books

Sunday Summary: Day 7

Hello peeps!

I hope you’ve been having a fantastic week. I’ve been busy… but I can’t tell you why. Hopefully I’ll be on a sharing mood soon. :mrgreen:

Today I just wanted to let you know (and keep it on¬†the record) that I’ve made it to Day 7 of JJ Smith’s 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. WOOHOO!

10dayI got to be honest. It’s been a little trying but only a little. I am actually pretty happy with how well I have been doing. For those of you not familiar with this program, it’s a 10-day plan in which every day you have the same smoothie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (there are 10 different smoothies). The smoothies are mainly made of 2-3 cups of dark leafy greens (spinach, spring mix, kale), and fruit. In the morning you start with a cup of detox tea (I use Yogi) and lots of water (or herbal tea) throughout the day. You are also allowed to eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, and carrots; and nuts and peanuts as long as they are raw and natural; and hard-boiled eggs (random?). I’ve calculated my daily calorie intake at around 1200 (the smoothies take about half of that). It also says that you should have up to three bowel movements a day and to help yourself with Salt Water Flush or MagO7, but I’m not doing this, I’m letting nature do it’s thing.

So, Day 7… I’m down 7.6 lbs. which is great but I had gained about 15 lbs. since my lowest point and although I am super happy I am aware that there is much work yet to be done. But I’m liking this. I can see continuing with 1-2 smoothies a day and yummy salads with protein.

I am usually very skeptical about these programs but this one is pretty doable; mostly, because you do get to eat something in between. I admit that I don’t follow it completely and have “cheated” with avocado and oranges which are not on the list but I don’t think they’ve done much harm. JJ Smith also manages a super encouraging Facebook group that I recommend you check out if you are wondering how other people do on this.

That’s it for now…
Weekly Words of Wisdom

jjsmithquote

good advice ūüėČ
and thanks for stopping by.

“X” is for Xingu

DO NOT google "xingu" and forgive me for going off-topic.

XHello peeps, and welcome to the fourth¬†installment of What I Read Tuesday (WIRT) where I write¬†about my latest¬†read as I work my way through¬†2015 Around the World Reading Challenge, the PopSugar Reading Challenge, and complete my personal¬†Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 50 books this year (I am so behind).¬†¬†You can imagine how worried I was when I realized that my monthly WIRT would fall under the letter “X” and you can now imagine how happy¬†I felt when I¬†found “Xingu” by Edith Wharton. What a great short story (it should take less than 90 minutes to read) and it¬†is available free through Project Gutenberg. Click here for Xingu.

 xingu

Meet the ladies of the Lunch Club,¬†a book club composed of several (apparently) high-society ladies in Hillbridge,¬†a small town. The aim of the club, as described by one of them, is to “concentrate the highest tendencies of Hillbridge – to centralise and focus its intellectual effort.” They “aspire to be in touch with whatever is highest in art, literature, and ethics.” Sounds good, right? The problem is that most of them don’t really seem to know whatever all that means.

This is a really funny story about the Queen Bee(s) of the time.¬†Edith Wharton¬†(1862 ‚Äď 1937), a Pulitzer Prize-winning¬†novelist, short story writer, and designer was known for her humorous insider’s criticism of America’s privileged classes. Xingu¬†is no exception and in under 50 pages gives us¬†social and psychological insight into the snobs of the time (some which are very much relevant today).

It’s easy to give the punchline away so I will only ask that you read it yourself. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this short story. For book club members it is a must. I’m sure you know¬†(or are) one of the ladies in this group.

Favorite Passage

download (1)

#burn

March’s WIRT: The Husband’s Secret

Hello peeps! It’s that time of the month again, time for What I Read Tuesday (WIRT), when I share my latest reads¬†as I complete 2015 Around the World Reading Challenge¬†and I tie them into the blog‚Äôs theme.

I started this world tour in Japan with 1Q84. Last month I returned to The United States and read Heft. This month we travel to Australia and I share my thoughts on The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

Liane Moriarty is a prolific australian author. Her six novels are all international best-sellers but I hear that this is one of the best. I have not read her other books but friends who have swear that this one is the juiciest.

thehusbandssecretThe Husband’s Secret¬†is set mainly in Sidney. However, there’s not a lot of talk of major landmarks. Most of the stories take place in a suburban area. The Pacific Highway is mentioned as a line that divides the city and at the time that metaphor makes little sense but it does later on.

This is a story about family secrets. The secrets we intentionally keep from each other, the secrets we may never even know are secrets, and the havoc they wreak.

Here’s the description from the author’s website:

“My Darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .”

This is the beginning of a story of a myriad of characters that look otherwise not connected but whose lives are about to crash (sometimes literally) into¬†each other. Most of the characters are very relatable and it will make you wonder… “what would I do?”

There is a somewhat smaller character in this story that really got to me. Her name is Felicity and she is the cousin of Tess who is married to Will. Felicity used to be obese. She used to be bullied in school and called a “baby elephant.” She and Tess are super close; so close that the two along with Will now co-own and run¬†an ad company in Melbourne. Felicity has been Tess’s¬†eternal third wheel. When their story is introduced (chapter 2) we are told that Felicity, who¬†had grown into a fat adult, ‚Äėa big girl with a pretty face‚Äô had now “joined Weight Watchers, given up Coke, joined a gym, lost forty kilos [88 lbs] and turned beautiful. Extremely beautiful.” It looks like she’s about to steal Will from Tess. I’ll stop there and offer no more spoilers.

Although Felicity’s story is not central to the plot, it is central to my blog and issues with body image. I have to admit that it upset me that Felicity doesn’t get to have a life until he’s dropped weight. She was the character that I identified the most since I still feel that way many times… I still feel that I can’t really demand what I want… I have to be “not fat” first. It’s an everyday struggle. Anyway… I can’t really add more without spoiling it but I do recommend this book and you can read the rest of my review here.

Favorite Passage

downloadSo there you have it… we just need to be a bit ‘benty’. ūüėÄ

FYI - Tomorrow starts April AtoZ Blogging Challenge. Tomorrow will be easy: "A" is for April and I'll do a regular post on things I am looking forward to this coming month. The remainder of the month will be mostly related to weight loss, dieting, and overall about choices made throughout my weight loss journey. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful... here we go... 30 days of blogging.

February’s WIRT: Heft

Hello peeps! Welcome to the second installment of What I Read Tuesday (WIRT) where I write about books I have read as I complete 2015 Around the World Reading Challenge and I tie them into the blog’s theme.

Last month I started in Japan with 1Q84. Since then I have read¬†I know why the caged bird sings¬†by Maya Angelou,¬†The Husband’s Secret¬†by Liane Moriarty,¬†The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend¬†by Kody Keplinger (PS. read the book and skip the movie), and¬†Heft¬†by Liz Moore.

heftFor my Around the World Reading Challenge I go from Japan (1Q84) to The United States with Heft by Liz Moore.

Here’s the description from the author’s website:

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career – if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur – a plea for help – that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

I was surprised of how much I identified with Arthur. Like him, I know what it’s like to “eat my feelings” although I have never put it into words as well as Arthur does. I realized through reading this book that what I liked about food and the act of eating was that food didn’t judge me and eating became dangerously comforting.

I cried so much with this book, with Arthur and Kel. I loved the reality of this book. It was not condescending and it treated the characters and their flaws with a lot of compassion. I can’t really say more without spoiling it but I do recommend it.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Favorite Passage

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Sunday Summary: Hello February

IMG_3673Hello peeps! Can you believe it’s already February? Last year, February was a freaky month, weather-wise, I hope this year remains cool and collected… I hope.

So, here in the US it was Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t understand football so I didn’t watch it. GASP! I know, so unamerican ūüėÜ However, I am a markerter by trade so I am looking forward to checking out all the ads; and see how well (or not) companies spent $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time. Anywho, I’m betting Doritos did pretty well. Mmmmmm Doritos.

So… no Super Bowl for me. How was my Sunday? Pretty standard. After not eating too great all week I started the day with an apple, carrot, orange, and blueberry juice. Lunch was fish, mushrooms, plantain, and cabbage and carrot salad with a glass of cold green tea with lemon. I went to the gym, which was as expected pretty empty, and did an hour of zumba. My snack was some dark chocolate and almonds. Dinner was a slice of oatmeal banana bread and hot green tea.

FYI- February is Black History Month. I don’t want to get political but, one month, really? And the shortest one? really? Anyhow, it’s a good excuse to learn some US History or simply appreciate the work of an African American writer, painter, musician, historian, soldier, activist, poet… take your pick. I’ll be reading¬†I know why the caged bird sings¬†by Maya Angelou, and go from there.

On that note, my 2015 reading challenge is finally picking up speed. This week I finished¬†1Q84, and read Heft, and The DUFF¬†(the book is better than the movie). According to Goodreads I am still one book behind schedule but it should not be too hard to catch up. I am on a mission. I am currently just about half-way through¬†The Husband’s Secret¬†by Liane Moriarty. So far, so very good.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN FEBRUARY?

spartan30_pushup_calendar_psI am doing #spartan30 the pushup challenge and will attempt to do 30 pushups every day. I started today and the first 20 were OK but the last 10 were rough. Of course, I am doing the modified version (knees down) so I hope that by the end I can do at least 1/3 on my toes. That’s the goal anyway. Care to join? Click on the image and drop and give me 30!

cupids-chase-5k-37I will be earning my second running bib on Valentine’s Day at Cupid’s Chase 5K. This fun and quasi-romantic race takes place in several cities across the country and they are running a BOGO 1/2 off right now. Click here for the whole scoop. Next week I’ll be running 1 mile on Monday, 1.5 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday, 2.5 on Thursday, and 5K on Friday. If that goes well, I’ll repeat the following week in preparation for this run.

safe_imageFebruary 21st will be the end of Round #1 on Dietbet. Oh! The nerves! I have to admit that I have not been doing as well as I would like. I hope that this coming week is better. I’ll be increasing my workout time and making some changes to my meal plan. Hopefully that does the trick. Also, I am getting started with MobileFIT. I’ve never been really good at tracking things online (I’m more old school) but I am open to new things so here we go.

Weekly Words of Wisdom
(becuase Valentine’s Day)

Love-yourself-first-quote

and don’t foret to¬†wear red¬†on Friday.

January’s WIRT: 1Q84

Hello peeps!

Welcome to my first WIRT (What I Read Tuesday). This will be a monthly feature where I blog about books I have read as I complete 2015 Around the World Reading Challenge¬†and I tie them into the blog’s theme.

1Q84Let’s begin in¬†Japan with¬†Haruki Murakami‚Äôs 1Q84.¬†This was my Book Club’s January pick and both author and book were completely unknown to me.

It is a fictional story based on an alternative world in the year 1984. Since the heroine of the story, Aomame, is sure to no longer be in her world, she names her new home 1Q84 (Q stands for question mark). In this new world there are two moons, a religious cult with “little people” who mostly¬†say “ho ho,” and an air chrysalis (literally… a chrysalis made of air).

The book is also filled with Japanese cultural elements, from their love of brand names, their traditional meals, and funeral customs, among many others. This I found very interesting.

This is the most convoluted star-crossed lovers story ever… also, it’s a book about books, movies, art, and music. Not suprisingly, the author refers to Orwell’s 1984 but I am not sure I was able to connect this book with that one. Perhaps other readers have made the connection. I was introduced to Jan√°ńćek’s¬†Sinfonietta, which is supposed to express courage and determination to fight for victory, which makes sense since the protagonists are¬†doing just that. I am sure that all the references the author makes have a deeper meaning but I have¬†to admit that most I didn’t get. On a separate note, the author did¬†inspire me to read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. One day.

 

On a note more in line with this blog, Aomame, the heroine of the story is a personal trainer and super healthy eater (she’s also an assassin). At some point in the story she must go into hiding and develops a plan to stay fit and healthy. I found it pretty good:

Aomame’s Regime (in hiding)

  • Get up at 6:30 am and have a simple breakfast.
  • Spend an hour or so doing house chores.
  • Exercise 90 minutes.
  • Lunch: green salad and fruit.
  • Afternoon activities: reading, tv, nap, etc.
  • [There’s no mention of dinner but I suppose she has something]
  • Enjoy the sunset.
  • Bed at 10:30 pm.

I wish I had her self-discipline… but I did get some ideas.

Overall, I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads. I didn’t love it but I did like it and I will definitely try another one of¬†Murakami’s books since I did enjoy his writing.

Favorite Quote

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This really shut up all my questions ūüėÜ

Sunday Summary: The Bib Collection begins

Hello peeps! Happy Sunday… I hope you’ve had a good week. Here’s a quick overview of mine:

I spent MLK day at home feeling kind of BLAH! while Aunt Flo did her thing. My treat was a Mocha at Books a Million (BAM)¬†that I enjoyed while I tried to decide what to recommend for Book Club… I chose The Rosie Project by¬†Graeme C. Simsion. I’m looking forward to it.

On Tuesday, I had a fun but brief discussion about 1Q84 by¬†Haruki Murakami. This over 1000-page book is insane. Only two people in my club finished it and I was 3/4 done so I was able to contribute some but not a lot. It is a really bizarre book but I have enjoyed it… mostly. I hope to finish tonight. Here’s my favorite quote… so far:

“Most people in the world don’t really use their brains to think. And people who don’t think are the ones who don’t listen to others.”

On Wednesday I finally made it back to the gym. I have been working my biceps with 15 lbs. dumbbells and it finally felt manageable. But then on Thursday I was really sore and took another rest day.

Friday was really really busy which are my favorite and I finished the day at the gym with a fantastic Blacklight Zumba class. I also tried a new recipe. Check out these super yummy Pistachio Pesto Chicken Terderloins.¬†Erin uses nutritional yeast instead of parmesan but I decided to stick with parmesan. That’s the only thing I changed. Delish.

On Saturday I woke up early and did my first official 5K of the year. YAY! My #3 Resolution this year is to run 150 miles and start a bib collection. Here’s my first one:

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Today I took it easy. I made another oatmeal-banana bread… with strawberries this time, did an hour of zumba at the gym, had a yummy cup of lentil soup for lunch, and ended¬†the week the same way I started¬†it: with another Mocha at BAM. ūüėÄ

Weekly Words of Wisdom

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Be good and be kind… and thanks for stopping by.