Monday, January 11, 2016
The book that I'm reviewing today is a little bit different from those that I would normally read and review. It's a book called The Hard Times by Russell Scott. This book has a lot going on in it - hunting in Africa, diamond smuggling, life and death situations, and very convoluted relationship issues among the characters.
It's not the kind of book I would usually pick up. However, the author is from Mississippi and portions of the book take place in two towns that I am very familiar with, Meridian and Oxford.
I feel like I need to make an effort to read outside of my book "comfort zone" more often. Being able to do that while also reading the work of a Southern author were what initially made in interested in reading this book (I received a copy from Netgalley to review).
I enjoyed that the book was set in partially in Mississippi, and I found that to be an interesting juxtaposition with the portions that took place in Africa. Writing and style-wise I have few complaints to make about this book.
Although I found it hard to feel attached to the main characters, I think that is probably simply because I felt that I had little in common with them. One is a man who is a doctor and having problems with his marriage and the other is a man living in Africa who is wanted because he has been involved in smuggling and gun running. Very interesting characters, but not the kind I can particularly identify with. Unsurprisingly, I don't think that I was the target audience for the book.
Overall, I can say that the book had a lot of both action and introspection. Even though it's not the type of book that I generally read, I was able to appreciate it.
If you're interested in reading The Hard Times, you can find out more about it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Disclosure: I received a e-copy of this book from Netgalley in order to review it. All opinions are my own, and I received no compensation other than the text itself.
Friday, January 1, 2016
Recently, I've become more health conscious and really want to take better care of and love my body. So as I think of things that are helpful to me in living healthier, I wanted to share them with you and also get your tips on how you maintain a healthy style!
Since I've been following the strength training workouts in the Women's Health: Lift to Get Lean book, when I get hungry I want food right then or I go into a hangry episode. To combat this, I've started getting serious about planning out easy snacks the night before that I can eat without prep. I try to pack a snack for mid morning and one for the afternoon/pre workout.
Some of my favorite snacks are
Greek yogurt (I'm addicted to key lime Fage split cups!)
Easy to eat fruits like grapes
Hummus and pretzel chips (Try hummus with pretzel chips instead of pita, you will be hooked!)
Apple slices and cheddar cheese
What are your favorite healthy snacks and how do you ward off hangry episodes?
Thursday, December 31, 2015
January's journal prompts are here just in time for you to get started with them in 2016.
Journaling is a great habit to develop because it allows you to slow down and think. Taking the time to write each day can also help you to reduce your stress levels. Of course, I personally journal because I find it enjoyable, not because I'm looking for any other benefits in it. But, it's nice to know that there are other good reasons for journaling as well.
Writing in your journal does not have to be an obligation that takes all of the fun out of the process. If you want to start journaling, take a look at some of our journal writing resources.
As always, a printable version of the prompts is available at the end of the post.
January Journal Prompts
1. What are you most looking forward to?
2. Three goals for this month
3. Describe your day in ten words
4. Something that you're looking forward to
5. A time you don't want to forget
6. A trip you want to take this year
7. Your top three priorities
8. A list of the places you have visited
9. Do your actions match your words?
10. One thing you learned about yourself last year
11. A change you have overcome
12. A need you can meet
13. A place you have been recently
14. Someone who made you proud
15. A good idea
16. What are your personal gifts?
17. A quote that inspires you
18. A mistake that help you to grow
19. When you feel most rested
20. Words you want to share with others
21. Music that makes you feel adventurous
22. Three words that describe your style
23. The last fiction book you read
24. A project you've been putting off
25. The thing that frightens you
26. A person you would like to meet
27. A change to make
28. Thoughts about today's events
29. One thing you will always do
30. Something new to try
31. Your favorite part of the past month
Get your printable PDF version of January's journal prompts here.
Have a good start to the new year!
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Friday, December 25, 2015
In occupational therapy school, we learn the importance of good body mechanics when doing manual parts of our jobs like lifting patients. Good body mechanics is important when working out too! Not using body mechanics properly can lead to an injury that causes lifelong aches and pains. It's important to learn how to do workout moves properly (especially if you're strength training) to not only prevent painful injuries but also to get the most out of your workouts. Here are a few ways to make sure you're doing your moves correctly.
1. Take advantage of your gym's personal trainer
Most gyms have a personal trainer that can help you check to make sure you're doing moves correctly. It may seem expensive to shell out money for a personal trainer, but you only have one body. It's worth paying for a few training sessions to prevent injuries. If you do some inquiring, you may even find out that you get a few free sessions included in your gym membership.
2. Do some online research
You can find great how-to videos on youtube for proper form. Holly Perkins, the author of Lift to Get Lean, has a really helpful website and youtube channel for proper strength training form. Her book goes even more in-depth, but I like having the visual of a video. You can also explore websites like Women's Health Magazine, Fitness, or Shape to learn things like how to use good form while running, how to avoid injuries doing any workout, and how to get the most out of your spin class.
3. Ask a friend
We all have friends that are avid runners, weightlifters, or spinners. Chances are since they love working out, they will jump at the chance to talk endlessly about it or teach you how to do what they do. Just ask them your questions about running form or how to squat without killing your joints. Even better, get them to come to the gym with you and show you.
Hopefully, these tips will get you on your way to injury free workouts! What are your tips for learning good form?
Friday, December 18, 2015
One of the things that I'm learning through making strength training a part of my lifestyle is the importance of setting goals. It's very motivating to know where I want to be in a month, three months, or six months. Plus, setting and reaching my fitness goals is a discipline I can use in every other area of my life. Here are some tips for setting and reaching realistic fitness goals.
1. Set your goals for fitness and not weight loss
There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight when you're working hard at the gym! It can be really discouraging though when you've put in work for a month and your weight hasn't budged. Just because you haven't lost weight though doesn't mean that your body isn't changing and isn't better off for working out. So instead of focusing on your weight, focus on what your body can do and what you can do better this month than what you did last month. For example, right now I'm doing thirty minutes of cardio on my own a few times a week, but I think I could push myself more. So my goal for this month is to up my cardio so that next month I can start going to morning spin classes without being wiped out for the whole rest of the day.
2. Make a plan
Once you know what you want to accomplish, set realistic mini goals that will help you get there. Plan things like when you'll workout, how many times you need to workout a week, or what tweaks to make to your workout to meet your goal. Whatever your mini goals are, write them down and check them off as you accomplish them. This will help you visually see your progress toward your goals.
3. Be kind to yourself
Life happens. There's more to life than working out, so if something comes up and you miss a workout then don't beat yourself. Just be sure that the next day you get back at it. Remember, you're not working out because who you are when you don't workout isn't enough. You're working out because you love yourself and your body and want to feel good everyday and live a long, healthy life.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Workout shoes go through a lot, and can get a little smelly even if you wear socks. Here are some ways to keep your gym shoes smelling fresh.
1. Alternate your shoes.Don't wear the same shoes everyday so they have a chance to dry out.
2. Spray Odor-Eaters on your feet before a workout to prevent the bacteria that makes your shoes stinky.
3. Sprinkle a little bit of Odor-Eaters powder or any powder with baking soda in your shoes after workouts to soak up any post workout sweat and odor.
Hopefully these tricks will help keep you from having to throw out your favorite workout shoes too soon! What are your tricks for keeping your workout shoes fresh?
Friday, December 4, 2015
I'm not very good at it, but yoga is one of my favorite ways to treat myself. It feels so good to get every tense muscle stretched out, focus in on my breathing, and release any tension and anxiety I have from a hectic day.
But, it seems like during yoga between forward folds and downward dogs I do a lot of looking at my toes. If my toe nails look distressed, I spend the whole time thinking about how I need to paint my toes as soon as I get home. It ruins the whole calming, focused yoga experience. To combat that, I pick some polishes that will make me happy when I look at them, and I try to keep my toenails painted. Here are my favorite winter picks for yoga toes.
1. Aubrey by Julep
Right now I am obsessed with this shimmery, dusty, eggplant color. Julep describes it as a "rosewood shimmer." It's a very versatile, wearable purple color. It reminds me of sugar plum fairies but is still grown up and fabulous.
2. I Red a Good Book by Wet n' Wild
How cute is the name? This one is Elizabeth's personal favorite. It's a beautiful classic red color that's perfect for the holiday season. The picture looks like a deep red, but it's actually a bright cherry, cheery red.
3. Worth a Pretty Penne by OPI
I am so excited about the OPI Venice collection! The colors remind me of elegant Angelina Jolie's nails in the movie the Tourist. I want to buy the whole collection and pretend I'm as glamorous as Angelina. My favorite is the shimmery, gold Worth a Pretty Penne color. You have to check out the beautygeeks blog and look at their gorgeous swatches of the whole collection.
4. Greyfitti by Sally Hansen
This cool gray polish reminds me of my favorite cozy sweater. Nothing is better in the winter time than wearing your favorite sweater, so I think I'd get the same calm feeling looking at this color during yoga. This is a perfect, chill winter polish color.
5. Cheers by Butter London
Nothing says happiness like a soft, cheery yellow.