Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marathon!

I've been thinking for quite a while now about running a full marathon. Actually I've been thinking about it for 16 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. However, these last couple of months, I've been coming up with action plans to make this happen.

This week started my no sugar detox and I gotta say, it's going real good. Real good. My foot has improved, which I wondered if that might happen due to no inflammation from no sugar.

So today I got what I consider a sign from the cosmic energy out there. I may even call it some positive karma. I received an email from the 2016 Rock N' Roll New Orleans people:

Next year Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will be on February 28.
Get in early for the guaranteed best price of the year! Presale registration is available online, or at the Health & Fitness Expo for a limited time only.
  • Marathon: $50
  • Half Marathon: $50
  • 10K: $25
If you know anything about marathon pricing, this is one helluva deal. It is too good to pass up. 

So I registered. I FREAKING REGISTERED!!! 

This is one huge item on my bucket list and, by golly, I'm going to do my best to make it happen. 

It's exactly 402 days till race day. But of course, we all know it's not the race that counts, but the TRAINING. That's when the real magic happens.

Obviously I have a few things that need to happen:
1) Overall I'd like to lose 45 pounds.
2) I need to lose at least 20 before I run. My goal for that to happen is by April.
3) Rehaul my diet - in the process of doing that now.
4) Get more sleep (no more reading till 11 p.m.)
5) Drink shitloads of water - the fabulous detox forum I'm a part of is super supportive in this. We are all doing great.


There are lots of "pros" to taking this on, but lots of "cons" as well. The main one being that the diet I'm following now - low sugar, low carb (but eating lots of good carbs with vegetables) will have to stick throughout the year. I do plan on having one cheat meal a week and maybe one nice Starbucks white chocolate mocha once a month. 

But in order for this to work I have to keep my insulin levels right. I have to make sure that foot continues to heal.

And of course, there is always the "fallback" plan. Run the half instead of the full. I know I can do that if all else fails. 

I will do a post once a week to keep up with my workouts and foods. But, the blog will remain being a mostly book blog. Running isn't for everyone and I don't want the few readers I have to become bored.

Have you ever run a marathon before? Have you ever run a half or 5k? Any advice?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

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Goodness, this was another book that was in my top five of 2014. I really enjoyed this one and it was a good "who done it."

From Goodreads:
"As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night."


The plot involving a missing sister - so sad. I don't know what it is about books with missing girls, but I die. every. time. Perhaps it's because I have a daughter, but it's just tough to read.

The reader also feels for Toni who just can't get a break. It's a tough world out there and its even tougher if you've been to prison. Especially if it's for a crime you didn't commit. A  lot of prisoners claim their innocence, so through most of the book I floundered back and forth on is she telling the truth?

There were flashbacks. I sometimes abhor flashbacks in books. Stevens did a nice job of not making the flashbacks confusing.

This is a good read for those who like mysteries and plots involving difficult families.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book review: Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista

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This is another one of my favorite covers from last year. I think it's pretty and dainty. But what's inside of Reaping Me Softly is not.

From Goodreads:
"Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?"


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I did not think I'd like the plot. The Reaper? Gross. But, Kate did a good job of portraying the reapers as once-human people with real feelings.

For some of the book you have to use your suspension-of-disbelief, but I thought the plot was intriguing. There is heartbreak and love. Life and death. 

I'd recommend this book for those who like paranormal young adult or paranormal romances.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book review: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

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Last year was a pivotal one for me as far as personal growth. I made a few changes, which I'm still making daily, to make my life happier and less stressful. This is easier said than done.

I read a few "self-help" books to get the ball rolling. The Four Agreements was one of them.

From Goodreads:
"In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best."

In theory, this is a good guide to life. Say what you want to say and STICK WITH IT; Don't take anything personally (what if you are the problem here?); Don't make assumptions (yet people make assumptions about me all the time); Always do your best (what if even that is still not good enough?).

Miguel makes life seem easy-peasy when you follow these four agreements. I think this is another book telling us to just flow with life. Go with whatever happens. Hug a tree. Stare at the clouds.

I do think these agreements can be followed somewhat and probably most days. But he doesn't really give allowances for the things that are your fault and your mistakes. 

I think this is a good read for anybody looking for general advice on handling life's issues. I wouldn't call it earth-shattering or magic that makes everything better. Sometimes I read these books and I dream about writing a book called, "Here's the Answer to Life's Problems: Get More Sleep." 



Friday, January 16, 2015

Let the planning begin!

January has always been the month I start planning for Emily's April birthday party. I always swore I would NOT be last-minute regarding her birthday parties. So far, I think I've done OK.

I thought for sure this year Emily would choose a theme such as Monster High, My Little Pony (huge in our house right now), Jake and the Neverland Pirates or Sophia the First.

Nope. She's chosen Wizard of Oz. Confetti everywhere! I'm probably more excited than she is. I find it strange though because we've never watched the movie at our house. We intend to, but haven't done so yet. We haven't read the book. However, I'm happy to say I bought the first ten "books" on sale last week at Barnes & Noble. 

So how does she even know about this movie? Apparently they've watched it at daycare. Last year we invited "Elsa" to the party. I'm not sure yet if we will have any special guests this year, but she's already told me to NOT invite the Wicked Witch. That girl...

I ordered the kids' plates and cups from Birthday in a Box. I also ordered basic green plates, cups, napkins, etc...for the adults.

We haven't booked the place yet, but it will more than likely be at the jumpy tent place where we've had other parties. Again, something she has chosen. This will be her fifth birthday so this will probably be the last big bang of a party till she's a teenager. Then again, maybe not. 

The only problem with having the party at a "birthday event place" is there is not a lot of room for a personal touch. I am not one to go overboard on parties as far as the decorations. But, last year I tried to decorate the party room and I ended spending too much time trying to poof out the ball thingies I bought to hang. So I definitely know what I won't do this year. 

I haven't made any decisions on the cake yet. But here are a few things I've pinned for the favors:

All pictures from Pinterest - do a search for "Wizard of Oz party"

Hats all handmade by mommy and aunties! .  Used fabric for the gingham style.  All others used card stock and little details to represent The Lion, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow.  Some ideas from google images. Also had little 25 cent Crowns from party supply store w/ wands to represent Glinda.

We originally found some photo prop masks that would have been awesome, but way out of the budget. I'm not completely sold on making these hats, but this is one idea.

Wizard of Oz good premotional- cheap dollar store bubbles ( doesn't mtter what color) with the Glinda's bubbles good for travel in Oz and on the back *come see the wizad of Oz at Arnold (dates and times) free admission

There will be boys at the party as well as girls, so I'm trying to find some favors that boys and girls might like. I think the witch is everybody's favorite villain, so this would be good as a favor.

Goodie bags for Addie's Wizard of Oz themed birthday party ... so much better than candy crap.

These "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!" treats are fun (and easy).

Party decorations could include: Miss Gulch’s bicycle, the Witch’s hourglass, Dorothy’s suitcase, and bluebirds. Backdrop of blue gingham (and rick rack on place mats) or a print of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (from Sugar Fresh on etsy.) Take home favor gift of Gingham tin lunch box - inside, each box had rainbow bubbles, heart necklace, rainbow hair elastics and a Glinda wand.

If I had all the money in the world, I'd buy these lunchboxes. But for 20 kids it's too pricey for me. It's still a cool idea though.

Adorable Favors at a Wizard of Oz party #wizardofoz #party

I think these baskets are the bees knees. However, they would be too costly and the boys might not like or understand the purpose of picnic baskets. :)

Wizard of Oz goody bags

Most likely I'll go with something like the bag above, or even bags with the pictures from the movie as below:

Favors at a Wizard of Oz party #wizardofoz #partyfavors

I did find a site that sells paper picnic baskets that you fold yourself. But again, not sure how the boys would feel about a basket.

For some reason, I feel I must make this wreath. I'm so burned out on making wreaths, but this one is calling my name:

Photo 2 of 75: Wizard of Oz / Birthday "Scarlett's 1st Birthday!" | Catch My Party

How far ahead do you start planning birthday parties? Have you ever hosted or been to a Wizard of Oz theme?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The books I DNF

I almost didn't write this post. It's appalling to me there are books out there I did not finish. What's worse, the books were bestsellers and loved by all. All except me.

Let's start off slow:

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I really, really, really like this cover. This is a Steampunk fiction plot. I only read about 100 pages before I put it down. I think there were a few factors for this: 1) This was my first Steampunk book 2) I'm confused about the year this takes place 3) I was more interested in reading other books at the time.

However, I actually put on my to-read list the sequel to this book. HAHA! I will not give up on you just yet Steampunk!

Next, lets take a big breath together:

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How? How can somebody not finish a J.K. Rowling book, er I mean, Robert Galbraith book? I attribute this to: 1) It was a library book with a late fee 2) I was writing my own book - I had writer's guilt (writers know what this is) 3) This book is several hundred pages 4) Again, there were other books I wanted to read.

I may try to pick this one up again in 2016.

Now for the "people will run out of the room" on this one:

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I feel like I should hide under a table. Believe me, I can't fathom what my deal was with this book. I liked Verity's sassiness, her brazen way of telling her captives to eff off. In my paranoid head this is what I've concluded: 1) Another library book that was due - I actually rechecked it out a couple of times 2) I had a lot of crap going on which sometimes influences the books I read 3) Being held captive by Nazis was just not appealing to me (at the time).

I liked that Verity was a teenage female spy. I was terrified the first half of the book that I would invest emotions into her and she would end up dead. I just couldn't bring myself to see it through. I also did not like the back and forth flashbacks that were sometimes about Verity and sometimes about her best friend. 

I'm astounded because I know, I KNOW, this book is loved by anybody who has a brain and a heart. Perhaps further along in my old age I'll try again. Although I sort of peeked at the end and I still haven't a clue how this story ends.

There we have it. Books that I did not finish. Books that haunt my Goodreads "Currently Reading" tab. I have no idea why I can't just freaking delete them from that shelf. They are whirring around in my head mostly because I'm amazed there are books that I won't/can't finish.

What say you? Any books you have not finished? Any that you plan on never finishing? Have I lost any readers by my confession?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book review: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

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This book was super depressing. The plot, however, was a stunning portrayal of a girl who has been mutilated and can no longer talk.

I know, I know, it sounds horrific. I promise, it's not gore and guts. 

From Goodreads: 
"Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last."

Judith was such a strong character which made it easy to root for her. It's been a while since I've read this book, but I remember dying to get to the end to see what happens to this girl.

The shunning she faced by the community is quite typical. As if her mutilation would be "catching," which is how some people tend to think about diseases like cancer.

The cover is a somewhat accurate portrayal of the book, but it doesn't really give a good description of the time period.

I'd recommend this for those who like mysteries.