My Journey to Health

Friday, August 14, 2015

When I was 21 years old I weighed 122 pounds and never felt better about myself.

Today, I stepped on the scale, at 25 years old, and almost fainted at the sight of 157. I look like crap. I feel like crap. And it's past time to turn this around! I am still young enough to be the healthiest and fittest I have ever been!

I am going to make so many changes! The first change is beginning a fitness routine. I love yoga, but at the moment I only really give about one day a week to it. I want to commit at least 4 days a week to yoga. And at least one day a week to another kind of workout: like barre or weight training.

The next change will be my eating habits. I usually skip breakfast AND lunch, unfortunately. I use the excuse that I am nurse and there just isn't time, but I need to force myself to make time. No wonder my metabolism is almost nonexistent. I will begin eating a great breakfast, a decent lunch, and a no-carb dinner. I am also a daily wine drinker, which I will be replacing with tea!

I have also started Hydroxycut Max for Women to give myself an initial boost. I will update often if I am seeing any results. Other supplements I will begin taking regular (as opposed to were they now sit on top of my fridge...):
-Magnesium: because I tend to get muscle twitches after workouts
-A multi-vitamin: this is easy because I take the tasty gummies
-Fish oil: lots of studies have shown this can aid in fat-burning
-CLA (which is basically safflower oil): which also supposedly can aid in fat burning
-A pro-biotic
-Carnitine (before my workouts)
-A pre-workout (so I CAN'T use "tired" as an excuse

My goals:
-To be a size 4. No weight goals. A size four is what looks and feels best for my body. I don't care what the scale number is to get there. Though, let's be honest here, I would LIKE to see 130 when I step on....
-Splits in yoga!
-Inversions in yoga!

NO MORE EXCUSES. PERIOD. I want a healthy body!

My journey starts now.

Review: On Leaving Charleston by Alexandra Ripley

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"From the waning glory of the Old South...

The plantation house, the lands, the golden traditions of Ashley Barony made it the pride of Charleston. But its fortunes fell violently, irrevocably, on Margaret Garden Tradd's scandalous wedding day.

To the wild razzle-dazzle of the jazz age....

From an ugly duckling love child, Garden Tradd became the glorious belle her mother, Margaret, had longed to be. Garden's marriage to the dashing Yankee, Sky Harris, was a triumph -- the match of a decade.

With breathtaking abandon and dazzling innocence, she danced through Paris, London, and New York as the twenties roared...until betrayal turned the glitter to bitter ash....until vengeful secrets of the past sent her home to Charleston--a city waiting to embrace its own or exact its own very special revenge."

Oh, man, this book though! I just finished reading it for the fourth time in the last 7 or so years and I still love it as much as I did the first time when I was in high school. What do I even say about it!?

WHEN I First Read

I first read this in high school, maybe 16. And honestly, this was most likely my first romance. Up to this point I stuck to YA or classics. This one bool opened a whole new, super awesome, world for me! I'm pretty sure I read this during the summer, too. Why are books always so much better in the summertime?

WHAT I Remember

I mostly remember this book as being an epic saga. We span a lot of family members and lot of time here. It beings in 1900 and ends in 1935. I also remember the main character Garden, being one of my all-time favorite characters. We get to completely grow up with her! From the time shes born, then as teenager, a married young woman... and you get to go through all her struggles and triumphs with her! I also remember getting sucked into the crazy world that was the 1920's in Paris. So fun!

WHY I Wanted to Re-read

Simple: for the feels. I love how re-reading a book can also take you back to yourself the first time you read it! 2014 wasn't a SUPER reading year for me. I didn't read many books that I could truthfully say I loved. So this is my way of experiencing the love of a book again.

HOW I Felt After Re-reading

Heart-breaking. Soul-crushing. So many tears. I don't think I had that reaction on my first read. But at 16, I don't think I had my heart broken by a love yet. On this read I was more able to feel Garden's love for and pain over Sky. I was SO rooting for them hard this time, Ugh, this book!

WOULD I Re-read Again

Definitely, yes! This book will stay on my shelf forever. (Plus, it's VERY hard to find now!) Maybe in a few years. When I need to fall in love with books again.

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Contemps I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Ten YA Contemporaries I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet

  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  • Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  • The ENTIRE Hundred Oaks series (except for Saving Jordan) by Miranda Kenneally
  • Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • On the Fence by Kasie West
  • Anything at all by Jennifer Echols
  • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
  • Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

January Wrap-Up

Monday, February 2, 2015

I don't really know what happened in January. After an extremely hectic December, I guess I just felt like laying around watching TV last month. It was oddly very refreshing, though. But in February I am hoping to get back down to business and read some books!

What I read in January:
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
On Leaving Charleston by Alexandra Ripley
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

Challenges Update:
2015 TBR-Pile Challenge:  3
Real Book Challenge:  3
Contemporary Challenge:  2
Re-Read Challenge:  1
Outlander Series:  0
Prequel/Sequel Challenge:  0

February Reads:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (part of the series reading challenge)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (Lauren Conrad Feb. bookclub pick)
Finish The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
Finish audiobook of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Finish Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

And if I were by chance doing really excellent I'd like to read The Girl on the Train and I'll Meet You There


This Week's Recap and Next Week's Goals

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I started a new shift at work this week and while getting used to the transition I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked to. I read from

On Leaving Charleston by Alexandra Ripley, which is a re-read for me,
as my main read.
I also read from Stealing Home by Sheryl Woods on my e-reader at night before sleeping.

Next week my goals are to finish and On Leaving Charleston and begin and finish

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
and at least start Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

What I Bought This Week:
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck
While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
Because of Low by Abbi Glines

I have linked this post to:
Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Review: I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
Series: The Prince Catchers #1
Published by Avon Romance
Format: eBook
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never:
1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,3. Battle thieves at his side,and4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.
But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.
What a fun adventure of a book! We begin this series with the three sisters as young girls visiting fortune-telling gypsy. They are hoping to get some clues about their parents and the strange ring that their mother left with before sending them off. The gypsy claims the ring belongs a prince and that he would have their answers.

I Married the Duke revolves around middle-sister, Arabella. It seems to me that she is the fierce, spunky one of the three. Arabella is a governess and finds herself employed with all of the "best" families in hopes she will get their daughters married off to the best prospects available. We meet her as she is trying to get passage onto a ship that will take her to the prince she is dreaming of marrying: the one who will have her answers! Little does she know what this ship is captained by a handsome duke and her life-plan is about to drastically change.

This story is full of twists. A few things happened (which I won't spoil) that found me saying, "what, really?" and then I'd finally understand just for another twist to occur. By the last four chapters I was completely enraptured and flying through the pages to see how this would all end. The whole thing, in my opinion, reads almost like a mystery and there are may climatic scenes as different characters get themselves into and out off some pretty tight spots.

The undertones and the story-line had a pretty serious undertone to me. This wasn't all balls and gossip and sewing circle. We get a lot of deep subject matters, which I totally wasn't expecting, but it really worked out and added a new level to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this one and will be continuing on with the series. The next book features Ravenna, and from what I have seen from her in I Married the Duke, I think I am going to really like her. I am very curious about these girls' history and what happened to them as children.

Review: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by Viking
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Tudors
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for? 
This book was so good! I flew through it!

Here we have the the story of Mary Howard who finds herself married to Henry Fitzroy at the young age of fourteen. They barely even know each other and haven't even seen each other since they were (even younger) children. Even after the marriage ceremony, they barely come into contact with each other and Mary is left wondering what it's like to be in love and even what it is like to be kissed.

Eventually, however, these two do get to have various encounters. These meetings are very important in that they do get the opportunity to get to know each other and eventually, truly, fall in love.

I really liked Mary from the very beginning and I really wanted her to be happy. I had no prior knowledge of her or Fitz so I had no idea what to expect from their story. I was nervous, however, that Fitz would be too much like his father and that this wouldn't be much of the love story that I was hoping for Mary. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. Fitz was a great guy and totally sweet and loyal to Mary, just as she deserved.

So I totally love this period in history. I am enthralled by the Tudors, the Boelyns, the Howards, all of it. I completely at this story up and it was very satisfying. Longshore does a wonderful job in giving details of court-life and letting us feel as though we are right in the midst of it. We actually get to see a lot of the Henry/Anne drama which I enjoyed, but it didn't revolve around them, so if your tired of their story, you can still easily enjoy this one.

The length of this book worried me at first, but I like I said before, I flew through it. The story is broken up into pretty short and quick chapters that all tell a different scene and different days which keeps the pace going quickly and leaving no dull moments. Longshore also does a excellent job in helping the reader keep the many characters and events straight, which I appreciated.

The first half of the novel focuses on Mary and her friendship with Marge and Margaret, which was interesting, but I was really anticipating some Fitz scenes, which finally came in the second half. I liked all of the characters though and their little group of the three girls, Fitz, and Hal. We truly get to know all of these friends and its fun to read the scenes with all of them together.  My favorite part of the novel was watching Mary go from a young girl who thinks she is "just a Howard" to a young woman who knows that she is her own person and can't be defined by her parents, her title, or the king.

The only thing holding me back from giving Brazen a full five stars is that it didn't quite produce full emotions in me. There were scenes that should have had me crying, or at least choked up and reallyfeeling but I didn't quite get to that point. I wasn't 100% invested in the love story or the characters like usually am with my five star books.

This book definitely satisfied my craving for some Tudor fiction and I will be eagerly awaiting some time to read Gilt and Tarnish.