Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January Reads

I'm going to try and post at the beginning of each month a handful of book releases I am looking forward to. (I know. I know. I said I was going to do this last year and I failed. Miserably!! But I aim to be better in 2017.) The hope is that I get around to reading these titles too. Maybe these posts will help you round out your TBR lists or fit a #26BOOKS prompt you have yet to fill.


Lucian Divine by Carlino (Jan 7th) - "Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day. And then he does." // Carlino is a one-click author for me. I have loved every single one of her books. I will be devouring this read this week while it storms outside. My kind of Heaven! 

Could work for: Published this year, With an epic romance, You choose because of the cover, Reputation for being "un-put-down-able," You can finish in a day



The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Johnson (Jan 10th) - "The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral. Johnson’s kaleidoscopic narrative exposes at every turn the real human beings beneath the high school stereotypes." // My own children will be entering an environment very similar to this one soon and I am all too aware of the inescapable influence social media has (will have) on them. I am intrigued to see how it all plays out in this fictionalized form.

Could work for: With yellow on the cover, Published this year, Outside of your comfort zone, Reputation for being "un-put-down-able




Carve the Mark by Roth (Jan 17th) - "On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?" // My admiration of Roth's Divergent series is no secret. I absolutely fell in love with the reality she created and the characters she shared. And then she devastated me with the final book. So, while I am thoroughly excited to see where her creative mind takes me next, the Fangirl in me is proceeding with caution! CLICK HERE to read the first chapter for free.

Could work for: About a place/time you wished you lived, Published this year, In a genre you generally avoid, Set in the future
By Your Side by West (31st) - "When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble." // Booknerd gets locked in the library with hot jock for the weekend? This book is bound to be full of ridiculous stereotypes and cheesy moments and that is exactly why I want to read it.

Could work for: You can finish in a day, Published this year, With an epic romance, Takes place someplace warm (they are bound to heat up that library, right?!) 







I hope you enjoy these titles! If you read any of them, please come back and leave a comment on your thoughts...I'd love to hear them. What books are you looking forward to reading soon?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pressed Juicery 3-Day Cleanse



In August I made a major life change and went gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free and (except on special occasions like birthdays or holidays) alcohol free. What precipitated this change is a story for another post, but I have never felt better. It hasn't been easy, but the way I feel is reason enough to keep me on track...At least when it's not Christmas and New Year's!! 

The last two weeks of December I fell off the wagon with a thud. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, flour tortillas, soda, wine and gin. All the gluten-y, sugary, caffeinated, alcoholic things! Within hours of eating gluten, I feel bloated and lethargic. If I don't immediately get back on track, within 48 hours, my joints ache, I have trouble sleeping and I get a persistent dull headache. You can imagine how I felt after 2 weeks of being off track! Compound that with the weight gain and energy loss that accompanies a diet of sugar and alcohol...I was desperate to feel better as quick as possible. 

Jan 2nd I marched into Press Juicery and bought three days worth of their Cleanse 1. I have never done a juice cleanse before, but did spend the better part of December learning about intermittent fasting and am used to drinking only liquids for an extended period of time.




What I liked about Pressed, is the accessibility. I appreciated being able to commit and implement without any prep or wait time! Knowing very little about what I wanted, other than to feel better, the girls at the shop were very helpful. They suggested I start with their cleanse for beginners and even offered to let me sample some of the cold-pressed juices I would be purchasing. If there was one I didn't like, they would switch it out for a comparable juice of a different flavor. Nice! I was sold. 

Cleanse 1 includes an almond milk in the morning, rich in proteins and complex carbohydrates to help keep first time cleansers feeling fuller longer. Cleanse 2 includes a juice in place of the morning almond milk and is marketed as their "most popular." Cleanse 3 is recommended for experienced cleansers, being their most intense and lowest calorie.




The juices that came in Cleanse 1 were:

#1 Vanilla Almond (almonds, dates, vanilla bean, sea salt)
#2 Greens 2 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon)
#3 Roots 2 (carrot, kale, romaine, spinach, parsley, apple, ginger) 

#4 Citrus 2 (pineapple, apple, lemon, mint) 
#5 Greens 3 (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, ginger)
#6 Chocolate Almond (

The cleanse also comes with aloe vera and chlorophyll waters. I had never tried either before, and honestly, these were the hardest of the cleanse for me to drink! The aloe helps soothe your digestive system and you are are supposed to drink it each night before bed. I felt like I was drinking pool water. The chlorophyll helps keep you full while detoxing and while its taste is mild, I felt like it was something out of the City of Oz. It is BRIGHT EMERALD GREEN!



The juices themselves all tasted fantastic. We own a Breville juicer and I make several bottles of "Mean Green" on a weekly basis. Several of these juices were similar in flavor. I am not a fan of beets, and I was afraid I was going to have to "grin and bear it" for at least one bottle over the course of the day, but I didn't! The Citrus 2 downright tastes like candy.


Day 1, I was surprised that I didn't feel hungry. In fact, I had to make myself finish all 8 bottles of liquid. I didn't work out this day and went to bed a reasonable hour. I flooded myself with water, afraid of a detox headache...but it never came. All things considered, it was an uneventful, easy start to my first cleanse.

Day 2, I woke and went to my 5am crossfit class. I expected to have less stamina than normal but that was not the case. I was definitely more hungry by midday than I had been on Day 1. I am pretty good about drinking at least half my weight in water each day, but I found myself reaching for it more often to curb my hunger. When it came time to cook dinner for the family, I was ravenous and tired. I ate a 100 calorie pack of cashews and half a cucumber sliced up to satiate myself. 

Day 3, it felt like I settled into a "new normal." I wasn't hungry. Perhaps because I knew real food was around the corner? I ran on the treadmill for 40 minutes in the late afternoon and it was laborious but doable. Interestingly - I began to crave the chlorophyll water. Enough so, that I went online and bought a bottle of chlorophyll drops for future consumption! 

Day after the Cleanse, I woke and went to my 5am crossfit class and felt like I had rocks in my shoes. I was definitely dragging. I couldn't wait to get home and EAT REAL FOOD! I weighed myself and I had lost 8lbs in 3 days. That's kinda crazy. I had a poached egg over roasted cauliflower and kale for breakfast, veggies and baked chicken for lunch and another juice for dinner. I was so full within a few bites each meal. 


Final Thoughts - within two days, I had gained back 4 of the 8lbs I had lost. Which is understandable. I didn't eat for three days! I think the cleanse was relatively easy for me because of the diet changes I had made prior to starting. Having already eliminated caffeine, gluten and refined sugars made it much more enjoyable! I think if you were used to your cup (or four) of coffee each morning, giving that up would be extremely hard. Regardless of the weight loss or gain, the cleanse was worth if for me because it was a legitimate restart for my system. I haven't felt any sugar or carb cravings since finishing and the bloat is GONE! Thank goodness. I am, once again, motivated to eat well and stay on track with my workouts. I am thinking about starting each month with a 3-day cleanse...it was that doable and beneficial.

MollyB LOVED the Vanilla Almond...so much so, I went and bought her her own on the final day of my cleanse. No way I was giving up my ONE taste of creamy goodness!!
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Friday, January 06, 2017

Fueling My Run

These are the songs on my January17 Running Playlist...


Starboy - What is this song even about? I'm scared to ask considering what The Weekend likes to lyric about. Even after googling the words I can't explain it you...all I know is that it makes me want to pop my shoulders mid run. And a well placed curse word every so often can be very energizing. // "Star Trek groove in that Wrath of Khan. Girls get loose when they hear this song." 

Only One - I am sucker for a song that has a strong beat and a builds to a pounding pace. This radio edit does not disappoint. // "We're moving fast, but time is slow...Baby you got me feeling like the Only One."

Just Hold On - I blame this one on my shameless love of One Direction and going to high school with Steve Aoki. I had to buy it. It's actually pretty fetching. // "So what do you want them to say when you're gone? That you gave up or that you kept going on?"

Fresh Eyes - Running side by side (in life and on treadmills) with the same person for the last 21 years of my life...the lyrics of this song speak to my heart. May we all see our partners with fresh eyes. // "Appreciation, well it comes and it goes. But I'll ride this wave with you. It's human nature to miss what's under your nose."

Play That Song - Because Chopsticks. And because we all have "that song" that makes us go all night long. // "Play that song...the one that makes me think of you."

Castle On The Hill - whuuuuut? Ed Sheeran dropped two new singles yesterday and this one is all the heart eye emojis I can type. Driving beat + great hook + beautiful bridge = my new favorite. It's one of those life affirming power ballads that only Sheeran's raspy voice can lend legitimacy to. // "I'm on my way, driving at 90 down those country lanes. Singing to 'Tiny Dancer'...and I miss the way you make me feel, and it's real." 

Don't Wanna Know - I. Can't. Stop. Singing. This. Song. What is about Levine?...every damn song is so damn catchy. It must be the repetition. And the tattoos. // "I don't wanna know, know, know who's taking you home, home home and loving you so, so, so the way I used to do, do, do."

Let Me Love You - because my 2016 Resolution was to never lose faith in The Biebs again and it's the only resolution I've ever managed to keep. "Don't fall asleep at the wheel. We've got a million miles ahead of us." 

Water Under The Bridge - When I wanna quit I turn this one up. Adele has a way of schooling her subject without sounding angry. She is woman hear her roar. It makes me squint my eyes and mouth the words and punch the air and push through those last 3 minutes at an 10% incline. "It's so cold out here in your wilderness. I want you to be my keeper, but not if you are so reckless." 
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Matt and I were on side by side treadmills yesterday at the gym, but he didn't want a picture with me. You think it was my attire? LOL Can Baby Girl release some new music please?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

5 Resolutions


I am always hesitant to make New Year's Resolutions because I literally NEVER keep them. So now they carry with them a weight of impending failure. Before I begin, I feel like I've already fallen behind. I have weird #issues, but, as I age mature, I've learned to just accept them and work WITH my quirks rather than fight against them. 

In that fashion, I've been approaching my goals differently lately. Rather than set a date or finish line for myself, I've been doing my best to refocus my energy on the NOW. I still have end goals in terms of my weight, my book, what I feed my brain and mouth and heart...but they are no longer my motivation. They are just milestones I know I will eventually reach.

Those end goals, however are lofty and there is a heck of a whole lot I want to squeeze into and get out of 2017. In order to be successful, I've committed to keeping the following five sweeping "resolutions."

Start Where You Are
I am pretty much never going to be ready for anything. Matt likes to joke that on nights when we go out and I holler from our bathroom that "I'm ready, let's go!" he knows he has at least another five to ten minutes before I am truly ready. His reply has come to be, "Is your hand on the door?" No. No it is not. My hand is never on the door. There is always one more thing I can squeeze in, put in place, or perfect before I am ready. What I've come to understand, however, is that when I approach my goals with this mentality, I waste a monster amount of time, energy and head space on "getting ready." I need to use this for getting it DONE instead.

Start Where You Are.

For me, that means, making it to the gym even when I am uncomfortable in my workout wear. 
Writing the blog post even if I don't have the perfect pictures.
Reading the book even if it doesn't fit a prompt.
Calling my sister even if I only have 2 minutes to talk.
Authoring 1000 words a day even if I delete them all in the end.
Going out with my husband just because and with no plan. OMG.

Enjoy the Journey
My love of Miley is no secret, so why has it taken me this long to figure out it's not about the destination, it's The Climb? It's true there is always gonna be another mountain. Life is a series of attempts and tries and then trying again. Even in success, there is so much more to be found, learned and appreciated in what got you there than the actual win. When I focus solely on the end goal, I easily get lost and discouraged. Finding joy and reward in the daily grind has made a huge difference in my energy and motivation to stay on track. Am I where I want to be? No. Is anyone? I imagine even when I get there, I will want to move again. Enjoying the journey helps me to stay focused on the moment.

Enjoy the Journey.

For me, that means, pushing myself physically and have it feel good rather than disappointing.
Being excited to try new foods rather than sorry I can't eat certain things I used to love.
Turning the music up real loud and singing along as I drive back and forth to kids sports and events.
Reading in the carpool line.
Appreciating all I have penned and allowing it to inspire me rather than contribute to my writer's block.
Turning another night at home into two steaks and a Redbox rather than me with a book and he with the remote.
Being happy with less. Inspired by the mundane. Fulfilled from within.

Celebrate Small Victories
Rewards feel good. Rewards encourage behavior. Hello? I have a degree in Clinical Psychology...you think I would remember the general premise of Pavlov and his dogs even it's just my overactive Id at work. Reward yourself and your good behavior and you will succeed. I am impatient and I am not competitive. Two things I think work to my disadvantage when it comes to goal setting. If I waited to reward myself until I got to the final finish line...I'd never finish. I get distracted and discouraged and honestly, I just start a new race. I find a new finish line. This leads to too many balls in the air at once and nothing ever accomplished well. And that feels gross!! Small rewards for accomplishing micro-goals keep me motivated and focused on the macro-goal.

Celebrate Small Victories.

For me, that means, buying new running shoes because I've made it to the gym for the past month.
Ordering gluten free pizza and loving every bite after a successful two weeks of intermittent fasting. 
Adding fresh flowers to the grocery cart after meal planning and shopping for the week.
Making dinner reservations because all the laundry is folded and the beds are made and TGIF!

Get It Right, Right Now
"Get it right, Right Now" is actually a line from my book, and while it's really not all that original, the meaning of it between the two brothers and ultimately the entire story arc is what makes it so dear to me. I can't control much, but I can control the choices I make one by one. Maybe I didn't make the best choices yesterday, or this morning, or even 5 minutes ago. But I can choose to make the right choice right now. I don't need to get it right 100% of the time. I just need to get it right, right now. 

Get It Right, Right Now. 

For me, that means, ignoring the voice in my head every morning that says, "Hit snooze. You can work out extra hard tomorrow."
 Choosing the healthy, green, gluten free thing to put in my mouth.
Writing, writing, writing.
Turning off the computer and putting down the phone and listening.
Staying connected to, praying for and making time to be with my girlfriends.
Supporting my Burns in the best way I know how - feeding their bodies, minds and souls.
Choosing LOVE every time.

Love Yourself
"Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." -Lucille Ball
It's seems so simple, but it's so hard. Why is that? Why are we always our own worst critic? I can have five people at a party tell me they love my top and I still think to myself, "But I need my roots done and I don't like my butt in these jeans and I wish I had gotten a manicure before tonight." STOP THE MADDNESS!!! This might be the hardest one for me because there are no clear boxes to check or "micro-goals" to reward myself for when I get it right. But I am working on changing the voice in my head. I like myself. I REALLY DO!! So I need to start talking to myself just as I would anyone else I love. Which is to say, "You're perfect to me."

Love Yourself. 

For me, that means, Grace Grace Grace.
Finding more things I do like in the mirror than I don't.
Rejoicing that I have a body and heart that allow me to be move. 
Giving myself hours of un-productivity without guilt.
Making the mammogram, dentist, and ophthalmologist appts I have been putting off.
Going to bed earlier.
I am a priority and I am a better me when I believe this.

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Happy New Year, Friends! It is my prayer that 2017 surprises us all and is one of our best yet. Are you in the habit of making yearly resolutions? Are you good at keeping them? How do my 5 resonate with you?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Life is GOOD


I came across this article and it gave me the chills. I don't know what started this habit in our family...but for as long as we've been sitting around a table with children that could carry a conversation we have asked the same question at dinnertime. 

We call it "Share your Good" and as the kids have grown, Matt has also added the prompt (forever the teacher) "Share one thing you learned today." 

I love how the brothers in the article said, "As simple as mom's words were, they changed the energy in the room...before we knew it, we were all riffing on the best, funniest, or most bizarre part of our day."

This happens around our table too and it has allowed for some of our best times together as a family. The sharing what they have learned has also led Megan to help Molly with a report or Molly to help Wyatt with some Math problems. These conversations also make it much easier for the invariable fart or poop or Lake Titicaca comment that ALWAYS still seems to work it's way into our dinnertime roll of my back! 

I don't know if our children will grow up to own their own $100 million companies someday, or if our dinnertime conversation will one day influence thousands of employees, but it is encouraging to know they are being raised in an environment that has fostered such things. 

"Optimism is a courageous choice you can make every day, especially in the face of adversity."

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