My goal last week was to remember to take my vitamins and supplements each night before bed. I was successful and didn't forget once!
And now my goal this week is to do ab strength training twice a week in addition to the 30 minutes of cardio I'm doing three times a week.
Here is a routine from TheKnot.com that I've followed in the past, even though I'm not planning a wedding!
Shape Up: The Ultimate Pre-Wedding Abs Workout
Begin with exercise 1; without stopping continue on to 2, 3, 4 and 5. Finish off the pyramid by doing the moves in reverse order: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Complete the routine with a stomach stretch. Do the routine at least three times a week, along with 20 to 30 minutes of cardio three to five times a week.
1. Basic Crunch
Lie face up on the floor with your legs hip-width apart and knees bent about 45 degrees. Place your hands behind your head, but do not lace your fingers. Lift up toward the ceiling until your shoulders leave the ground. Exhale on the way up and concentrate on pulling your belly button down toward your spine. Lower to starting position and repeat. Keep your chin lifted and make sure you're not pulling on your neck.
2a. Modified Bicycle Crunch
Begin in the same starting position as the basic crunch. Bring your right elbow and left knee toward one another. Lower. Bring your left elbow and right knee toward one another. Lower. Your feet should return to the floor between reps. Throughout the move, concentrate on keeping your chin lifted and holding your abs in tight. Make sure you're squeezing up as far as you can without pulling on the neck. Your elbow doesn't necessarily have to touch your knee.
2b. Bicycle Crunch
This is the same move as the modified bicycle crunch except instead of lowering your feet to the floor between reps, keep them in the air. Try to get a good twist and almost touch your elbows to your knees. Be sure to twist from the abdominals, not the neck.
3. Suitcase Crunch
Lie face up on the floor with both knees together and at a 90-degree angle with your hands behind your head. Lift your feet up as if your lower legs were resting on an imaginary bench.
4. Lateral Reach
Begin in the same starting position as the basic crunch, then bring your feet as close to your buttocks as possible. With your hands at your sides, lift your shoulders as high off the floor as possible (keeping your head in line with your spine). Keeping your shoulders lifted, reach your right hand toward your right toes and then your left hand toward your left toes so that you're skimming the floor with your shoulders. Keep your shoulders elevated the whole time instead of resting in the middle of the set.
5. Isolated Oblique Crunch
Lie on your right side as if you were going to do a leg lift, with your right arm outstretched under your head and your right leg outstretched (from finger to toe forms a straight line). Your left knee should be bent 90 degrees and rest on the floor.
Lie on your stomach. Come up on your elbows (think of pulling your elbows toward your rib cage) and lift your chest and chin toward the ceiling. This will give your abs a good stretch, help lengthen the muscles, and minimize any soreness.
My goal last week was to do 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. I had planned on going to the gym three times last week but got busy with my new job and a work trip. So instead, I went to the gym once and then the other two days I walked at the airport and then at IKEA. It wasn't quite as intense as intervals on a treadmill, but I still got in some activity so I'm satisfied with that.
This week I will be adding a third goal to my other goals from the previous two weeks. Now it is time to go back to a nutrition-based goal since last week was fitness related. I used to be really good about taking vitamins and supplements every night and then I got out of the habit, so my goal for this week is to get back on track and take them every night.
First, I will be taking a multi-vitamin every night. I don't like the big Centrum-type pills, so I take gummy MultiVites. They're fruity and soft, so it makes it much easier to take them. Next, I take a calcium supplement. The MutiVites don't have calcium in them, so this is important to add in, especially as a woman. I like the Target brand chews in the chocolate flavor. Last, I take a fiber supplement. I like the Fiber Choice ones that are fruit flavored.
All together, taking my vitamins and supplements is pretty painless. They all taste good and are easy to swallow. The biggest challenge is for me to remember every night, so that's why I am making it a health goal for this year. I'll check in again next Sunday and let you know how I'm doing!
2015 Health Goal: Cardio x3 a Week
Last week I made a goal of drinking at least 60 ounces of water a day. I did pretty well all week, until yesterday, when I only drank about half of that. My hope is to get back on track and hopefully increase to 70 ounces a day for this upcoming week.
This week, my goal is fitness related. I will be completing 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. My plan is to do this cardio on the treadmill in intervals. Typically, I will warm up for five minutes and cool down for five minutes, with 20 minutes of intervals in between. I usually switch between 90 seconds of high-intensity and then 60 seconds of low-intensity, for a total of 8 intervals. By the time I've cooled down I am at a total of 30 minutes. My goal is to do this three times a week.
I'll be traveling for work all day on Wednesday, so I've got to keep that in mind when scheduling my workouts. I'm aiming for Monday, Thursday, and Saturday…but we'll see what happens!
So that's the goal for this week. I'll let you know how it goes next Sunday!
As I promised on New Year's Day, I have put together a fiction reading list for 2015 which includes 15 books I've never read. Here is a list of the first five books from my list:
Panic is one of the newest books by Lauren Oliver, who is the author of two of my favorite books, Before I Fall and the Delirium series. Knowing how much I have liked her other books, I quickly added this one to my list. Here is the summary from Amazon:
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope that Kirkus Reviews says "will have readers up until the wee hours," School Library Journal raves is "fast-paced and captivating," and E. Lockhart, author ofWe Were Liars, calls "a thrill a minute."
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, is also a TV series on Starz. I haven't read the books or watched the show yet, but it sounded interesting enough for me to add the first book to my must-read list. Here is what Amazon has to say about Outlander:
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Ensnared is the third book in the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. I have read the first two books and have been counting down the days until this one was released yesterday. Here is the summary from Amazon:
Spoiler Alert: don't read the section below if you haven't read the first two books!
After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts.
In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?
The Dressmaker was on my reading list for last year and I never got a chance to read it. I've picked it up a few times but then remembered it's about the Titanic and figured that with all of my cruises in the last year it wouldn't be a good idea to read it until I don't have a cruise planned for a while! So hopefully I can read it shortly after returning from my next cruise in the middle of February. Here is what Amazon has to say about this book:
Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be her personal maid on the Titanic. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men—a kind sailor and an enigmatic Chicago businessman—who offer differing views of what lies ahead for her in America. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes, and amidst the chaos, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat.
The survivors are rescued and taken to New York, but when rumors begin to circulate about the choices they made, Tess is forced to confront a serious question. Did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others? Torn between loyalty to Lucile and her growing suspicion that the media’s charges might be true, Tess must decide whether to stay quiet and keep her fiery mentor’s good will or face what might be true and forever change her future.
Atlantia is a new book by Ally Condie, who wrote a favorite series of mine called Matched. I have already used an Audible.com credit to get the audio book, so I'm looking forward to listening to it on my cruise in a month. I tend to be too fidgety on vacations to sit down and read a paper book, so I'm hoping I'll at least be able to listen to one while on the plane or when relaxing at the pool. Here is the Amazon summery for Atlantia:
“Utterly captivating. A heroine unlike any I’d met before, a setting I’d never glimpsed, a story I’d never imagined. Atlantia is fresh, wild, and engrossing. I love Ally Condie.” —Shannon Hale, award-winning, bestselling author of Austenland and Dangerous
A New York Times Best Seller!
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.
And those are the first five books of my 2015 reading list. Stay tuned for two more posts outlining the remaining ten books I'll be reading this year!
If you have other books you think I'll like, please leave a note in the Comments section. I'm always adding to my list on Goodreads!
Like a lot of other people at this time of year, I have decided to make some goals related to my health. I wouldn't call this a resolution because they tend to get broken and this is more long-term.
In the past it seems like I have usually taken an "all or nothing" approach to health, so this time I've decided to break my goals into smaller, more manageable pieces in order to slowly improve my health and well-being.
The goals I have chosen include both nutrition and fitness, with a new goal every week so that I can work on one item at a time. My goal is to add to these goals every Sunday so that eventually I'll have a much healthier lifestyle.
I'll be posting each goal on Sundays so that you can join me if you'd like. I believe they are things that will benefit my life and also almost anyone else's as well. Feel free to modify the goals to match your lifestyle.
For the first week, I've decided to focus on something basic and obvious, which is to drink more water. I use a water bottle that fits 20 ounces at a time, so my goal is to drink at least 3 of these every day for a total of 60 ounces a day. Hopefully, I'll eventually work my way up to 80 or more ounces a day, but for the sake of starting out small I'm aiming for 60 to begin with.
Next week I'll add something that is fitness related in addition to continuing to drink more water. The week after that I'll add something else nutrition related while continuing the first two goals, and so on. I'll be adding goals through the end of March, at which point I'll have a total of 13 goals that I'm working on.
So that's my plan to get healthier in 2015! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section!
Favorite Books from 2014
According to my Goodreads list from 2014, I read a total of 42 books last year. Some of the books I read were old favorites, but most of them were new to me. In order to keep track of the books I wanted to read, I made three reading lists and shared them on this blog:
All together, these lists included 10 fiction and 5 non-fiction books. I didn't get through the entire lists like I had hoped and instead only finished 9 out of the 15 books. So it seems like I have some catching up to do! Not only am I going to try to read the 6 books I missed from last year, I am also going to put together a new list of 15 fiction books that I'd like to read this year. I'll be posting that list soon.
In the meanwhile, I'd like to highlight 3 of my favorite books or series from 2014. Here they are:
The Fallen series by Lauren Kate was the first new series I started to read in 2014. I had just finished the Matched series by Ally Condie and I was ready for another good set of books to read. The Fallen series was recommended to me through my library based on the other books I had recently read. Although the series didn't sound like my usual reading style, I decided to give it a shot and ended up really enjoying all 4 books. Here is the summary from Amazon of the first book:
There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.
The Selection series by Kiera Cass didn't show up on any of my 2014 reading lists because I hadn't heard anything about it. I actually found the first book, The Selection, while wandering the aisles of Barnes & Noble. The cover caught my eye and then the description of the book made me realize it was something I wanted to read. I believe I read the 3 books of the series in less than a week, and maybe more like 4 days total. The story sucked me in and I had to keep reading to find out what happened. In case you haven't read my blog post about the series, here is the summary from Amazon for the first book:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
As I was looking up the series on Amazon I saw that there is a fourth book coming out on May 5. Without giving away what happens in the first 3 books, I'll just say that I'm excited to see how the story continues in The Heir.
It seems like almost everyone I know has read the Fault in Our Stars, including my mom. It also seems like everyone really enjoyed the book and the movie. Personally, I think they did a great job on the movie and it made me cry even though I hadn't cried when reading the book itself. I think I connected more with the characters on the screen than the ones on the pages of the book, if that makes any sense. In case you haven't read the book yet, here is the description from Amazon:
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.
And those are my 3 favorite books or series from 2014! If you haven't read them yet, I would highly recommend them to you.
Please check back soon to see my upcoming 2015 Fiction Reading List. Appropriately, it will contain 15 of my top choices for fiction for this year.
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.