Monday, January 31, 2011

111 in ‘11 Progress: January

So I think I got a good start on my 111 in ‘11 goal this month. I’m aiming for 10 books a month because I realize that some months are busier so I may not have as much reading time. So if I can get a bit of a head start in these cold winter months when I’m trapped in the house it will hopefully keep me from having to try to rush to hit my goal at the end of the year.

What I read in January

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage – Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t love this nearly as much as I liked Eat Pray Love but I thought it was pretty good.

Reshaping It All – Candace Bure. I had heard a bit about this around the end of December and decided to give it a shot, even though it is very different from what I usually read. I thought it was pretty interesting (I loved Full House and think that Candace is really inspiring) and there were some really helpful tips and some delicious sounding recipes.

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto – Jen Lancaster. I loved this. Though I have pretty much loved all of her books, so it really wasn’t a huge surprise. What did surprise me though was the fact that I really related with what she was saying at times. This book fueled me to try to stick to my goal to turn off the TV and made me really want to get out there and experience new things. Definitely read this.

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America – Firoozeh Dumas. I read this for the Immigrant Stories Challenge and totally loved it. I actually laughed out loud at so many parts of this book and read a couple of chapters to Doug – who also laughed. I definitely recommend this.

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins. I loved this book. Yes, it is considered Young Adult but I don’t care. I loved it. It reminded me a lot of the Sarah Dessen books I loved and that is a very good thing. I read this in about 2 days and was so sad when it was done, but I just couldn’t put the Nook down! I had to keep reading.

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food - Jessica Seinfeld. Yes, this is a cookbook. But I’m counting it here because there are a lot of tips and tricks throughout the book and I really did sit down and read this whole book. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of different veggies as a kid, so I think these tips are pretty good. Plus I ended up getting this book for like $3.00 a couple of months ago, so it was a great bargain.

You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening – Gayla Trail. Doug and I have started making plans for our garden and I’m really excited (and yes, I plan to blog it!) so of course I had to go and get some library books right away. I wasn’t blown away by this one but there were definitely some neat tricks here. If you’re thinking about planting a garden this year definitely see if your library has this.

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner – Bich Minh Nguyen. This was the second book I picked for the Immigrant Stories Challenge. I was very different from the other book – and I don’t think I realized that when I picked it. It didn’t have the laughs the other one did but I thought it was so interesting. I’m definitely glad I read it.

The Backyard Homestead – Carleen Madigan. This is another book I picked out once we started planning the garden. I actually saw it in a seed catalog that Doug had (yay for a husband that went to school for horticulture!). and thought it looked neat. It is definitely way over what we are planning to do – I won’t be planting grapes and making my own wine any time soon – but I thought it was really interesting and neat to see what all one can do themselves with the space and time.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook Presents: A Magical Christmas Menu Sample – Dinah Bucholz. This was a free Nook book that I got since I love Harry Potter. It was neat and I really liked how the author gave you the text from the books showing how each recipe was used.

Bookstore Lore – Tom Lichtenberg. This was another free Nook book. I’m glad it was free. I love reading about dumb things people say but it was a bit much.

5 of USA’s Best Trips – Lonely Planet. Another free Nook book. This was kind of interesting to read. Doug and I have always loved to pull out the old “what’s one place you want to visit?” game (mine is always New York) so I liked getting some ideas for other places to add to the list.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Song of the Week (1/24/11 – 1/28/11)

So for this week’s song of the week we’re venturing into the land of Zumba. My Tuesday night Zumba class to be exact.

Song of the Week – Broken Sorrow by Nuttin But Stringz. Upon first listen this may not sound like a traditional Zumba song – but my instructor uses it as the cool down song. The moves are nice and slow and flow-y (and stretch-y!) and I feel just like a ballerina doing them (childhood fantasy alert!). I love this song so much I ended up asking what it was and then searched iTunes for it. It is that good!

I think it helps that I’m a sucker for string instruments. I have always wanted to play the violin (childhood fantasy alert!) and adore songs that aren’t your typical style for the sound of a string instrument. And the fact that this song has such a crazy intense beat to it makes me love it even more. So definitely go check this one out (Youtube). Oh and some of you might actually recognize these guys – they placed third on season 3 of America’s Got Talent.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Song of the Week (1/17/11 – 1/21/11)

Song of the Week – Watch Over Me by Hanson. From The Walk album. I love this song I really, really do. I love the lyrics and the melody. And it is really easy to sing along to at the top of your lungs. Which is always nice. I really like joining in on the “hey, oh” part. Though sometimes I have to check myself to make sure I don’t do it at work :P

So definitely a song I recommend. I think even people who don’t think they like Hanson would like this one.

Image source

Friday, January 14, 2011

Song of the Week (1/10/11 – 1/14/11)

This week’s song of the week marks my first country song for these posts. I grew up listening to country because my mom is a big fan (I listened to classic rock too thanks to my dad). But I outgrew country back in my boy band days. However every so often I catch a song and really like it.

Song of the Week – Little White Church by Little Big Town. I just happened to flip by this song the other day and was instantly hooked by the beat. It’s a kicking country song and really catchy. Definitely give it a listen (or catch the video, it’s good too!). I think you’ll like it.


Sunday, January 9, 2011



This is how I spent a big chunk of my day today. That would be Grux all curled up on my lap, my Nook with My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster, and that container on the left has dark chocolate covered peanuts and cashews (just had a few of those). It has been a great day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Song of the Week (1/3/11 – 1/6/11)

Ok first it still feels really strange to write ‘11. Second sorry for no SotW post last week. Between it being a short week and me being sick and taking another day off plus either not having my headphones on or being in such a cold-medicine fog I didn’t realize there was music playing I really didn’t have a song last week.

But now I’m back with the first Song of the Week for 2010 2011.

Song of the Week: Break Free by Dave Matthews Band. From Live Trax Vol. 6: Fenway Park. We’ve talked about my DMB love before (herehereherehere – and, of course, Grux). So it’s no surprise that I picked a DMB song – the only surprise is that it took this long! This has not been the best week ever – post-holiday blues, still trying to shake the last of my cold, and stressful days at work – and it all has had me running for my ear buds to get lost in some good music. And I’ve seriously been craving this song. I know that sounds really odd but the other day I just had to listen to this. And you know what? It helped. This is one of my all-time favorite songs – by the band and in general. I love the lyrics. I love the instrumental sections. I love the tempo changes. I love, well, everything about this song. I’ve never gotten to see this one live (maybe someday) but I know it would be wicked awesome. It is on YouTube though and there are quite a few videos to pick from.

So, there you have. The first Song of the Week for the year. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


So last night was my first Zumba class…. and I loved it! Seriously, at one point I caught myself smiling --- SMILING while working out. The old me didn’t realize that was possible.

It was such a great workout. I left there sweaty and tired but feeling great. And it totally kicked my butt, I was ready for bed by 8 last night. I was a little worried that since it has been years since I took a dance class and I’ve never taken a fitness class before that it might be too much but it ended up being fine.

The instructor was great too. Before class started she did a little head count and discovered that I was the only newbie (lovely). So she explained quickly what the class would be like and told me that I didn’t need to worry about getting everything right away and to not even worry about doing any arm movements at first, just focus on the steps. And during the class at various points she showed options for some moves based on how intense you wanted to be (basically beginner, middle, and Fitnessista level lol). I thought this was so helpful and kept me from getting overwhelmed – plus I noticed that I wasn’t the only one doing the simpler moves.

I did end up doing a lot of the arm moves though. At many points they just came naturally to me – especially in the hip hop section (I LOVE hip hop dance). I didn’t want to miss out on the arm workout and really it only took a second to get most of the footwork, so it wasn’t a big deal.

And everyone in the class was really nice. A couple people in the class go every night it is offered – so they are Zumba-ing it up 5 times a week. One lady who talked to me during a water break was saying how she loves to be able to come and have fun and get in a great workout surrounded by other people instead of sweating it out alone. I think I agree with her. Class was way more fun than the treadmill ever is.

I do need to admit that I definitely feel it today though! I woke up thinking “not too bad!” but as the day has progressed I am feeling it more and more. The front of my hip hurts and kind of along the side thanks to lunges I think. Plus I definitely feel the arm moves we did in my shoulders. But I love it because it’s just a reminder that I’m moving my body and discovering muscles I forgot I had.

So I will definitely be sticking with Zumba. I’m signed up for Tuesday nights for the rest of the month and actually kind of wish I would have signed up for Thursdays too. And I will be signing up for next month too (my gym does monthly sign ups). I’m not sure if I’ll stick to one day a week or do two – there’s another dance class I’m thinking about taking. But I’m really excited to keep going with this and can’t wait to shake my tail feathers next week.

Image source

Monday, January 3, 2011

Turn It Off

No tv

So I know in my inspiration board post I sort of said that I am not doing actual resolutions this year – I’m horrible with resolutions, I rarely succeed with them. So instead I have some goals I would like to work on. A number of them are on the inspiration board but one that isn’t involves the big screen in my living room.

I’ve always been a TV junkie. I spent way too much time watching television growing up. I mean, I did read a ton and I played with toys/friends a lot but the TV and I spent a lot of time together. I remember being allowed to fall asleep with the thing on in kindergarten (I watched Nick at Nite – Bewitched was my favorite). Looking at it now I don’t think any kid needs that much TV time.

Heck, I don’t think any 25 year old needs that much time. I’m really not a big fan of television any more. I’m totally aware of how much it sucks me in and how much time I waste sitting there starring at it. The book I’m currently reading, Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure even asks the question of whether you turn on the TV to watch a show and then turn it off or if you surf through the channels. Sadly, I tend to be a surfer.

There are really very few shows that I like: Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly being the main two. Doug and I watch Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch together and I enjoy that, especially since I find those shows fascinating and at time educational. But really, do I need to watch a rerun of Gilmore Girls for the 105489265 time at 4pm on a Wednesday? Especially when I own the whole series on DVD? No, I don’t (even if it is my favorite show ever). And I certainly do not need to watch a TV chef deep fry butter or an evil bride call her bridesmaids fat.

I have better things I could be doing. Like going to the gym, reading a book, playing with Grux, cleaning my poor messy house, or writing. So, one thing that I want to work on is turning off the television and actually doing something. I realize that this is one habit that is completely ingrained in me – when you’ve been doing something for 20 some years it can be hard to make a change. But I know that if I can stop looking at Oreos as an every day food or stop thinking of breaking a sweat as a bad thing then I can stop reaching for the remote the second I get home. And besides, the couch will welcome a chance to lose the imprint of my backside.

photo source

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Inspiration

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday and is ready for an awesome 2011! I was inspired by The Fitnessista to create an inspiration board for my goals (well, some of them) for the year. So this is what I came up with:


So the main theme of the board (which was made on the cardboard box from Amazon that Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure came in – it seemed fitting, lol) mainly focuses on fitness. I really want to focus on getting healthy and fit this year – we have the new gym membership and I’m signed up for my first month of Zumba class now (!) – so I’m off to a good start. I’m really thinking about taking the yoga class at our gym too.

I also want to start eating better – I know that the better I eat the better I feel. I do pretty well with fruits – it is getting in all my veggies where I have a problem. So I hope to work on that this year.

I want to do a better job of actually looking put together this year. We can wear really casual clothes at work and sometimes I fall into the jeans and fleece rut, but I’m a big follower of the saying dress for the job you want, so I am going to try to develop more of a personal style this year.

The camera lens is because I really want to get better with my new camera and move away from the auto setting.

The Mrs. Meyer’s soap represents my desire to keep moving to a more green-minded lifestyle. I got off to a good start last year so I’m hopeful I can get improving.

And of course the dog represents my Grux. Such simple things make him happy, a nap – his blanket – a squirrel, and I admire that. I want to find more pleasure in the simple things too.

So, they aren’t exactly resolutions, but these are the things I’m working toward this year. And I plan to blog about them all. Oh and the Fitnessista will be posting her inspiration board and others that are submitted to her on Monday, so check them out!

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