February 28, 2011

february book review...

A once-a-month review of the books I read. I didn't manage to copy down quotes this month, and a lot of these were library books that have already gone back.

The rating is the same as Goodreads--5 stars means "it was amazing," 4 is "really liked it," 3 is "liked it," 2 is "it was okay," and 1 is "didn't like it."

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (2 stars)

This is a classic sci-fi, one of the foundational works, in fact. The language was beautiful (I even had to look up several words!), but there was a lack of depth to both the story and characters. I enjoyed the 2002 movie with Guy Pearce much more.

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (5 stars)

I can't help it; I am in love with Harry Dresden, wizard. And this collection brought together a whole slew of stories (of which I had already read about four) that have appeared in anthologies and special collections. It also had a wonderful new story that takes place right after the end of Changes (book 12). It was so much fun to not only get more of Dresden, but to also see how Butcher's writing has grown and developed. I can easily get lost in a Dresden book...it's a fantastic journey that I can take any time.

Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson (4 stars)

The third in a children's series, this is the conclusion of a fun yet serious fantasy story about a boy who finds worlds lurking behind the 100 cupboard doors in his attic bedroom. I read the first two almost a year and a half ago, but it didn't take much to get back into the story. Wilson is a fantastic author, and readers young and old can enjoy his stories!

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (3 stars)

This is one of the books that friends recommended to me for my 2011 reading list. It was a quick read that showed how Pooh embodies the ideas of Taoism. While I'm not much for Taoism, it was interesting to see how relaxed and accepting Pooh is--something that we busy and fear-driven adults sometimes forget.

Austenland by Shannon Hale (2 stars)

I had such hopes for this homage to Austen, but in the end, it was a sad and poorly realized story about a woman who is so in love with the fictional Darcy that she has trouble in real life relationships. The story tried to do too much, and in the end, it is not a story that Austen would likely be impressed by, considering how all the characters, even the good ones, behave.

Healer by Linda Windsor (3 stars)

I picked this one up on a whim from the library. It's a Christian fiction (which I usually have lots of problems with) but the story at least sounded interesting. If we want to get more specific, it's a Christian historical fantasy--which was interesting. The writing was clean, the story didn't disappoint, and it wasn't overly preachy. It was a bit predictable, and it got a little gooey, but all in all, it was a fun read. It's the story of a young woman who has lived in hiding ever since the death of her parents because her mother spoke a prophecy over her saying she would save the clan. When the son of her enemy is hurt outside her cave, she takes him in, not knowing who he is, to heal him. Of course, they fall in love and end the war between their people. There are more books in the series, and I might even track them down and read them!

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (4 stars)

Kingsolver never disappoints. While there were points where I lost a little interest in the historical parts (while the novel explores a missionary family, it also explores the history of the Congo), I loved the way the story really made the events personal. Having spent some time in an African nation, it brought back some memories. Kingsolver always weaves a great story, and this one is a must-read if you like story!

Turn Coat (Dresden File #11) by Jim Butcher (5 stars)

A re-read. It was the only one I own that I hadn't read for a second time, so in anticipation of my copy of Changes coming soon, I gave this one another look. What I love the most about Butcher is that he can make me laugh while twisting my guts and making me bite my nails. This story brings in Morgan, Dresden's longtime warden who has spent years just waiting for Dresden to mess up so he can behead the young wizard. But this time, Morgan is in trouble and he comes to Dresden for help. Another one of the major players in this story, Thomas, gets a really raw end of the deal, and it is hard for me to read because I adore Thomas, but it's still worth it.

At Risk by Alice Hoffman (4 stars)

I read this one in high school, but since it's on the CleanPlace reading list, I figured I should brush up. It was even better this time! When it came out, the book was very cutting edge--a story about a young girl who gets AIDS from a blood transfusion. Reading it now, so many years after the first reports of AIDS, it was interesting to see how things have and haven't changed. This is a great book for anyone who wants to see how misconceptions and fear can tear apart relationships.

And there you have all the books I read in February...can't wait to see what's on the docket for March!

February 26, 2011

crossing the finish line...

Well, my 30 days are over and done. All in all, I can say that I feel much healthier, I'm sleeping better, and I even lost four pounds. I'd like to say that not losing more was my own fault completely because I did not exercise like I should, nor did I keep a very strict diet other than working in the shakes and fiber. Life sometimes gets a bit crazy, and it's really hard to even make a shake when you are traveling. If I had better discipline, I would have lost more. But it is really nice to know that without even trying, I was able to get the scale to budge (and it hasn't done THAT in months!).

I will continue to use the products because I like them and they work--the shakes not only taste great, but they keep me full, and they get me a lot of the vitamins that I don't get otherwise (if only someone would deliver fresh greens to my house every day, I would eat better, but alas, no one will :P ). And I want to get into more regular exercise (I'm still not doing well on that, but for March it is one the calendar, so maybe that will help!).

The good news is that I know I'm healthier than I was 30 days ago--so many toxins are gone, and I'm putting things in my body that are better for me. And in today's age of junk food, anytime we put good things in we should give a little cheer.

So that's my 30 days to fit journey--thanks for keeping up with me. And come back to find out about the other things I do, like books I read, which will be the next post!

February 10, 2011

day fifteen--halfway to healthy?

So, I've made it halfway through my "30 Days to Fit" plan. And while I can happily report that I am feeling better, I also must sadly report that as far as pounds go, they haven't budged. However, I take full blame for that. I haven't been working out--I haven't even been to the gym. So other than a few things like taking the dog for a walk and lifting heavy boxes while cleaning the house, I just haven't been doing the second half of the equation.

What I've found is that while I enjoy going to the gym during the summer and fall (and probably spring), I just do not like going in winter. The best time for me to go is around 11 at night, because that's when other things (like making phone calls) shouldn't be done. But now, when the temps are falling far below zero, I have a hard time convincing myself to go to the gym...especially when swimming means wet hair, and sweat would freeze withing seconds upon exiting the gym.

So what to do?

Well, it's very apparent to me that I'm going to have to either force myself to the gym (which is unlikely, because let's face it, I am not good at making myself do things I don't like) or I can work out at home.

I have DVDs that I "enjoy"--including yoga and aerobic workouts. They don't take a lot of time or room. I just don't seem to do them.

So the second part of what I'm going to do is plan the time when I will work out. Put it down on a calendar. And then keep it.

And maybe in a few weeks the temps will get back to civilized and I can go to the gym again, because I do need some of the equipment there to really do some of the exercises that will be most beneficial.

On other fronts, I just made a shake--and this time, I used the blender. I've been resisting the blender because it takes longer, makes the shake warmer, and it takes more effort to clean than my shake cup. But I just can't get the fiber to blend in the shake cup, and I can't put enough of it in my tea. So I used the blender. And it worked well (except for the slightly warmer and thinner consistency). But I need the fiber, so I guess one shake a day (of the two I'm enjoying) will be made in the blender. Go fiber!

And the other thing I'm working on is water. Lots of water. Miranda Bircham (trainer of Biggest Loser winner, Danny Cahill, and a personal acquaintance) says you should be drinking lots of water. Her formula is to take your body weight (pounds) and divide it by two. That's the number of ounces you should drink of water DAILY.

That's a lot of water.

I'm trying to get there--haven't hit that number just yet, but I'm drinking A LOT more water than I have been, which is good. It helps clear up my skin, flush out toxins, and it does help me feel better. I've even gotten to the point where I can drink water with my pizza--that's huge.

Pardon me, all this water is making me have to pee...a lot.

February 7, 2011

day twelve: hiccups and mishaps

Yep, I'm not good at daily updates :P And the last five days have been a bit crazy with life. I don't remember much of Friday, but Saturday I had to drive up to Parker and then the airport. On my way up to Parker, I spun out when road conditions changed (from wet to over an inch of snow, and apparently ice) in a matter of seconds. Thankfully I didn't hit anything, and it was at the only spot on the road where the shoulders are super wide, so I never left pavement either.

Needless to say, that stressed me out a little, and between the stress and having to continue the drive all the way to the airport, and then back to my sisters, well, the entire attempting to eat anything healthy went out the window. And then I stayed up there until the storm left and the road cleared (so, all of Sunday, drove home today). And it was a bit of a free-for-all as far as food went, because she didn't have much in the house to start with.

Now that I'm back home, I'll be getting back on track. I need to drink more water. According to my upline (who trained one of the winners of the Biggest Loser!), I need to drink 1/2 my body weight (pounds) in ounces of water per day. That's a much more reasonable amount than the formula my friend Michelle is using (which I would probably bloat up like crazy if I drank that much!).

So here's to getting back on track, and praying for no more freak snow storms when I have to travel. I would rather not go spinning like a top on the road again!

February 2, 2011

day seven--detox DONE!

So, I almost forgot to do the detox today.


I was at my sister's overnight, and I didn't want to drink it while driving from her house back to mine (just in case it decided to give me one last hurrah--not a good idea on a road with NO rest stops!). And then I got home and was so focused on getting warm (hello subzero temps) and getting stuff inside that I sorta forgot.

So it was after 5 pm when I finally mixed it up. Thankfully, I'm much more accustomed to the taste now, and I was able to drink it down more quickly (I still made it last from before dinner until about an hour after--so I sorta "sipped through the day" :P ).

I'm happy to report that I feel great.

On the food side, however, I've had to make some modifications. Let's face it, counting calories takes a lot of time, and it drives me up the wall. So I'm working on figuring out good portions, and trying to balance slow and fast burning carbs. I know the fizz tabs and fit chews from Arbonne will help with this as they keep the blood sugar more even.

Tomorrow morning I'll see if the detox dropped any pounds. Even if it didn't, I feel so great that it was worth it!

day five and six--detox

Well, I didn't blog yesterday because there wasn't much to report. I'm feeling great, my digestive system seems to have worked through the worst of the detox (let's face it, it's designed to get the junk out, and it did it well. There was only about 12 hours that were unpleasant, but even then, it wasn't more than slight discomfort, and I can't complain about that!). I have one more day of the drink, and then I'll be starting in using some of the support products, like the digestive support (to help get all the healthy stuff back in balance, just in case it got whacked in the detox).

I haven't been very good about counting calories, but I've been trying to watch portion size and avoid junk food. I did great until tonight when the bag of bbq chips just begged to be opened (I swear it's the cold playing tricks on my brain!). But I only ate a serving and then put them away. Yes, I do have self-control.

And now I'm off to take a lovely bath in the SeaSource Detox Soak to help aid the inside detox but pulling any other junk out of my skin!

Have a good night.