Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Drums of Autumn

I recently finished the fourth "Outlander" novel by Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn.  I really enjoyed it.

My Goodreads review:

Diana Gabaldon truly has a gift for keeping characters multidimensional and interesting over many, many novels. I thought this fourth take on Claire and Jamie would be boring - not so. Their lives have so many twists and turns….. This turn, their story in America, is so fascinating to read about. And I don't even enjoy American history! 

Now I'm curious about the fifth novel - and that's a sign of excellent writing.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Four Week Post-Cruise Workouts: Week 3

I've enjoyed doing some different workouts the past two weeks.  Sometimes not doing Peak and Combat is refreshing!  Changing things up can never really be a bad thing, eh?

And no worries about the motivation part - my bad eating keeps me motivated.  Ha!

Monday: Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + Amy's Sports Sculpt + yoga

I really enjoy my Monday workouts - always a bit lighter after a weekend of tough workouts.  This morning, Ilyse got me going with dance - this is such a good one!  Then, Amy's workout was mostly low-impact but had some high-impact circuits to keep your heart rate up.  During both workouts, I tried to make as much high-impact as possible.  At lunch, I treated myself to yoga at the rec.....and I know I'll be feeling it tomorrow.  My hips have never been so thoroughly stretch.  Wow!

Tuesday:  Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101 + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals + weights

Time for some impact this morning!  Ilyse's dance workout gets you going very quickly.  After about a 4-minute warm-up, you're jumping and running and hopping for a good five minutes straight.  That first interval gets me every time.  Whew!  After her workout, I tuned into Scott's intervals for about 15 minutes.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - woohoo!  Week two of weights at the rec done!

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

So I'm doing a lot of Ilyse's workouts this week!  Ha!  This is one of the few cardio athletic, level 3, workouts that she has done and it's great.  There is no stopping in this thing!  It's tough and it worked me hard - which was good!  After that, I did Michelle's HIIT, which is always tough with the lunge jumps.  Oy.  I'll never like those dreaded things!

Thursday:  Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped 1000

When was the last time I did a Jari Love workout?!  This morning, it was a nice change.  I used the 8-pound dumbbells throughout.  And I kept the cardio low-impact to give my knees and feet a break.  I was still sweating like crazy.  I did a few chest presses and flies with the 12-pound weights after the workout ended.  Ouch!  At lunch, I walked for about 20 minutes outside.  

Friday:  Cathe's Intensity + Dozois' BodyFit 360 Vol 3: Athletic Conditioning

My rest day will be tomorrow so I did my Saturday workout today!  I did all of Cathe's step and then both the Hi and Low HIIT.  Whew!  When put all together, that's one tough workout!  It lasted about 55 minutes.  At that point, I did 15 minutes of the cardio from Athletic Conditioning - also very tough!  I spent a good 15 minutes stretching and doing sit-ups afterward.  

Saturday:  Jillian Michaels' 6 Week Six-Pack + Yoga for the Warrior

I wanted light today - since it's my "rest" day.  I did the non-advanced 30-minute workout on Jillian's DVD.  Even though it's not advanced, it is tough!  She has tons of standing and floor ab work….with low-impact cardio bursts every few sets.  I was sweating!  After that, I did most of Yoga for the Warrior (50 out of 60 minutes).  I'm really liking that one, the more I do it.  Hopefully I can post a review of it soon.

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

Today, I was hurting from Jillian's ab workout.  Dang!  And this CS is not fun….but I got through it.  And I was proud of myself at the end….it is tough!  SO much floor work!  After that, I tuned into McLean's dance workout for 20 minutes.  It's one of my favorites, for sure.  And it helped me with my step count.  After that, a good stretch and a few sit-ups and planks….just to torture my already sore midsection.

Calorie Counts:

To be honest, this was a bad week.  I'm hoping to do better next week.  Sigh.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring in Texas

Spring in Texas happened while we were on our cruise.  We came back to lots of rain and flowers!

Campus is so gorgeous in the spring time.  Daffodils, tulips, oh my!

And then the hail happened and killed all the pretty flowers.  No joke.  It was a sad sight to see - tulips with no petals.  The neighborhood around campus was covered in limbs, twigs, and leaves from the hail.  

We've now had four hail storms in three weeks.  I'm officially done with spring storms in Texas.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week Two of a Beat Down

Last week, something happened at work on Monday - which was my first day of feeling almost human after my cold - and it was awful.  The incident was so awful that a colleague "reported" it to the higher ups and suggested I do the same.  

This week, something different but just as bad has happened.  It seriously makes me think I should not have returned from vacation.  

Both incidents could be taken personally, though I'm trying very hard to not be personally offended.  Shocking, for me.  I have to work with these people and vice versa, so I really don't understand the haphazard burning of bridges.  

Thankfully, everyone, including my boss and her boss, knows that none of this is my fault.  They know I'm doing my job well.  The problem is that other people either don't understand what we do or have unrealistic expectations of what we can do.  My profession is not as widely known as theirs and I honestly think that most people have no clue as to what we do every day.  

So after two weeks and two incidents, I'm ready for my calm workplace to return.  In the meantime, a stiff drink may be in order!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Four Week Post-Cruise Workouts: Week 2

Coming off a nasty cold, I think I'm finally feeling better outside of a lingering cough.  But I'm so happy to be over it!!  I hate colds!!

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

I generally try to take things easier on Mondays and today was no exception.  I did all of Amy's kickboxing, because her style is so different than Combat.  It's fun but not as intense.  I like the high-impact cardio dispersed throughout to keep your heart rate up.  After that, I did half of Ilyse's light dance workout.  A nice morning!

Tuesday:  Ilyse's Full-On Cardio Blast + McLean's Attack Your Metabolism + weights

This morning, I wanted to work a little harder.  And I always forget how hard Ilyse's cardio is!  Dang!  She doesn't give you many breaks in this one and you are jumping - in one fashion or another - the entire time!  I felt well worked out after this.  So, thankfully, McLean's workout was a bit lighter.  He's always no-nonsense but this one is a little easier.  I was inspired today to do weights at the rec center.  That may become a weekly thing again.  We'll see.

Wednesday: Shape's Bikini Body Transforming + Michelle's Calorie Burning Cardio Blast

The time change has hit me harder than I thought; waking up and doing these workouts is not easy as it used to be.  Ha!  I did Shape's workout again today, though I did it last week, because I wanted some circuits and Michelle does them best.  After that, I tuned into her Glo workout, one of my faves.  I was glad to do all the lunge jumps this morning - actually, I didn't skip out of anything.  Yay!

Thursday:  Amy's Total Package

I wanted lower impact today because I planned on doing weights at lunch.  And sometimes you need a break from impact.  Amy's workout was all about body weight and it was good.  She even had some cardio bursts throughout.  It wasn't the best workout ever but it was different enough to be appealing occasionally.  At lunch, life happened so weights will have to be tomorrow.

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

Finally, my light day!  This workout is so deceptive.  You think it will do nothing but I hurt more after this one than almost any other.  You do a lot of warrior pose and then tons of planking and arm work.  It's amazing that such simple moves will make me ache for three days afterward!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - so proud of myself for getting over there.

Saturday: Cathe's Cardio Core Circuit + Amy's Metabolic Meltdown

I was energized to work today!  Cathe's workout has a serious dread factor for me but since I wanted to work hard, I didn't mind it too much.  It was good to finally feel good - last weekend was a different story.  After 45 minutes of Cathe, I tuned into Amy's low-impact workout for 25 minutes - and I made it as high-impact as I could.  Whew!  It was a lot of work!  My stretch and sit-ups afterward was a nice break.

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves

And I'm still sore from pilates/yoga on Friday.  Wow.  This CS is really tough - there are lunge jumps in the warm-up and first circuit.  Oy.  You also go to the floor in every circuit but the last.  Somehow I made it through.  I then did 15 minutes of Ilyse's workout just to cool down and get more steps.  I finished off with a bit more of weights using my 12lbs weights and then stretched.

Calorie Counts:

I had two days under 1200 calories this week.  And I was good another two days - in the 1200-1300 calorie range.  But Mr. Higgins is on a fast food binge so my weekends have been filled with bad food.  Oy.

Friday, March 18, 2016


This is not relevant to anything but it made me laugh.

It does, however, remind me of the cats yesterday morning, at 4am, when it hailed golf balls for 20 minutes.  I thought every window in the house would shatter.  The cats were freaked out, not understanding what in the world was going on.  I've never seen Dooku scared of weather but he was scared that morning.  

After three hailstorms in 1.5 weeks, I'm done with spring storms.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Black-Eyed Susans

My book group chose an interesting read this month - Julia Heaberlin's Black-Eyed Susans.

My Goodreads review follows.....

I never would have chosen to read this; I'm not into criminal thrillers.  But my book group chose it and since it takes place in Fort Worth, I decided to give it a shot.  

And I'm so glad I did!  Haeberlin is a wonderful writer and she quickly transported me into Tessa's life.  Moving between the time period of the crime and present day is an interesting way to slowly let the reader into Tessa's mind after her ordeal.  This builds until we get to the trial and then, finally, we get a glimpse into the mind of the killer.  

I loved the characters in Tessa's story, the science behind the criminal forensics side of it, and the random places in Fort Worth that Haeberlin takes us.  A great read!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Four Week Post-Cruise Workouts: Week 1

How do you like that title, eh?!  "Four Week Post-Cruise Workouts" means....four weeks until my next real "challenge."  Ha!  Sometimes, there just aren't any good ways to title something.  Or I'm just lacking creativity at present.

And for good reason.  Mr. Higgins contracted, I think, the flu on our cruise last week, which thankfully didn't manifest itself until the day we flew home.  Gradually, I began to feel ill and ended up with a nasty cold (I got my flu shot this year!).  

So this was a rough week.  We got home on Saturday and I felt fine on Sunday.....

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix

I'm a masochist for doing a Peak 10 workout right after a cruise.  Sigh.  But I wanted to see how much I'd digressed after a week of no workouts.  And I didn't digress too, too much.  I made it through 50 minutes of this workout without modifying the peaks.....except for the burpees.  I didn't do those.  But that's pretty good!  I was happy.

Monday: Dozois' Rockin' Body Cardio

This is my standard post-vacation workout.  An oldie, but a goodie!  This morning, though, my body was not cooperating.  I was beginning to feel the aches and pains that signal a cold coming on.  I stopped after 35 minutes, too exhausted to continue.

Tuesday: REST

Coughing, headachy....icky!

Wednesday: Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove + Dozois' Burn Calories, Release Stress

When I woke up this morning, my cough was a bit deeper - not a good sign.  But I wasn't achy so I decided to do a light workout.  Ilyse's dance workout is so much fun - one of my favorites!  And Michelle's level 2 workout is perfect for these days when you want little to no impact.  

Thursday: McLean's Unleash Your Inner Strength + Amy's Skills and Drills

This mornings' discovery....the cold is now firmly planted in my nose.  I hate colds!!  I did another set of level 2 workouts, increasing the impact just a bit.  I didn't feel too bad - just tired and congested.  And it felt good to move.  McLean's workout is okay and I skipped the burpees......  I spent more time on Amy's workout, which is athletic cardio - different from Ilyse, for sure.

Friday:  Shape's Bikini Body Transforming + weights

I did Michelle's cardio from this workout by Shape.  It's a really good workout - in fact, the entire disc is really good. But I stuck to 30 minutes of cardio.  Then, I did my own weights for 15 minutes, trying to use the 12lb dumbbells as much as possible.  

Saturday: Michelle's Cardio Interval Burn on Glo + Scott's Shrink and Tone Core

I was finally feeling better today.  And so I tuned into this CIB - always difficult but a lot of fun.  I didn't go at 100% -  maybe 95% - because I'm still not up to par yet.  But it felt good to do as much as my body would let me.  I had to downplay a few of the peaks and I stayed away from most of the burpees.  Afterward, I did Scott's core workout for 10 minutes.  

Sunday: Cathe's Intensity + Amy's Cardio Power Drills

Wow.  This workout always takes me by surprise.  Cathe's Intensity is always more intense than I predict!  Ha!  I did 30 minutes of the workout - so all the step (no HIIT).  I didn't want to over-do it today.  And I wanted some weights, so I did Amy's workout.  I don't think I've ever done so many shoulder presses.  Dang.  But it was good!

Calorie Counts:

I had two days below 1200 calories this week.  And I was good a few other days.  And then the weekend came and Mr. Higgins, who had been eating soup for a week, went a little crazy.  We ate very, very badly.  But it was fun!  Ha! 

Friday, March 11, 2016


On our recent cruise, we stopped at Tortola.  This was not my first time at this British Virgin Island, but it was the first time I stayed on Tortola.  (The first time, we skipped over to Virgin Gorda.)  

So for our day at Tortola, we decided to get a tour of the island.  We found a nice driver and settled into his open-air truck.  After a quick drive through town, we started gaining elevation...and the temperatures dropped significantly.  The roads were so steep that we worried about our vehicle's ability to climb.... 

But we made it and were rewarded with views like this......

I can't wait to see more of the BVI.  So far, the islands have really impressed me!  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Black Ships

I needed a small paperback to take on our cruise last week.  Black Ships, by Jo Graham, has been sitting on my shelf and looking rather appealing.  And so I packed it.  

My Goodreads review:

This book was well reviewed and, considering my love of ancient history, I decided to buy it. I did not know, until a few chapters in that this was the story of Aeneas' years after the fall of Troy and up to his settling in Latium. Awesome!

Graham writes historical fiction very well and she chose a marvelous character through which to tell Aeneas' story - Gull, or Pythia - an oracle. Gull foresees the arrival of Aeneas and determines that her fate is to help him find a new home. They travel far - and have a long stay in Egypt. The peoples they meet along the way are fascinating, as are their new brothers in Latium.

This was a fast, easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed Graham's storytelling.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Off Cruisin'

We're off on a cruise this week, enjoying some much needed time off.  I can't remember ever being so rundown and exhausted so this is perfect timing!  

No working out; no dieting.  Just relaxation and recuperation!