Sunday, December 18, 2016

Finishing Up The Fault in Our Stars & 2016 Books Without Borders Wrap Up

Oh my gosh, this was our last book of 2016 Books Without Borders. The reason I started this book club was to read more books in 2016. I went above and beyond my goal and completed 45 books in 2016. :) 

I would love to hear what you all thought of the book club and any suggestions you might have for next years books for Books Without Borders. And thank you all for following along with my journey

Now let me tell you what I thought about The Fault in Our Stars. I love this book!! It is such a sweet story that is sad but by the end you do not feel sad. It ends leaving you feeling happy and hopeful and remembered that no matter what there is always something good to look for and hold on to. 

What did you think about The Fault in Our Stars? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought!

1. John Green derives his book's title from a famous line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." (I,ii,139-140). What does the line mean—and why would Green have used it for his title? Even more important, why would he have altered it to read, "The fault in our stars" rather than ourselves? How does Green's meaning differ from Shakespeare's?

2. How would you describe the two main characters, Hazel and Gus? Do either of them conform, in behavior or thinking, to what we normally associate with young cancer patients? How do the two differ from one another...and how do their personality traits and interests complement each other?

3. How do Hazel and Gus each relate to their cancer? Do they define themselves by it? Do they ignore it? Do they rage at life's unfairness? Most importantly, how do the two confront the big questions of life and death?

4. Do you find some of the descriptions of pain, the medical realities that accompany cancer, or the discussion of bodily fluids too graphic?

Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Our Favorite Gifts To Buy The Health And Fitness Lover In Your Life

Ways To Keep Your Students Active This Winter (4).png
It can be hard knowing what to get the health and fitness lover in your life but we are here to help!! We have both tried a huge range of health and fitness products but we are both going to bring you our top three favorite health and fitness products of 2016.
Brianna’s Top Three Picks
My first favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is the Fitbit Charge 2. I absolutely adore this product. I use it every single day to track my sleep, exercise and nutrition. One of my favorite things about the Fitbit is that it helps to hold me accountable by sending me reminders. It is also nice that you get to compete with your friends who also have a Fitbit and send them friendly reminders and even give them a little push. The Fitbit really is a great support system to get you moving, sleeping and eating right. The Fitbit app is also very simple to use and lets you track food, water, sleep, and movement. I love my Fitbit and would not be as active without it.
My second favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is the Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat. The main reason I love this yoga mat is because it is extra thick and it is also longer and wider than a traditional yoga mat. I use it for every single one of my workouts. This would be a great addition to any home or classroom.
My third favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is BigOven.  BigOven is an app that allows you to get food ideas, create menu plans, make grocery lists and add of your favorite recipes. This app is a lifesaver for keeping my nutrition on track. Each week I sit down and create my menu for the week with new and old recipes that I add into my account. I then create a grocery list that is laid out into categories so shopping is easy and I never forget anything. This app is perfect for anyone who is busy but wants to stay on track with their nutrition.
Julia’s Top Three Picks
My favorites are things I can’t live without now. First is my pre workout my favorite is called Energize. Now pre workout is something I didn’t think I needed 2 years ago. I tried many before and I hated that feeling like my face was on fire and my body was tingly. This brand was different. Energize by Beachbody is something that I use everyday now, I call it my liquid energy. Even the days I feel good enough to push play or to get up and do that workout I still take it. It helps me get my mindset right and it actually does push me to give more in my workouts. Sometimes I even take a scoop mid afternoon if I just really need to focus on something and I don’t want to have a second scoop of coffee. Best part it is lemon flavor and it is all natural.
My second favorite must have and makes a great gift for that fitness lover in your life is a S’well Bottle. Now these are a pricier water bottle and a glorified one at that. I will say though it is my favorite water bottle and I guard with my life. All the cool kids are drinking their water with these you might say and for me it helps motivate me to actually get my oz in. The idea around this water bottle is the design and the fact that it can keep your water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. The creator of these bottles designed them to get rid of plastic water bottles and now they partner with charities all over the world to help the environment. Another perk of this fashionable and trendy bottle you will be giving back too!
My third must have is a shaker cup that is on my wish list as well. Every fitness lover needs a good shaker cup for their post, or pre, or even during workout. My biggest annoyance with shaker cups though is I always forget or lose the ball. Most of the time I just go without and my protein doesn’t get shaken well enough. This Beachbody Performance Hybrid Shaker Cup by Beachbody is perfect because the ball comes with the cup and it attached to the straw. Making it easy to use and forget proof. ;)

Those are our top three favorite health and fitness products of 2016. Enjoy! And let us know if you try any of the products and what you thought.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Finishing Up Sarah's Key & Starting The Fault in Our Stars

I remember reading Sarah's Key in the past but I have to say now that I read it when I was older I was amazed by this book. I could not put it down! It took me less than two days to read and I was so sad when it was over. I also rented to movie and watched it with a glass of wine. Such an amazing book!!

What did you think about Sarah's Key? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought!

1. What did you know about France’s role in World War II --- and the Vél d’Hiv round-up in particular --- before reading Sarah’s Key? How did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history?

2. Sarah’s Key is composed of two interweaving story lines: Sarah’s, in the past, and Julia’s quest in the present day. Discuss the structure and prose-style of each narrative. Did you enjoy the alternating stories and time-frames? What are the strengths or drawbacks of this format?

3. Per above: Which “voice” did you prefer: Sarah’s or Julia’s? Why? Is one more or less authentic than the other? If you could meet either of the two characters, which one would you choose?

4. How does the apartment on la rue de Saintonge unite the past and present action --- and all the characters --- in Sarah’s Key? In what ways is the apartment a character all its own in?

Out next book is The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenWe will be starting it today Sunday December 11th and ending on Sunday December 18th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Lets Get Reading! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Black Bean Brownie For One

I have been experimenting with black beans over the past couple months and I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you all! 

This is my new go to recipe for when I am craving something sweet or want a little treat. This recipe has around 215 calories and 10 grams of protein! 

Let me know what you think and remember you can always find healthy alternatives to things your want to eat. :) 

1/4 Cup Black Beans
1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg White
Pinch Of Baking Powder
1/2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips


Blend black beans in a food processor.

Add flour, cocoa powder, honey, milk, vanilla, and egg white.
Blend again until smooth.
Place mixture into a greased microwave safe mugs.

Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes. I microwaved mine for 2 minutes and 15 seconds on the medium power and it turned out perfect. 

Let cool for a minute. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

3 Ways To Keep Your Students Active This Winter!

From The Healthy Tip Corner With Jules4Life and Living Light and Breezy!

Everyone knows that it can be hard to stay active during the winter months. Keeping your students active over the cold months will help to keep your students motivated, focused and happy.

Today, we are bringing you three awesome tips on how to keep your students active this winter.
The first tip is to introduce GoNoodle into your classroom.

GoNoodle is an amazing free tool that has helped more than 10 million kids get active each month. GoNoodle has helped kids to become their strongest, smartest, bravest, bestest selves. The thing we love about GoNoodle is that it makes movement fun. GoNoodle turns movement into games that allow kids to be silly, playful and energetic. GoNoodle is also very simple to use! All you have to do is press play on one of hundreds of custom videos that will get kids running, jumping, dancing and stretching.
The second tip is to get moving and dancing to Cantata Learning music.

We love Cantata Learning because they combined music with teaching fundamental skills. Songs can help to strengthen language skills like pronunciation, grammatical structure, and vocabulary.

We love the new series Me, My Friends, My Community: Songs about Emotions! We feel this series can help kids this winter to stay positive and get the wiggles out while still learning some very valuable skills.

The third tip is to do a HIIT workout or find a short workout you can do that is fun for your kids.

We have two suggestions for you.

The first workout you can do with your students is what we call a HIIT workout or a High Intensity Interval Training. Now this doesn’t have to be super intense or long but the idea is to really get your blood flowing and to get something in that is quick and easy for your students to do. This article shows how beneficial HIIT workouts can be even for younger students and how it can help with the ever increasing obesity level. HIIT workouts can range from 3-5 minutes long. No equipment needed, not a lot of space, and they can be really fun. Here are a few examples of HIITs for your classroom.

HIIT Options:

The second option is to find something fun like Zumba, Yoga, or a fun easy to do workout to do.

We find Youtube is a quick and easy way to find fun and short workouts that are also free. These again don’t have to be long but can be just a quick 5 minute get up and move time with your kids so they can take a break from learning so they can come back re focused and energized. We picked a few of our favorite Youtube channels.

Have fun keeping your students active this winter and don't forget to share these tips with your families and friends too!  

You will find this post and all of ours on The Healthy Tip Corner page here.

Brianna and Julia 

Introducing The Healthy Tip Corner

Welcome to The Healthy Tip Corner! The Healthy Tip Corner is going to be a new weekly feature that I share with you all. My friend Julia and I will be the writers of this awesome new blog series. 

We are super excited to start sharing with you. Here is an introduction to let you know more about both of us. :) 
My name is Brianna Cua.

Welcome to my blog...Living Light and Breezy.

As the title says, I am excited to show you my journey as an Army wife, college student, coach and someone living life to its fullest.

I graduated from Van Meter High School in May 2012. I finished my associates degree in May 2013. I am currently attending my second to last term at CSU-Global to get my bachelors degree in marketing.

From the time I was little, I have always loved to cook and live healthy. I have also been very interested in new ways to eat and cook clean. Having these interests has brought me to the conclusion that I would love to live a life that incorporated nutrition, exercise, and living healthy.
After I finished my associates degree in 2013, I moved to live with my husband in North Carolina. We lived there for two and a half years. It was a huge change for me since I had lived in Iowa my whole life. It was a struggle moving across the country and learning to live on our own.

Staying active and coming up with new healthy recipes helped me a lot with all the changes. It was something that I was familiar with and made me feel more at home in our new environment. We moved to Belgium on July 14, 2015. We love it here and have had many great experiences. It is so interesting seeing the difference between Europe and America.

I am going to do a few things to get ready for this new adventure. Along with my blog, I am going to start connecting to others in the nutrition and healthy cooking world using Twitter (@brimariecua) and Facebook (brimariecua) .  
Hi guys! I’m Julia aka JulesFit4Life!

I’m a health and fitness guru who loves helping others through social media leading them and inspiring them to get fit and healthy and achieve their goals.

I’m a midwesterner at heart but in February 2016 I moved to Washington to live with my boyfriend. I moved here a recent college grad, graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors in Event Management. However my true passion was in health and fitness I was lucky to have had my Coaching business when I moved. I feel in love with working out even in high school but never saw the results I was wanting. In 2013 I found a solution that worked for me. I became a Beachbody Coach in October of 2013. Only 2 months later I had finally lost the weight I’d been working on for years to lose and inches were falling off with it. These inches I remember being told would never come off.  

I’m now a full time Health and Fitness Coach and work from my home here in Gig Harbor, Washington. It may be dark most of the times but fitness does help me stay motivated and positive.

How I know Bri from Living Light & Breezy is from high school. Her and her mom, Shannon, are good friends of mine to this day almost 6 years later. Both workout with me and coach with me on my team. Bri and I became closer together through our PLN class in high school and even many years later we still talk about that blog we started so long ago. Shannon was a great teacher and I credit her to helping me love social media so much!

Follow along my journey as a Fit4Life advocate on my blog Living Fit4Life. I am also inspiring people and sharing more of my day to day life on Facebook and on Snapchat @JuliaAalbaugh.  

We can't wait to start sharing! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Finishing Up In the Woods & Starting Sarah's Key

This book started out super good and then seemed to get slow in the middle but then really ended with a bang! I enjoyed it and I was surprised by the ending. This is actually the first book of a series and I am gonna order to second one right now! :) 

What did you think about In the Woods? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought!

1. What do the woods represent symbolically in Tana French's novel? Does their significance change as the story progresses?

2. The loss or absence of stable families is a recurring motif in In the Woods. How do French's characters, particularly Ryan, attempt to compensate for this absence?

3. Does the Irish setting of In the Woods contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?

4. How does Ryan's experience In the Woods at the age of twelve affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?

5. Cassie Maddox, Ryan's partner, is perhaps the most consistently appealing character in the novel. What are her most attractive qualities? What are the weaker points of her personality? Does Ryan ever fully appreciate her?

Our next book is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. We will be starting it today Sunday November 27th and ending on Sunday December 5th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Lets Get Reading! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lower - Body Tush Toner

We are going to the Florida Keys for Christmas and one of my goals is to build and tone my booty a bit before the trip. I found an amazing butt workout from trainer Justin Gelband. Gelband is known for his work with Victoria's Secret Angels. 

I am going to demonstrate some of the moves personally but if you are looking for more help on how to do the moves check out the original workout. Here is also the link to the original workout that I based this off of : Victoria's Secret Workout: Butt Exercises With Trainer Justin Gelband

I only did one round of the all the circuits which seemed like it would be a piece of cake but this workout will burn your booty. If you are feeling really ambitious add some ankle weights. :) 

Lower - Body Tush Toner

Warm Up - Do Each Move For 30 Seconds

- Hip Circles
- Bird Dog
- Superman
- Lunges

Circuit 1 - Do One Side and Then The Other 
- Pulsing Leg Lift To The Left Side - 15 Reps
- Pulsing Leg Lift To The Center - 15 Reps
- Pulsing Leg Lift To The Right Side - 15 Reps

Circuit 2 - Do One Side and Then The Other
- Bent Leg Pulsing Leg Lift To The Left Side - 15 Reps
- Bent Leg Pulsing Leg Lift To The Center - 15 Reps
- Bent Leg Pulsing Leg Lift To The Right Side - 15 Reps

Circuit 3 - Do One Side and Then The Other

- Side Leg Lift - 15 Reps
- Side Leg Push - 15 Reps
- Clamshell - 15 Reps

Circuit 4 - Do One Side and Then The Other

- Bent Leg Circles Forward - 15 Reps
- Bent Leg Circles Backwards - 15 Reps
- Glute Bridge - 15 Reps 

Cool Down - Do Each Move For 30 Seconds
- Glute Stretch
- Butterfly Stretch
- Hamstring Stretch
- Low Lunge
- Quad Stretch

I hope that you enjoy this workout as much as me! Give it a try and let me know what you thought and any recommendations you may have for future workouts. :)


Thursday, November 10, 2016

What I Eat For Lunch Everyday - Big Ass Salad

I have been wanting to share what I eat for lunch for awhile now but keep forgetting. I just had a friend remind me and so here it is. :) Each day for lunch I eat a BAS or big ass salad. I started doing this about four months ago and ever since I have seen a change in my energy, metabolism and overall health. 

What? All that from just eating a big salad every day? Yep, of course the other parts of your diet are important but I thank most of my new found energy and health on my big ass salad! :) 

This salad has 5.5 servings of vegetables, 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of protein. I also like to eat a second fruit with lunch such as blueberries or cantaloupeHere is what you need in order to make this big ass salad! :) 


Big Ass Salad: 
2 Cups Spinach or Kale (Kale is my favorite) 
1 Roma Tomato
1/2 Cup Cucumber 
1/2 Bell Pepper (Yellow is my favorite)
1/4 Cup Shredded Carrots 
1/2 Avocado 
4 Oz Chicken or Other Protein 
Ground Pepper, To Taste 

Just chop all these ingredients up and put them in a giant bowl. :) 

1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 

Mix oil and vinegar together and pour over the salad. I do not love dressing so if you do like a lot of dressing you may want to double the recipe. 

Also, If you do not like balsamic search around on Pinterest and other sites and find something that works for your taste. I honestly could eat the salad without dressing. But here is an alternative option that I know is also tasty. 

Alternative Dressing: 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Ground Pepper, To Taste

I would love each of you to try eating this salad for lunch everyday for just one month. After that month you will be able to tell a huge difference. Trust me after you get in the habit of eating this salad for lunch you will not want anything else for lunch. :) 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Finishing Up Little Bee & Starting In the Woods

Wow, I was blown away by Little Bee. Such an amazing story! I can't even wait to get Chris Cleaves other book Incendiary. Cleave's takes a story that many would think is so sad and could not possibly have any happy ending and proves you wrong. The passion and strength Cleave put into Little Bee's character is a beautiful thing.

What did you think about Little Bee? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought! 

1. "Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive" (p. 9). For Little Bee and other asylum seekers, the story of their life thus far is often all they have. What happens to the characters that carry their stories with them, both physically and mentally? What happens when we try to forget our past? How much control over their own stories do the characters in the book seem to have?

2. Little Bee tells the reader, "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived" (p. 9). Which characters in the story are left with physical scars? Emotional scars? Do they embrace them as beautiful? Do you have any scars you've come to embrace? Did you feel more connected to Little Bee as a narrator after this pact?

3. Little Bee strives to learn the Queen's English in order to survive in the detention center. How does her grasp of the language compare with Charlie's? How does the way each of these two characters handle the English language help to characterize them?
Our next book is In the Woods by Tana French. We will be starting it Sunday November 6th and ending on Sunday November 27th.
Synopsis From Goodreads: As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
Lets Get Reading! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Lower - Body Strength And Cardio

Happy Friday!! This week's workout incorporates both lower body strength and lower body cardio moves! I used a pair of twenty pound weights for most of the moves but you can either use more or less weight or no weight depending on how you feel! I even demonstrated some of the moves for this workout. :) 

This workout consisted of five circuits each with two lower body strengths moves and one lower body cardio move. Plus there is a bonus round if you are feeling up to it! :) This workout took me about forty minutes to complete. Here is what I got for you this Friday! 
Lower-Body Strength And Cardio 

Warm Up - Do Each Move For 30 Seconds 
- Forward Leg Swings

- Butt Kicks
- Lateral Leg Swings
- High Knees
- Lateral Lunges 
- Jump Rope
- Twisting Toe Touch 

Circuit 1 - Do Twice 
- Reverse Lunges - 12 Reps Alt. Sides 

- Weighted Glute Bridge - 12 Reps
- Jumping Lunge Right , Jumping Lunge Left and Squat - 30 Seconds

Circuit 2 - Do Twice 
- Squat - 12 Reps
- Donkey Kicks  - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Speed Skater - 30 Seconds 
Circuit 3 - Do Twice 
- Fire Hydrant  - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Stiff - Legged Deadlift  - 12 Reps
- Gate Swings - 30 Seconds 
Circuit 4 - Do Twice
- Pistol Squat - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Good Mornings - 12 Reps
- Frog Jumps - 30 Seconds
Circuit 5 - Do Twice 
- Surrender Lunges - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Curtsy Lunges - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Plie Squat Hops - 30 Seconds 
Bonus Round - Do Once 
- Cossack Squat - 12 Reps Alt. Sides 
- Inner Thigh Lift - 12 Reps Alt. Sides
- Cross Jacks - 30 Seconds 
Cool Down - Do Each For 30 Seconds 
-Lateral Lunges
-Hamstring Stretch
-Kneeling Quad Stretch 
-Windmill With Twist 
-Low Lunge
-Down Dog 
-Child's Pose 

I hope that you enjoy this workout as much as me! Give it a try and let me know what you thought and any recommendations you may have for future workouts. :)


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chocolate Almond Butter Energy Balls

Looking for a delicious and healthy snack?  You have come to the right place. :) These are a perfect snack that I love to eat in the afternoon before my workouts so that I do not get super hungry before dinner. 

They are also packed with protein. I made this recipe into 20 balls but you can make it into more or less based on what serving size you want.


1/2 Cup Almond Meal

1 (15 ounce) Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed Well

3/4 Cup Almond Butter

1/4 Cup Honey

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


In a food processor, process all ingredients until the mixture is smooth. 

Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet.

These can be eaten right away or can cooled first in the fridge

Store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Here is also the nutritional facts for when the recipe is made into 20 servings. I like to eat two at a time so that I am getting 8 grams of protein in before my workout. 

Give these a try and let me know what you think. :)