February Highlights

February Calendar Clipart
February Highlights

Working out:
Feb map
I ran a total of 13 miles this month. I think for just getting back into running and working out, this is an alright start. My goal for March is to run at least 13.1 miles. I am hoping next month will be warmer so I can run outside more 🙂

Books I’ve Read:
Feb reading
Wow, I read a lot this month! I’m not sure I will be able to read this much next month but I guess we will see. My favorite book I read this month was Gifted Theif. The worst book I read this month was Becoming Alpha. If you missed any of my book reviews, below are the links to check them out 🙂

The Fifth Wave (The FifthWave, #1)
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Gifted Thief (Highland Magic #1)
Raw and Dirty (Bad Boys MC #1)
Becoming Alpha (Alpha Girl #1)
Fighting Dirty (Worth the Fight #5)
The Safe Bet (The Game Changers, #3)
The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy #1)

Writing: 
Feb words
This month I was able to get an ok chapter written in my book, I figured out the outline for the book, and I edited two chapters. I still don’t have a title picked out and I’m not sure how or when that will happen.  I’m not feeling great about my progress this month on my book. My goal next month is to write for at least 10 minutes each day and spend 30 minutes writing/editing/working on my book.

Fun and Interesting Posts to look back on:

56 Challenge: Random sentence on page 56 in a favorite book
Polar V800 Athletic Watch– taking an in-depth look at this watch
The Perfect Self Image– Asking the question “Do you love yourself?” and seeing for the first time that how I don’t see myself for how I am.
Liebster Award– I answered questions and provided random facts about myself.

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Weekend Run

IMG_0494

It was such a busy weekend but I couldn’t resist taking a little time to get outside. Saturday it was close to 55 degrees outside. Yes, you read that correct. It is February in Minnesota and it was warm enough to open the windows 🙂

I am really proud of this run. My goal was to just start running and go for as long as I can. To my surprise, my pace wasn’t nearly as bad as I do on the dreadmill treadmill and I was actually able to run three miles!!

I know it is still early but I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can get outside and run more. This week is going to be cold but by the weekend it should be near 50’s again!!!

Did you do any running this weekend? How did it go?

Have a great start to your week 🙂

Liebster Award

liebster Award

 

I am so excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award 🙂

I was nominated by Leah from Leah’s Book Blog. Leah’s blog is primarily about YA book reviews but she is also looking to improve her writing skills. She’s very open and loves hearing/talking about the books she reads. Please check out her blog!

Here are the rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
  • Let the blogs know you have nominated them.Give them 11 questions to answer.

These are the Questions Leah asked me:

1.) Who is my favorite Author?
This is a really difficult question to answer because I don’t just have one favorite author. But I would say it’s a close tie between Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews.

2.) What is the first book you remember reading?
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

3.) What fantasy world would you like to live in? 
Chicagoland Vampires

4.) What is your favorite book series? 
Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost
Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill
Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

5.) Where or when do you get most of your reading done? 
During the week when my kids are napping

6.) How many pages do you read in a day?
It really depends, but maybe 50-100

7.) What is a popular book that you didn’t love?
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

8.) How do you start your morning?
Coffee, check my email, more coffee, exercise, and maybe more coffee

9.) On average, how long are your blog posts? 
800-1000 words maybe

10.) What is your biggest fear? 
Snakes and something horrible happening to my kids

11.) Do you have a set number of posts you write per week? 
Not really but I think I should.. I try to write at least one or two.

11 Random Facts About me!
1.) Running makes me a better Mother and a better person
2.) I prefer reading ebooks but hate how I can’t stack the books I buy on a visual bookshelf
3.) When I was younger, I hated reading. It wasn’t until high school that I started to enjoy reading.
4.) I love the outdoors
5.) My favorite color is the crayon red orange
6.) Disorganization drives me crazy
7.) I love dogs and hate cats
8.) I am 100% horrible at proverbs but I insist on using them
9.) I used to be a special needs teacher
10.) I am obsessed with Bob Dylan
11.) I want to have a third child

My Questions 🙂
1.) What made you start your blog?
2.) What is your favorite series and why?
3.) Who is your favorite Author?
4.) What is a goal you want to achieve in life?
5.) What is the biggest thing that authors do that drives you crazy when reading a book?
6.) Do you pick a book based on the cover?
7.) Which superpower would you want to have?
8.) What is your favorite movie and why?
9.) What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
10.) What advice would you give someone starting a new blog?
11.) What makes you happy?

Who I’m Nominating:
Byford’s Books

Just Blooking

chloesbooksblog

rakioddbooks

thebookshelfblog

Have a great week!!

 

 

Celiac and the Ramifications that Follow

Gluten Kryptonite

So last week I ended up eating something I wasn’t supposed to and I am paying for it ten fold. Unfortunately I have Celiacs Disease and No, I am not on the gluten free trend. I am the unlucky one percent of the population who gets extremely sick when they ingest anything with gluten in it.

I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with Celiacs because no one in my family is diagnosed with having it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Did you know that 83% of Americans who have Celiacs are living with it undiagnosed. That’s kind of scary considering how damaging this disease is to your body and mind. Unfortunately, it usually takes years for someone to get diagnosed correctly. And during this time, the person continues eating the thing that is actually slowly killing them.

I’m not exactly sure how long it took for me to get diagnosed. I’ve had small symptoms for most of my adolescent life and honestly thought it was normal for your stomach to hurt all the time. I dreaded going to the doctors because they would push on my stomach. It didn’t matter if I was sick as a dog or the healthiest I’ve ever been, it ALWAYS hurt when they pushed. But the disease didn’t really begin to show itself until the end of 2010. By then, not only was I in the emergency room every weekend, but I was so completely swollen, I didn’t even look like myself.  The Picture below isn’t even the worst of it.

me

It took an amazingly persistent doctor to help me get diagnosed. Before I moved to Minnesota, I lived in a college town. And I can remember the one emergency doctor who pushed me over the edge: (Side note- By the time I went in for this visit, my chart had probably shown I had been in there the last three weekends for the same symptoms.)  I went into the emergency room because I had been vomiting for 9+ hours and showing no signs of slowing down. I was dehydrated, shaking uncontrollably, and felt like I was honestly dying . The emergency doctor comes in and accuses me of being an alcoholic. What triggered this particular episode was pizza and little cheesecake bites. Even though I only had one glass of wine at the dinner party, he decides to give me a lecture of wasting his time and needing to get help.

That next week, I was in my doctors office in tears asking for help. My relationship with my boyfriend (now husband) was on the edge of falling apart and I was missing way too much work. My doctor ordered a bunch of tests and specialist finally came to the realization that I had Celiacs. After diagnosed, I went into my house and ended up throwing away 80% of everything in my fridge/pantry. You would be surprised of how many things have gluten in them (ice cream, vanilla, spices, meds..) But once I gave up eating gluten, my stomach stopped hurting, the swelling went down and I looked like a normal human, and I stopped getting sick ever other week.

It's just not worth the risk

When I eat anything with Gluten in it, even the smallest crumb, it can take up to 7 days before the symptoms hit. But usually it happens within the first four days. The severity of my symptoms can be as small as the discoloration bowel movement to as big as losing the contents of my stomach for 9+ hours straight. The first 24 hours after are horrible: my entire body hurts all over and I can hardly stand long enough to make eggs. Drinking water hurts, wearing a bra hurts, my stomach is completely trashed and the only things I can eat usually revolve around the BRAT Diet (Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, and plain Toast). The week that follows after depends on how sever my reaction is. But usually working out is impossible because my body is trying to recover, I’m cranky and easily irritable, I’m extremely bloated, really tired, and my immune system has been compromised so I usually get a cold.  Sounds like fun right…

Just because something says it is gluten free, doesn’t mean it actually is. Cross contamination is easy to do. Like I mentioned, all it takes is one crumb. And what is worst than getting sick- knowing exactly what I just did to my body. Every time I get sick, I am that much closer to colon cancer and other cancers. Everything, including life, just really sucks! So please watch what you say in front of people- especially if you are following the gluten free trend. Because I honestly don’t know why you would willingly give up some of the best food! Yes there are some good substitutes out there but nothing is the same.

My goal is to get back to things next week. I’m starting to feel more like myself. Thanks for listening to my story/rant. Hope everyone has a good weekend!!

Week Four

weights

Monday: Ran 1 mile and lifted weights

I am so disappointed I only ran one mile. Usually I run first and then lift. But my husband said it was better to lift first before your cardio. On the plus side- I had the best lift session so far. On the down side- My body was so exhausted that I could only run 1 mile. Not good..


Tuesday: Swimming 🙂

I am proud to say I kicked butt in the pool this morning. My workout consisted of: 100 meter warm up, 6 100 meter pulls with 20 second rest in-between, 5 100 meter kicks with 20 second rest in-between, 500 meter swim, 100 meter cool down. When I was leaving the gym, I seriously contemplated using the elevator instead of taking the stairs. My body is warn out but I can tell I’m getting stronger. And that my friends, is an amazing feeling!!

Wednesday – Sunday

Survive!! Husband has been traveling and getting to the gym has been impossible. Right now I am in survival mode and sleep is something I dream about…

The Fifth Wave (The FifthWave, #1)

The Fifth Wave

Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2013
Pages: 457

Buy the book: Amazon    Barns & Noble
Other Reviews: Goodreads

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review:

My first impression of the book was the simplicity of the words make this an easy read. The plot isn’t overly complex or difficult to follow. But as I was reading, the author would throw in a sentence or a paragraph that had me stopping and rereading what was written. The author has a great ability to lead the reader down a certain path in order to draw out specific emotions.

The book itself is divided into multiple sections, with each section switching POV. The main heroine, Cassie, is strong willed, stubborn, immature, self absorbed, struggles dealing with her emotions, and well , everything a teenager is supposed to be. The author did a great job staying true to her character/voice. Not that I always liked everything about Cassie, but her feelings/emotions/reactions were consistent with a young adolescent who is despite to survive.

The scene where Cassie runs into a person while getting water was heartbreaking. I don’t normally quote books within my review but I felt like this passage held a significant amount of loss, pain, and loneliness. It was worth pointing out.

“But it wasn’t him screaming, it was me screaming, me and everybody else who was left…all of us helpless, hopeless, stupid humans screaming, because we got it wrong…it’s not how it ends. It ends with us killing each other…”

One of the things I thought slightly ridiculous was what Cassie packed for travel. Some of the items were just silly considering she needed to pack light. For example- a cell phone that does not and will never work again. Even her reasoning behind doing this I don’t exactly understand. Something about it being hers. I did however think her choice and reasoning behind her book choice was fun. I will say one of the difficult things was reading about how Cassie lost her family. I think this is partly due to having a family and kids myself and also putting yourself in her shoes.

Cassie’s famous high school crush, Ben, gets introduced in the book. In the beginning, I was excited that Cassie might get her chance to be with him. The way she talked/journaled about him, it was as though he was everything she lost or missed out on because of the alien invasion. But as the book goes on and you get to know Ben more, I didn’t want Cassie to end up with Ben. Yes he is brave, strong, attractive, sometimes funny.. But I didn’t feel like he is what Cassie needs. By the time I hit last 25% of the book, I kept putting the book down and didn’t really want to pick it up. I think this was because I knew Cassie and Ben would eventually encounter each other and even though I think they would be horrible together, I wasn’t sure what the author would think/do And I was right, by the end of the book they finally encounter each other. I thought their exchange was more awkward and I guess I felt like they just didn’t fit right. What did everyone else think??

The author doesn’t spend much time telling the story through Sam’s perspective which is probably a good thing. I think it would be difficult for any author to create the correct voice/mannerisms/reactions for a five year old boy. Overall the author did a pretty good job of this but there were moments when Sammy would say something or something was noted in the text that a young kid just wouldn’t normally say/take note of. Especially one who was as sleep deprived and hungry as he was.

As the story continues, Ben and Sam’s path cross. During this time, I couldn’t help but grieve the boy both he and Ben should of had the opportunity to be and the man they are forced to become. As I was reading the book, I felt terrible for what they were going through. All I kept thinking, hoping, was if Cassie would get to them before they turn into this hard emotionless shadow of themselves.

And then there is Evan Walker. Evan Walker, wow, I’m not sure where to start. He is everything Ben is (strong, attractive, strong, brave..) but he is also loyal, calm, nurturing, and comfort. I know, comfort is a weird way to describe him. But everything he is and does, it all provides comfort and safety. The way he cares for Cassie is astonishing and in a way romantic. According to him, he says Cassie saved him. But I think they saved each other. Because what he brings out of Cassie is more than safety. I think he brings back part of her humanity. Losing part of herself, her humanity, has been something Cassie has been struggling with throughout most of the book.

And the twist the author puts in the story is surprisingly amazing. I’m not going to give anything away but I will admit, Some of the twists were completely genius! One of the dilemmas the book brings up is how the world is an either or- either I survive or they do, I die or I live, sometimes I die if I stay or I die if I go, either he is human or he is Other.. You get the idea. I think the bigger question the author brings up is does it matter anymore? Especially when you would do anything for the person who you love.

Overall. I loved this book. This plot is genius! The ending is well, amazing. I did take a star away because I didn’t love or always like Cassie’s character. And I felt like the author did a lot of telling us what emotions were happening or how things were instead of showing us through examples and conversation.

Upcoming Releases March 2016

Holy cow there’s a lot of new releases this coming Month!! When looking this up, I came across over 60 books coming out this month alone. Below are just a couple I’m most interested in. Which ones are you looking forward to the most?