Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Let's Really Run a 5k


I think this is my third, or fourth, attempt at c25k (couch to 5k) and I'm determined to stick with it until the end this time. As soon as winter was behind us (or so I thought) I started C25k again, as it turned out, spring never really showed up and the weather has still been pretty cold and rainy. I feel like I can't complain because it's better than snow/ice/freezing rain every other day, but it's still really cold. This week finally looks like we might get some 60 degree days and sunshine!

Week One (60 seconds jogging | 90 seconds walking x8)
I was surprised with how easy this was for me-- and by easy I mean I was able to run each segment of the running portion. The first time I tried this program I couldn't even run all of the running portions.

Week Two (90 seconds jogging | 2 minutes walking x6)
The weather was not so great this week-- it was cold, but it was still pretty good and I managed (just barely sometimes) to run during all of the designated jogging times. The third day of this week was definitely the hardest.

My goals for April are pretty simple-- to continue and keep on track with c25k and to incorporate some yoga and hopefully we'll finally be able to get in a few good bike rides. I was previously looking into an April or May 5k, but now I think I'm shooting for the beginning of June depending on how the next couple of weeks go.

What training/exercise goals do you have for April? Link up with Tracy and Alyssa to share your plans.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Better Than Before: a review


So remember when my goal for 2015 was simply to be better? I had heard about Gretchen Rubin's new book Better Than Before a few months ago and I think I entered a Goodreads giveaway or two and then I kind of forgot about it. When I was browsing the Blogging For Books website and saw it pop up, I immediately requested it to review. I was a big fan of Rubin's The Happiness Project so I imagined I would enjoy Better Than Before just as much, if not more.

To sum up what the book is about very shortly it's about how habits impact our lives and the importance of finding habits that suit each of us.

I don't know how many times I read a blog post or see an instagram photo of someone eating a million healthy things and think to myself: "why can't I just get into that habit?" Or how does this person manage to get up two hours early every morning when I struggle to roll out of bed no matter how hard I try?

"There's no magic formula-- not for ourselves, and not for the people around us. We won't make ourselves more creative or productive by copying other people's habits...we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best." 

The book definitely reads more as research full of her facts and findings, but as someone who could possibly read social science research articles all day long, I loved that component to the book. Rubin takes her thoughts and questions and fleshes them out using real world examples that almost anyone can find a way to relate. On that same note, I felt like certain topics were too examined and I lost a little bit of interest during those points.

One chapter that stood out to me the most was on loopholes (nothing stays in vegas | loophole-spotting). As I was reading it I kept thinking oh man this is totally me. She mentions the tomorrow loophole, where we completely forgo what we're trying to achieve because we'll start tomorrow. Something like, tomorrow I'll start a budget so today I might as well buy everything, kind of thinking. Or, tomorrow I'm going to cut back on desserts so I might as well eat this entire box of cookies today. She goes on through the chapter mentioning many other loopholes that I could just as easily relate to in some way.

Overall, I don't know that reading this book will completely solve your problems when it comes to forming better habits, but I can almost guarantee it will give you better insight into why you make the choices you make when it comes to mastering habits.

"Perfection may be an impossible goal, but habits help us to do better. Making headway toward a good habit, doing better than before, saves us from facing the end of another year with the mournful wish, once again, that we'd done things differently." 

Have you read any of Rubin's books? Are you a fan of personal development/self help books?


I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review, my opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The First Books of 2015


According to my Goodreads 2015 challenge I'm currently 2 books behind to achieve my goal for the year (50 books!), but I'm optimistic I can catch up one of these months. Out of all of the books I've read so far this year Girl in Translation and A Small Indiscretion were my two favorites that I easily recommend.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Within the first few pages I knew I was going to love this story. It's written wonderfully to the point where you can picture everything Kwok is describing and you really gain an understanding of how Kimberly must have felt. The story was heartbreaking at times as you follow Kimberly try and adjust to her new life.

A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison
At nineteen, Annie Black abandons California for a London winter of drinking to oblivion and looking for love in the wrong places. Twenty years later, she is a happily married mother of three living in San Francisco. Then one morning, a photograph arrives in her mailbox, and an old obsession is awakened. After a return trip to London, Annie’s marriage falters, her store floods, and her son, Robbie, takes a night-time ride that nearly costs him his life. Now Annie must fight to save her family by untangling the mysteries of that reckless winter in Europe that drew an invisible map of her future. With the brilliant pacing and emotional precision that won Jan Ellison an O. Henry Prize for her first published story, A Small Indiscretion announces a major new voice in suspense fiction as it unfolds a story of denial, obsession, love, forgiveness—and one woman’s reckoning with her own fateful mistakes.

This book wasn't what I was expecting in the best of ways! It's told from Annie's point of view in letter form to her adult son, who you learn right away has been seriously injured in an accident. The story goes between past and present, but it's extremely easy to follow and I found myself captivated in both sets of the story. Part I focuses more on Annie's life in London with Part II focusing more on how everything is tied together. While a few parts were predictable, I was completely wrapped up in the story. I hope Ellison writes more novels in the future. [c/o netgalley]


The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes: The story follows four women from Australia who are traveling on an aircraft carrier to England to be reunited with their husbands they married during wartime.

It wasn't quite as captivating as Me Before You or One Plus One to me, but I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction. Moyes uses multiple points of view, which gives great insight into each of the characters, but it was hard to follow at times. [c/o netgalley]

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Confessions of a Shopaholic & Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella: Becky Bloomwood has a major shopping addiction and the series follows her through all of her ups and downs in her career, relationships, and life in general.

I've still only read the first two in the series but these books are light and silly and definitely not to be taken too seriously. I prefer the second book to the first

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Big Little Lies by Lianne Moiriarty: This is another book with multiple main characters and points of view throughout the story. It follows three mothers who all have children enrolled at the same school. There's a lot of mommy-talk and dialogue in general, but there's also an overall suspenseful element. You know someone dies at the end, though you don't know who it will be, and there was another big twist!

I had a really hard time getting into this book and I found it read really slow despite it being an easy read. I'm sure the ending was obvious to some people but I was so completely shocked and surprised that I literally sat up in bed with my jaw dropped-- did not see it coming!

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One Night by AJ Pine: The story focuses on Jess, a college student with a difficult past as she falls for a popular athlete. It also closely examines her friendships, and her relationship with herself.

This one is classified as contemporary romance and new adult, which isn't my typical genre but I'm glad I requested it from Netgalley. On the one hand it's very chicklit like, but at the same time it covers some really heavy topics. My one complaint is that it felt like a whole lot of emotion was happening in a very short time frame, which didn't seem all that realistic to me, but still an enjoyable read with wonderful characters. [c/o netgalley]

What have you read recently? Any new favorites?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Favorite Blue & Green Polishes for Spring

 

Last year I was obsessed with all things light blue once springtime rolled around. This year I'm really just loving color in general, but when it comes to nail polish I really like a good blue/green shade. I pulled a few of my favorites out of my collection and thought I would share them in a blog post. 

L'Oreal nail polishes are some of my favorite from the drugstore. If you've never tried one before and you're a fan of nail polish I definitely recommend picking one or two up the next time you're at Ulta or Target. It looks like pistachio dream was a limited edition color, but it's the perfect pale blue-green. (I think China Glaze's re-fresh mint might be a good dupe-- just slightly more green.)

It took me forever to try one of the Sally Hansen Salon Manicure polishes and I have no idea why because I had heard nothing but good things. Mojito didn't disappoint and it's a really pretty green that isn't too green. 

Essie polishes really are not my favorite when it comes to formula and longevity, but because they seem to have the greatest shade selection that doesn't seem to keep me from picking up one or two every once in a while. Turquoise & Caicos is a classic for a reason- the perfect turquoise (duh), find me an oasis is a really pretty super pale blue where mezmerised is a bright royal blue. 


Are you a fan of blue or green nail polishes? What are your favorite?

Also, a huge thank you to everyone who took my survey from my last post! If you haven't taken it yet, I would love if you took a few seconds to answer a few questions about my blog -->> survey here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five for Thursday


1. I got to meet up with Alyssa, Kristen, and Tracy last weekend! Meeting blog friends was every bit as fun as everyone makes it out to be. So weird how it's not really weird at all when you finally "meet" people in person if that makes any sense.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring & Summer Shoes on my Mind

I know a lot of people can relate when I say I am so happy spring is finally on the horizon! I've been doing quite a bit of pretend online shopping and all of these shoes keep making an appearance.



Almost more than a wedge, I'm loving a stacked mid-heel this year. Leopard flats and leopard heels are the perfect shoe for almost any outfit, the leopard sandal too?

Speaking of wedges, I do really love this Nine West pair-- if nude isn't your thing they come in fun bright colors too.

I'm not sure what it is about both of these flats, but I'm in love. I don't know that I even realized that UGG made non-boots, but they have a lot of quite nice looking sandals and more summery shoes- the Izabel Mar flats are just so pretty.  I need a better pair of leopard flats and these from Sole Society the the t-strap make the regular flat just a little bit different.
I ordered this dress (in navy) from Target, hoping it would be the perfect easy, cute, comfortable dress but it was a tad too long and the bottom half had too much material so it wasn't the most flattering. I'm looking for something similar-- preferably navy and white, what/where are your suggestions???

What are your favorite shoes for this time of the year? If you can't tell, I'm on a nude/neutral kick, but would love to hear all of your favorites.

(linking up for trendy wednesday)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pass or Purchase Again?

It has been over a year since I've posted about my recent empties, but I love reading Nadia's trash talk posts so I thought I'd reintroduce some empties into the blog. This is also good motivation to use up products I have and a good way to review products that I liked even if they weren't favorite material.