stability to the smaller, I'm going to focus on the small first, until they are better equipped to handle what my larger muscles can.

I bought a set of 2lb and 3lb weights. I feel like such a sissy for using that much weight, but my body is I'm focusing on my forearms and grip strength for now. Testing the waters to see how they do. Can I still function at my job? Can I still lift glasses of water and take the lid of the peanut butter jar?

Every night I do 10 wrist extension and flexion exercises on each hand with a 2lb weight. I may not be sore the next day, but I can tell it's getting easier to do them. I'll up the reps to 15, then to 20 before I switch to 3lb weights down at 10 reps again. On top of this I've dug out my grip strengthener. It looks like the buttons on a trumpet. Each individual finger has a button to push down. I have the lightest weight I could find for the device.

It doesn't sound like a lot, and it's not, but I think it's all my wrists and forearms can handle for the time being. I'm hoping that by doing this, I get stronger and can start to focus on something a little bigger.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fitness Check-in July 25, 2012

C25K Update:
I'm up to Week 6! I can't believe I've been able to sustain running for 5 whole weeks. I know that I may not be going far, but this is the most I've ran in my entire life. And I love it.
I'm up to 3km a run. Week 6, Day 2 was my first 20 minute run. I managed to run 10 minutes, walk 2 and run 8.

This weekend I went and bought some new shoes. I've noticed that the balls of my feet are starting to get sore and thought new shoes should help. I'm in the process of trying them out indoors as The Running Room will take them back within 30 days if they don't work, only if they are worn indoors.
I didn't care about colour, more about the feel, but you can't help but think these are awesome.

I've given up on weight training. My wrist just won't allow me to do so. I've resigned to the fact that no matter what training I do for strength, it will never get better unless I start at the bottom. This infuriates me. For someone who has always felt strong and able to do physical activity with relative ease, starting a rehab program for my wrists makes me feel like I have failed my body. I feel like a failure physically.

Healing Process:
This weekend made me realize that it's time to start the long, slow process. I was holding Frenchie's niece (2 months old) while sitting on the couch. She is 9 lbs. My wrists/arms wouldn't let me hold her for more than 5 minutes before I had to give her back for fear of dropping her. For someone who plans to have kids of her own in the next 2 years, this is a scary thought. How long does a baby breastfeed? Longer than 5 minutes. How often does a mother hold her baby, cuddle with them, carry them around? Longer than 5 minutes. If I don't get my wrists better, I will be that mother that will have trouble doing those things. I've heard your body adjusts and you get used to it. I'm inclined to feel that for normal people with no injuries, yes, I believe you would. For someone with a recurring problem, I don't see that being the case.
To prepare my body to be in the best shape health-wise for the future, I need to start at the bottom. I have a long time to heal, but if I don't start soon, time passes quickly.
The healing plan will have to wait for another week to blog. I'm still figuring out exactly how it's going to work and what it will entail.

MeasurementJuly 25/2012July 9/2012Initial Measurements
Weight113 lbs115.8 lbs113 lbs
Chest31 in32 in 32 in
Waist26 in26 in26.5 in
Hips32 in32 in Didn't measure
Butt35 in35 in 35 in
Arms9 in/9 in9 in/9 in9 in/9 in
Thighs20 in/20 in20 in/19 in 19.5 in/19.5 in
Calves13 in/13 in13 in / 13 in12.75 in / 12.75 in

Weekly Schedule (subject to change at the drop of a pin)
DayWorkout Planned
ThursdayDVD with Sister#2


Monday, July 23, 2012

Planned Reading

Are you a person that plans your reading book to book?
Usually I have a list or shelf of books I want to read but I never plan the exact next book. I just take one off that shelf or list that seems to fit my mood. At least until lately. I've noticed that my love for books has gotten me into 3 book clubs; 2 online and 1 in real life. While I love it and wouldn't give them up, I now have 3 books to read a month and then discuss. 3 books that may or may not have been on my to-read list. It's great that I'm expanding my reading to other genres and it's fantastic to have people to discuss books with, I feel like I don't get to read anything BUT book club books. 

Are you in a book club? What are you reading next?

Here's my list of planned reading.

The Girl in the GardenKamala Nair
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
The Sandcastle Girls - 

My Goodreads Challenge says I'm 3 books behind. I need to read some short books and get that back to on track.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Fitness Check In: July 9/2012

C25K Update:
I should say that I've been using the Ease to 5K app on my iPod rather than the Couch to 5K website. I think there are a number of different programs out there you can use. I've been told the Running Room has a program that is vastly different from the one I'm doing. I say you find one that works for you, whether it be an app on your device, a website or a community group. The fact is, your doing something good for yourself and improving your life.

I've completed 3 weeks of the program and am very happy with the results. My cardiovascular system seems to be becoming more effective. My ability to recover after anaerobic activity has always been pretty great, my problem was sustaining aerobic activity. I was never able to run or dance for long stretches of time.  My lungs feel like I'm able to breathe a little deeper and it's become easier to control my breathing (when I remember)
Every new week that comes I think I can't do it. That extra minute or doubling the running time scares me. 
I was sure that last Saturday I would just do a repeat of Week3/Day3 since we had gone on vacation and I hadn't gotten my running plan in. Taking 5 days off had me thinking a repeat day would be in order. When I got up Saturday morning I was totally pumped to dive into Week 4. A 6 minute run? No problem! And in fact, it wasn't. I was able to do it and surprised myself.

I've gotten Frenchie to start the Bridge to 10K app. He's been running for a while, but never had a program to follow or push him to improve. I think he may be regretting it a little, but thankful. The push is definitely something he craves. He was even talking about signing up for a 10K! I don't think he realized how close he was to running that far before this program. 

Since vacation July Long weekend, I haven't gotten down to the gym again to lift weights. It seems as though I may be bored again. I truly love The New Rules of Lifting for Women program and think it's incredibly effective. Why can't I just kick my butt and get down there?

Does anyone have any suggestions for great weight lifting books/DVD's? (and not P90X)

MeasurementNowJune 25/2012Initial Measurements
Weight115.8 lbs112.4 lbs113 lbs
Chest32 in31 in 32 in
Waist26 in26 in26.5 in
Hips32 in32 in Didn't measure
Butt35 in34 in35 in
Arms9 in/9 in9 in/9 in9 in/9 in
Thighs20 in/19 in20 in/19.5 in19.5 in/19.5 in
Calves13 in/13 in13 in / 13 in12.75 in / 12.75 in

Weekly Schedule (subject to change at the drop of a pin)
DayWorkout Planned
ThursdayDVD with Sister#2
FridayC25K, NROLFW


Friday, July 6, 2012

Craft Project - iPad Case

I have a leather case for my iPad right now and it's bulky and adds more weight than I would have expected. While it offers great protection, I usually slip my iPad in my purse to commute with. I needed something a little lighter and something that would fit in my purse a little easier.

I found this project online at Dixie Mango and decided I'd try and make it.
I found the measurements in the tutorial were off, so I had to do some extra cutting, but it all turned out great. This is my SECOND sewing project so it's definitely not polished, but it works for me. 

I bought plain cotton fabric for the outside and some interfacing. I cut up an old soft vest to use for the inside. Velcro to secure the flap. 

iPad case - homemade

June 2012 Book Recap

What I read and started in June 2012
Books read to date: 19/40
According to my book challenge on Goodreads I am 1 book behind my goal. Not too shabby!

 The Midwife's Confession by Darlene Chamberlain (review here)
Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood 8) by J.R. Ward (review here)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (on audio)

Monthly savings: $17.48
Year-to-date savings: $153.04


Thursday, July 5, 2012

19/40: Lover Mine (BDB#8) by JR Ward

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8)Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Continuing on with the Black Dagger Series finally. I needed a break after 6 and 7. They sort of turned me off the series for a bit. I'm so glad this one was great. I have a feeling I'll need to read the next one soon!

The characters were stronger and less annoying. I also loved that there are 3 plots, although I'm a little disappointed that it's left wide open for two of them. (Guess I know what book 9 is about)

John and Xhex were wonderful together. Fighting against their love so hard yet always bouncing back. As two heavily mentally wounded people they are a perfect match. I wasn't sure I would like John in this one, but he definitely held his own becoming a male of worth. In the previous books he seemed so much like a childish boy. A kid who had a chip on his shoulder and something to prove in order to hide his horrible past. His vulnerability when he was with Xhex really made me like him.

Payne - Can't wait for her story! To be locked away for so long, only to be released because of a horrific accident. I truly hope that her story with Manny really lets us get to know her more. I think with her past and being so similar to Vishous it will be interesting.

Quinn & Blay - I cannot WAIT for their book. Each one is fighting against their feelings for each other to the point where my heart hurts for them.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Goal Check in 2nd Quarter

We are halfway through the year. Can you believe it?
Here is my quarterly check in for goals.
  1. Complete Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 - She's so mean but definitely kicks your butt
    • I finished Week 1 and 2.
    • Revising this one: Complete New Rules of Lifting for Women and Couch to 5K
  2. Start a dance class
  3. Save more money and tighten up on a budget - We have a lot of vacations in 2013 planned
    • We are well on our way! Budget for our biggest vacation is relatively set and we've saved enough for it already.
  4. Possibly find a new job - I like mine, it's just not what I was hired for
    • I swear there is nothing out there right now. I've been looking for 6 months and sadly, only one face-to-face interview, one phone interview.
  5. Renovate the kitchen cupboards - Change the color and add better organization
    • I'm not sure this will get done this year.
  6. Read 40 50 books! I missed by goal by 6 in 2011 but read some amazing books
    • I revised this to 40 last quarter.
    • Currently finished 18 books!
  7. Go to church more often - I'd like to go twice a month
    • Didn't go once this quarter either.
  8. Do a bible study - either with friends or by myself
    • It's taking us longer than 30 weeks as the book suggests. Life has a way of messing up our schedule.
  9. Keep in better touch with friends and family - Call friends and see family more often
    • Still horrible at the friend part. Why is it so hard for me to just pick up the phone? 
    • Now that Sister#2 is down here, we are seeing each other a ton! All 3 of us have been getting together frequently which is awesome.
  10. Meal plan weekly
    • Good for a few weeks, and then we lose it. Overall, pretty good.
  11. Start teaching piano in the fall
    • Advertised for lessons.
    • I have 2 prospective students right now.
  12. Piano: Practice, Complete Grade 9 RCM Exams 
    • Reworking through Grade 7 and Grade 8. My wrist only allows me to play for 15 - 20 minutes at a time.