Bout of Books: Wrap Up

Twitter chats were fantastic.

Challenges were fun.

I had a hefty goal and neglected to really make time to read and thus…I am still not done with the first book I picked up.

I am finishing it this evening since its due back and the library tomorrow and I have 30 pages left.

All in all, I like it!

I will certainly participate again in August!

Yoga Flow!

I started working out not when I was on an actual track team or when I was being bullied for being the larger of my adorably petite or naturally slender friends but when I was in college.

Instead of gaining weight when I went away to school, I lost 20 pounds in the first semester. I didn’t really see it but I did start showing off my assets. Instead of long skirts, I wore tiny skirts. Instead of mens wide leg pants (because JNCO) I wore juniors low rise (WHY WAS THAT A THING!?) jeans. Suddenly, I had curves and I was starting to like them.

So in an effort to balance my drinking and smoking, I started working out with my roommate. She had been quite an athlete in High School but lost it in college. The school I attended for my first two years of college had these 4 to 6 week fitness related activities you could sign up for. My roommate and I did all of them. First it was Hip Hop, then it was Salsa (my favorite by far), Pilates, some weird guide to weights,, and Yoga.

Between that and my constant walking due to not having a license or car until I was 20; I discovered moving my body was fun for me. I actually enjoyed it. Even more so when I could do it without anyone watching me. (That’s a whole insecurity thing for another day)

By our second semester of my sophomore year in college; my roommate and I had quite the falling out. So I drank and I worked out and attempted to get through my classes. I discovered the fun of Tae Bo and started doing that and some insane number of crunches during lunch so I wouldn’t be in the café the same time she was.

Because I was one hell of a chain smoker and drinking was a daily thing. I was working out with little results beyond my legs getting more sculpted. When I returned home from school, I continued with Tae Bo and added in Pilates.

I would workout for an hour on week days and then work my full time job. I stayed pretty much the same for a couple years and then Yoga.

I forgot how much I enjoyed the act of getting my body into Yoga poses. For me, it had the same effect as a long walk does; I could clear my head and move my body at the same time.

I stuck with Yoga being my main “thing” for a year or so. I quit smoking because I found that I was winded walking up stair cases and hacking during forward folds. Somehow, I lost the routine of working out and for a few years it was more sporadic then routine.

Then I did The Firm workout, The Zip Trainer workout, P90X made an appearance. I loved FIT TV and I’d tune in to that and use their daily workouts as mine.

I lost weight. I was suddenly feeling healthier and sometimes not so much due to a list of ailments brought on by stress.

In more recent years, Blogilates and Tone It Up have become my favorite workouts to tune into. YouTube is a fantastic resource and guess what, it’s free!

Don’t get me wrong, I spend money on my fitness. I love these two particular programs so much, I own water bottles from Blogilates and both of the books. I actually met Cassey Ho at a book signing years ago and she is just as lovely in person as she is in her videos.

Currently, I’m in the midst of Tone It Up’s 8 week Bikini Challenge. They do it every year to get you ready for summer. The structure they have seems to work for me lately so I’m down for whatever challenge they throw at me.

Last week, they added a Beautiful Yoga Flow and I’m loving it so much. It’s kind of my favorite. I did it for the second time today and I love that it feels so much like a strength workout while stretching out my body.

I am trying to get myself back into a real workout routine. At one point, I worked out six days a week and I was sleeping and generally happy.

So! In an effort to keep finding ways to reduce stress, I am getting in my workouts. If you are a yoga fan-click that link and try it out. It’s fast paced and 15 minutes long. It’s just such a nice flow. I find myself relaxing into it as it goes–the entire point of yoga typically.

I have a feeling the more I stick to things like reading, moving, and perhaps even cooking and baking; the more I’ll be here updating.

I like that feeling.

Bout of Books: Day 4

Did I read yesterday? Pretty sure I did. At least a little. Not much. Not much at all.

OY.

I WILL finish one book this week. I WILL!

I just renewed two of my library books and managed to acquire another when I was returning one of Mom’s.

Seriously! That woman has been blowing through books.

Tiny bit of background. My Mom is retired and yes, we live in the same home. A year or so ago, she went from being super independent and cheery to being despondent and in declining health.

Thanks to a never ending slew of tests, it was determined that her thyroid was not functioning which resulted in memory loss, depression, paranoia…need I go on?

Now! She is back to being cheery and silly. Still anxious and sometimes she is a bit of a homebody but! she is much better.

When she was sick or as I tend to put it “gone,” she suddenly hated reading. My mother, the woman that taught me to read when I was a baby and always had a book kicking around, hated reading. She was in this place where she rarely remembered the day of the week and found it incredibly difficult to read a book.

She loves Nicholas Sparks so when his new book came out this past year, I picked it up for her for Christmas. She was watching me read in the chair a couple months ago and said she needed a book to read. I reminded her about her new one and in three days, she had it done.

So I’ve been picking up books for her when I go to the library. And! She’s putting me to shame!

Which is awesome.

So yeah, I didn’t read all that much on Day 4 but, Mom started a new book.

Bout of Books: Day 3

I have the luxury of writing my own schedule for work (for the most part) due to it being an independent gig so I took yesterday off. Tuesday had been a long day due to my lack of sleep and I just felt better curled up with my book.

However, that whole lack of sleep for the last few days caught up to me and I ended up sleeping more than reading. I did get another 20 or so pages of Mindy Kailing’s lovely book read. I am really enjoying it too. I will definitely be checking out her other book as well. (Currently reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? She also has Why Not Me?)

I have a soft spot for comedic essay collections. Although! Sometimes, I get stuck in them. Example, I’ve been reading My Booky Wook by Russell Brand for, what?, 3 years now. I mean, I read a chapter and then push it aside for months on end. And I love him! Love him! But something about memoirs. It totally depends on my mood.

This one I think it’s more the I keep wanting to sleep causing me to not be through it yet and I am really enjoying it. So, I’m kind of doing that thing where you just read one part and then move on to something else.

I’m thinking I may actually do the thing I always say I’ll do on long work days: take breaks that last a chapter long. I mean, it is a readalong week and I really wanted to return some of these books rather than having to renew them.

Poor Hamilton, I had decided to focus on finishing Mindy and then losing myself in Hamilton again. And yet, it is at the bottom of a pile of notebooks.

The determination and interest I have in reading this giant book is amazing. Despite how slowly its going. Ron Chernow does one hell of a job writing history in a way that’s completely engaging.

So! I have not completed any books yet during this readathon. I did participate in two challenges ( I think) and I did read two magazines and a lot of blogs.

OH annnnd NetGalley seems to love me this month; I was approved for four more reads on there.

I need to figure out a system so I can utilize my library, read my own books, and get my NetGalley reads going. Help? Please. Any ideas?

Bout of Books: Days 1 & 2

I started Bout of Books by continuing with Is Everyone Hanging out Without me? by Mindy Kailing. I haven’t really dedicated much time to reading thus far this week. Day 1 was a day with working with my boss and her boss’ boss for a few hours. Then I was feeling horrible so I went home early. I read about 10 pages before I passed out.

Day 2 I spent the morning helping my friend move in a new table. Then worked. Then moved some TVs for the same peep. I read a few more pages when I got home. Currently, I am cuddled in bed with a slight injury and seriously sleep deprived. Gilmore Girls season 3 is on in the background and Mindy Kailing is right next to me. So hopefully I may get a few more pages in before I fall asleep.

Speaking of reading in bed! Does anyone have a suggestion for a good book light? I had this awesome one and then it went missing. I replaced it with one I picked up at Books A Million but its downright horrible.

I prefer a clip on one that is bright but light weight. Suggestions in the comments plllleeeease!

Geeking Out: Borrow. Read. Repeat.

The year before I entered kindergarten, I learned to read. My Mom used to read me bedtime stories and I recall picking up some of the words and essentially memorizing my favorites. When I got to that first fabulous year of school and they started the reading lessons, I was one of the kids that could go to the library and pick out their own book to read and then find a quiet spot and read.

And so began my love of the library.

I remember reading an entire section of books (the kids biographies) and then another (dr. suess) and then another (fairy tales). When that library flooded a year later, my family donated books to rebuild their collection.

The town I was in at that time had just remodeled their library and I had one of the first brand new laminated cards.

When we moved to our next town, my Auntie, took me to her library to get a new card. And I quickly learned that the “children’s section” had the best chairs but the back section of “adults” had the better books. I got to be part of the ribbon cutting when they expanded this library.

When we moved the next time to the town that I am still a resident of, I found the library quickly- it was right by my new school. I got a card and when school started, I became a regular.

Cut to 20 years later and I’m still a regular. I had a co-worker years ago that used to scold me for spending so much money on books when I had a perfectly good library so close by. She was totally right.

Don’t get me wrong-I love books and trust me, I spend a lot of money purchasing them (same goes for DVDs and CDs ((yes! CDs. I love them. I will continue to love them. ))) especially when there are book sales or something I need came out (i.e., The Cursed Child). However, I am the head of my household so I save my book buying for special occasions (Library Book Sale! Every year! It’s sooooo good) and I frequent my library.

This past year, I’ve been all over going to the library. Turns out, they have a really great selection and my state is pretty awesome at Interlibrary Loans so I have access to a ton of titles. So! When I hear about a book I like, I go right to my library’s search site (because again, my library has awesome things like a site you can log into and then search the entire catalog and request away) and see if they have it.

So! Allow me to geek out for a minute on this fantastic website I stumbled upon through one of those “13 books you need to read this weekend” type lists: Borrow. Read. Repeat.

This site advocates libraries. More importantly, it gives you a heads up on the newest reads so you can go ahead and get on that hold list NOW. I am absolutely loving it. The lists of reads they suggest are interesting and make me want to just go ahead and request everything.

It’s just a fun site for any book worm or book dragon, especially those of us that are utilizing their local libraries.

Excuse me while I go looking for more reads to add to my never ending list. 😉

What? Another readathon?

YUP!

I discovered the fun of readathons about the same time I discovered BookTube. I enjoy the challenges they present and it’s motivating to have the knowledge that this (sometimes) massive group of people is reading at the same time. Now! As it stands, I am actually 6 books ahead of schedule for my GoodReads challenge this year (WHAAAATTTT?!) annnnnd this readathon isn’t an all day event like Dewey’s.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog – From the Bout of Books team

As of tomorrow, I shall be participating in the Bout of Books 19! I’ve never done this one but it looks like they have daily challenges so, expect some daily updates.

Let’s talk TBR.
Currently, I have 4 books out from my library and they are due back on May 16th. Thus, this is perfect timing! These books are:
  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow–currently about 200 pages into this monstrosity
  2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kailing–currently 25 pages into this.
  3. . Petticoat…something…It’s about sex scandals way back.
  4. Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Now! My ultimate goal for the 16th is to be returning the first three books and into the 4th, and hopefully being able to renew it.

If I somehow end up getting through all of these–I have 30 some odd NetGalley reads to get to annnnd 10 books borrowed from Amazon. I also have a lovely stack of books lent to me by friends and family to get to. In other words, plenty to choose from.

I’m hoping to read at least a few hours each day during this readathon and update each day.

Yay readathon!

 

20 Questions

There’s this whole thing in The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon where the two main characters ask each other questions that are essentially supposed to make them fall in love. It’s kind of adorable.

I was thinking about that trend of surveys back when Myspace was a thing. Remember them? It was like a new one every day. I used to love those.

I’ve always been someone that loves to ask and answer questions. It’s one of those quirks that tends to be a deciding factor in whether or not someone actually wants to keep me around (friendship or otherwise).

I went on a little searchy search in my somewhat stubborn sleeplessness to find some kind of survey related to a new relationship. I am perpetually single after all (that’s not a complaint) and why not?

So! Without further adieu, 20 Interesting Questions to Ask Someone to Get to Know Them, says Buzzle. Let’s get to know me!

  1. What is the one thing that you love most about yourself? I pride myself on being a great friend. I’m accessible. I don’t hold grudges. I’m not particularly judgmental. I am open to giving advice. I am just as happy chit chatting on the phone as I am texting. I don’t require seeing someone constantly to consider them one of my people. I try my best to really be there for my people. Essentially, I give what I get.
  2. If you were to change one thing about yourself, what would it be? That moment when I get super stressed and instantly go into bitch mode. That. I’d love to change that. It’s annoying and  tend to feel compelled to apologize to anyone that has to deal with me on those days.
  3. What do you appreciate most about your life? Growing up in Maine. There’s a certain character that develops when you grow up in New England and you don’t even realize it until you go somewhere else. I like that.
    Also! Because I can’t just have one here, I appreciate that I get to have a life. My mother and the doctors that performed my surgery when I was just a little bitty me are appreciated every single day.
  4. What do you like to do in your spare time/on the weekends? In the summer, wearing flip flops! I can’t wear them on the days I work. haha. In general, I love to get lost in a book, try a new recipe, and spend QT with Mom or my people.
  5. What are the 5 important things you would include in your to-do list? What? If someone asked me this I would just stare at them and ask them to elaborate.
  6. Do you have any regrets in life? Nope. I believe that all mistakes are made to learn from.
  7. Have you ever been so drunk that you have not remembered anything of the previous night? Yes and no. I have been so wasted that I only remember bits and pieces but typically it would come back to me at a later date. Like that time I answered a hotel door 100% naked. Yup.
  8. Would you flirt with a professor of the opposite sex for a better grade? If I thought they were attractive and I needed the grade that bad, perhaps. But why is this only for opposite sex. I mean, if you’re desperate enough for a shortcut to a better grade, why would you care if the professor was the opposite sex or not. I get hit on by men and women. If I’m reduced to flirting for something, I’m not going to care what sex they are. If I’m flirting with the intent to sleep with someone, I’d be more apt to care that it was a good looking man.
  9. Would you ever go bungee jumping/sky diving/deep sea diving/ parasailing? NOPE
  10. 15 hours of a train journey through a scenic route or a 1 hour plane ride? OOOOOOOOO! I have this dream of taking a super long train ride so I am allllll for that! Can we go now?
  11. If you were stuck in an elevator with your childhood idol/crush/boss how would you react? Ok! Crush would be interesting. I’d probably strike up a conversation and see if he remembered me. Idol, I’d be super frikkin awkward. Boss? Uhhh…what’s a childhood boss? Like from my first job? I never met him. haha.
  12. Would you cover a hickey or flaunt it? I FUCKING HATE HICKEYS. HATE.
  13. What is the first thing you notice about a member of the opposite sex? Seriously, when was this list posted? Why isn’t it gender neutral? Now, since this is in the “romantic” section I’m going with opposite sex since that’s the gender I date but get with the times Buzzle. I typically notice the hair and eyes. Like today, I was putting away some trash while at work and realized someone was standing in the back room with me. He had ice blue eyes, was dressed in slacks and a comfortable version of the stores uniform. Then I saw the piercing and tattoo and necklace. And that gorrrrrgeous smile. Man! He was what I would call yummy.
  14. Are there any specific personality traits you would like to see in your life partner? Of course. Doesn’t everyone have that list in their head? Kindness, honesty, trust, humor,  passion.
  15. Do you see yourself getting married in the next few years? No. I’m not opposed to it if I met someone I felt I wanted to marry. Currently, I haven’t been on a date in quite a while so it’s not something I see happening anytime soon.
  16. Would you marry your partner if you knew they were suffering from a fatal disease? If I was truly In love and wanted to marry them, of course. In sickness and in health, right?
  17. What is the one thing that would be a deal breaker in any relationship for you? I can’t seriously date someone that smokes weed regularly. I’m also far passed the party stage of my life, so someone that requires a constant party wouldn’t work for me. Oh, and being married. Friendship wise, It’s really only someone completely close minded that I couldn’t actually be friends with.

huh? Well that isn’t 20 questions at all, now is it. Ohhh well. This would be one weird ass conversation. I tend to ask people about vacations, books, movies, music, hobbies,, food, and things of that nature to get to know them.

What do we think? Interesting or no?

 

 

The Don’t Wanna’s

I am a chronic sufferer of the ” I Don’t Wanna” syndrome. I have been since that job I had years ago that stressed me out so regularly I had to actually force myself to go. I hated having to leave my perfectly good bed to go to a job that I felt was 1. horribly boring and 2. I was severely underappreciated at.

But I went. Every fucking day. When I was sick. When my boyfriend broke my heart. When my favorite co-worker (and super secret crush) was fired. When the co-workers I was closest too broke my confidence. When the guy I was sleeping with decided to sleep with my best friend. When people I knew passed away. When I hadn’t slept in four days. When I hadn’t eaten in longer. When I was severely depressed.

I went. Why? Because the idea of losing my job scared the hell out of me. I was late constantly. Partly because I lost the ability to be punctual around age 19 and partly because I just didn’t want to be there.

That job ended somewhat abruptly a couple years ago and while every one else wept or got angry, I was over joyed. I got to start over! I got to do something else!

That kind of freedom is scary. What do you do when you can do whatever you want?

Cut to now; I work a job that is independent, has super flexible hours, and I can make my own hours. This means that the “I don’t wanna’s” can be so so soooo bad for me.

If I’m completely honest, sometimes, it’s sheer laziness. I just don’t have the motivation to do anything, so I don’t.

Other times, it’s this deep seated fear that I’ll be scolded. I get extremely defensive and emotional when I feel I’m being scolded. Just ask anyone in my family or that one manager that loved making an example out of me.

Some days, since Mom’s bout of sickness and Dad’s passing, I just need the sanctuary of my own space and I can’t handle anything else.

I had one of those days without even realizing it earlier this week. I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. So I figured I’d just stay in bed a little longer and drift back to sleep. I read. I played games. I watched Food Network and Cooking Channel*

*side note: is there anything more soothing then watching someone make some delicious dish?

I did all the things that help me sleep. But nothing. So I spent half the day in my bed and the other half with Mom. Just because. By the end of the day, I’d planned the rest of my week and felt like a person again. But man! those I don’t wanna days are the hardest ones.

My current I don’t wanna is going to sleep. My fitbit says its time but PSSH. Just because my eyes are droopy does not mean I need to sleep. 😉

 

Dewey’s Updates!

I feel my hourly updates should get their own little home and thus, here it is!

Hour 1: Slightly distracted but did fall right back in The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I am IN LOVE with this book. It is the definition of “everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about,” and it is beautiful. I like to think of myself as a thoughtful person. I think of what people are going through but! I also have those narcissistic moments when someone gives you a look and you instantly judge them for it. I feel like I can’t read this book and not be changed somehow. It’s that well done. I declare that I shall read anything Ms. Yoon chooses to share. I love her writing so. And I may have tweeted her something to that effect (Yep. I fangirled during hour 1). Now on to Hour 2 which will be a bit eaten up by my hair appointment but! I’m hoping to get in a little reading just the same.

Hour 2: Read maybe 3 pages. Gt myself dressed in workout gear (because at some point today I will take a break to work out) and did one of my most favorite things: got my hair done by my fabulous stylist, Mindy. Mini-challenge complete

Hour 3: Stopped to pick up beverages after my hair appointment at Dunks. Mom informed me when I got home that she spent the entire time reading her book so! she was my stand in for the readathon. Seriously, how cute is she? Mini-Challenge complete

Hour 4: Holy crap! Where did that hour go? I read a couple pages but mostly spent it playing with mini challenges because I do love them so. The hour four one is super fun, definitely have to think on it for a moment and then I can get a fun paragraph going for Natasha from The Sun is Also a Star and Heather from Panic. OK! Determined to read in hour 5! Mini Challenge Complete

Hour 5: According to Good Reads I am 25% through The Sun is Also a Star. Spent more of this hour checking in with friends and chitty chatting but! I did read and stay cuddled up in my book bubble for the most part. I like it! BTW love that this hour was referred to as the Bob Ross hour. Strong place in my heart for Bob Ross and his “happy little trees.” Posting my six word story here because the comments on Estella’s page are hating me: Hope knows no bounds through books. Mini- Challenge complete.

Hour 6: Little bit of reading but more cooking up lunch than anything else. I made Mom & I steak and veggies over brown rice and it was amazing. (check out my Instagram if you want to see it). Mini-Challenge Complete!

Hour 7: Making my way through The Sun is Also a Star and I’m in love with it. In love. I feel as though when I get to the last page I will be changed somehow. It’s also made me laugh out loud and gasp. Love when a book does that.

Hour 8: 54% through The Sun is Also a Star. I am determined to get through one book during this readathon. The goal was simply to complete one book and to get back into Hamilton. We shall see how that goes. There are plenty of hours left in this readathon after all annnnnnnnnd I still have energy. In fact, methinks it’s time for a work out. Did I discuss here yet how working out clears my head? Sometimes, I just do a few minutes, just so I know my body works. Other times, I’m so happy doing it I can just go until I can’t do any more moves with good form. I like it. It’s on the list of things that help to dissipate this anxiety I’ve developed since Dad passed. Mini-Challenge Complete!

Hour 9: Workout done! Watched a couple Booktube videos and a TIU Meal Prep video. Grabbing a shower and making some dinner and then back to my book I go. Woop Woop! Mini-Challenge Complete!

Hour 10: Man oh Man! These hours are flying on by. I believe I only opened my book this time. Made and ate dinner with the Momma and checked out some Instagram posts.

Hour 11: WOOOO! First hour since this morning I actually just sat in my book bubble and let me just say again how frikkin great this book is. Mini-Challenge Complete

Hour 12: Mid Event Survey Time!

1. What are you reading right now?
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
2. How many books have you read so far?
Just this one, I haven’t completed any yet or read any other book.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I am looking forward to finishing this and getting back into Hamilton
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
YES! I had a hair appointment which helped to eat up 2 hours. Then there’s the normal caregiver-ish duty of Mom wanted me to be the cook today so I made us lunch and dinner and we always eat meals together. Working out. A shower. The internet in general. Haha.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
That I have actually actively participated, even if I’m not blowing through books.
Mini-Challenge Complete!

And I am now 87% through The Sun is Also a Star. I have a feeling I will be sobbing at the end if it continues the way it is going. 😦

Hour 13: Finished The Sun is Also a Star and I am a just…in awe? I think that’s an accurate description. It was soooo good. SO GOOD. I had a moment where I was in tears and angry at the turn it had taken and then…OH! Oh to have hope again. LOVED IT SO MUCH. So! One book completed! Mini-Challenge Complete!

Hour 14: Spent some QT with Mom and our current binge watch, One Tree Hill. I’ve seen it all but she has not and she’s totally into the insanity. We’re in Season 3, which has what I call the Terrible Awful Episode that always makes me cry, that one is going to be a shock for her I’m sure.

Hour 15: Most of this hour was spent with Mom. And the rest diving back in Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. If you do not know, this is the biography that Mr. Lin-Manuel Miranda randomly picked up on vacation and then Hamilton, the AHHHHMAZING musical became a thing in his head that he just had to create. I started it a few months ago but barely made a dent so I figured why not use a readathon to try and get into it again.

Hour 16: Read about 12 pages of Hamilton which puts me at 7%. Such a giant book but! it is really interesting. I am officially getting tired so, I am going to cozy up and see if I’m ready to sleep.

Hours 17 through Hour 24: Slept. Really slept. I did not wake up over and over or toss and turn. That is rare and lovely.

SO! I completed 1 book, started back into the chunker that is Hamilton, and completed 16:24 IG challenges and 11:24 mini-challenges. Sounds good to me!