2017 in review

While it had its ups and downs, 2017 managed to leave me relatively unscathed (minus a personal crisis or two).

There were two big accomplishments:

  1.  I completed my application for promotion (When one of those two crises hit, I contemplated putting my promotion on hold, then thought better of it. I’m glad I did.)
  2. I wrote 105,037 words (as of December 28th, I may update this number before the year ends).

A few fun things:

  1. I accepted a very excited proposal to co-host The Bluestocking Circle Podcast and I’m so glad I did.
  2. I rediscovered my love of Batman comics with the Rebirth series (though Doomsday has me like)

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And a couple of health breakthroughs:

  1. A re-evaluation of my thyroid health and maintenance plan.
  2. A possible PCOS connection that explains a lot about my hormonal headaches and unpredictable cycles.

All said, not too shabby.

Happy New Year!

 

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video: using things up… Empties #2!

In an effort to make better use of the things I buy, I give you my second Empties video 🙂

Lots of products mentioned here, including health stuff, bath stuff, and some general lifestyle bits. I intended to list them all, but life happened and I lost track of time. So just watch for details and feel free to leave any questions in the comments. 🙂 I’m happy to share my thoughts on all and any products mentioned, or feel free to leave a recommendation.

Apologies for video quality issues, I noticed some blurring as I was editing, but I recycled all the products before I watched the video. Lesson learned.

life: flow

It’s my third day back on a morning yoga schedule and I’m really getting into the flow of it. My workouts tend to shift with the seasons: when the sun starts to rise a little later and set a little earlier, my workouts shift to morning rather than evening. I still enjoy a post-dinner walk, but I just enjoy the gray morning vibe more. Kitty cat #1 (ie. CaramelCat) also enjoys the morning yoga sesh. I think Adriene’s voice just sounds really pleasant to his kitty ears, so he plops out beside me and licks my forehead as I move into shavasana.

I’ve also been enjoying my new diffuser, I like to use oils when I’m stretching and having it in the bedroom makes it that much more effective (morning yoga is bedroom yoga; whereas, evening yoga happens in the living room – see, shifts in mood and place).

Today’s practice was the gentle morning sequence, which was perfect. I feel a bit of a cold coming on and the stretch was just what I needed.

vlog: After the Whole30 – reintroduction

Another week, another vlog 🙂 and no recording snafus! So thrilling.

I completed my Whole30 on Monday and it feels like such an accomplishment. I only broke the rules a couple of times (in a really silly, minimal way, which I explain in the video). Otherwise, I managed to stick to the rules, even when faced with cake, pasta, and other non-compliant foods. Yes, I lost 3.5 lbs, but I saw some serious changes in my body composition, especially around my belly. I’ve started my slow roll with legumes (documenting my reaction to foods as I make the introduction), and have only introduced a couple of added sugar foods (honey-roasted cashews and chocolate). I’m trying to eat these sparingly, as my goal is to keep the sugar monster at bay; however, it’s my birthday this month, so I will be eating cake.

More details in the video. I’m planning a second round in July.

Like and subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive updates 🙂

off the shelf: 5 books on health, wellness, and living

Once upon a time, I only read fiction; the thought of reading non-fiction or *GASP* “self-help” or wellness books was anathema to me. Then I grew up and started to care about things like health and well-being (happens), which led to books. Lots and lots of books (and websites too, obvs). I started by reading about food and nutrition, then I jumped onto lifestyle, mental health, organization, and so much more. I clearly found a new source of inspiration.

The following are some of the books that have most inspired and enlightened my understanding of health, wellness, and living in general.

 photo eatwild_zpsityvqk6h.jpgEating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

The first book I read on food and health. Easy to read, highly engaging, full of insight on how to eat for optimal antioxidant absorption. Also, provides a history of the foods we eat and how they have evolved with modern farming. I refer to this book more often than I can count.

 

 

 

 photo saltsugarfat_zps8ohynkkz.jpgSalt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

If you’re interested in the science of food, this is the book for you. Journalistic and engaging. Keeps you reading without being judgmental.

 

 

 

 

 photo chopra_zpsc9gavmle.jpgPerfect Health–Revised and Updated: The Complete Mind Body Guide by Deepak Chopra

I have an interest in alternative medicine and traditional foods, and was searching for an easy guide to Ayurveda. This definitely fits the bill. If you’re interested in a quick intro to Ayurveda and Ayurveda types, give this book a try.

 

 

 

 photo konmari_zps0u6appmy.jpgThe Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I’ve talked about it herehere and here, but this book is just the holy grail of home life transformations.

 

 

 

 

 photo parisian_zpsji4pj5ha.jpgHow to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas

A little fluffy, but I just live for French style. J’adore!

in which I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck

This post was going to be about something completely different but I feel like I’ve reached the Pits of Despair! All that energy I had last week? Well, it’s gone. I’m totally riding the “I need a nap” stage of the Whole 30. I was floating along and then BAM! Everything hurts and I just want to crawl back into bed. Not much else to report. Sticking to it, but really hoping this wave will wear off soon.

Writing wise, things are progressing and I’m making good time with my revisions. I have a conference to attend in June (and my birthday!), so my goal is to be done with this draft before then. I don’t want to even look at Scrivener during that time.

I’ve also been looking into tips and tricks for vlogging. I have a rather nice camera, but it does not have a flip screen, so I’m going to give the mirror trick a try. If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know in the comments :). I would like to improve and avoid the weird staring into space face that I make when I use my iPad.

stretching a little farther and a bloggy resolution

 

I just completed my second round of Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga Camp. The program is tough, with lots of slow flows and breath control (I was seriously breathing through the poses), but the gains are amazing. The mantras as wonderfully self-affirming and send me to a happy place, and the moves really target all my muscles. It’s a workout for the body and mind (because you will sweat, especially in a hot, Miami apartment), I completed this round over the course of two months, mixing in some running, more walks, and weightlifting (I’ve gone up a set!), but I feel that the effort I put in has led to some real progress. Once upon a time, I could not touch my toes. Just putting that out there.

 

 photo 5147A01D-7D7A-4CEA-8E63-55B62B178323_zpsilib1gxo.jpg
one of my favorite yoga selfies, because Pusheen!

 

It might sound kind of hokey, but yoga has really helped me find a better sense of self, peace with my body (tenuous on certain days, but better than it was before), and has done wonders for my back issues. I prefer a home practice, but have taken a couple of public classes as well. It’s important to find an instructor that “clicks” and Adriene definitely clicks for me. It’s a long story, but I started practicing after borrowing a video from my old library (if you don’t know, I’m a librarian). It looked interesting and I was just starting to find alternative methods to workout as part of my post-weight loss toning journey (so many journeys!). I loved it. It felt so good, even when it seemed like I would never be able to achieve the full pose (even something as simple as forward fold was difficult to me). I’ve been practicing 2 or 3 times a week for about 5 years now, but it wasn’t until I discovered Adriene’s original 30 Days of Yoga in 2015 that I started building a daily practice. It’s a challenge, but well worth it.

I’m scaling back to 4-5 days a week for now, as I focus on adding a bit more cardio and lifting to my life, but I hope to be able to go a little further and stretch a little deeper with time—-Downward Dog, I’m looking at you.

On the blog front, I’ve challenged myself to stick to a regular blogging schedule. I used to be good at this when I was in grad school and building my now retired book blog (archived at things she read). I would like to add some vlogging as well, but the time commitment for editing is a concern. I’ll give it a shot, but the blog is my first home and I would like to have some real updates, rather than rare appearances. I’m looking forward to regular Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday posts… maybe a vlog or two a month, if time permits. Prepare for more book love, writing updates, lifeblogs, and kitty cats!

 photo 3E931776-E837-4A03-BD66-7B025226F529_zpsk7ldsbbl.jpg

and then she came back

It’s been a quiet month, but a good one. I challenged myself to rewrite chapters 11-15 and I did, writing an entirely new chapter during the process, and soaring past my initial word count goal. I like to think that the new bits add the much-needed character development that was lost after my first round of cutting and rewriting. It’s a slow, arduous process, but it’s coming together and I only lost 5 writing days this month…

Speaking of lost days—I started taking turmeric to relieve my aches and pains (TMJ and arthritis in general, plus migraines as a result). I just finished my first bottle and, I have to say, I’m really feeling a difference in my pain levels. Can’t wait to receive my next order (I should’ve ordered sooner, but I was caught up  in getting sh*t done).

There has been a lot of drama on the kitty cat front (re: poopy princess kitty). By some strange alchemy, I think I’ve managed to get the poops under control, but it was a serious trial (and error).

b0675c04-a5c1-4359-b678-766ae622172e_zps5inmbpov
Caramel Loaf does not approve.

In the meantime, I’m mentally preparing myself to do my first Whole30 in an effort to kill my sugar cravings and reset my system. My biggest challenge will be cutting out the grains. I’ve cut out dairy in the past (and seriously need to get back in the habit), but it’s bread that I’ll miss the most. I generally avoid soy because of my thyroid issues, but dairy (not milk, but yogurt and cheese), peanuts, and grains are my weakness. Wish me luck (and willpower).