Friday, July 3, 2015

A Scrappy Cat!

This week has been another frustrating one at work - for both me and Mr. Higgins.  A three day weekend couldn't come at a better time.  

Every once in a while I run across a video - usually involving cats - that can make me smile under any circumstances, even at work. This is one of those videos.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sacred Hearts

For this month's read, my book group made a surprising choice (fiction!  historical fiction!): Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant.

It took me a while to get interested in this one, despite the setting and my interest in religion.  See my Goodreads review below:

We are introduced to St. Catherine's convent through the eyes of a reluctant novice. Dunant's storytelling keeps the reader intrigued with medieval Italy. The reader gets to experience religious life, contemporary healing techniques, a minor plague, the Counter-Reformation, and even, possibly, the miraculous. 

Especially interesting to me was the continuous presence of medieval medicinal/healing techniques, since the main character of the novel is the convent's dispensary mistress. Combined with the presence of the miraculous and political intrigue, the story of the reluctant novice is a highly interesting read.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Post-Cruise Workouts: Week 4

This summer has been fun and different so far - and fattening.  Ha!  I've signed up for a work wellness program for these summer months so hopefully that keeps me motivated to keep working out!  One of the criteria is losing a pound in two months.  Surely I can do that. Right?!

Here's how my week shaped out...

Monday: Ilyse's Work Hard, Have a Great Time + Scott's Complete Workout on the Go + walk

Ilyse's workout this morning was not dance - it was athletic cardio.  So, a bit tougher than her dance videos but still fun.  She definitely keeps you moving!  Nonstop!  Scott's workout was good - not quite as intense but good!  It alternates toning and cardio.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center with a co-worker.  It's always fun doing that with a friend!

Tuesday: Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped! + walk

I needed some weights this morning so I did the second workout on Jari's video.  It's filled with compound weighted exercises.  There's no cardio so I paused the video after every circuit to add some low-impact cardio.  My arms were aching by the end of it.  Jari's great for weights!  To get away from the computer, I walked at lunch.

Wednesday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits + walk

As I was waking up this morning, McLean's HIIT workout did not sound at all appealing.  But I forced myself to get into it and I'm glad I did. This has gotten just a tiny bit easier and I consider that great progress!  I skipped the burpee moves (which happen twice) and did other high-impact moves.  It was a great workout!  A walk at lunch with a co-worker helped to clear my head today...  It was a stressful day.

Thursday:  Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101+ Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + HIIT - Breathless and Energized 

I feel like I can't work out hard enough these days, since I'm eating worse.  As I started this morning's workout my legs and abs were sore, I guess from HIIT yesterday.  It really takes something to make my thighs ache but they did today!  I was fine with these videos until Michelle's HIIT - that was tough!  I felt good afterward - and much looser. 

Friday: Michelle's Body Fit 360: Vol. 3 - Athletic Conditioning

And still no rest today.  BUT.  The cardio in this workout - though intense, only lasts 25 minutes.  I then did the stretch, which was awesome.  This workout is just so fabulous.  In those 25 minutes, you will work every muscle.  And then, arms/abs, which I skipped today, followed by a 20-minute stretch.  So great!

Saturday:  Michelle's Cardio Strength 2 on Glo + Ilyse's Sweaty and Sassy Dance Fit

After this CS2 almost killed me a few weeks ago, I've been dreading meeting it again.  Thankfully it was easier today than last time - but it was still super tough.  I warmed up with Ilyse and then continued with her cardio for 15 minutes after CS2 ended.  This was quite a workout, all in all.  It was  relief to cool down, stretch, and do some ab work.

Sunday: Cathe' Intensity

Time for good ol' cardio this morning.  I did all of Cathe's step and then the Hi and Lo HIIT circuits.  Whew!  That lasted for about 50 minutes, after which I did 10 minutes of my own cardio to get in a full hour.  I was wiped out but not exhausted - perfect!  A stretch rounded out my morning, plus some sit-ups and planks.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Week

It's been a week and I'm just about brain-dead at this point.  When it gets this bad, the cats are about the only things to make me smile.

Here's a Dooku with his favorite toys: a Storm Trooper and Chubaka.  Ha!

I smiled.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Work, Work, Work

When I look back on my previous job, as a researcher for a religion professor, I mostly remember what a great experience it was.  Until I got a new boss.  When I finally happened upon my current job listing - and got the position, I was ecstatic, to say the least.  

And I still am.  A researcher in religion doesn't have a career path - or any advancement - unless you obtain a PhD.  And for me, that ship had sailed.  My current position has a path, advancement opportunities (once I have a few more years of experience), and is professional.  Most importantly, I got to stay in higher education, a place I love.

So this new job is great.  I'm thankful every day that I was lucky enough to get it.  But every day comes with its own set of problems and stresses.  This is true for almost everyone.  

When I started my new job, I heard all about the upcoming database conversion.  It would happen next that's this year.  Actually, it's today.  After months of prep work, extra work, fixing the new database, training for the new database, and loathing the old one, the day of reckoning is upon us.  

Every job has challenges and stresses.  This week is one of those weeks for me.  I'll be glad when it's over and when I never hear the world "conversion" again. That will be a glorious day.  Ha!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Post-Cruise Workouts: Week 3

Yet another bad weekend of eating has me worried about the number on the scale - so much so that I refused to step on to it!  Ha!  

Hopefully a week of good workouts will help!

Monday:  Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped! 1000 Hardcore + walk

This workout by Jari Love is a challenge - both the weighted sections and the cardio.  The weights are hard because they all involve compound exercises.  The cardio is a challenge because it's sustained for so long.  I did the first workout and my legs were burning from all the curtsy squats!  The workout lasted about 35 minutes, after which I did my own weights and cardio to get to 50 minutes.  At lunch, I walked at the rec and then had a nice stretch, hoping to soothe my legs.

Tuesday:  Shape's Bikini Body Transforming + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals + walk

A morning of cardio!  Michelle's cardio on Shape's video is tough - but not too bad.  I always enjoy it and work up a sweat!  I then turned to Scott's HIIT to finish out my morning.  Most of his moves are unique which makes the workout fun.  But it's tough and I was dripping sweat!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did some ab work.

Wednesday: Michelle's Cardio Strength 2 on Glo + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

This workout was done after work because I felt the need to shock my system.  I'm eating bad so why not do something out of the ordinary to make my system second guess itself?!  I did the 5-minute warm-up in Ilyse's Dance workout and then switched over to Michelle's CS2.  I have no idea why but this one almost killed me.  I remembered that it was tough - just not quite that tough.  It was sheer willpower that got me through it because my body was not happy.  After the CS, I did 15 minutes of the dance workout.  Usually, I make the moves more high-impact, but not today.  Today, I was lucky to still be upright!  My stretch and cool-down was such a relief!

Thursday: Amy's Intervals + Cardio Intervals

Seriously, I need to torch some calories ASAP!  I wanted high-impact so Amy's two interval workouts sounded good.  The moves are good - except for burpees which I sub for other moves.  I was sweating and tired....but in a good way!

Friday:  Ellen Barrett's Grace and Gusto

Time for something low-key.  Finally!  It was such a relief to not have to do something crazy hard this morning!  And with no workout at lunch, my body can fully re-group before my Peak 10 workouts this weekend.  Yay!  Ellen is so much and this workout is nice and soft - just what I needed!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

I hadn't done this CIB in a while so I was excited!  I started off by doing 5 minutes of my own low-impact cardio, to get super warm.  Then, the workout lasted 55 minutes.  I added on another 5 minutes of my own cardio before doing the cool down/stretch.  The different "peaks" in this CIB are fun - and challenging!  It was difficult to get through, especially when the ascents contained tougher cardio.  But it was fun!

Sunday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Strength + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

After almost dying during Wednesday's CS, I was not looking forward to More CS, knowing just how difficult this one is.  Why?  There's only one circuit that does NOT go to the floor.   The cardio isn't bad and the peaks aren't crazy but the weighted moves are tough, as is the floor work.  Wow.  I warmed up with McLean's dance workout and then did an additional 15 minutes of it after finishing CS.  Then, about 10 minutes of stretching and abs.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Chocolate Angel Food Cake (2015:10)

I love strawberries.  They are, in my opinion, one of the best things about summer.  And I love strawberry short cake.  I used to make my own angel food cake but haven't done so in a while.  But when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Angel Food Cake, I was inspired.

The act of whipping up the egg whites was fun!  My mixer got a definite work out with this recipe!  Ha!  My one mistake with this one, however, was not sifting the powdered sugar.  When I measured it, it looked fine.  But as I combined it and whisked it with the cocoa, I realized there were tiny pieces still hanging on together.

This cake came out well but I was not blown away by it.  I guess it wasn't chocolate-y enough - though it shouldn't have needed to be any more chocolate-y.  I don't know.  It fun to make and I'm glad to have tried something new!