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. :)