Wednesday, December 30, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See

I had heard many good things about Anthony Doerr's World War II novel, All the Light We Cannot See.....and I'd seen it everywhere.  So I finally got to reading it.

The story was fascinating from the beginning with the "present" timeline of 1944 and flashbacks into the past, to show how the characters got to where the end up.  A blind girl, Marie-Laure, and her father escape Paris when the Germans come and flee to seaside Saint-Malo.  Orphan Werner grows up in a German mining town before the Nazis recruit, educate, and deploy him.  

Both of these characters find themselves in Saint-Malo at the height of the American bombing in September of 1944.  

Doerr's story is truly special and interesting; I enjoyed it.  My one complaint was that the writing style seemed pompous - as if Doerr knew he was writing a Pulitzer Prize winner.  And I tend to avoid that type of writing.  However, the story was so special that I can overlook it.  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week Nine: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Since I missed four days of my Challenge while in Colorado, I'm tacking on three days this week - before the craziness of the holidays.  

My eating is definitely bad this week but with no one on campus and no distractions, I was able to walk at lunch.  So, a bit of success at a time when I'll take whatever I can get!

Monday: Pure Cardio + walk

I did not sleep well at all last night and all I really wanted this morning was to crawl back into bed.  But I worked out instead, thinking of all the cookies that have landed in my belly lately.  And it was a good, fun workout!  At lunch, I walked for 35 minutes outside, burning almost as many calories as during my "real" workout (according to my FitBit)- amazing!

Tuesday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + walk

After a great night of sleep (thank goodness), I was almost looking forward to this workout!  Well, except the dreaded peaks....  It was a good workout, for sure, and I managed all the peaks in the time I had to workout.  Success!  At lunch, I walked the same route as yesterday....  I love knowing that I'm burning calories on borrowed time.  Cool!

Wednesday: Ilyse's Your Best, Sweaty Self + Dozois HIIT - Breathless and Energized

My last 5:30am workout of 2015!! Wow!  In honor of such a special occasion, I could not bring myself to do McLean's HIIT again.  Ugh!!!  So I tuned into something different but just as challenging - Ilyse's cardio.  This is her hardest workout on Glo and it kicks my butt quite often. This morning, I kept up with her, amazingly!  I then clicked over to Michelle's HIIT - lunge jumps, eek!  But I did them - all!  A great morning and the perfect last real workout of 2015!  

I'm off, traveling for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Me Before You

I picked up Jojo Moyes' Me Before You some time ago and chose to take it to Colorado.  I'd never read this author but after seeing this book everywhere, I bought it.  My curiosity was piqued.

Louisa Clark has gotten a new job as the caretaker of Will Traynor, who is now confined to a wheelchair.  Will hates his new life and Louisa doesn't care much for him - he's grumpy and acerbic.  

Soon, however, Louisa and Will begin a friendship that has the unique intimacy due to his situation and her job.  Will starts pushing Louisa to break out of her shell and try new things - adventures that he can no longer have.  

This unlikely pair have a tremendous influence on one another.  It's a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story and, for some reason, it really struck a chord with me.  If you ever evaluate your own life or think "what if," then this story will impact you, as well.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week Eight: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Back from our long weekend in Colorado...  And I have some serious fat that needs to come off!  It's not going to be easy with all the extra food at work, but I'll give it my best shot!

Monday: Ilyse's Sweaty, Sassy, and Strong + Amy's Skills and Drills

I didn't want to kill myself this first morning back from vacation - and after only about 5 hours of sleep.  So I did these two workouts that were a perfect combination - dance with Ilyse and then kickboxing with Amy.  Since I've already done my four weeks of extra Cardio Strengths in this Challenge, these workouts will take the place of that one.  

Tuesday: Amy's Intervals + Cardio Intervals

This week was an off week for Pure Cardio so Amy's HIIT took it's place.  These are definitely tough workouts but it felt good to work hard today.  I took it up a step with some circuits, even adding some lunge jumps.  Nothing works me harder than those!  A great morning!

Wednesday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape

After two days of cardio, I felt the need for weights.  This workout is just so good.  The alternating cardio/weight sections are just short enough to not be too painful or traumatic.  And Michelle is motivating by herself, as usual.  I even don't mind the floorwork....bleh.

Thursday: PeakFit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout + walk

I don't know why I hate this workout so much - but I do.  Even Michelle has a hard time keeping me going and motivated.  Somehow I got through it - without modifying the peaks.  It was tough, for sure, and I hurt afterward, but it was worth it!  At lunch, I walked outside, around campus for about 25 minutes.  My co-worker kept up a brisk pace that I had a hard time matching, in my tired state.  But it was good!

Friday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + short walks

With a busy weekend ahead - holiday prep! - I have no idea what that means for workouts.  So, I went ahead and did my CIB this morning.  I had to cut off 15 minutes but at least I got it in.  And dang, it was tough!  I went to bed at 11:30 last night (Star Wars!) so I was tired.  I made the 10-minute walking trek to a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch.  So I was mobile!

Saturday: PeakFit Cardio Strength 2

I had time for a workout today, thank goodness!  I was a bit nervous about this CS, though I really like it.  The first peak was a bit of a shock to my system - after so many consecutive high impact workouts, it was tough. But as I went along, it got easier.  So, 60 minutes of cardio and then a nice stretch and the dreaded sit-ups.

Sunday: rest (much needed)

We're just not going to think about calories this week.  Ugh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Time in Estes Park

Our trip to Colorado was wonderful.  It snowed - not too much, not too little - and we Texans were in heaven!  There's nothing like waking up to snow plows.  It's a sound I hadn't heard since living in Michigan.  

The town of Estes Park was beautifully decorated for Christmas - it was stunning! I loved walking around downtown at night, especially while it was snowing.  The whole trip could not have gone any better!

Our friend had a great 40th birthday and the rest of us got to explore and rest in a wonderful place.  We were truly blessed to have that time together.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week Seven: Peak 10 Challenge #4

We had a long weekend trip planned at the end of this week…which ruins the flow of my Challenge.   It wasn't planned seven weeks ago so I'm having to improvise.  

With only three workouts this week, they need to count - and kick my bootie. 

Monday: Pure Cardio

I always miss this workout when a Challenge ends.  It's that good.  This morning, I was not 100% and I had to finish a few minutes early….but it was still fun!  And effective.  My muscles may not be the same after these 8 weeks.  Ha!

Tuesday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101

This morning was slow because I had a doctor's appointment; it made for the perfect time to do my additional CS workout!  Yay!  The original CS is a tough one but I got through it relatively well.  I then did 25 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout which is much more high-impact than her others.  Then, a nice stretch and sit-ups.  What a good morning of work!  The only downside: I had to fast for bloodwork so I couldn't eat anything.  Ack!

Wednesday:  McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

The only good thing about this workout - it's getting easier.  My body, however, is getting more tired by the day.  Though I hate missing four days of workouts to go on our long weekend trip, I have a feeling my muscles will thank me.  

Thursday - Sunday: traveling

Friday, December 11, 2015

Off to the Mountains

We're off to the mountains again - the same mountains as two months ago - to celebrate a friend's birthday.   It should be really fun, especially given the forecast for 5+ inches of snow. We Texans don't see much of that!

Lakes will be frozen, rivers will be frosty, and hopefully we're toasty warm inside our cabin!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Baking and Homemade Irish Cream (2015:21)

At Thanksgiving this year, I made Homemade Irish Cream at my parents' house.  I really liked it, as did my mom.  Mr. Higgins, who loathes coffee, thought it had too much of a coffee flavor.  My only complain, though small, was that it wasn't as thick as the bottled stuff.  Either way, the recipe can be tweaked to exclude coffee and include….mint, more chocolate, nutmeg….anything!  So I'll keep it in my file!

Every year, I make cookies with my mom shortly before Christmas.  I can't wait to do that this year, for the first time in my own home!  

I've already made some Christmas goodies: Triple Chocolate Cookies,  Skinny Snickerdoodles, and pumpkin bread.  

WIth my mom, I'll make gingerbread, sugar cookies, Victorian Tea Cakes, and fudge.  YUM!  But every year, I like to try something new…..

Mr. Higgins' mom has made chocolate bark before and it was delicious!!  (Here's a similar recipe.)  This year, I want to try to make it myself, with a mint flavor.  When I will have time to make this….I have no idea.  We'll see how it goes.  

No matter what's on your dessert menu, happy baking!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week Six: Peak 10 Challenge #4

I cannot believe this Challenge is going by so quickly!!  Time just flies by these days!

The good thing about Peak 10 is that it keeps me motivated.....  And motivation is good this time of year when I usually eat more than I should.  The only bad thing is that I usually don't see the results that I would normally see.  Sure, I get fitter but the scale and the measuring tape don't always reflect a big change.  Sigh.  All I can do is my best!

Monday: Amy's Cardio Intervals + Intervals + walk

I usually start this Glo playlist with Intervals.  This time I switched it up, starting with Cardio Intervals instead.  It's a bit more low-key though you do the moves for longer - 90, 60, and 30 seconds.  I then got through about 15 minutes of Intervals before I had to cool down - and it's definitely tougher because the moves are more difficult.  But it was a nice change from Pure Cardio.  At lunch, I walked at the rec and was proud of myself for getting over there.  It was cold and drizzly out!

Tuesday: PeakFit Cardio Strength 2 + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

Oh, how I loathe evening workouts!  I got home a bit early from the dentist and went to work with CS2.  Ugh.  It wasn't tough until about halfway through when I used my heavy weights instead of the suggested light ones for a circuit.  My body was not happy.  Afterward, I did ten minutes of Ilyse's dance workout to cool down.  And then a stretch.  I was aching all evening.

Wednesday:  PeakFit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

After last night's workout, this was the last thing I wanted to do.  I pushed myself, though, and made it through.  I modified the last two peak moves - to try to be a little....less.  I ached for most of the morning after this.  I walked ten minutes to and from lunch - and that was it.

Thursday: Dozois' Total Body Cardio and Strength + walk

I'm tired.  My body is tired.  I took the cardio down a notch this morning, making as much as possible low-impact.  This workout with weights is so great and I was sweating like crazy, despite my lessened exertion.  At lunch, I walked the track at the rec and then did a good stretch and ab work.  

Friday:  Dozois' Conditioning for Long Lean Muscles

I love my Friday mornings!  And I love this workout from Michelle.  Even though it's Barre - it's tough - and I always forget how tough.  I probably should have done something a bit lighter today, considering how fatigued my muscles feel, but it felt good.  And I tried not to jump too much.

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

I was super tired this morning after not getting nearly enough sleep.  So I was glad this CIB was on the agenda - it's less stressful than the others.  But still a challenge!  I had fun, sweated  a bunch, and felt great afterward.  I did a stretch and some serious ab work, too.

Sunday: Peak Fit Test + Cardio Strength 1 on Glo + weights

Since we're taking a weekend trip next weekend, I decided to do my Fit Test early.  I won't be any more fit than I am right now, so let's do this!  The test almost killed me (ha!) but I improved in every circuit.  Yay!!!  I was pretty wiped out after the test but I did 40 minutes of CS 1 - without the peaks. I'd done enough peaks by that point!  I finished off with 10 minutes of pure weights....and then a stretch and ab work.

I actually ate really well this week - in my 1200 to 1300 calorie range - until Friday and Saturday.  Sunday I did well, too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

So Sparkly, So Shiny…...

It's that time of year again.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week Five: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Already past the halfway point - wow!  I can't believe it!  

Eating well is getting harder - and this week will be even worse.  Sigh.  I love Thanksgiving and I'm willing to gain a pound for it - but not much more than a pound.  LOL!  I'll keep up my workouts and hopefully that'll help!

Monday: Pure Cardio

It was nice having a break from this last week…it reminded me how much I love this workout!    It's so much fun!….  Except the last circuit which includes lunge jumps.  It's fun until then!  So I was a happy camper this morning!  A lunch at work meant no work out.

Tuesday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape + short walks

Today meant weights!  And I love this workout by Michelle, which blends weights and cardio.  I kept my cardio pretty low-impact since my weeks are now filled with a lot of HIIT.  It felt good and was so much fun!  I walked at lunch - to lunch and back, about 10 minutes each way.  Then, I got out for a ten minute walk later in the day.  I have to take what I can get during a holiday week!

Wednesday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

Since I never feel like doing this workout…..well, today was no different.  But thank goodness, it's getting easier!  I love it when that starts happening in the middle of an 8-week challenge!  

Thursday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

Back to the original CS.  Wow.  Yes, I did this on Thanksgiving; we had no morning plans.  And this one always kicks my butt.  Today was no different since I'd had a restless night and had gotten up way too early.  I finished off the morning with Ilyse's fun dance workout.  I figured I needed all the help I could get going into the weekend.

Friday:  REST

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

I did this workout while out of town.  Unfortunately, I had to do it barefoot, which is not ideal.  My plantar faciitis was not happy by the end of it and the day after.  Oh, well.  It was worth it because I'm really beginning to love this CIB.  It's so much fun and there's no dread factor.  Michelle just can't put together a bad workout!

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + McLean's Bodyweight Assault Challenge

So after eating way too much yesterday and the day before, I was ready to work hard today.  And I love this CS!  Sure, some of the floor work is killer but the weight sequences are so well put together and have a great flow.  Classic Michelle Dozois!  After this 55 minutes of sweating like crazy, I tuned into McLean's workout - because I wanted a challenge.  This one is definitely difficult but not as hard as it used to be.  I took some breaks from the cardio to lift weights.  Cool!  After 20 minutes of that, I finally stretched and did sit-ups.

Calorie Counts:

We're just not going there this week.  Next week will be better!

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!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week Two: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Week one was successful, I think.  I lost 1.2 pounds, which really could have been water weight only, but I'm choosing to see it as a good sign!  Now, I need that success to continue this week!  

Monday: Pure Cardio + walk

It's always easier working out on Monday mornings when I have Michelle's enthusiasm to look forward to.  Pure Cardio is so much fun!  I love the "climbs" - such innovative cardio that is non-stop but fun!  At lunch, I walked outside because the weather was just lovely.  I did the 1.2 route around campus and then added on a bit - for 25 minutes of "work." 

Tuesday: Dozois' Total Body Cardio and Strength + walk

I always look forward to these Click and Glo workouts by Michelle. They're so much fun - and effective!  This one definitely has some challenging bits - up and down planks, burpees, etc...  But I still like it!  And I love doing weights at home!  At lunch, I walked at the rec because it was super humid outside.  But I didn't mind: my stretch afterward was lovely!

Wednesday:  Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

Oh, wonderful, my dreaded friend, AA.  I hate this workout.  I love Michelle and almost anything she does - except this.  I managed to get through it, my first time through in 6 months...but I changed a few of the peaks.  Burpees were just not going to work this morning.  It's always a good feeling to finish this one - because then it's done for the week.

Thursday: Ilyse's Sweaty, Sassy and Strong + Amy's Kickboxing Skills and Drills + weights

This workout from Ilyse was brand new - and a lot of fun.  It's not too tough and doesn't build upon itself, which I always prefer.  Next up: kickboxing with Amy.  This one is good, though not my favorite.  But these two made for a fun "light" morning of cardio.  At lunch, I hiked to the rec and did weights.  It was as muggy inside as outside - so very unpleasant.  Ugh.

Friday:  Peak Fit Dynamic Flexibility + Dozois' Tight and Toned Core

Friday couldn't come soon enough this week; it was a rough one.  And this workout was just what I needed - no stress at all, just stretching.  I love it!  It lasted 35 minutes, after which I tuned into Dozois' core workout on Glo.  Dang, it's tough!  

Saturday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

I love this workout!  It may actually be my favorite CIB…..maybe!  It was my first CIB ever so it  holds a special place in my heart.  It's fun and challenging - definitely - with no dread factor.  The peaks are tough and I guess I do dread them always - but this is just such a great workout.  Afterward, I did a lovely stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

It's been so long since I last did this CS…I didn't know if I should dread it or not.  Ha!  It's fun but there are some parts that are very difficult for me.  Namely, some of the floor work.  I got through it but I was achy by the end.  I did about 15 minutes of McLean's dance workout to cool down and get additional steps.  Then, a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1264
Tuesday - 1245
Wednesday - 1267
Thursday - 1239
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1388

It was a good week - food-wise, anyways.  It was worth being bad on Friday and Saturday!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Third Hike, Part 2

Continuing on with our last Colorado hike in Rocky Mountain National Park..... 

We left off in the tundra.....

It was really rocky up there.

Before we knew it, we were on top of Flattop Mountain.  The wind was blowing so hard that we found shelter behind a big rock to take a break and drink some water.

After our respite, we took stock....and saw our destination, Hallett Peak, up ahead.  Yep, we're climbing that thing.

Looking to the right, we could see Grand Lake in the distance - on the other end of Trail Ridge Road.

Here we are between Flattop and Hallett.  Tyndall Glacier is below us.

Once at the bottom of Hallett, we saw what we'd be climbing. Oy.

Looking back at Flattop and Tyndall Glacier - almost to the top of Hallett!

This is the official marker for the peak of Hallett - inscribed by the USGS.

Looking down from Hallett.

Over on the other side of us - Longs Peak in the distance.

Going down is always harder than going up, I think...  But we made it safe and sound.  We walked over to the edge of the!

It was quite a day. We got back to the car at 2:30 - so 7.5 hours total.  Over 10 miles....whew!  Thankfully, after doing 14 miles the other day, our bodies did not protest too much to 10.  LOL!

I'm not sure mountain climbing is in my future ever again - but it was a great feeling to accomplish something I thought impossible (for me!).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Third Hike, Part 1

Our last full day in Colorado and finally - finally! - the winds died down.  We knew it would be our one and possibly ONLY chance to climb Mr. Higgins' mountains - Flattop and Hallett Peak.  We started out early.....

It was 7am and 26 degrees out.  But the sunrise was so lovely on the mountains!

As we hiked up and up amidst the towering trees, we got glimpses through them...  Here, we spotted Alberta Falls, which we visited out last time in CO.

As we got higher, the views were better.  I loved the fog amidst the mountain tops!

After about an hour of hiking, we got to the Dream Lake overlook.  I never thought I'd be this high above it!

Soon, the trees were no longer as big.

And then they became downright short.

Then there were no more trees.  And the views were fantastic!

That's Sprague and Bierstadt Lakes in the distance.

After about another hour, we were above the tree-line and at the Emerald Lake overlook.  The steepness of the slope down to that lake…..let's just say I wasn't sitting on the edge of the overlook.

After a break, we were hiking again - up and up - and the trail got rockier and rocker.

One of my favorite parts of this hike - our meeting with a pika.  How cute is he?!  These little furrballs live above the tree-line, in the tundra.

At this point, we were exposed to the wind, without any trees to shield us.  And though the wind had died down from previous days, it was still blowing at about 20-30 mph…and it was cold!  We bundled up even more and braced ourselves……  

We still had more to go…..

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week One: Peak 10 Challenge #4

I can't believe it's that time again....for another Peak 10 Challenge!  This one will be my fourth!  The third was completed in the spring so I'm due for another round.

While I'm definitely looking forward to it, my motivation has taken a hit with all this thyroid drama.  If exercise has no - visible - impact on my body.......well, it's harder to stay motivated.  But I'm trying.

Monday: Peak Fit Pure Cardio + walk

Hello, old friend; I'm back!  This is such a fun workout - and always more difficult than I remember.  I got so many steps during this morning's!  Fun and effective!  At lunch, I walked around the track at the rec center.  For some reason, Sunday's workout left me extra stiff and sore so I wanted to walk and then stretch really well.  Mission accomplished!

Tuesday:  Dozois' Tip Top Shape

I haven't done this workout in forever - and I love it!  Weights are so much more enjoyable at home, rather than the ugly, smelly gym.  And weights with Michelle are doubly fun.  This workout isn't easy but there's no dread factor.  I can't wait to do it again!  It was such a gorgeous day today, that I walked just a bit outside and then read in the sunshine.  Lovely!

Wednesday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

Peak 10 means McLean's HIIT is my alternate for Dozois' dreaded Anytime Anywhere workout.....and I do dread both of these.  I limited the burpees in McLean's crazy workout....but it was still tough.  Going up and down from the floor is never easy; for some reason, that gets me more than anything.  Glad this one is done for the week!

Thursday:  McLean's Unleash Your Inner Strength + Amy's Skills and Drills + Dozois' Straight Forward Strength Training

I had some extra time this morning so I got in both cardio and weights.  Together, McLean and Dixon's cardio workouts lasted 50 minutes….without a cool down.  I then did Dozois' 45 minute strength video, which is so good.  I love that one!  It was a nice, fun morning.  When working out is this much fun….it's not a chore!

Friday: Body Fit 360

Ah, rest days are so lovely.  I was a bit nervous about remembering the more complicated moves from this workout - but it all worked fine.  And I really do enjoy it; there's nothing like it!  At the end, I felt all stretched out and invigorated, not tired!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

I haven't touched this workout since my last Peak 10 Challenge - and it was harder than I remembered!  But it's so much fun….and I always forget that.  Michelle's enthusiasm is so contagious…which is amazing when you're dripping sweat and aching.  Ha!  I did a long stretch after this and some ab work.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

Even though I love the newer Cardio Strengths, there's something nice and refreshing about the original.  The moves are simpler - though no less difficult - and you really feel like your muscles are given a chance to work.  It doesn't feel as rushed.  And so, amazingly, I had fun with this CS today!  And I used my heavy weights for some of the light weight sections.  Cool!  I finished off my workout with 20 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout and then 15 minutes of stretch and abs.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1288
Tuesday - 1288
Wednesday - 1272
Thursday - 1279
Friday - 1678
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1466

Yeah, I know: every day wasn't great.  But most were!  4 out of 7!  Ha!  And I lost 1.2 pounds this week, so I'm not worried!  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Second Hike, Part 2

My husband loves exploring….so when there's a trail…he likes to see what's at the end of it.  And so, after Odessa Lake, we took another "spur" trail to Spruce Lake.  

A sign at the start of the trail warned that it was "unmaintained" - okaayy…..   Considering the trails we'd already seen, this one looked much the same - rocky!  Sure, there were lovely bits of grass like above, but mostly….rocks.  We even had to scramble over some bigger ones to get to…..

Spruce.  This was a very nice lake….but I was getting tired and my non-existent sense of exploration was done already.  Ha!  And so we hiked down to Fern….and all the way back down to The Pool - about 2.5 miles from Spruce.

Once down, we took a break before our next leg.  We decided to make a loop instead of taking the same trail back to where we started.  This loop looked innocuous on the map and would get us to a new lake.

In no time, however, this innocuous trail started gaining elevation…it turns out we were going up and over a ridge…instead of staying flat as we'd expected.  Great.  At this point, I ache…Mr. Higgins aches….we're a bit unhappy.  Add to that the unrelenting sun - there was no shade on this trail - and we were ready to be done.

Cub Lake, which we found on the other side of the ridge (1.2 miles from The Pool), was a bit of the letdown.  Outside of the odd lily pad formation, there was little to see.  A fire had gone through this area not long ago and the trees have not yet recovered.  

Once at Cub, we thought we only had a little bit to go to the car.  Well, we read the map wrong and had 2.3 miles to go.  We were miserable, at this point.  At least the trail was nice enough to provide some shade along the first mile or so.  

On this day we walked 14 miles, 40,000 steps.  We went up and down all day long.  My feet hurt, my shoulders hurt (from my backpack), and my hips hurt (of all things).   I'm glad we did this hike but it was just a bit too long to be pleasant. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Second Hike, Part 1

Our second hike - the longest of our RMNP hikes earlier this month - was unplanned.  The winds that plagued our first hike were still blowing like crazy and that eliminated higher elevation hikes.  

We just happened to hear about the hike to Fern Lake - and how nice it was.  And so we decided to try it, starting early in the morning.

For the first hour, the trail was lovely - and flat!  The cool morning was nice but, thankfully, not too cold. 

We were delighted to see aspens and their fallen, golden leaves, softened our path.

After an hour and two miles (yay, flat trails!), we reached Fern Falls.  It was a very nice waterfall - and a great place to take a break.

Another 1.8 miles later - the trail was no longer flat - we reached Fern Lake.  And it was gorgeous!  I was unused to seeing so many trees lining a lake - and I loved it!  I could have stayed here for a very long time.....

But Mr. Higgins wanted to explore.  Odessa late was just up a short (ahem!) we should go see it, right?  We gained quite a bit of elevation quickly on the way - but the views were incredible!

And then the trail flattened and we walked beside a river.....and then the winds picked up.

Odessa Lake opened before us....and she was beautiful!  Similar to Fern, but unique.  Across the lake from us, there was a beach!  

We couldn't stay here long due to the gusting winds but I hope we can go back sometime!

After admiring Odessa, we turned back and headed down to Fern Lake.  And once we got down there, Mr. Higgins saw another trail to another lake.....  Something tells me my feet will be hurting by the end of this day!

Stay tuned..........