Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Things that start with B

Bikes.  Books.  Booze.

I went for a bike ride recently, something that was long overdue, and started thinking about my day.  I was trying to read through a bookclub book as well as needed to go buy some wine for a present.  I was mentally making a checkoff list in my head that went something like "bike, books, and booze".  I couldn't help but to laugh out loud.

Has my life resorted to just words that start with the letter B?  If so, hooray!  These are a few of my favorite things.

A bike ride in which you are whizzing past the scenery.  The beat of the music in your ears is echoing than the drumming of your heart.  Speaking of your heart, you are pushing your max and revving up your speed.  Maneuvering, sprinting, pacing, all things that I love and all on the comfort of my trusty bike. I never feel as free as I do than when I am on my bicycle.

"I thought of that while riding my bike." - Albert Einstein on his theory of relativity.

Escaping reality and being present somewhere else.  Books can take you places you could never afford, offer you ideas you never have thought, challenge your worldview, or take you on a fun ride.  I love reading and challenging my mind.  I also like taking a break from reality.  I haven't been reading enough, but I am doing so now.

When you have a whole subfolder on your phone devoted to wine apps it is time to fess up that you enjoy the booze.  Finding those bottles that bring forward flavors that your palate adores.  Pairing a great bottle with a good meal.  Knowing that this bottle of Pinot Noir tastes better after it has been chilled for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  Never drinking to excess, but instead saving each sip as it is taken.

Bikes, books, and booze.  Can that be my theme for 2015?

Currently enjoying...

Gary Fisher Neko Hybrid Bike in blue

Hidden Girl by Shyima Hall

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Wild Ride by Tait

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February Goals Follow Up

Just wanted to stay accountable and let you know how I did with my February goals.  I was quite shocked at what I was able to accomplish, but I am glad I was able to push myself and get things done.  Here is the checkoff list.

1. Log 60+ miles for the Nike+ challenge - ACCOMPLISHED.  I had to really make myself go out there and do it, but by the end of the month I found that it was easier to get the miles done.  Just a few more miles and the challenge will be completed.

One thing I added to my walk jogs was a HIIT timer app.  HIIT, in case you are one of the 5 people in the world who does not know what it stands for, is High Intensity Interval Training.  The App I installed is called "Seconds" and you can find it HERE in the iTunes store. What I would do is set intervals for walking and jogging that helped me to routinize my jogging and improve my stamina.  I know I might regret putting this in writing, but I found that the "jogs" I did in which I had the intervals and really challenged myself, at the end of the "run" I felt a lot better than if I had mainly walked or barely jogged.  I am definitely going to keep using this app to help push me further physically.

2. Jillian Michael's Shred 3x a week - ACCOMPLISHED.  In truth I was hoping for 3-4 times a week but with doing the miles I found that I did one day of miles and one day of the Shred.  I definitely feel my muscles getting stronger and have seen a bit of an improvement in my jogging.  Thank you all for those of you who supported me in this challenge.  You guys are the best and I am so thankful for you.

3. Jewelry organization - ACCOMPLISHED. I had a hard time with this as I tried a few things out and resolved to the fact that I had to invest in some nice acrylic drawers from the Container Store in order to accomplish this goal.  It really was an investment but I have already noticed a difference and in fact, I gave away a lot of jewelry I never wore and honed down the pieces I have that fit with my style and personality.

The downside is that I found I need a bit more jewelry than I have, but the next pieces I get will be investment pieces so I am not in a hurry.  When I see them I will know it is right and make the investment at that time.

4. Finish "How To Be A Parisian Wherever You Are" - ACCOMPLISHED. See my review HERE.

5. Start and finish "Mennonite In A Little Black Dress" - ACCOMPLISHED.  See my review HERE.

6. Personal Day Spa - ACCOMPLISHED.  I have to laugh about this one.  Sure I had coconut oil in my hair and cucumbers over my eyes, but the avocado and honey mask was a complete failure. Hey, at least I gave it a try. I did however, enjoy my 2 1/2 hour bubble bath with reading my book from goal #5.  To take the event up a notch I ended up purchasing a spa album on iTunes and am definitely going to be using that in the future.  Perhaps next time I will try the kitty litter mask or the egg white facial mask. Laugh, but yes, I have a book that recommends both!

7. Cook a Donna Hay or French meal - ACCOMPLISHED.  See pictures from the event HERE.  This event was twofold as I also got to cook from my cookbooks of the month, or COTM.  See the list HERE.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March Goals

Since my February goals worked out pretty well, I am sharing with you my March goals.  I am trying to limit my monthly goals to just 5 things, as too many is setting me up for failure and too few is not much of a challenge.

I created a page in my Filofax that shows the month, birthdays of the month, holidays, and monthly goals.  I have the page at the front of my Filofax so that when I open it up it reminds me and keeps me focused on my goals.  I find that visually seeing the written goals is what works best for me.  Also, the birthday and holiday listing is quite helpful.

Now for my March goals.

1. Finish my Nike+ challenge. Less than 40 miles to go by the 28th.  I think I can swing it.

2. Read Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern Day Slave by Shyima Hall.  I am not sure where to start with the book but I will say this, human trafficking is closer than you think and may even be happening right next door.  That is the issue this book talks about.  A memoir by Shyima Hall who was a slave living in Irvine, California before authorities found her and brought her to safety.  Now a spokeswoman against human trafficking, this books sets to discuss the little secret no one talks about.  I bought this book when it first came out as I wanted to support Ms. Hall as this is something I truly believe in.  I am now finally going to read her story.

If you want to support the fight against human trafficking, I highly suggest Restore NYC non-profit.  Check out their website HERE.

3. Burn my CDs to my computer.  I have hundreds (literally) of old CDs that I am finally succumbing to transferring to digital and getting rid of the physical CDs.  This is going to be a long process, but the reward will be tenfold.

4. Have another personal spa day.  I am working on balancing my mind, body, and spirit and a personal spa day will help with all three components.

5. Start biking again.  This also goes along with balancing mind, body, and spirit.  Also, I love biking so why but other things before that?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Mennonite In A Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going HomeMennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An unexpected bout of sarcastic humor. Rhoda Janzen's memoir about her time returning to her parent's home in California in a close knit Mennotite community was an unexpected delight. A breeze to read, you will find you lose track of time through her stories and memories of a time in her life where she was coping from an accident and her unexpected divorce. I found that I laughed at loud at times from her wit and never felt sorry for her but instead cheered on her resolve as she cops with huge issues in her life. And how could you not cheer for this woman whose husband left her for Bob from Gay.com.  She parallels what she is coping with now alongside her memories of her childhood and growing up Mennonite.  The translation of her mother's songs through me into fits of giggles.  Growing up in a religious family I found that I had some similar reflections of life that she does now. One particular analogy in the memoir I found quite thought provoking regarding burying a non-Catholic solider in a Catholic cemetery.  I won't spoil it for you, but I hope it makes you think as well.

I suggest reading this book on a porch in the summer or in a nice bath. Don't take life too seriously, you will never make it out alive.

Cross this book off of my list of things to do in February.  Another goal accomplished!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Another day, another great brunch

Just wanted to share with you some pictures from the brunch at my mother's house.  I actually took my book "Tea Fit For A Queen: Recipes and Drinks for Afternoon Tea (Historic Royal Palaces)" by Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises Limited from my COTM and decided to make some tea sandwiches.  One was called a Jam Penny which I thought was cute so I made it.  See below for the food from our fun brunch.

Bananas, mango, and raspberry fruit salad

Jam Pennies made with homemade Pomegranate Jelly

Greek Yogurt parfait with hazelnuts and maple syrup

Veggies and hummus

Classic Egg Salad Sandwich wedges

Donna Hay Three Cheese Frittata with basil