I was fortunate enough to devour two books in April (I’m hoping for that in May but we shall see).
First up was:
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
I was actually quite pleased with this book. It starts out as what I think will be two women reuniting a ruined friendship while they start a bakery together but it ends up in a mystery. It flipped back and forth between the mystery aspect and the friend aspect but not in a way that seemed distracting or disjointed. It was a great light read and if you’re a cupcake lover and/or baker like myself, you’ll enjoy reading about the different cupcake flavors that are mentioned. It’s a very illustrative book to read.
Next on the Kindle…
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
This was recommended to me by a friend. I went from laughing and agreement to anger and disagreement over and over with this book. I almost quit reading many times but I finished. I’m glad I did as it certainly made me think. I think her early years are more humorous as Moran documents her life but I think it shows how a woman can turn her life around and grow into a strong, independent thinking woman who can be funny in a “man’s way” but still be a woman. If that makes sense….
What did you read in April?
Life has been a crazy, hectic, mess of wonderfulness lately. What’s been happening?
Last time I posted I was on the fence about starting Weight Watchers again. Well, I did. I lost 19.7 pounds in the first 3 weeks. Yeah…but while that’s awesome. I’m not getting too terribly excited because 1. it was much of what I’d gained back and 2. I know I can’t keep that amount of weight loss up for the long haul. So YAY for losing but keep the expectations lower on how much I’ll lose consistently. I’m also aware that it may fluctuate a lot over the next few weeks because I’m moving soon and it’s a little stressful.
I went on vacation with the fella and his family. We went to Orlando for 5 days and enjoyed pool time with sunshine and warm temps, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, a gangster inspired dinner theater, La Nouba (a Cirque Du Soleil show), laughter, and a lot of delicious vacation food. Fish and chips, amazing steak, fish. And….I was introduced to jaffa tarts.
Seriously, these things are delicious. Orange flavored cake/cream covered in chocolate. I loved them so much that when I saw them on the menu at the Irish pub the next night, I had them again. Kinda ridiculous but I don’t care. They were amazing.
And now we’re back and in the thick of packing so we can move in 2 weeks. Well, less than 2 weeks. I’m slowly freaking out and then K is calming down the crazy until I freak out again. I have so much stuff. It’s major purge time. I’m getting rid of So. Much. Stuff. I’m definitely one of those people who gets anxious about moving/traveling and while I love it, I get really antsy and uncomfortable right before it happens and I just want it over. I don’t mind flying or the airport process per se, but the night before I fly, I’m just thinking, “Ok, I’d like to be on the other side of this now and skip the flying.” I’m not afraid of it, I just get anxious about the process I guess. I’m the same way with moving. But because moving is much larger than flying across country, I’m at the stage 2 weeks prior of just wanting to be moved in and beginning to unpack.
On top of all of these “big” events there’s a lot on the social calendar. K had a birthday this month, a close friend of our’s had a birthday this month that we’re eager to celebrate, we’ve had family events, and we’re expecting my family to come visit shortly after we move. Like I said, it’s been a crazy, hectic, mess of wonderfulness lately.
So…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last month as I’ve been out of commission on working out with much cardio (and I’ll be honest, I’m not doing strength either). I’ve been wondering if perhaps it’s time I go back to Weight Watchers. I tried it for a while and it worked but I had issues with the fact that I felt like once I stopped using it, I’d gain the weight back. To me, counting points or calories only works while you’re counting. So when I stop…it doesn’t work. But here’s the thing: I can’t stop for a while. I mean like a long while. I have a significant amount of weight I
want need to lose. I don’t like the idea of dieting. I don’t like the idea of counting anything. But I keep thinking back to a conversation I had with my personal trainer right before I had to stop going to her. She was telling me how she keeps track of what she eats and she counts most days but not all. But she’s earned that right to slip off for a bit. She talked about how when she first started losing weight she had to be strict. She talked about how now she can loosen up but she also knows that this kind of “dieting” by counting calories is kinda forever if you want to keep yourself in check. So counting calories and using MyFitnessPal are kinda gonna be it if I want to lose and then maintain. But I think for me, I need to get back to basics a little and learn to get myself back under control with eating and maybe Weight Watchers is the way to go. It lets me have my convenience. It takes the guess work out for me. Maybe I only do it for a while and then switch back to MyFitnessPal once I feel more in control. But do I? Is that what will work? Or do I need to try harder with MyFitnessPal? Or maybe there’s some other “thing” I should try. What do you think? What has worked for you if you’ve ever felt out of control and in need of structure again?
Seriously, Monday…get a life. I don’t know about you but as the days stay lighter longer and it warms up (I’ve heard it will one day anyway), the weekends get shorter. I’ve always enjoyed my weekends but since the fella and I started dating over a year ago, I live for my weekends, particularly my Saturdays. He works on Sundays so Saturday is the one day we can have together all day. This past Saturday we definitely had one to remember! K’s birthday is right around the corner and as my gift I bought Capitals hockey tickets for Saturday’s game. I also promised a dinner out at Paladar. So Saturday morning we woke up and had a little lazy time breakfast before heading downtown (in the drizzly rain) to the Caps game. We had a great time, even though they lost. The seats were great and you make your own fun when your team is losing, right? And at least it wasn’t a shutout. Back home to relax for a bit before dressing up and heading out to dinner.
Well, little did K know but I invited about 12 others to join us for dinner. Not only did we surprise him with a large birthday dinner but I managed to get some friends come out who he hadn’t seen in quite some time and I’d never actually met (partial thank you to Facebook). It’s not easy for me to surprise K. He gets a little suspicious but mainly because I’m HORRIBLE at keeping secrets from him. I get excited and I want to share everything with him. But we managed to completely surprise him and had one of the best evenings we’ve had in a while. It was full of friends, family, good food and drinks, and lots and lots of laughter.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing my fella smile and my heart just felt full watching him interact with his closest friends. I loved seeing our different walks of life friends interact and get along really well. (But I won’t lie…I’m glad it’s over because I was about to burst with that secret!)
Today the sun is shining after 3 days of rain here in Maryland and a weird freak snow “storm” yesterday afternoon. Honestly, y’all, while nothing stuck, the Facebook posts were hilarious yesterday once everyone started seeing the white stuff fall out of the sky. March has been awful around these parts and I think even the snow lovers are just over it. So the sun is shining and there is promise of temps in the 60s this week. I’m not believing it sticks until I see it.
Happy week ahead!
If you read (and liked) the Hunger Games triology, you should go get the Divergent triology asap. The movie based on the first book, Divergent, comes out in theaters today and I cannot wait to go see it soon.
Book 1: Divergent
I started reading this based on a recommendation. I kept saying, “yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it.” When I sprained my ankle and was reading like a fiend, I thought, “Why not now?” I finished it in 2 days. No joke. It’s very similar to the Hunger Games but it’s not quite as dark. However, in Book 1, I could tell it was leading toward something darker. Basically, the world takes place in a destroyed Chicago and society is divided into 5 factions. Each faction has a particular virtue: honesty, selflessness, brave, peaceful, and intelligent. At age 16, one chooses if they would like to stay within the faction that they were raised in or go into another faction. The main character, Tris, chooses her destiny…sort of. It’s a very thought provoking book to think about society split out like it is. It demonstrates that even if we’re in some forced group, we still depend on others to help us survive. It’s also fun to think about what landmarks in Chicago they’re describing if they’re not specifically named and to think about how strange some of our large cities would look if they were destroyed. After reading this book I though I might put off Book 2 but I picked it up because it was quickly loaned to me.
Book 2, Insurgent
So, I read this book in 3 days. Clearly, it’s terrible. Ha. This book gets more into the the fall out of what happens in Book 1. I think it focuses on what people think about when figuring out where they fit in society and what they think of society as they know it. It really is a coming of age book for Tris, even more so than Book 1. There’s a love story, there’s overcoming grief, learning how to forgive, learning one’s identity, and discovering the world is run by politics and power. After I finished this book I immediately wanted Book 3. While I almost downloaded it on my Kindle, I knew if I simply waited 24 hours I could borrow Book 3. But I kid you not that once I got my hands on Book 3 I was reading it within 10 minutes and didn’t put it down for the first few short chapters.
Book 3, Allegiant
On to Book 3. I have to say, this book was easier to put down. Quickly into the book it gets to the “point” of the world you’ve been in for the previous 2 books. It was an interesting concept but not one I really could get behind. However, if I allow myself to indulge in sci-fi, I could maybe see it happening in the world but not quite what I expected. But with that said, I still read this book in about a week and I enjoyed it for what it was.
So again I say, if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, read this series. Let me know what you think!
The other day I had a hankering for some sort of different snack and I happened to have a huge bag of pecans from my mom’s yard in south GA. So I started thinking I could do a sweet candied pecan but I didn’t want the typical sugar coated. So after some research online I modified a recipe to make this!
Drunk Honeyed Pecans
- 1/2 c bourbon honey
- 1/4 c granulated sugar
- 1/4 c whiskey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, stir together honey, granulated sugar, whiskey, and salt. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a slow boil. Add pecan halves. Stir to coat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring, until syrup begins to bubble up and turn a light brown in color. Remove from heat and drain liquid through a strainer.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place coated pecans onto parchment paper in a single layer, separating as much as possible. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, separate pecans from each other and use to top salad or as a tasty snack.
I read a lot in February. I’m going to show 3 books here but I actually read 4. My plan for the 4th book is to review an entire triology at once.
So let’s start with Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
I simply liked this book mainly because it was something different and I felt like it told a really true story and didn’t come across as a story written by a ghostwriter. While the topic is serious, it’s a light read. It also, if accurate, shows how women can embrace each other even if they’ve done something to land themselves in federal prison. It shows the true heartache of a woman separated from her family and one who truly regrets what she did to get into prison. It shows how one can befriend others but keep a low profile and just “do the time.” It also shows how while in some instances we think inmates are catered to, it’s a really inconsistent system in terms of how one is treated across facilities and even within. However, with all of this said…I’m not sure I really want to watch the series. People I know have raved about it but I kind of feel like now that I’ve read it, I think the series will ruin it for me. You know?
Next up is The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot.
I adore this series by Cabot. I read them all so quickly so I was very excited to see the latest in the Heather Wells series was out. While I really liked it, I didn’t love it as I did some of the others. This plot seemed a little more crazy than some of the others. It seemed like it was stretching a bit more, however, it seems somewhat possible if you think about pressures students are under…I suppose. There was also just a LOT going on in this book in terms of side plots. But I love love love the romance between Heather and her hunky PI, Cooper. I may have teared up a little at the end. And by may, I mean I did. I think this may the last book in the series and while I’m sad to see it go, I think it’s time. But it did seem like Cabot could take one side plot and spin it into another series featuring Heather, which would thrill me to no end because I love her character and little band of friends and family.
Finally, Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster.
I mentioned this book a few weeks ago. I liked it more once I finished it. But I still just gave it 2 out of 5 stars. It seemed like it was way too similar to Here I Go Again. The main character basically worked for Oprah. No, it wasn’t referenced but it might as well have been. This book seemed like it had some holes in the story and it pulled entirely too much from her other books for my taste. If more of her fiction works are like this, I’m going to be screaming for her to go back to more of her own life story telling because that’s essentially what her fiction works are. I know they say, “Write what you know” but this book took it to an extreme and it wasn’t extremely good.
I’ve been trying to heal up quickly on this sprained ankle. It’s already taken me out of 2 5Ks I had planned for March and it’s been bumming me out. Big time. While I’m making great progress in my healing, it’s not healed. I can’t run on it. I can walk on it…for short periods. Running won’t be happening for at least another week or two. So…after some advice from a friend and my fella, I’ve decided I have to give up on the half marathon happening in May. While I think my ankle would be up for it, overall I’ll have missed too much training time and won’t be able to get back in shape in time for that. I’m not someone who runs all the time so I can’t just jump back and even give up on a PR. I have to just let me body heal. I’m hoping maybe later this year I can sign up for one but for now I’m choosing to focus on healing physically and healing mentally over having to give up on a goal I had. I hate feeling I can’t do something. So I’m not saying no because I want to, I’m saying no because I need to. I can’t take the risk of re-injuring myself. So for now I heal and focus on finding that inner peace with things again.
In January I only finished one book: As Seen on TV by Sarah Mlynowski.
From the publisher:
“Packing up and leaving behind friends and a promising career in Florida to move in with the boyfriend in NYC doesn’t epitomize the modern-day woman. But for 24-year-old Sunny Langstein, the decision is a no-brainer, especially when she is given the chance to star on Party Girls, a new reality-television show. The only catch: Party Girls have to be single. If anyone finds out about Steve, she’ll be off the show. No problem there – Sunny is good at pretending. But TV stardom is addictive, and before long, Sunny loses track of where she ends and her alter ego, Sunny Lang, the Uber Single Superstar, begins. Torn between celebrity and Steve’s unexpected marriage proposal, Sunny finds her life beginning to unravel in dramatic style.”
This was an interesting read. I have to say, I didn’t love the main character even at the end but the plot kept me interested. I don’t like reality TV but this book pokes fun at it and I think shows how things can unravel if you allow yourself to get wrapped up in material things. I gave the book 2 out of 5 stars. I didn’t like it but I didn’t really dislike it either. It was just “ok.” I would say read it if you need something silly and fluffy. It’d probably be a great beach/pool read.
Well, it’s another icy morning here in Maryland but since I’m working at home today, I took advantage of my blender and whipped up a smoothie. I didn’t have much to use in one so I threw some things together but it works. Perhaps it’s a little sweet for a breakfast smoothie but I’ll be keeping this one in mind for a sweet treat in the future.
Caramel Apple Cherry Protein Smoothie
1 Grove Square Caramel Apple Cider K-cup
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c dark frozen sweet cherries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Blend it all up!
Mine made just over 1 serving of my smoothie cup so you could easily make 2 smoothies out of this I think.
Calories – 260
Carbs – 37
Fat – 0g
Protein – 27
Sodium – 235
Sugar – 27