So It’s Been Two Years

I realized it’s been little over two years since I have used this and I miss it. I can’t say I will be consistent but I will at least try to be thorough with my life.

 

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Water Wednesday: Failure with Ounces and Polar Bottle Love Revisited

I did a wonderfully beautiful job with my Water Pledge in January, my February has been drastically different. The most water I get is at the 20+ ounces at the gym. My body is feeling/showing it as well especially in the weight loss department. I have got to get back on track. I know it is tied to a change in schedule. The only thing I really can do is just try to adjust and start holding myself accountable again with trackers, alarms etc. In many ways this could be Water Pledge redux.

A few Wednesdays ago I wrote an ode to my Polar Bottle and I can report my love for them only grows. Last night I popped the dishes into the dishwasher and went about my evening tasks. I was hunkered down in my bed trying to update my workout playlist. I had my netbook on the bed so I just assumed the hot smell was the laptop. I did my thing and finally closed my laptop, but the hot smell didn’t go away and it smelled like candles.

I went around smelling every room but couldn’t discover the source. I was drying pillows but that wasn’t it. Nor was the candle I lit earlier still burning. What on earth was that? I kick myself now for not opening and examining the dishwasher. Oh yes, that is where this is going!

I was washing both the Polar Bottles and their lids and one of the lids jumped ship and landed on the coils at the bottom. Words could not describe the disappointment level that swept through our household when we discovered that melted piece of plastic.

Well, heck what are we to do? Buying a bottle for the lid was silly. All the other lids don’t fit (had a bit of a Goldilocks moment. Too big. Too small.)

I finally got on my phone. I am old enough to remember what it was like before the internet and smart phones and how did we ever live? Googled “Polar Bottle Lid Replacement”.

First result was for FREE lid replacement through the company, no questions asked. Fill out the form and voila. Seriously, FREE? They have a lifetime guarantee on them which includes replacement lids for no cost, not even shipping. Holy heck, I love this company.

Now the hard part is the 5+ day excruciating wait whilst I suffer through an inferior product until my lid gets here. Seriously, invest in a Polar Bottle, NOW!

The Tale of Two Kitties

Two wonderful little cats allow us to share their space in this house. We have the shy, little girl cat named Chloe Isabelle and the boisterous boy and part mountain lion (I kid) named Pasha.

Chloe at Christmas

Chloe at Christmas

Chloe came to live with us through Le Hubs brother who thought he was moving and couldn’t afford to take the cat. She was never mistreated just never really got the attention she needed and it caused her to be a little shy. It took her few months after joining use to even learn her name.

Pet Me!

Pet Me!

Pasha tagged along when my middle sister for some reason or another ended up living with us. I kid that he is a part mountain lion because this cat is GIGANTIC.

I knew that it would be difficult to get the two cats to be around each other. Chloe was used to being alone and Pasha was used to having a dog as a playmate. Our first attempt looked like it was going alright but than Chloe just flipped and got very vicious towards me and my husband. Okay, so that is a no go. We than kept Pasha down in the basement, but I always felt bad because he never did seem to get the attention he really needed.

We tried to let him out and that worked for awhile until the last time he got out. It resulted in him getting bit by something and it coming infected. He got really sick and the vet suggested we bring him upstairs to keep a better eye on him. Plus the basement is a bit dirty. We were doing perfectly fine until Pasha started healing and using his litter box more.

"I do not like the cone of shame"

“I do not like the cone of shame”

Most of their interactions have been with a door between them but it is only a matter of time that one either escapes the room or gets into the room. I am just not sure what to do. I would absolutely adore being able to get the two to become buddies but you certainly can’t force an anti-social animal, especially a cat to accept another thing vying for your attention.

I am also not 100% sure how much longer Pasha will be up here in the guest bedroom. It would be nice to have him up here but boy does that cat have the worst poo smell ever. It will literally knock you out if you aren’t careful. Scooping daily is a great option but than what do you do with the poop. Keeping it in the room is a no go, you can’t just put it in your regular trash. Yes, putting out in the outside trash dealy is an option but in certain weather options not the best one.

I know they make  a litter genie which works just like a diaper genie and I covet one for both the cats. The price however, I do not covet. I wish we could get refills for his automatic litter box dealy but man those things are not cheap.

Do you have any suggestions on convincing the two kitties to play nice? A cheap, economical way to keep the nasty litter box smells away? Any advice at all?

Finally Found an Elliptical I Can Stand…err Sit

Did you know that a sitting elliptical was a thing? I didn’t have a clue, at least not until just recently. One day I was making my journey back to my new favorite stationary bikes and a woman furiously pumping her arms in a recumbent bike position caught my eye. Wait; is that a bike elliptical type thing? It took me a few more gym visits to give it try (mostly because I thought there was only one – there are actually three) and it felt great.

 

I was doing a combo cardio and strength day last night because for the first time in a month we didn’t go for a day so my ride was a short one. It was a little awkward at first trying to coordinate my arms and my legs but once I finally got into a rhythm it felt great. I really liked the option/workout buster of just using your arms or just your legs. Really switched it up and got my heart pumping. In the 18 minutes of my workout I burned over 100 calories. Comparing that to the usual 150-170 I burn on the exercise bike in half an hour.

 

What is this magical piece of equipment I speak of, you ask?

xR6000 - Octane Fitness

Click to visit the manufactures website

 

The xR600 by Octane Fitness.

 

I had tried one of their regular standing elliptical and although it didn’t annoy my hips/knees as much as the others I had tried I could only go for about five minutes. I liked the way it made me feel I forced my husband to give it a try. He even said he might start rotating it in. I plan to do just that. Either every other cardio day or maybe on those days I am a little less careful with my carbs. I am only human.

 

It is a giant relief to finally have found an elliptical that I doesn’t make me want to jump off a building. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but whoever said ellipticals are good for people with bad knees must not have accounted for bad-kneed short people. Take a torture device and tune it up about a million watts and you get how standing elliptical make me feel. A rhythm cannot be found!

 

In other fitness related news, I am about two-three pounds away (it depends on which scales starting weight) from having lost 10 lbs. At my current rate I am losing around the 2 lbs/week which is the recommended amount. I can handle that. 

It’s February Already?

Holy crackers, where in the world did January go? Didn’t we just celebrate the coming of the New Year, no seriously, wasn’t that like yesterday. Where on earth did last month go?
January was a month of getting fit and staying hydrated, I did a pretty good job at both. I lost around 6 lbs which was pretty on course for the three weeks I really went at it. I also successfully chugged down 80 or more ounces of water for the month, I hope, I got a bit sloppy with my record keeping near the end of the month.
We are also semi-interneted right now, so that will make this whole blog thing mucho easier…at least on the ease of posting side. I was writing all my entries on my phone but that can get tiring and is hard to edit. Hopefully with easier editing and all that jazz I will actually get an entry in daily. Without further ado, here are some pictures from the last month in a lovely collage type layout.

OR NOT…at least for now, I forgot my pictures are unaccessable at this moment. Alas I shall rectify that and get an update on here. Go me!

((EDIT)) Here are those pictures.

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TL: My New Years Day consisted of breaking a toilet, snow, coffee and Chloe snuggles
TR: Kitty-cat noses look like hearts
BL: Handsome Pasha before his ordeal with a doggy.
BR: Showcasing the cover I made my husband, DJ Schuby for his recent disc release.

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TL: Busted out my sewing machine to make…
TR: this armband dealie to hold my mp3 when I work out
BL: Chloe loves lazy Sundays
BR: Pasha had to wear the cone of shame after being attacked by a dog.

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2012 (and a Few I Thought Weren’t That Great)

Fridays here at Books, Booze and Baking shall hence forth be called Fiction Fridays. On this glorious day the topic will be well books. To start off this grand 2013, I will go over the top ten books I read in 2012 and add in some I didn’t think were that great.

These are in no particular order.

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
I really didn’t know much about this book going in but I saw it going through the library, than it popped up here and there around the internet. I set a request for a hold through the library and waited. The second I started the book I was hooked, I craved to know what was next. The story seemed well developed and researched and I found myself forgetting it was just a fiction. This was by far my all time favorite read of 2012, I highly suggest you do not let this gem slip away.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Ruben
I am not even sure this blog would exist if it wasn’t for this book, to be honest. This was another book that I found mostly because I kept seeing it roll through the library and I was curious. Within twenty pages I was ready to start my own version of the Happiness Project and knew it was going to be a Christmas gift for a few people. I would suggest this for someone who wants to get an idea on what they can do to better themselves and finally feel happy.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Holy misdirection batman, but that is pretty much all I can say about this novel without giving it completely away. This novel just left me speechless. It was a dark, gritty and will leave you digesting it long after you finish it.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I would not be completely lying if I didn’t tell you it was because the film was being released that I read this book. It had been on my Banned Book Week Too Read list for many years and the movie coming out finally gave me the push to just read it. I really enjoyed following the coming-of-age journey of Charlie. I highly suggest dipping into this read, it won’t be a laugh riot but certainly an adventure.

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
I am and always will be a Potterhead until the day I die. Always. So of course I had to get my hands on her newest book, even if it wasn’t going to take me on a journey with Harry Potter. I can tell you that she can write. It may have been a bit slow but once I was finally able to give it the time it needed I had to know how it all worked out. Rowling seems to not leave anything unturned and you will feel like you have always been a member of Pagford.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stiegg Larsson
I was late to this party, but that is kind of how life works sometimes. I am still really trying to digest this book but Larsson seemed like an author plucked before his time. It was dark, probably not suited for everybody but a great read.

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
This is book is the first in a series by Patrick Ness called Chaos Walking. I saw a reference to somewhere or another and gave it a gander. Holy heck, I am still not even sure what happened but that is what made it so interesting. In a world where woman are practically non-existent and men can hear each and even the animals thoughts you just don’t know what is going to happen. I urge you to take a gander at the description and give a go. It is not one for everybody and seems to be one of those books that you either really like or really hate, but where is the hurt in trying. To be on the safe side, why don’t you borrow it from a friend or a library and see for yourself. 

Cinder – Marissa Meyer
It’s Cinderella retold and this time our Cinderella is a cyborg. It was a bit predictable but the story moves on in a way that keeps you coming back for more. The next book “Scarlet” in the Lunar Chronicles comes out in less than a month and I cannot wait to get my hands it. Seriously chomping at the bit and am very upset the library doesn’t yet seem to have it available. Meyer did a masterful job of adding a sci-fy update to the classic. 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathon Safran Foer
In short, it ripped my heart out, replaced it tenderly than yanked it back out. A roller-coaster ride that had my laughing, crying, gasping and every other emotion there is.

Bubbles Unbound – Sarah Strohmeyer
This book made my list because on how surprised I was by it. I decided to give this book a try because it fulfilled a 50 states mystery challenge I had given myself for the state of Pennsylvania. But with a charactor description such as “gum-snapping hairdresser with Barbie-doll curves pinched into hot pants and a tube top” for your main character you just am not sure how it is going to go. I really enjoyed this book, the first, of the series that when I can devote the time I would love to read the rest in the series. Imagine it as a blonder and far more ditsy version of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum with maybe a bit of a dip of Paretsky’s Warshawski. Its a fun little mystery, perfect for the beach.

Now for those books that I suffered through or just had to let go unfinished:

  • I will read the Stephanie Plum novels until they disappear but I BEG that Evanovich quits going off on these random tangents or just let the series DIE as soon as possible. The last four of five just left me so confused or shaking my head that only because I want to see what trouble Plum is going to get into is the ONLY reason I keep going. I am in line for number Nineteen and I hope that this one isn’t like the others.
  • Mum’s the Word – Kate Collins I couldn’t even get through this book entirely. I didn’t feel for the characters, the mystery seemed a little forced. Just say no, I love a good cozy mystery and one around a flower shop would be great, but this one wasn’t for me.
  • Alice in Zombieland – Gena Showalter This book passed through my hands at the library and it sounded like it had potential. I wish I had NEVER heard of this book. First off it had nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland and it felt like it was written by a Twilight hungry thirteen year old. PASS!
  • Dexter is Delicious – Jeff Lindsay I love Dexter and when I discovered the show was based on some books I had to give them a gander. The first four were good, the fifth one was on a whole other plan. It wasn’t bad but if number six doesn’t give me something I wash my hands of the book series and will stick with the show

There you have it. What else can I say?

Next week expect a few reviews for whatever I have read by then. 

Books, Booze and Baking (and the Water Pledge)

We are well into 2013 and it is high time I got this blog officially off and rolling. I have been hemming and hawing over the details for the last two weeks and I am starting to get sick of it. The biggest thing I have been stressing over is the name. Books, Booze and Baking was the first thing to pop into my head and it was silly of me to fight it. In all my years of decision making going with the first thing I think about has rarely steered me wrong. This realization changed my life really because I am notorious for poor decision making; agonizing over every detail and weighing every outcome. Picking a meal at a restaurant is often impossible for me but that is neither here nor there right now.

What exactly is Books, Booze and Baking going to mean, you ask? It really should be called Books, Booze, Baking and Beyond but that seems like rather a mouthful.

Here is the run down:

Books
This part probably seems rather self-explanatory. I will discuss, review and facilitate topics about books. I adore reading. I can’t even begin to imagine my life without the written word and am constantly juggling two or more books. This will be a place for reviews of whatever I just finished, author discussions and eventually as we settle in an online book club of sorts. More information will be forthcoming as things get more solid.

Booze
I think honestly this is mostly here because I loved the alliteration of it but might as well make use of it. I am not a huge drinker by any means but I do have a soft spot for craft brews especially the homegrown Boulevard line of beers and I always have a bottle or two of wine in my fridge. My question to you is that as a reader what sort of topics  would you like me to cover for this section?

Baking
I doubt this will ever turn into a recipe blog but that doesn’t mean I won’t discuss whatever recipe I am currently attempting, although an occasional original recipe may be posted throughout this blog journey. I am a rather adventurous cook and in many ways would rather try to make something in my home instead of purchasing it pre-made. In a couple of days I am going to give homemade fig newtons a try, so that should be interesting. The husband and I are also slowing easing our way into a more Paleo way of life and I will go into greater detail at a later date.

Don’t forget “the Beyond”
I am also in the very slow and arduous but ultimately rewarding process of building a home business. I opened an etsy site a few months back but sales have been a bit dismal, it is difficult to difficult to stand out in a crowd of many. So look out for forthcoming tutorials, current projects and all things craft/creative related.
Beyond here can also mean just random discussions about whatever seems pertinent to me at the moment take my love of British television or my swan collection or my journey through my version of the Happiness Project or whatever. This is the all goes topic area, I can however promise to avoid such topics of religion or politics. I have my opinions on both but here is not the right place to air either of them.

Now that you know a little more about what to expect lets jump into the first topic; Drinking Water.

Water and I have never been very close friends, we have flitting relationships here and there but mostly I would rather reach for something with a little bit of flavor. This goes beyond the sugary soda (which I really don’t drink much anymore anyway) but the flavored coffees –addicted to hazelnut flavored coffee-, juice, sports drinks, tea; pretty much anything that isn’t water. This results in me constantly feeling dehydrated. I don’t think I have been properly hydrated in ten years. Yes, I am well aware of what I am doing to my body and all the benefits getting your daily recommended amount of water can do for you.

I just find water so plain, so boring. But that has got to change, especially now with Hubs and I receiving memberships to Lifetime Fitness for Christmas. I came up with something called the Water Pledge which I am going to take and I urge you to do the same.

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How you derive your required amount of ounces is entirely up to you. You could go with your across the board belief of eight glasses at eight ounces each totaling 64 ounces or google a Hydration Calculator and determine your recommended amount that way. According to one calculator I should consume 116.5 ounces of water a day another 120 ounces. That seems like a ridiculously large amount of water, for the sake of my sanity I think will cap it at 80 ounces for a week straight and see how I feel and evaluate than. This may seem to contradict the above pledge a bit but as someone who may consume no more than maybe eight ounces of water in a day, 120 just seems like a grand and lofty goal. 80 is about ten times the amount I normally get in a day.

Remember this is your pledge and you can do it however. Stick with the 64 ounces and increase as you see fit or go all in and try for the number from the calculator. The real aim of this exercise is to create a water habit for the future and beyond.

I hope you join me and start out down the road for a better way of life.

I will discuss my progress and my manor of keeping track next Wednesday, which shall henceforth be called “Water Wednesday”.

Let’s do this!