Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Outlander

On the cruise, I managed to finish one book - but it was a big one!...  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  Yes, I'm the last one on the planet to read this book, but I had my reasons. 

Here's my Goodreads review....

Having heard about this series for years, I was amazed that it took me at least 100 pages to really get into this story.  Claire was not a character with which I initially felt any sort of empathy.  The character just didn't appeal to me.  Frank did - but his character leaves much to be developed. 

Enter the the time traveling...  Gabaldon's writing style was clunky to me for quite some time until I got used to it.  When Claire is settling into Scottish life, I finally found the appeal of this story.  Jamie's character is interesting, though it took me some time to like him. 

The antagonist is exceedingly unlikable but he is the glue that ties this story - and the two times in it - together.  It's an interesting concept and, by the end of the novel, I was anxious to read more to answer all my questions.  Gabaldon still has some very interesting tales to tell.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thoughts and Conclusions: Peak 10 Challenge #2

My second Peak 10 Challenge is officially complete!  I continue to love this program.  It's the most effective way I've found to shed pounds and get into the best shape ever.  No joke.

As you know, in the midst of this Challenge, I was treated for hyperthyroidism.  Near the end of it, my thyroid levels were finally going down a bit.  I was worried about gaining weight...but that sure didn't happen!

Motivation

There's nothing like hearing your doctor say "yeah, treatment for hyperthyroidism will really screw up your healthy, fit lifestyle" to keep you motivated.  During this time, I also enrolled in a wellness program at work, which kept me plenty motivated as well.  My beginning and end measurements proved that I had worked hard and lost inches as well as pounds.  Yay!


Results

I won't go through all the numbers, but I lost 5 pounds.  I could not believe it.  My weight is the lowest it's been since before marriage - three years ago!  It's safe to say that I'm in the best shape of my life.  I'm not in the best shape of everyone anytime ever, but I've built upon the previous Challenge and made significant gains.   Here are some numbers (how many I can do in the time allotted in the Fit Test).

                                   Before          After

Squats                           53                58
Lunges                           43                47
Burpees                         25                28
Tuck jumps                    55                66
Pushups (knees)            30                38
Ankle Grabbers              20                23
Sit Outs                          28                38
Frog Jump                      32                38
Fence Hoppers              73                 80
Jump Shot                      32                37

Compare those to those of the last Challenge.  Wow.  And I did this concluding Fit Test at 5:30am, which I've never done before.  I'm super pleased with the results. 

Going Forward

Right now, I'm on a cruise.  I got into the best shape of my life and now I'm lazing around, eating too much.  Ha!  But that's why we live, right?  To have adventures with loved ones!  Besides, if I stayed at the level I was at, by the end of the Challenge, it would be tougher and tougher to find challenging workouts.  After the cruise, I'll be starting over, ramping up and up.

Between the end of the cruise and Christmas, I'll do a Pre-Holiday Workout Challenge - just to call it something.  I'll try to lose some cruise weight and stay in shape before I take a week off at Christmas.  After that, I'll do another Peak 10 Challenge.  Yay! 

At the end of this Challenge, I was exhausted.  I did not take a day off from working out in a very long time.  Sure, I did some very light workouts but I always wanted to move.  Plus, since I started doing weights and yoga at work, that added in even more workouts that just tired me out after a while.  It'll be good to have a week off. 

One of greatest things that helped me the most through this Challenge was FitnessGlo.  I was able to change up my workouts, try new things, and stay motivated instead of getting stuck in a rut.  If you find yourself bored with your workouts, give it a try - you can do that for free for 2 weeks! 

And if you want to get into great shape, try PeakFit.  You won't regret it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Labadee


The last stop on our cruise this week is Royal Caribbean's private "island" in Haiti - Labadee.  It's a fun place to spend a day because RC provides you with everything you need....including a signature drink of the day, the Labadoozie.  It's quite tasty and I'll be enjoying several this day.  Ha!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Curacao in 2010


When Mr. Higgins first took me to Playa Porto Mari (Curacao) in 2010, I was in love.  Great snorkeling, calm seas, and picture-picture views.  There was even hiking in the hills behind the beach - affording even more perfect views of the area.

My first thought upon leaving this place was that we needed to come back with my parents.  They would love it!  This week we're doing just that - with the addition of Mr. Higgins' parents!  It's going to be a fun day!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week Ten: Peak 10 Challenge #2

Really, only half a week to go!  We leave for our cruise during the dark morning hours of Friday, so only four more workouts! 

I must say that I'm really feeling an overall sense of exhaustion now that the challenge is coming to an end.  The break will be good.  And, once I get back, I'll hit it hard again, though not with another challenge until after Christmas.


Monday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits


It's been a few weeks since I did this so I subbed it for Anytime Anywhere, which I'm glad to shelve for at least 8 weeks.  Ha!  McLean's HIIT, interspersed with Tabata, is difficult - but it's gotten easier for me, which is amazing.  I love seeing progress!  Yoga did not happen today as I had meetings all afternoon.  I hate missing yoga!

Tuesday: Cardio Strength 1 on Glo + weights


Wow.  I did the CS at 5:30 in the morning, which was a bit of a shock.  I made it through and even managed to do every peak.  The last circuit was skipped, however, since I ran out of time.  At lunch, a co-worker and I did weights; I had to force myself.  Sigh.

Wednesday:  Amy Dixon's Skills and Drills +  Alex McLean's Unleash Your Inner Strength + yoga

I wanted low impact today before my Fit Test (!!!) tomorrow.  And so I opted for these two workouts, doing 25 minutes of both.  Alex gets my heart rate up and keeps it up; Amy has great kickboxing with some jacks and jumping rope.  A great workout!  I was sweating!   My plans changed at work and I was able to go to yoga today - yay!  We had a sub, though, who was not nearly as good as our normal lady.  I got a tiny bit sweaty but also got stretched out so that made me happy!

Thursday: Fit Test + Michelle's Total Body Blast for When You Are Short on Time

My concluding Fit Test was completed at 5:30 this morning.  Yikes!  I was amazed at how well I did, considering the time.  That took 25 minutes so I then did Michelle's new weight training workout on Glo.  It was tough!  But it kept my already pounding heart in overdrive so I liked it!

Calorie Counts:
Monday - 1357
Tuesday - 1382
Wednesday - 1353
Thursday - 1604

Cruise time!  Bad eating will follow.  I'll have a re-cap and conclusion next Monday regarding the end of my second Peak 10 Challenge.  I'm so happy with results!  Now I'm off to wear my bikini in the Caribbean!




Friday, November 14, 2014

Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls (2014:39)

I make a lot of soup in the winter.  It's great: I make a large pot and freeze tons of servings for lunches (after we eat some for dinner after I make it)!  Mr. Higgins eats soup practically every night in the winter so I've found some good recipes.

But I'm always on the lookout for a bread/roll to go with our first serving of soup for a dinner.  Mr. Higgins love cornbread, as do I, but sometimes something different is good. 

When I needed to use up some fresh herbs, I found this recipe for Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls.  It had two advantages over its competitors: no rising time and no kneading!
 

These were super easy to make and the yeast combined with self-rising flour meant they were light and fluffy!  This recipe will be added to my collections a go-to roll option!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Week


A week from today we'll be here, at Aruba.  I keep reminding myself, while at the gym, doing weights, that I want to look good in my bikini.  Ha! 

It's been four years since Mr. Higgins and I were at Aruba.  I can't wait!