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Friday, August 04, 2017

5 Things I Love Right Now

1. Leftovers. There's nothing better than going home for lunch and having leftovers waiting.

2. Sitting on my new porch every available moment. Mike and I built a large porch in place of our dinky useless one this spring and I spend time out there looking at the river every single day. I'm already shopping for an outdoor heater for fall.

3. Le Tote. Trish had told me about it, and then Mike heard about it and thought I'd love it, and turns out he was right. I LOVE having new clothes all the time and it's definitely turning me into a snob about quality.

4. Blue Raspberry Spark.  I am trying to find some kind of afternoon snack that keeps me out of the bucket of jelly beans in the office kitchen. I'm the kind of person who can eat the same thing for days on end, so I'm looking for an easy drink mix (so it's more interesting than the water I drink all day) and a smallish food item. I haven't figured out the food yet, but Blue Raspberry Spark is looking like the drink winner.  For the record, I don't like the other flavors so much, so I was surprised to like this one.

5. France. Or rather, Lauren's obsession with Paris, France and the Eiffel Tower. We are going to redo her bedroom for her birthday this month (her 7th, can you believe it???) in a Paris theme.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook by Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine

My running has recently taken a turn for the serious (gulp!) and part of that includes being aware of my diet and not just eating everything that sounds good. This popped up on NetGalley and I thought I'd at least take a look. I have no interest in being vegetarian, but wouldn't mind cutting out about half the meat I currently eat.

Here's the description, from Amazon:

A Sports Illustrated Best Health and Wellness Book of 2017

From the founder of No Meat Athlete: plant-based recipes packed with nutrition to help athletes perform better and recover faster

A fast-growing global movement, No Meat Athlete (NMA) is inspiring everyone from weekend joggers to world-class competitors to be healthier and fitter and perform better on whole plant foods. Written by NMA founder Matt Frazier and longtime health coach, yoga teacher, and nutrition writer Stepfanie Romine, The No Meat Athlete Cookbook features 150 whole food, vegan recipes that are affordable and quick to get on the table, even on busy nights. Here are:
Breakfasts to power you up (Almond Butter–Banana Pancakes), mains that aid recovery (Beet Bourguignon), and natural sports drinks, portables, energy bites, and bars (V9, Umeboshi Electrolyte Drink, Calorie Bomb Cookies) to take you further and help you get the most from every workout
Minimal gluten, soy, and sweeteners, plus oil-free options throughout (ideal for followers of the Forks Over Knives diet)
Meal-planning guidelines, nutritional info, adaptable “blueprint” recipes—and more!

I had to download this one as a .pdf, which was in itself a pain in the rear, but once I had it found it to be great cookbook. I made a few notes in my bullet journal, as well as jotting down a couple recipes to try later. (That darn time limit on NetGalley .pdfs practically guarantees the book will be gone by the time I am ready to try the recipe!) My notes are in bullet form, as they are below.

  • The pictures are really pretty, and actually make me want to try the food. It's not just one plate of greens after another!
  • All the recipes contain a vegan option, but the book is very clear that the way to get there is slowly. Cut out one product at a time, going cold turkey on all animal products is hard. This is totally a non-preachy style intro to vegetarian meals. I hate the cookbooks that lecture me first.
  • Most recipes do have a lot of ingredients, which is a turn off for me. That said, almost all of look like something I'd be willing to eat, and not nearly as "weird" as most vegetarian books are.
  • I loved the "Blueprint Meals" which are more of a general guideline than an actual recipe. For example "A grain, a green and a bean" following by examples of potential combinations.
  • There is an entire chapter devoted to fuel and recovery from workouts. I loved that.
I wrote down three recipes to try: Caribbean Coconut Collards & Sweet Potatoes (I can't resist coconut or sweet potatoes),  Smoky Potato Salad (no mayo!) and Cucumber- Lime Electrolyte Drink.  I'm hoping that I'll try them out sooner rather than later, and I'll let you know what I think.

The No Meat Athlete comes out on May 16, and while I haven't seen a print copy, I have no problems recommending it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Wow, I've been gone a while. I've been otherwise occupied in my free time. 

Five more running things I'd really like

These Brooks Chaser shorts. I prefer shorts that will hold my phone and I'd love to try these. That price tag tho!

A pair of Oofos sandals. They are ugly, but word is they are the best, and my feet need the best after these long runs.

A new Spibelt. I have a Flipbelt, which I love, but it doesn't always play well with my hydration belt. Some runs I need more pockets!

Yet another pair of bluetooth earbuds. The ones I have work fine and sound fine, but the controls are really heavy and pull the speaker on that side out of my ear every step.

A second pair of these arm warmers. I have the purple ones and wear them all the time. Sometimes the purple clashes badly with everything else. I highly recommend these for days that the run starts around 40F, much better than a long sleeved shirt over your tank.

Are you a runner? What gear are you wanting?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Seduce Me, Cowboy by Maisey Yates

My reading ruts are nearly paved they are so predictable. Maisey Yates? Yes, please.

From Amazon:

When a rebellious rancher meets the pastor's daughter, it's a match made in…Copper Ridge! From New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates!

Sheltered from her own desires for so long, Hayley Thompson wants to experience life. A new job at Gray Bear Construction is a start. The work she can handle. It's her boss—reclusive, sexy Jonathan Bear—who's scrambling her mind and her hormones…

No matter how successful he becomes, Jonathan's reputation will always precede him. And his type of woman is usually nothing like prim, innocent Hayley. Yet he can't resist unleashing the fire beneath her pent-up facade—even if seduction means losing his heart…

Ok, tbh, this one wasn't a winner. I loved Jonathan. He's proud and strong and not at all ashamed of who he is- a man who is self-made, rich, and loves his stuff. He knows he's an ass and he still can't help wanting Haley, who is all allll ALLLLLLL wrong for him. Haley is innocent, sweet, pure- all those words that just don't happen in 2017. She's played it safe and sheltered as the pastor's daughter. She's pretty unbelievable. I didn't dislike Haley, but her character would be much better pre-internet days. (That said, I do know a 22 year old woman who has many of these qualities. She wraps herself in her innocence like a martyr and holds it in front of her like an excuse. "I'd rather never have a date than date boys like that!" Riiiiight.)

What I didn't buy, and what ultimately weakened the book for me tho, was the speed at which Jonathan went from "Jerk of the top most level who will never love" to "madly in love with the virginal heroine". We're talking hours. Minutes.  I got whiplash. I feel like the proportion of people in Copper Ridge who were abused/abandoned/orphaned as kids is WAY above the national average, but I'm too lazy to go back and count. That said, I go back to Maisey Yates and Copper Ridge over and over, even with a few serious duds, because even when the plots are flawed, the writing is strong and the characters are interesting, but this one isn't her best.

Seduce Me, Cowboy came out on March 7th.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Last Five Things I Bought. (More or Less)

This has been a bad week for my credit card.

Brooks Launch 3. I need to start working my current pair out of rotation, and I'm itching to try something lighter (and potentially faster.) I love ordering from Brooks directly- free shipping both ways, and 90 days to run in them to see if they work for you, yes, even outside on trails!

Stridebox. Because I love ipsy and I love running even more. The first box came this week.

A couple Momentum Motivate wraps- one for me and one for a friend. Not telling what they say because it's a surprise.

An iPhone 7. Because my 6 died in a tragic drowning accident last summer and I finally paid it off. I was so ready to be done with the loaner iPhone 5!

Too many of these. And these.  I have no willpower.

What have you bought yourself recently?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Someone to Love by Donna Alward

Am I the only one who gets confused by series titles that are incredibly similar? The book before Someone to Love is Somebody Like You. I can't keep them straight. It really doesn't matter though, as the minute I finished the first, I requested the second, and read it the next day.

Here's the summary, from Amazon:


Ethan Gallagher is a firefighter in Darling, Vermont, who followed tradition and pledged his love on the Kissing Bridge to ensure lifelong happiness. A few years later, he’s a widower with two rambunctious boys who no longer believes in magic. But even he has to admit that free-spirited Willow Dunaway fills him with wonder…and an attraction he cannot deny.

Willow’s come back to Darling a different girl than the one who left after high school. Overcoming her past and owning her own business has made her into a strong, independent woman. Single dad Ethan appeals to her in a way she didn’t expect, even though settling down is the last thing on her mind. But after fire destroys the local food bank, the town rallies, and a fling between Ethan and Willow leads to unintended consequences. Can they find a way out of their heartbreak to make a home in each other’s hearts?

"Unintended consequences" sounds like so much drama! Phrases like this pop up in summaries all the time and then when you read the book you think "well that's putting it too strongly, no?" but in this case, it's accurate. This is one of those books (and authors) who you know what to expect. You have an idea of the level of drama/scandal/real issues. I wasn't expecting this one to take the turn it did. That said, I'm all for variety, and even tho it directly touches on a touchy (and political) subject, I felt it was well done and handled with respect and empathy. I expect there are people who will hate it. (Sorry to be vague, but it's a pretty big spoiler.)

Willow has come back to Darling after time away. She's been through a lot and she's found inner peace. She's pretty stereotypical on the surface, with her yoga and meditation and organic food, but she has to work to maintain the zen. She's the best explanation of yoga practice that I've heard. She's prone to working too hard and taking on too much, but she's rarely annoying or in your face with it. Ethan is a grumpy jerk. His wife died a couple years ago and he's struggling as much now as ever. His grief has dissipated but he's not sure who he is without his wife or the constant grief. He's ready to move on and feels out of place. He takes this out on Willow, at first, because she's so settled and calm. I love seeing him overcome that inclination to lash out.  That said, he's not perfect and not even perfect in his imperfectness, if you follow.

Their romance is fairly slow, even if the attraction is sudden. It felt natural, but never easy. Willow and Ethan both have reasons to resist and they do. I'm not certain that  the resolution is one that people will love, but I felt it was handled very realistically, as opposed to in a fairy tale (Ethan is not the brother to rescue Willow when the crisis finally happens and he's not suddenly by her side as a white knight.) I was happy with the resolution and the resulting happily ever after, even if I was surprised by the route it took.  I'm very happy that I have the next book waiting on my Kindle.

Someone to Love is out today, March 7th.

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