Dec 232014
 

I decided to take a few weeks off from the Warrior Room. Partly due to running out of classes in my pack that I bought and not wanting to purchase another pack right now. Partly due to my body needing a break. I was going really strong and things were great but I was starting to get some nagging aches and pains in various places and just needed to take a step back. I intend to go back in January sometime when my gym becomes so crowded that I can’t stand it!

So right now I’m focusing on yoga, swimming and a little weight lifting mixed in on my own. I created my own workouts based on some of the Warrior Room classes. I want to keep my base going while I take this break from the classes. Here is the first workout I did this weekend:

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When I created the workout I thought “Hmmm that might be too easy.” Yeah…..it looked so easy on paper but it sure wasn’t! It was intense. I was sweating buckets and I ended up modifying some of it because I was just fatigued. Also, the ab workout was crazy hard. I was SO SORE the next day that when I went to yoga and got into the “cat/cow” pose I flinched. My abs hurt too much for cow pose! Anyways, it was a good learning experience and there were a few things in the workout that I want to modify. I’ve created 5 different workouts with various moves in them and will take that into account next time and maybe cross a few moves off the list. We’ll see. Here are the calories for the workout:

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I wanted to share an art project I did over the weekend. I’ve saved all these great Christmas cards we’ve gotten over the years and wanted to do something with them other than just putting them in the Christmas decorations box. I stopped at Joann Fabrics and got some small pieces of plain wood and some make-your-own ornaments. I cut out the Christmas cards and glued them to the wood, painted the ornament. Here is one side:

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And this is the other side:

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Some of the cards I used had been homemade by some artistic friends. I wanted to find a way to display them. Here is one of my favorites, now on the tree:

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After that I had an afternoon date with Bella’s boyfriend! Our dog walker’s dog got sick recently and stopped eating, was having a hard time breathing and they took him to the hospital. He had to have a pretty invasive surgery and it turned out that he had gotten a piece of grass in his lung and it got infected. They had to remove a piece of his lung and lymph node and he’s on all kinds of antibiotics and pain pills.

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He was finally able to come home over the weekend but can’t be left alone at all. Amy had some clients she had to go see so I volunteered to babysit my favorite dog (other than Bella of course)! He is SUCH a sweetheart. Just one big cuddle bug. I took a book over and we cuddled on the couch cushions on the floor (he’s not supposed to climb up on things while his incision heals). We cuddled, he napped, he tolerated me putting Bella’s santa hat on him, I scratched his head for three hours. :) It was a good afternoon.

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Amy got home and Raja was happy to see his mama! Then it was time for me to meet up with my book club friends. We met at Wine:30 for wine, dinner and a chat about the book we chose. I wasn’t a fan of the book (and actually couldn’t finish it) so I was glad when the conversation strayed from the book…

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I got the panini sandwich with tomato, mozzarella and pesto. It was really tasty. I would have preferred a salad instead of the chips but it was all okay. I had a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc wine that was really delicious and crisp with green apple flavors.

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I’ve wanted to check this place out for awhile now. I’ve read good things about it and I loved the idea of a wine bar. The place was very modern and chic but a little cold. There was tile on the walls and cement floors, so it just felt cold and stark. Despite that, there was a fireplace and cute decorations.

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The back room had big couches and the table was a ouija board! I was so cool. I want that table. We had a great time chatting about everything, eventually talking about other books and planning our next book. We read “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Sadly, this is the third book of Neil Gaiman’s I’ve read. I loved one of them but the other two? Couldn’t finish. I know that he’s at a god-like status with a lot of readers but…he’s just not for me. I’ve tried. I can’t get into his books. But at least I had a great time with friends!

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Dec 172014
 

If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I read a lot. Each year you can sign up for a “challenge” to read a certain number of books. In 2012 my goal was to read 77 books and I surpassed that with 109 books total. In 2013 the goal was 100 and I read 119. I decided to challenge myself this year and made my goal for 2014 125 books. As of this week I’ve reached that goal and went over it with a few books! I haven’t decided yet what my 2015 book goal will be. Definitely more than this year, I know that….

I found that having a Kindle made it SO much easier to read more books. Not only did I not have to drive to the library or wait for books to be available, I also got free books on Amazon. Amazon offers a ton of free kindle books, plus if you are an Amazon Prime member you get 1 free book a month. My library also offers eBooks. Sometimes you do have to wait a few weeks or more for the book to be available (which I find weird considering it’s all digital).

This might be the last book post for 2014! Are you looking for a good book to get you through the yucky winter? Never fear! I have recommendations. :) Here are a few good ones I’ve read lately:

1. Darkness Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane

What a fantastic series, glad I found it. The writing is crisp and clean, the stories move quickly and I love all the characters. This is the second book in the series and it’s even better than the first. This particular story was extremely dark and there were some pretty terrifying moments.

2. Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

This is Book 3 in the series. A departure from the other books in the series. The cowboy is taken out of the wilderness in Wyoming and is solving a murder mystery in Philly. Despite being different from the other books, the beloved characters were still involved and the story was great. Walt is a fish out of water in Philly but it works. The story was great, loved the change of scenery and I was sad the book was over.

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3. A Dark and Twisted Tide by SJ Bolton

Another great Lacey Flint book. This one was super fascinating. It took a topic I didn’t know much about and spun an interesting and twisted tale. The twist in the finale was so fascinating! I don’t want to give too much away. I recommend this book!

4. Personal by Lee Child

The newest Jack Reacher book! And it is a great one! If you don’t know about the Jack Reacher books, I really recommend them. It’s a series I try to turn everyone on to because I love the books so much. I started the series like 10 years ago and zipped through as many as I could. A few years ago they finally made it into a movie and while I was disappointed they cast Tom Cruise in the role (I had always pictured Vincent D’onofrio as Reacher) the movie was actually pretty good. So if you’re looking for a new series to start, pick this one (another favorite is the Elvis Cole series).

This book was really good and I read it quickly, maybe 2 days total to finish it. The chapters are short and it reads fast. The books COULD be stand alone books but it would probably be better to read them in order. The ending of this book was shocking!

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5. The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson

Book #5 in the Longmire series. Another good book from the series. I accidentally read it out of order, but never noticed. The main story was done in the TV series, so if you’ve seen the show you know the ending. Despite that, it was still a good story and it WAS a little different than the tv episode.

6. American Goulash by Stephanie Yuhas

I was given an advance copy of this book from a friend who helped get it published. It’s a short story, only about 160 pages, but it’s a pretty tight, concise book for being so short. It’s a memoir about a Hungarian-American girl growing up in the 80’s with a mentally ill mother and grandmother in New Jersey. Despite the topic being somewhat dark, it was a really light book. It was charming and hilarious in a lot of places. There were a few chapters that I felt could have been cut out, but overall I enjoyed the book. She writes her mother well and I could really picture all of it. The chapter where she got her first period and had no idea what was going on and her mother gave her “The Talk” was hilarious–“You get pregnant I fuck you up”. There were bittersweet moments in the book that I think everyone can find they relate to. Recommend it!

7.  The Witch With No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison

The last of the series…Sad! I discovered the first book about 10 years ago. I remember I took it with me on a camping trip and spent most of the time devouring it. The series was pretty good, there were some books and some plot twists here and there that fell flat for me but for the most part the series kept it’s integrity and kept me reading. I loved the main characters and thankfully this series never got horrible like the Anita Blake series did (man I wish the author hadn’t ruined THAT series!).

So how was the final book? Not great. I included it in this post because I really did love most of the series and if you are looking for a new series to read, check it out. Despite that, the last book of the series was kind of a mess. The story was hard to follow, the writing was all over the place and many of the characters didn’t seem true to their character throughout the books. That was disappointing.

8. Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson

Book #4 in the Longmire series. (See above, I read this book out of order.) Another good book in the series. This one had two stories going at the same time–one took place during Walt’s time in Vietnam. Both stories converge at the end and wrap up nicely. That’s what I love about this author–the stories always work well and aren’t convoluted.

9. Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

Book 4 in the series. It sucked you in immediately. The writing was fast paced and actually quite hilarious despite the somber topic. The writing always impresses me. Several of his books have been made into movies. I could have sworn that I remembered this one so I checked my Netflix and yep, I’d seen the movie many years ago and apparently I only rated it 2 stars…The book is so good, though. Maybe I need to watch the movie again now that I’ve read the book? It’s apparently been long enough since I saw the movie that I didn’t remember the major plot points OR the whodunit. So that was good.

The book is great and I was happy that there were new awesome characters and they also brought back some of the old favorites (like Bubba). The story was dark and twisted and there were so many layers to it. The whole book had me hooked start to finish.

10. Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane

Book 5 in the series. How did I not discover this author sooner?? His books are amazing. So incredibly powerful and well written. It’s a different story than the other 4 in the PI series. Patrick wasn’t technically “hired” as a detective to solve the whodunit but thank goodness he insinuated himself. The layers of this story are just amazing as they unfold. The story and characters involved in this compelling book are twisted and shocking and kept me on the edge of my seat. I think I read the book in two days.

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Hope you enjoy some of these recommendations! Happy reading!

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