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
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been doing a bit of reading so I thought I’d catch up on some of the books I’ve read. I’ve read quite a few so let’s just cover what I read in October through December 2013.
Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield
This was an interesting book to read. It focused on Japanese women living in California who dealt with the fallout of the Japanese population after Pearl Harbor. It also contained a murder mystery element. Overall, it was engaging and interesting. While it was fictional, it definitely seemed to have elements of truth of the history at that time. If you’re looking for something a little different, I would recommend you read this book…but it is a little heavier at times.
Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark
This was a murder mystery as well. It’s based in Amish country but not all the characters are Amish. But this book completely wrapped me up and had me thinking about how difficult modern world problems have to be so difficult for a population that doesn’t embrace the modern world. This is a very different book than I tend to read but was lent to me by a friend. I’m so glad it was recommended to me because I loved it! If you’ve ever been to Amish country or know anything about their culture, this book is something you should read.
Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
I love Mary Kay Andrews. Her books are always a lot of pages but they read like summer reads to me. I eat them up. This book didn’t disappoint and actually included characters from another favorite book, Savannah Breeze. I didn’t want to put this book down and wanted to read and read and read. If you’ve ever read Mary Kay Andrews, go pick up this book. If you haven’t read Mary Kay Andrews, go read some of her books, just read Savannah Breeze before reading this one.
Monkey Business by Sarah Mlynowski
It’s been quite some time since I’ve read any books by Mlynowski but from what I remember this book fits her style. This was an interesting book in terms of the characters and what they were each going through. It follows a group of students in business school and how they’re really a band of misfits, even the “normal” one. I wanted to read this book in one day but at the same time I wanted to pace myself so it wasn’t over so quickly. While it was different, it kept me entertained in a very good way.
It’s finally Friday. It’s seemed like a very long week, yet a short one all at the same time. I was stuck inside most of Sunday and didn’t emerge into the outside world again until Thursday morning. All due to a sprained ankle. I was getting a little stir crazy, even though I knew it was cold outside but we’ve had some sunny skies, despite a little snow. So yesterday, K drove me to work before he went to work, which meant I was in the office by 6:15a. Yeah. I didn’t leave work until about 4:30 since I had a meeting I really wanted to do in person. Fortunately, there was iced Dunkin coffee for me and a dinner date at Chick-fil-A. But that meant we weren’t home until almost 6:30p. Long day for someone who hasn’t been out of the house in days. I “quickly” showered and then propped myself up on the couch with the fella to watch Capitals hockey. I made it through the first 2 periods before I just had to lie down. My foot/ankle was throbbing and I just couldn’t get the right angle to prop it up. So I went to lie down and read Jen Lancaster’s Twisted Sisters. (It’s only $2.99 on Kindle for the next week or so. Go buy it!)
I love Jen Lancaster’s books and Twisted Sisters is the only one I haven’t read. I didn’t realize it at the time of purchase but a character in this book connects to one in Here I Go Again. So…I will say, if you didn’t care for that book, you probably won’t like Twisted Sisters. But this is a good fluffy read. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately so I know I’m due for a review of them. I don’t think I’ve reviewed anything I’ve read since September! So I’ll get on that. To preview what I’ve read since the new year:
So I’ve been delving into different genres but they’ve all been good. I should finish Twisted Sisters this weekend and I’ll likely start up Insurgent this weekend as someone is loaning the hard copy to me and well, it’s not like I can go do a whole lot…like run the 5K I had planned for tomorrow. Bummer. But I’m going to cheer on friends who are doing it in the cold without me tomorrow…and by cheer on I mean from my couch with my foot propped up. I’m not feeling crazy enough to go in person. 😉
I hope you all have happy Fridays and happy weekends!