Week#1 Weigh In and Reflections

Apparently, my dog’s #1 goal this weekend was to ensure I wake up 6am. Because he hates me? I’m not sure… But that brings me to why I am writing this post much too early, Pineapple Coconut Spark in hand, ready to share my reflections from this week and my weigh in results.

#kimgetshealthy

Weigh In Results:

-4.3 pounds

I didn’t want to start with my weigh in results (more on that in a bit), but I do have to say I am pretty happy with the results. The number on the scale is not everything, but I do feel losing 4.3 pounds over the past week shows what happens when you clean up your diet and move more.

Drinking Spark and blogging

Early morning Spark and blogging

Reflections:

As “timing” goes, this week was not ideal for completely overhauling my diet and habits. Work was nuts- I ended up working late and into the evenings each day and hosted a huge event for 400+ new students that took a whole lot of planning and energy. It really could have been an epic failure, diet-wise, but somehow I was able to stick to my guns. #proudmoment

My goals were:

  • No coffee or creamer
  • No sugar (i.e. sweets. Fruit is a-ok)
  • No dairy, specifically cheese
  • No alcohol

For the most part, I stuck to this. I hate, hate, hate to admit it but I feel so much better not drinking coffee in the morning. Maybe I drink too much of it or maybe it’s the creamer, but I was shocked that I felt less bloated and my stomach was less crampy/uncomfortable each morning. I replaced my coffee with Spark (particularly Pineapple Coconut this week) and it made a big difference. I still had an energy boost, without the negative side effects. Plus, my teeth seem whiter.

Sugar was a little tougher, especially since I was tempted by both an ice cream social and dessert platters at work this week (said no to both, woo!). I missed sugar on Monday and Tuesday, but the cravings are mostly gone today (about one week later). For me, its more of a psychological battle rather than actually wanting to eat it. But I’m still eating fruit and that does help with my sweet tooth a bit!

Dairy. I’m from Wisconsin. I like love cheese. But I keep hearing over and over that dairy can contribute to stomach probs and not feeling your best. I did not eat any block cheese or shredded cheese, but… I did end up eating a couple slices of pizza this week (in a moment of weakness and exhaustion). I felt so nasty afterword. I’m sure it wasn’t just due to the cheese, but many ingredients, but it was a reminder of how food can significantly impact how I feel.

No alcohol this week. I’m not planning to 100% cut it out, but wanted to start on the right food. Again, I want alcochol to be a weekend “treat” rather than a nightly indulgence. For me, that is really just changing my habits and not giving into peer pressure. Luckily, Jason decided to cut back on alcohol this week too, which made it a whole lot easier to stick to my guns!

Drinking a pink smoothie in my favorite pink Loft blouse

Morning smoothie via my Instagram

Overall, my biggest takeaway from this week is noticing the difference in how I am feeling. I would by lying if I said that I wasn’t thrilled with losing 4.3 pounds at my weigh in, BUT I also made a lot of dietary changes and am doing a cleanse, so I know these results aren’t necessarily typical. But more importantly, I feel better. With the exception of the pizza, I felt great this week. My stomach is so much less bloated and crampy. I have more energy during the day and feel like I’ve been focusing better. I had a realization after eating the pizza this week that feeling good is so important to me. Often, I focus so much on weight or measurements, but as I continue this journey, I want to put how I am feeling at the forefront and use that as a basis for my progress. Weight is one way to measure success, but there are so many other ways to measure success as well.

What’s Next

My Advocare Cleanse will go through Wednesday of this week, and I’ll move to the Max Phase on Thursday. Food wise, I haven’t 100% cut out processed foods and I do not plan to. Instead, I’m planning to stick to my above goals/guidelines and continue to monitor how I feel. I want to do better with planning my meals and snacks, for sure. I also have a wedding coming up next Thursday/Friday which will consist of a rehearsal dinner, lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. My goal is not to not eat, but rather to evaluate how I am feeling and make the best choices to me.

Your Turn:

  • What motivates you more – weight/measurements or how you feel? No right or wrong answer, I want to hear about your thoughts!

 

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Day #1: Cutting Out Coffee, Sugar, and Cheese

It’s 8:15pm and I made it through Day #1. By made it, I mean I successfully did not consume the following:

  • Coffee and cream
  • Sugar
  • Dairy, but more specifically cheese

Seriously, those are three of my favorite things to eat. I’m not exaggerating. I wake each day and have at least one cup of coffee with flavored creamer. I’m from Wisconsin and wear my #cheeselover badge proud. Sugar is my oxygen. But sadly, I’m pretty convinced that one or some or all of these foods are contributing to my feeling less than stellar on a regular basis. So far, I have not had a headache and my stomach has not made me want to cry, as it does most days. I’m keeping track of my feelings and symptoms, but I’ll call today an overall success.

#kimgetshealthy

In addition to eliminating these three totally crucial food groups from my diet (I kid!), I started a 24 Day Challenge today. This is my fourth 24DC and I’ve talked about the experience here, here, and here if you want to learn more. It can help with weight loss, but that is not my goal for this challenge. Instead, I want it to help me reset my body (particularly regarding cravings and sugar dependence) and begin to instill better habits.

Today, I woke up with a plan. I took my probiotic, drank my Fiber Drink and Grape Spark, and had a MRS meal replacement shake for breakfast. I ate a snack of blueberries, but shockingly, this held me until I ate lunch around 12pm.

Advocare Fiber and Spark

For lunch, I ate a throw back classic: black beans, corn, and salsa. That’s an #oldschoolkim recipe. Simple, easy, and filling. I rounded it out with a snack of peanuts in the afternoon around 3pm.

Dinnertime was delish tonight! Jason and I ate venison (with some bacon), lightly sauteed portabella mushrooms, and a small helping of quinoa. I totally admit the bacon wasn’t the most healthy choice, but it was a choice that I made for myself. Plus, venison wrapped bacon on the charcoal grill is heaven and my goal is not to eliminate everything.

Venison Dinner

That’s all! I’m surprisingly full and not hungry. I guess when I don’t eat crap all day (read: processed food and sugar), the real food that I do eat can actually be quite filling. I know today was just Day #1 and there will be lots of challenges and temptations in the near future, but I am taking today as a win. I made more good choices than bad, and I think that is the goal.

Your Turn!

  • Do you find that when you plan, you are able to make better choices?
  • What did you have for dinner tonight?
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Seasons of Life…and Blogging

Sometimes I wish I could send a quick email to the person I was three years ago. I was obsessed with blogging and creating my healthy lifestyle. I was a new professional, living in a city with not many friends, trying to figure out who the hell I was after spending the past six years in college pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I felt so mature, but really, as I look back now, I was so lost. Lost and lonely and bored. Blogging fulfilled me in a way that I really, really need.

Fast forward to today. Life is a whole lotta different. I’m living in a different state, six hours away from my family and friends. I’m married. I have a dog. I just bought a house (eek!). For the first time in my life, I kind of feel like a full blown, real adult. If I asked myself three years ago if this is where I would be in 2016, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed. It didn’t seem possible.

Seasons of LifeWhat Changed?

One of the things I’ve realized over the past few weeks is that my life has been go, go go! since March 2014. I met Jason and all of a sudden, everything became a whirlwind. Fall in love, find a new job, move to Minnesota, get engaged, plan a wedding, get married, adopt a dog, buy a house. What?! They say that time seems to go quicker as you get older, and that is the absolute truth. Some days, I have no idea how I got here.

The downside to this is missing out on some of the things I love. Blogging, for one. My health, for another. All of a sudden, as we near closing on our house and closing what I assume to be one of the busiest parts of our lives (until kiddos, of course) I’ve been finding myself reflecting on what’s next. As in, what will I do to fill my time once I’m not constantly preoccupied with something?

What’s Next?

I’ve been slowing admitting to myself (and full blown aware now) two things. One, I’ve lost track of my hobbies. Between work and my sweet pup and Jason and being a “grown up,” I’ve forgotten what I like to do to have fun and enjoy myself. Two, I’ve really been lax on caring about my health. I’ve put on some pounds, yes, but suddenly the number on the scale doesn’t matter as much as how I feel and how healthy I am.

Kim and Jason Bock

Jason and I at a wedding in July

I’ve decided to begin blogging again about my health and weight loss. When I began blogging, one of the things I love about it (besides the amazing community and motivation) was how it made me accountable. Participating in What I Ate Wednesday or sharing my trials and errors around weight loss made me be so much more aware of what I was doing and what I was eating on a daily basis.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and have come to a few realizations. Mostly, that I am no longer 18 and I can’t eat whatever I want. Sure, it may not be healthy, but more, it doesn’t make me feel good. I’m almost 30 (sigh). But I don’t want to spend my life worrying about my stomach constantly hurting or my head pounding, or my joints aching. I want to feel healthy. It’s going to be an experiment, but I am looking forward to sharing this brand new journey with all of you.

So, if you’ve been around for awhile, thanks for coming back and reading this (long) post. I’m excited to connect with you again!

Your turn!

  • What motivates you to eat well and exercise? Does your age have anything to do with this?

 

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Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Giveaway

Bob's Red Mill Giveaway

To me, summer means smoothies. Flavorful, ice cold giant smoothies to start my day as I’m rushing out the door at 6:30am to get to work or be a tasty treat when I’m sweating bullets under the hot afternoon sun. Fruity flavors are my favorite – berry anything really, but I’ve been experimenting more and more with other flavors lately and am obsessed. One way that I try to infuse other flavors (as well as nutrients) into my smoothies is via protein powder. Luckily, I am so excited to share that I’ve partnered with Bob’s Red Mill to try their brand new protein powder nutritional boosters and (DRUMROLL please!), they want to give away a package for you to try as well!

Bob's Red Mill Giveaway

What I love about Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten free
  • Contains probiotics

Plus, Bob’s Red Mill  produces more than 400 products, including a full line of certified gluten free products and an extensive line of certified organic products, which is amazing.

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My typical go-to smoothie is easy peasy: almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 frozen banana, and 1/2 cup frozen berries. Quick, easy and surprisingly filling. And I hate to say it, but smoothies are starting to replace my morning coffee #sorrynotsorry

Smoothie pic

Want to try Bob’s Red Mill protein powder for yourself? Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win, with your choice to win one of the following flavors: chocolate, vanilla, chai, or protein & fiber. Winner will be chosen when the giveaway closes on July 6th.

In the meantime, here is a coupon for $1.00 off any one Bob’s Red Mill seed or seed meal!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chocolate Banana PB&J Smoothie with Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder

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Does anyone else think that summertime = smoothies? I do.

Every morning for about the past three weeks, I’ve been making amazing smoothies for myself for breakfast. I love the feeling of cold on a hot morning, and having something sweet, yet nutritious on my way to work. Plus, it makes me feel better than coffee does (sigh).

I was lucky enough to be chosen to try out Bob’s Red Mill gluten free protein powder. I was excited to try it for two reasons. One – I love Bob’s Red Mill products. Two – I have hard time protein powder that I like that isn’t a weird texture.

Bob's Red Mill smoothieMixed berry smoothie, with almond milk, frozen berries, and Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder

I’m lucky to say – I love the protein powders! There are four flavor options: Vanilla, Chocolate, Chai, and Protein & Fiber (which doesn’t really have a taste). They are delicious. The vanilla is my favorite, because I love how the vanilla flavor pairs with fruit smoothies. However, I have to say, as someone who doesn’t love chocolate protein powder generally (I know, I know, it just usually tastes fake to me), I surprisingly liked the chocolate flavor much more than expected!

Bob's Red Mill protein powders

Since I have a variety of flavors to experiment with, I’ve been trying all sorts of combinations in the morning. I love the variety and how quickly smoothies come together for an easy, nutritious, and filling breakfast!

 Chocolate Banana PB&J Smoothie

 Chocolate Banana PB&J Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving chocolate Bob’s Red Mill protein powder
  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 1 c frozen strawberries or mixed berries
  • 2 tbs peanut butter

Directions:

Put in smoothie. Blend until smooth (or the consistency you are looking for). Enjoy!

Easy peasy, right? I hope that you love the Chocolate Banana PB&J Smoothie as much as I do!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Disclaimer: I was provided Bob’s Red Mill protein powder in exchange for this post. All opinions, as always, are expressly my own.

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Meaningful Change Takes Time

Meaningful Change Takes Time

Sometimes I swear, healthy living drives me nuts. Not because I don’t like working out or eating healthy; I actually really like both of those things. For me, what I truly struggle with is making long-term, lasting changes. Sticking to a plan and keeping up healthy habits, that is my struggle. I do really well and then have one bad weekend that just seems to wipe away everything I’ve done. It’s as if I forget that change- really meaningful change – takes time.

Meaningful Change Takes Time

Meaningful Change

I feel like I’ve been in the place I am in so many times before. I get into a groove. I am working out and eating healthy and then one bad meal or weekend just erases all of the work that I’ve done. I can’t quite tell if it’s a mindset issue or a self-control issue, but once I slip up, I find it incredibly hard to get back on track.

I saw this quote the other day and it really struck a note with me: Meaningful Change Takes Time. Isn’t that the truth? I’ve been reading a lot about habit and habit formation, and really understand that the results we see in any area of our life is the culmination of what we do most of. One bad meal doesn’t ruin a diet – but ten can. Taking a rest day won’t make you gain weight – but a week off can. What we do more of is much more important than what we do sometimes.

Over the past month, I’ve began bullet journaling (you can read more here). There are tons of reasons I love it, but one of the biggest is that I am 100% in control of what I do and do not include. To start tracking my habits, particularly related to health and fitness, I’ve decided to begin tracking my workouts and eating habits. How often do I really work out? What am I really eating on a daily basis? Only after we truly know ourselves and our habits, can we figure out what we are doing wrong – and right.

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Weekly Workouts . 5/27/16

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It’s Friday! Woohoo! It is rainy and gloomy here, but that is okay. I’m looking forward to a fun, long weekend with some friends visiting. This will also be our first time that visitors are bringing a dog along, so we’ll see how Hoss reacts to having another dog in the Hoss. It will be interesting, that is for sure!

First up…I didn’t share this right away, but about a month ago I started a new blog! It’s called Brightly Brewed and I would love for you to check it out! It’s more of a lifestyle blog, focusing on books, life hacks, and living a balanced life and less on weight loss and healthy living. I love Racing Bananas, but wanted to try something new!

Brightly Brewed

Second, workout update! This has been a slow week, but that is okay. Right now, my mindset is do what you, when you can.

Workouts:

Wednesday: Dirty 30 workout from 21 Day Fix. Holy shaking legs! They still hurt!

Thursday: Upper Body Fix workout from 21 Day Fix. Because I couldn’t workout my legs or they would have fallen off.

Kim Workouts

Slow week, workout wise, but progress is progress. I’ve switched to summer hours, so I’m transitioning to working out after work, sometime between 5:00-6:00. It’s an adjustment, but a good one, I think.

Food wise, I’m trying to make better choices. I’m battling some sort of stomach issue and am wondering if perhaps diet is playing a role? I’m trying to cut out processed foods and am focusing more on fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Hoping that my diet will help me feel better and that I won’t need to go to the doctor. Only time will tell!

Your Turn!

  • What did your workouts look like this week?
  • Any fun Memorial Day weekend plans?
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Books I’ve Read // March 2016

Kim's Reading List

Well, I’ve managed to close the gap slightly on publishing my books I’ve read posts. I’ve really been devouring books lately – I read 3 last week! – so I figured that I need to get back on track with sharing the amazing books I’ve been reading lately.

Kim's Reading List

Here we go…first up is…

Gratitude

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks.  During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death. “It is the fate of every human being,” Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.” Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.

This book was phenomenal. It’s a small, short book composed of four essays written by Sacks before he died. The essays are in chronological order from he wrote them, which I think adds to the reading of each piece. My boss gave it to my as a Christmas gift knowing my love of reading and I quickly devoured it.

The In Between

The In Between by Jeff Goins

Many of us spend our lives searching and longing for something more than what is in front of us. Whether it’s traveling abroad or chasing cheap (or expensive) thrills, we’re all looking for the medicine to satisfy our restlessness. And so often we’re looking in the wrong place. The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives. Can we embrace the extraordinary nature of the ordinary and enjoy the daily mundane—what lies in between the “major” moments? Learning to live in this tension, to be content in these moments of waiting, may be our greatest struggle—and our greatest opportunity to grow.

I bought this book about three years ago (right around the time I got back from Park City, Utah and read Packing Light, another amazing book). This book is all about the tension about the in between, or the time between big events that occur in your life. Goins shared his stories and insights. I liked it, but didn’t love it, if we’re being honest. It’s a quick read, but it felt more reflective of what Goins has gone through in his life, rather than applicable to readers in a more widespread way.

Big Magic

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

I have mixed feelings about Big Magic, and I think it’s mostly because I was so excited to read it. I had high expectations after hearing raving reviews from friends and it was a little different from what I expected. That being said, Elizabeth Gilbert is an amazing writer and storyteller and there were parts of the book that really resonated with me. I think what I struggled with is that I don’t see myself as creative by nature (a limiting belief, perhaps) so I had a hard time relating to everything she spoke of.

Pretty Girls

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed. The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

This was a hey, I need a good quick book to read and it absolutely did not disappoint. I usually am reading 2-3 books at a time and I ended up stopping everything to devour this book. It was the perfect sort of weekend read – engaging mystery, quick to read but not just fluff, great characters, and a plot that wasn’t 100% predictable. I stayed up much to late a few nights in a row to find out what happened next and I cannot recommend this more! (That being said, if you’re uncomfortable with violence or blood/gore, you may want to stay away from this particular read).

Whered You Go Bernadette

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Another book I loved! This was recommended to me two summers ago and I never got around to reading it. I reserved it at the library and spent a week completed engaged in it. I listened to the audiobook and would keep listening once I got home because I couldn’t just couldn’t let the story go! I don’t want to spoil anything, but the beginning of the book is a story that is pieced together through the narrator, a 15 year old girl and various communications – emails, text messages, phone calls – that help to piece together the mystery of where Bernadette…well, went. The story was very well put together and it was a light read, but absolutely made me think.

Phew! Another long list of books! I ended up reading another 6 books in April so I’ll have to get you caught up on those soon!

Your Turn:

What are you reading lately?

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Books I’m Reading | February 2016

Kim's Reading List

Happy Thursday night! After I discovered Scandal is not on tonight (WHAT?!) I decided it was time to sit down and catch you up on all the books I’ve been reading lately. I actually have to split this up into two posts, since I don’t want to totally overwhelm you with my reading progress. Not because I’ve been reading like a boss (well, I kind of have) but because I haven’t posted a book update since the end of January. But I made it a goal to read 60 books this year (5 books per month break down for you math haters out there) and I’m making pretty good progress.

Kim's Reading List

So what have I been reading lately? Here’s my February reading list! (And yes, I know it’s April!)

What I Know For Sure Book Cover

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected inWhat I Know For Sure, a beautiful cloth bound book with a ribbon marker, packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme―joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power―these essays offer a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women―while providing readers a guide to becoming their best selves. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of truth that readers will turn to again and again.

This was a short little book by Oprah. I was never really an Oprah fan, to be honest. I thought she was a little fake and over the top, but I take that back because I really enjoy her now. I like her Super Soul Sunday series and I love her website. What I Know For Sure is a compilation of her column of the same name from her magazine. Once per month, Oprah covers various topics, all starting with the line, “What I Know for Sure.” She touches on spirituality and friendship and joy and say what you want, but she has a whole lotta insight which I really enjoyed hearing.This was a quick read, but great if you’re looking for a little motivation and inspiration in your life.

Lean In

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. 

I am on a bit of a self-development kick, as you’ll soon see. I liked Lean In and the idea behind it. For women to lean in to their career, at the workplace, at home – all the time. To resist the urge to not volunteer for a project or ask for a promotion because we (or at least, I) don’t think that we as women are qualified enough or good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel as rah-rah as I thought I would after reading this, and it was hard to relate to Sandberg since my work environment differs in higher education, but I enjoyed the book nonetheless.

Room

Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

Hands down one of the best books that I’ve read this year so far. Well, listened to. I listened to Room and the narrator was phenomenal. I wanted my commute to last longer because I couldn’t stop listening. If you’re unaware, Room is about a woman who was abducted and about how she and her now 5 year old son are living in a 1 bedroom room. The story is told entirely from the perspective of the boy, which I loved and thought worked really well. Donoghue did a fabulous job capturing the voice of a child and incorporating such nuisanced observations about what he may or may not understand since he has never lived in the outside world. I related to Jack as a 29 year old married woman – what? I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t read it (READ IT!), but I was entirely engulfed in this story. (And I hate to say it but the movie was not even nearly as good as the book. I was a bit disappointed with it).

This book cover image released by Penguin Press shows, "It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War," by Lynsey Addario. (AP Photo/Penguin Press)

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lyndsey Addario

War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.

This book came up as a recommendation from my library and I checked it out on a whim. Another audiobook. It’s about photojournalist named Lynsey Addario and her experience as a war photographer. I wasn’t expecting to get so invested in her story, but I found myself drawn to her storytelling and experiences. Part of me was blown away by the courage and enormous will of this woman who just seemed so fearless and adventurous and inspiring. If you’re looking for an engaging, exciting, emotional memoir, check this one out. From what I saw on the internet, Jennifer Lawrence will be starring in a movie based on this book in the next year or so.

So there’s that – books I’m reading round-up from February. I’ll be back next week on my March update!

Your Turn!

  • What are you reading lately?
  • What do you recommend I read next?
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Stitch Fix // March 2016

StitchFix

Happy Monday friends! One of the things I’ve been focusing on (in addition to weight loss, healthy living, being an awesome wife/fur mama, work, etc) is fashion. Well developing a fashion sense, because I don’t have one. I’m a black work pants and boring sweater with a hint of color in my daily scarf kind of gal. Which is wear Stitch Fix came in.

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You enter in information about you (height, weight, body type), your fashion sense, and any other notes you want to share. Then, a personal stylist picks 5 items of clothing, accessories, or jewelry to send to you. It costs $20, which will be applied to your purchase if you decide to purchase any or all of what is sent to you.

StitchFix

So here is what was sent in my March fix!

Liverpool Colleen Straight Leg Jean

I asked for jeans and was very, very clear on my body type, since I have a hard time finding jeans that really fit me. Anyone else have the issue of their thighs being bigger than their waist? #annoying. Anyway, the below picture is horrendous, I know, but these jeans are amazing. They fit perfectly, they are long enough, and I love, love, love them. KEEP!

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Colette Antigo Button Down Front Pocket Knit Top

I love this shirt! I have to say, I don’t love how it photographed here (I don’t have a great place to take pictures), but that’s ok. The material is incredibly the soft, I love the color, and I like that it is flowy, comfortable, and can be worn dressed up or down. KEEP!

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Green shirt

41Hawthorn Tameron Button Down Blouse

I am so bummed, because I loved this shirt. It’s cute and professional and would have fit in well with my wardrobe. Unfortunately, it was much too big. I like that it is white and summery, but it was just too big for me to keep. RETURN!

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Papermoon Puffin Keyhole Back Knit Top

This was a cute tank that I had high hopes for. I like the stripes and there is a cute, small cutout in the back of the shirt. But the way it’s cut, paired with it being too big, meant it did not look great on me. RETURN!

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Striped Tank
Octavia Fringe Infinity Scarf

I am a sucker for scarves. I love them and wear them all winter long (keeps me warm) and in the summer with a tank for added warmth (seriously, I’m always cold). I don’t need another scarf, but this one is knit, soft, and mustard yellow with hints of grey. I’m obsessed. It was a bit of a splurge, but I ended up KEEPing! (Glad I did, I got about 10 compliments on it when I wore it on Friday #winning!).

IMG_20160329_182436Yellow Scarf

Overall, I’m really happy with my first Stitch Fix in over two years. If you are a long time reader, I gave Stitch Fix a try in 2013 but wasn’t impressed. This time around I gave much more specific feedback on what I do and don’t like, as well as what I was looking for more, and I’m way more satisfied with what I received. My next fix is scheduled for May (unfortunately, I’m not made of money!), and I’m really looking forward to it!

Your Turn!

  • Have you tried Stitch Fix? What was  your experience?
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