Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey Day!

I am so thankful to have so many lovely friends and acquaintances. Thank you for reading.  Have a lovely holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The White Pearl

Last week, I finished a book by one of my favorite authors - Kate Furnivall's The White Pearl.  It was great!

My Goodreads review:

I've loved every book written by Kate Furnivall but I was a bit hesitant about this one since it takes place in Malaysia. Once I picked it up and started reading Constance Hadley's story, however, I was immediately interested. 

I knew nothing of the Japanese invasion of Malaysia during World War II. Seen from the perspective of British colonials with a thriving rubber business, the invasion is traumatic and heartbreaking. Furnivall has a true gift for storytelling. She makes you like deeply flawed characters - and there are many in this novel. Against the backdrop of war, these characters must face their flaws and learn to survive together.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week Four: Peak 10 Challenge #4

After eating horribly on Friday and Saturday last week, I'm ready to burn some calories. My thyroid is making weight loss very difficult and I'm trying to stay focused and not lose motivation.

Thankfully, my Peak 10 workouts are getting easier, which means something is happening to my body - even if I can't see or measure it.

Monday: Amy's Intervals + Cardio Intervals

After three weeks, it's time for something other than Pure Cardio.  Amy's workouts fit the bill: cardio, cardio, cardio.  These are fun because they are so different for me: pure and simple intervals.  Amy gives you one move and you repeat it.  I have to switch it up sometimes, as one move gets a bit repetitive for me.  But its' fun!  A nutritionist talk at lunch meant no additional workout.

Tuesday: Michelle's Total Body Cardio and Strength + walk

Tuesday = weights.  Thankfully, I really enjoy this workout by Michelle, though it contains some really difficult stuff.  Ha!  There are few people who can get me to do up and down planks - but she can!  I should have also done weights at the rec but I walked instead.  Any calories that can be burned is a blessing.

Wednesday:  Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

After a rough night of little sleep, this workout was not something that sounded fun to do.  But, as always, I did it.  And I like how it's already getting easier.  Even the push-ups are easier.  And I like that!  Progress is always good to see!

Thursday: Peak Fit Cardio Strength 2

In week five of a Peak 10 Challenge, you start adding in an additional Cardio Strength.  I'm starting this a week early since we're taking a short trip in December that will disturb my momentum.  So, fun times with CS. I just did this one on Sunday and really enjoyed it.  Today it was a bit harder, since I did it at 5pm, but oh, well.  I survived!

Friday: Crunch Super Slim Down: Pilates Yoga Blend + walk

I tried to do a workout on Glo this morning but for the first time ever, the video refused, completely, to load.  I was highly annoyed.  So instead, I did this yoga workout - which always makes me sweat, though I never understand why.  There's a lot of core and arm work in this one....but you don't really notice it at the time.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center - and got sweaty!  

Saturday: Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

Wow.  I always forget how hard this one makes me work.  The peaks are tough and the ascents get progressively more impactful…if that makes sense.  But I love it!  Afterward, I did some serious core work and a good stretch.

Sunday: Dozois' Cardio Strength 1 on Glo + Ilyse's Just Dance

I couldn't for the life of me remember this CS… I was a bit apprehensive before beginning.  It's tough….but doable.  Michelle is always fun to watch in this one - and I love seeing her teach a CS for real.  After that was done, I did 20 minutes of Ilyse's fun dance workout.  Then, a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday -1280
Tuesday - 1285
Wednesday - 1420
Thursday - 1288
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1350

When I weighed on Friday, I'd lost about a pound.  It's nothing great, but I'll take it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Butterscotch Bars (2015:20)

I'm rarely wowed by the food my co-workers make and bring in to share.  And if I'm not wowed, I can do without.  But when someone brought these Butterscotch Bars in, I was amazed.

They tasted like little brown sugar squares.  My brain couldn't quite figure out why they were so good - but they were!  I got the recipe and made them the next weekend, when we had a friend over.  Mine rose a bit more than the ones that showed up at work.  But they were yummy!

And super, super easy to make!  So easy that I'll keep this recipe handy for events when I need to bring something but don't have much time.  

Such an easy, delicious dessert!  And I saved my diet by sending most of the batch home with our friend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week Three: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Week three already?!  Time flies!

I didn't weight last week because, honestly, I just don't want to know sometimes.  Maybe I'll get on the scale this week.  Maybe.

Monday: Pure Cardio

This was a fun morning.  I usually have to skip one 5-minute segment of this workout so I skipped a different segment today so that I could get through the last full round....  And that round includes lunge jumps.  Arg!  But I did them - all the jumps!  Yay!  I went out to eat with co-workers at lunch and we walked down the street to a cute cafe.  So I got some steps and a healthy lunch!

Tuesday: Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + Amy's Sports Sculpt + weights

It was so nice to not dread my workout this morning.  Ilyse's dance workout is so fun and light.  Then, Amy's athletic cardio was different but good.  I was sweating but not hurting or exhausted by the end.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Thankfully, it was pretty empty.

Wednesday:  McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

My Wednesday workouts come around much too often.  Ha!  This week, McLean's HIIT was up….and I always dread it.  Thankfully, it gets easier as the Challenge goes on - and it was easier today than last week.  I still subbed a bit of the floor work for standing work.  I need steps!  But I tried to do all the push-ups.  Lunch was a retirement fund talk - so no workout.

Thursday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape + walk

Time for weights again today!  And I love this Click and Glo workout by Michelle so I was happy!  I got through it - sweating a lot - and felt well worked out!  A few hours later, I got a bit achy, which was odd.  I took a walk outside today, since the weather was so lovely.  You have to take advantage of fall-like days here in Texas when you get them!

Friday:  BodyFit 360 Vol 2: Dance Conditioning + walk

It seems like forever since I've done this one!  And it's so much fun!  It's not quite as intense as the original BodyFit 360, but still very effective!  I made it all the way through the arm work and then the abs.  After that, I was short on time so I did my own stretch.  Lovely!  At lunch, I took a 25-minute walk outside.  It was a gorgeous, cool day!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves

This CIB is so much fun, I really can't dread it.  If anything,  I dread the length of these workouts.  But it was fun and I worked hard.  After that was done, I did 15 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout.  75 minutes of cardio, altogether!  Then, a nice stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday: Peak Fit Cardio Strength 2 + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

I haven't done this CS 2 since the last Peak 10 Challenge….so I couldn't remember much.  But I really like it!  The cardio is great and the weights aren't too fancy.  Very easy to follow!  That lasted 55 minutes, after which I did 15 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout.  I love that one!  I finished off with a stretch and some planking.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1280
Tuesday - 1292 
Wednesday - 1360
Thursday - 1266
Friday - BAD
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1295

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Wright Brothers

My book group chose David McCullough's The Wright Brothers for this month's read.  At first I was a bit apprehensive….but I love history and I'd always wanted to read a work of McCullough's.

Here's my Goodreads review:

David McCullough is such a well known name…and yet this is the first time I've read any of his books. And I'm glad I chose to start with The Wright Brothers because I really enjoyed it. 

I knew very little of Orville and Wilbur, though I have visited their monument at Kitty Hawk. Their story is truly amazing - one of relentless determination and perseverance. Their dedication is unlike anything we see today when all we want is instant gratification. The amount of testing and experimentation needed…anyone else would have quit. 

I'm so glad to have read their story. They are the personification of the American spirit - and true pioneers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chewy Molasses Cookies (2015:19)

I was in the mood for a different cookie last week - something that was filled with autumnal flavors.  When I saw this recipe for Chewy Molasses Cookies, which I'd pulled out of a magazine, I was sold.

The only substitution I made was egg substitute for the I had no eggs.  I didn't use all the sugar to roll the cookies in, so that cut down on some calories.  For the molasses, I used Brer Rabbit Full Flavor.

These were amazing.  I can't say enough just how wonderful these were.  Mr. Higgins loved them; I loved them.  In fact, I already want to make them again!

Yay!  Cookies!