Book 5

For my fifth book of the challenge I ended up reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, the author of March. I have actually been meaning to read this book for years, so I’m glad I finally got around to it.

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I guess it was only fitting that I finshed this book the day my great aunt died. Fitting because she was the last of the generation of Holocaust survivors from my family. She was 90 and passed away peacefully in her sleep. When my mom talked about her the next day, I immediately wanted to ask her to tell us the story of my great aunts’ and grandmother’s survivals. But we were on the way to the airport, I was flying home after the holidays, and didn’t want to laiden the early morning drive with more heaviness. I will ask her though, again and again until I know it by heart, because as that generation passes, I’m a little scared that we will forget, and I want to make sure we don’t.

It is fitting because this book touched on many instances on history when other cultures were feared and banished, including the Holocaust. Even though for the most part this novel focuses on the hardship of the Jews, it touches on times that were difficult for Muslims and Christians as well. It was an interesting read. I’ve heard it likened to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and while I loved The Da Vinci Code, I do not agree with this comparison. This book is by no means an action-packed thriller. It’s an exploration of history though an artifact. I personally enjoyed the jumping back and forth between modern times and history. I thought it was tied together beautifully in the end. Although some people may consider this ending kitschy because it was a happy ending, I came away from the book with something more: the most beautiful historical artifacts came from the most prosperous periods of history which were periods of acceptance and coexistence.

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Love Your Body

Welcome to Fitness Friday! My weekly post about what I’m currently doing to stay fit because being fit means I’m happy, and being happy is the end goal of all the things I’m pushing myself to do!

Today I’m going to talk to you about the incredible Love Your Body Challenge put on by Tone It Up. If you haven’t heard of Karena and Katrina yet, get ready to smile! These women are incredibly inspiring, and they have created a community that is full of inspiration and support. Every year the community collectively does this challenge together from January 1st to Valentine’s Day. Along with weekly workout schedules, as well as some recipes (more if you buy the nutrition plan), these women provide challenges to push you to change the way you see and treat yourself. I love it! I did this challenge two years ago and then stuck with the eating program for a few more months.

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These were my results from two years ago (and my first time posting these pictures). The before picture was taken in January 2013. The after picture was taken that following May. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. Unfortunately, like many, I am an emotional eater and ran into some life troubles after these results. I’ve been working on coping with my emotions without food and feel ready to challenge myself again. This year I resolve to get back into shape, burn this layer of fat that’s awesome when I’m cold, but you know, a sweater would do just as well! And I resolve, more than anything, to make this a lifestyle that I stick with no matter what. I want these to be my last before pictures ever.

I plan to run 3 times a week, do intense strength workouts 2-3 times a week, stick to the basics of the TIU Nutrition Plan and eat healthy at least 80% of the time, and plan more activities instead of meals with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love food and always will, but I want to refocus my life on other things!

I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress, but more so on what I’m doing in terms of fitness, what cool tips I’ve come across, and anything else I feel like sharing!

New Year New Goals

Happy New Year dear readers!

Today I linked this blog to my Facebook and sent it to some close friends and family – so welcome new readers!

If you want to look into the questionable birth of this blog check out the Start Here button above, but otherwise this is kind of a fresh start.

Much like that post, this will consist of a list of goals I intend to accomplish in 2016. Like the Start Here post I will edit it as I accomplish the goals to add links and dates to my accomplishments. Since this is a whole year, I might also add goals as the year progresses, but I will never remove goals!

Goals for 2015:

Fitness

  • I am doing the 30 day burpee challenge in January
  • I am doing the 30 day glute challenge in February
  • I am doing the 30 day core challenge in March
  • I am doing the 30 day arm challenge in April
  • I am running 5 races including 1 marathon
  • I am swimming and cycling to start preparing for some level of Iron Man
  • I am running one long distance relay race
  • I am doing a backflip by January 1 of 2016
  • I am doing a handstand push up by January 1 of 2016

Crafts

  • I am hanging up photos in my apartment
  • I am making and hanging a shallow book shelf
  • I am finishing the remaining 6 states of string art
  • I am finishing my paint by numbers project (started in January of 2014…)
  • I will accomplish 2 projects of varying difficulty and time consumption every month of 2015

Culture

  • I am reading 56 books by January 1 of 2016
  • I am taking a wine appreciation class
  • I am going to 12 concerts by January 1 of 2016
  • Once a month I will do one of the following activities: ceramics painting, painting with a twist, cake decorating class, and cooking class (or other equivalents, ideas welcome!)

Travels

  • I am going to Philly for a weekend
  • I am going to Boston for a weekend
  • I am going to the Upper Peninsula for at least one weekend
  • I am going to Connecticut for a weekend (wedding!)
  • I am going to Hawai’i for a week (wedding!)
  • I am going camping three times in 2015
  • I will do an outdoor activity twice a month ranging from snowboarding, sledding, and cross country skiing in the winter to hiking and kayaking in the summer

A whole year of goals is much more daunting than one summer was. Hopefully these are somewhat achievable but also pushing me outside my comfort zone. As I mentioned, goals will be added as the year continues but never removed.

Thanks for reading! Check in for regular updates and weekly book reviews!