Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

As long as I can remember, Labour Day has been my New Year's Eve. It's when I start to feel as though the year is beginning. I haven't been a student in longer than I care to remember, but I've never shaken the habit of seeing September as a new starting point.

So here it is again and I'm feeling particularly ready for a fresh start. I've had a bad few months working at living a healthy life. I have a fantastic job now, but it's busy and stressful. I'm close to home, which is convenient, but I walk less. And I'm further from the gym, so I work out less. Sugar has crept back into my life and I find myself forgetting all the promises I made to myself about living a better life.

And it seems that when it goes, it all goes. I've gained weight, I'm more stressed out, I write less, I feel compelled to do less. Despite the fact that when I was eating well, cutting out sugar and working out I felt a million times better and achieved a million times more, I can't seem to find the willpower to go back there again.

And that's where I find myself this September. Looking at the finger where my wedding ring no longer fits (oh the shame) and realizing that it's time for a change. I've been working out once a week with Shawn - being married to a personal trainer has its benefits - and he is making me really work. And I'm determined to hit the gym on a regular basis again. I miss it. I've also signed up for a 5K in October. I may not be in shape enough to run it, but at least I can make the effort - and it gives me a goal to work towards.

I've also decided that it's time to try cutting out bad-for-me foods again. The first to go? Alcohol. As of tomorrow I'm going to go dry for 30 days. I don't feel like I drink all that much, but when you consider a glass of wine at dinner here, margaritas at the Mexican restaurant there and my beloved amaretto on Sunday nights, it all adds up. Will I go back again after 30 days? Probably. But I'd like to drop the coolers that I've been sipping all summer and go back to the occasional martini. It's easy to drink your calories and this summer I feel like I've had more than my share.

Next up? Sugar. Then salt. I've done both before and I know I can do them again. I just have to make a real effort. I haven't felt up to that recently, but I'm starting to realized that if I wait for a specific motivation, I'll never find it. So I'm just going to have to get off my butt and make it happen. I'm hoping to cut out dairy at some point too - there's no denying that much of the fat wrapped around my fingers is made up of cheese.

Can I do it? I think so. I've done it before. And I plan to blog my way through it. When I was blogging I felt accountable. Since I've slipped off the healthy living wagon, I've fallen out of the blogoshphere too. I'm pretty sure that's not a coincidence. So wish me luck as I set some New Year's Goals and cross my fingers that I can make 'em happen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blogging Break

As you may (or may not) have noticed. I've been on a bit of a blog break. All the usual suspects are to blame - work, life, an overabundance of everything - but I do plan to return soon. I've let my healthy living goals slip recently. Mainly for the same reasons I haven't been blogging - life got hard and priorities shifted, not necessarily for the right reasons. But that's something I'm working on too. And what better way to work through the rough spots than on my blog? So that's the plan - let's hope I stick to it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Things I Love In April

So this month has apparently gotten away from me blog-wise, but it's also been a good month for finding balance and spending time with the people that I love, so I'm trying to look at the positive. I also thought that it was a good time to share another list of things that are making me happy this month - because living a healthy life is all about looking at the good around you.

1. Songs I used to love. Recently, I pulled out the binders full of CDs that I've been storing on a shelf in our living room. I flipped through and realized how many of the CDs I'd never bothered to plug into my iTunes. I used to be a music writer and I have hundreds and hundreds of CDs from those days, so when I created my library it was all about the ones I loved at the moment. But when I went through my whole collection, I realized there was so much I had missed. So I set to work adding even more to my already over-sized iTunes collection and it's been a fantastic thing. It's felt like I'm re-visiting old friends. Some I've outgrown, but many I fell right back in love with.

2. Birthday celebrations. I enter my almost-mid-thirties tomorrow and my lovely friends have feted me well. I had a wonderful group get-together at O'Grady's on Church and the girlfriends who couldn't make it out are all looking to set up lunches, brunches and dinners soon. I love how birthday bring us together. Gifts are really the last thing I think about when my birthday approaches these days (though I have received some absolutely lovely ones) - it's all about seeing the people I care about.

3. This blog post from The Healthy Tipping Point on Being Proactively Kind. Read it and I think you'll understand why - I love the positive message it brings and I'm all about trying to live from a place of kindness these days. I wish more people would do the same - imagine how much happier the world would be.

4. Reading (and purging) old books. The other day I finished Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2001. A good friend gave me the book back in 2002 and I had been meaning to read it forever, but somehow just didn't get there until recently. And, honestly, I feel so bad that I waited. Sure, some of it was a bit out-of-date, but the writing still stood up as well as it would have at the time. Brilliant, crisp essays that just sucked me back to the time or riot grrrl and reading Rolling Stone. It inspired me to pick up some of the other books I've been meaning to get to for awhile and I'm now reading The Best American Crime Reporting 2007. I love this series and there is really no excuse to have so many old editions I haven't read yet. I also finally finished an Eileen Goudge romance that I've been meaning to ready since 2004 - when I read the rest of the trilogy. I'm sure the characters would have been fresher in my mind if I'd gotten to it then, so I'm making an effort now to really catch up on the backlog.

It's also time to say goodbye to a lot of my old books. I've always had trouble letting books go, but this weekend I pulled out a bunch of the pink self-help books that I really feel like I don't need anymore and added them to the donate pile. I also grabbed a bunch of books I liked, but that I'll never get around to reading again and added them to the pile too. It seems like time to send them out into the world to be enjoyed by someone else. They're still here, but I already feel a bit lighter knowing that they'll soon have other homes. And I had more than enough room afterwards for the five amazing literary best-sellers that I found in the lobby of my building. My hubby rolled his eyes, but they were all on my 'to read' list and I felt like it must be book karma.

What's making you happy these days?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Resolutions - The Midway Point

So, as it turns out, resolutions are not my thing, regardless of the time of year I set them. Not that my March resolutions have been a total failure thus far. I’ve eaten out a grand total of once so far this month – more than I had hoped, but far less than usual. It was something that was important to my husband and I didn’t have to pay, so in the end I think it was OK to go forward with it. Sometimes you have to look at the situation and decide if it’s worth bending the rules and I think when someone I love asks me to, that’s worth considering.

And, since I started the eat in resolution a few weeks early, I can just look at it as carrying one over from February? Right? OK, maybe that doesn’t wash, but still.

My writing resolution has been even less successful. The first week went really well and I just loved writing more often, but then, as is so often the case, life got in the way. I had an extremely busy weekend and didn’t get to write at all. Then the following week was especially busy too and by the time I had the opportunity to write, I just couldn’t get back my enthusiasm for the project. In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin seems to have little trouble finding the time to write 1500 words a day, but I think that the fact that she writes for a living probably helped a lot. If I had started this resolution during my lay-off, I have no doubt that I would have succeeded and loved it. For now, I think I’ll just try to write when I can and then when I have more time off I can re-start the resolution. At least I did get the first few chapters of my potential novel out of my head and onto paper!

The one resolution that I’ve kept so far is going to my boot kick class. I’m terrible at it – uncoordinated, unable to remember the moves from one class to the next – but I love it. I like the movements, the energy and learning something different. I think my only issue is that it’s taken away from my strength-training because the class happens twice a week. But I think that if I put my mind to it, I can manage both. I think it’s worth trying.

So wish my luck as I get through the second half of March with a little less resolve and a whole lot more respect for those who can keep their resolutions!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Update on the March Resolutions

So March has finally arrived and, with it, the start of my March Resolutions. To be honest, I actually started on the great eat-in experiment about a week ago. My body and my wallet were tired of all the eating out at restaurants, so I decided to go cold turkey a week in advance. My pants are already looser.
I suspect, however, that this resolution will be tougher to keep than I expected. I’ve already had two offers for dinners out, which were definitely tempting. I had to meet my sister-in-law this week so she could pay me for the Glee tickets I’d bought us. She dangled Salad King as an idea and I definitely faltered, but I explained my resolution and she was happy to meet at Starbucks instead. Although I made her swear that we would hit Salad King in April. Heck, it’s my birthday month!
And an equally sweet friend offered to take me out for sushi, which was also insanely tempting. I’m actually still debating if the eat-in rule would be broken if I bought pre-made sushi at the grocery store and brought it home to eat. Does that actually count? I mean, sometimes we buy a pre-made this or that at the grocery store, so it doesn’t seem to be such a huge deal. Thoughts?
I guess that question will be part of setting parameters for this exercise. I’ve already had to decide that the eat-in resolution relates only to food. It seems totally unreasonable to try and avoid any sort of ingestible item at all. Being able to grab a tea at Starbucks or have a drink or two at a concert with friends allows me to continue to have somewhat of a social life during the experiment. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can have a Starbucks Vivano smoothie, my usual treat from there. It may be fruit, milk and protein powder (all healthy), but it’s definitely more of a food than a drink!
The writing part of the challenge has been going well so far. I’m only one day in, of course, but I loved the feeling of setting up the laptop on our bed last night and just writing and writing and writing. I’m going for 1,500 words every day and I’m determined to stick with it. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve also added in a resolution. I realized that my workout routine needed a bit of an energy injection, so I decided that in March I would try out a few different classes and find a good fit. I started with Boot Kick (a combo of boot camp and kickboxing) and I like it! It may not be a perfect fit, but it’s a start and I’m going to give Zumba a try too. I already feel like I’m in better shape and I feel more motivated to get to the gym every day.
Did you make any resolutions for March? How are they going?

Monday, February 21, 2011

March Resolutions

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I definitely don't mind making a few every month. For March, I have two big ones that I'm planning to complete.

First and foremost, I'm taking a page out of Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point's book and am declaring March my very first "Eat In Month." February has been insane in terms of the amount of eating out that I've done. It feels like every week has been one big calorie-bomb dinner out after another. This weekend, Shawn and I went away for his birthday. We stayed at The Pillar and Post, which is an incredible inn and spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was amazing, and so were our gourmet meals at The Cannery. They were also so very bad for my not-so-flat abs. I hate not being able to fully enjoy a meal like that, which was so very incredible, because I was thinking about how much I had eaten out this month and how much I had overdone it.

Now, we don't normally eat out every week, but February has been a bit of a crazy one. I had two friends come in from out of town during the same week, it was Valentine's Day and Shawn's birthday, we got together with friends we hadn't seen in a few months, it was Winterlicious in Toronto... So I overdid it. And that means in March I'm going to concentrate on completely under-doing it. No eating out. Period. At all. It's going to be tough, but I'm sure I can manage it if I put my mind to it.

My second March resolution? To write 1,000 words a day of the novel I'm working on. I totally stole this resolution from Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind. In the book, she decides to write a novel in a month - sitting down to write 1,500 words every day. No editing, no reading back, just committing to sitting down and  writing. It may not be the best novel ever written, or the longest, but it will fit the criteria. I have an idea rattling around in my head, but I haven't been able to commit to writing it, so this gives me the opportunity to get started and see where things go. If nothing else, I will at least have done more writing, something that I've always found difficult while I'm working.

So we'll see how my March resolutions go. I feel like they're important ones and that I'll feel better and happier for making a commitment to them. Is anyone else making a resolution for March?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Changing the World - One Toxin at a Time

I was visiting my cousin and her baby last weekend and we started talking about how ridiculous it is that our government allows toxic products to be sold. As a busy mom, she felt guilty when she went to Wal-Mart and gave in and let her daughter have a toy she wanted, even though she wasn't sure about all the things that were in it.
That really hit me. I am someone who looks at every label, tries to figure out what's in everything, but it takes a huge amount of time and effort. If I had a child, or children, how would that change my ability to do that? I know it would not affect my desire to do it, but with a young child wriggling in the cart, would I have the time or energy?

But the biggest thing that stuck me was why should we have to check everything? And why are we making parents feel guilty when they don't or can't?Shouldn't there be laws in place? Checks and balances that ensure that when you buy something it doesn't contain lead or other toxins?
Lately, I've felt more and more that protecting children is my calling. When I combine that with my passion for the environment I see a path where I can do my part to lobby and advocate for change. Maybe I can't work at Environmental Defence just yet (I did try, for what it's worth), but I can volunteer, I can support them financially and I can write. I already write a lot about these issues, but expect a few more updates along these lines.
Does it fit with this blog's healthy living theme? I definitely think that it does. Choosing to live a healthy life, through both body and soul, is one of the most important things I have ever done. I think that working to ensure that a healthy life is possible for future generations is a perfect extension.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Gratitude Journal

I'm just finishing up Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I've had an especially busy few weeks, so it's taken longer than I'd expected to finish, but I'm sort of happy that it did, I've been able to savour the book a little longer and take a bit more time to reflect on her progress rather than just rush through to the next chapter.
One of my only disappointments with the book thus far, if you could even really consider it a disappointment, is that she didn't find a benefit from the gratitiude journal she started. As the project develops there are things that work for her and things that don't, so some are swept aside over time - such was the fate of the gratitude journal.
Now, she did express that she saw how it could work for others, just not for her. And I can understand that. I didn't expect that I would be someone it worked for. But, as it happens, I am.
I first heard the idea in an issue of O Magazine. Yes, I confess to being a full on fan of all things O. It struck me as a bit odd, but when I tried it, I found it to be both harder then I expected and far more gratifying. Every night I sit down with my notebook and write out one page of things that I am grateful for that day.
Sometimes those things are pretty basic - a new episode of Glee, Shawn doing the laundry - and other times they are far more complex - my health, all that we have, the ability to help those in need - either way, they serve a huge purpose for me. They end my night on a positve note, which helps me let go of worries and doubts and sleep better. They force me to recognize life through a glass-half-full lens, which is something I sometimes struggle with. And they allow me to put my life into perspective in a way that I often don't.
Even during tough times, I force myself to write my list. Some days it seems like an impossible task and I find myself throwing anything onto the page - the new dish soap that doesn't chap my hands, the cat not completely destroying my nylons this week - but I inevitably feel better.
I know that it's not for everyone, but I think it's worth taking a moment to consider that it does work well for some. I am incredibly grateful for my gratitude journal and I hope some of you will try it too. I definitely consider it a great step forward on the road to living a healthy, balanced life!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How My Wrestling Dream was Dashed

When I was a little kid, I loved professional wrestling. Loved, loved, loved it. I still enjoy it as an adult, but back then it was the kind of over-the-top, glued to the TV screen devotion that only little kids seem to be able to achieve. I would watch the show every weekend and then all week long I would dream about one day being a star in the WWE (WWF at the time, but you know what I mean).

My hero was Miss Elizabeth. I adored her. She was beautiful, but shy. Demure, but brave. She may have been the precursor for today's scantily-clad divas, but this was far before the ladies of the ring had to meet a T&A quota to be successful. I dreamed about being a wrestling manager - being funny like Lou Albano, cunning like Bobby the Brain and beautiful and brave like Miss Elizabeth. Every week when they would run commercials for the local wrestling school I dreamed about being old enough to attend.

But then one day at recess everything changed. I was walking around with our recess monitor - either my 4th or 5th grade teacher, that part's a little blurry -  and another little girl, being the quintessential teacher's pet. I loved her. I loved talking to her. And at recess I was happy enough to tag along beside her and chat when there was no one around for a game of Rainbow Brite. She was asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up and I told her all about my wrestling manager plan. I was excited; brimming with that little kid exuberance for my dream career.

And she told me that wasn't realistic. That I needed to think about a real career. Looking back, I think she meant that I was a bright kid who would probably go on to do more than manage professional wrestlers on TV, but at the time it was a crushing blow. Was I not pretty enough? Not athletic enough? I didn't understand why someone I looked up to would tell me I couldn't do what I dreamed about doing. Even my parents had patted me on the head and told me that sounded like an interesting career choice.

Looking back today, I see how that conversation affected me. I still watched wrestling obsessively for a few more years, but I no longer dreamed about being the next Miss. Elizabeth. I didn't think I could do it and that affected my self-esteem in ways I was way too young to understand.

Do I think I would have become a wrestling manager if I hadn't had that conversation? Probably not, but at least I would have held on to the dream until I let it go of my own volition, in my own time. And, as an adult, when I did get to work with professional wrestlers, maybe I would have had the courage to tell them I'd always wanted to manage. Those guys understand childhood dreams like nobody's business and, even if it was just my friend Nick dressing me up in a kooky outfit and letting me walk him to the ring at one of his smaller indie shows in a school gym, it would have been awesome.

But I never asked him. I never really felt like I could do it. And thinking back on that today, I realize the impact that one person can have on the life of a child. So to all my friends with kids, or that teach kids, or even just those who interact with kids at all, I wanted to pass on a little advice: If a little kid tells you she wants to be a WWE diva, an MMA fighter, a flight attendant, a rocket scientist or anything in between, don't tell her it's a bad idea. Tell her that it's a great idea and that you think she'll be an amazing dragon slayer, fashion model, race car driver or whatever she dreams of being.

Chances are she will grow out of it and, if she doesn't, she may just be the best wrestling manager ever to enter the ring ropes. But no matter what, she will feel like they can follow her dreams and do whatever she wants to do, at least for a little bit longer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Happiness Project

On a recent trip to Costco I picked up a copy of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’d read a blog review awhile back by the always-fabulous Chantel Simmons and it seemed like the sort of book I’d enjoy. I’m currently about half of the way though (in July, as each chapter chronicals a month in her year-long journey) and so far I’ve found it to be one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in ages.

Rubin decided that, although she was basically a happy person, she could be happier. And by becoming happier she felt that her relationships with her family, friends, husband and even herself would improve. So she created a plan and each month added five new resolutions that would help her reach her goal. Some were loftier than others (starting a blog or clearing her clutter vs. singing in the morning or wearing a pedometer), but they were all things that she felt she could achieve and make habit-forming.

Throughout the exercise she finds that she is, well, happier. And that the changes she makes really do make a difference. As someone who tackles goals in a similar fashion to Rubin – create a plan, write it down, move forward), I have really been enjoying seeing what works and what doesn’t. And I’ve decided to incorporate many of her resolutions into my own life to see if they might help me be, well, happier.

So far I’ve added the one-minute rule (if you can do it in one minute, don’t put it off) and the evening tidy with great success. I’ve also been working on the no nagging resolution, which I think Shawn appreciates. Some, like singing in the morning, worked well for me, but were not as positively received by my incredibly patient hubby. He’s not much of a morning person and I’m not much of a singer, so that didn’t go so well. Maybe that one only works if you have kids…

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book and to seeing what other suggestions of hers I can add to my life. I think the book offers so many positive suggestions about ways that you can find time for fun, for your passions and for nurturing your relationships – all things that we often overlook and that add to our overall level of happiness. This is definitely a new tool in my healthy life arsenal and I’m excited to continue using it.

Have you read The Happiness Project? What did you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Healthy Living Blogs that Rock

Ever since the great response to my post on parenting bloggers, I’ve been thinking more about the other blogs I read regularly. There are the ones from my wonderful friends (Blogger Virgin, Chantel Simmons and Janet) and there is Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s amazing blog on money matters.

Then there are the healthy living blogs. Since I tend to focus this blog on my quest to live a happy, healthy and balanced life, it should come as no surprise that I’m often inspired by other healthy-living bloggers. Two favourites that I’ve recently discovered are Healthy Tipping Point and Oh She Glows. While they are very different overall, they are both immensely inspiring.

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point writes about her life as a runner, a healthy eater and an advocate for healthy body image. She has created Operation Beautiful, which is an amazing program to help inspire women to love the body they’re in. I am always inspired when I read about what she’s eating, when she’s running and how she’s managing her crazy schedule. And the Operation Beautiful stories that she shares are always uplifting. There is a real sense of community on her blog too, with amazing comments from so many of her readers.

Oh She Glows is a vegan cooking site that is full of beautiful photos and yummy looking healthy treats. Angela is recovering from disordered eating and has found her healthy path through vegan cooking and exercise. I may not be much of a cook, but I have already picked up a few ingredients to try her recipes and I’ve been increasingly inspired to try eating vegan. As a lapsed vegetarian, I’m excited by all the yummy possibilities. This year Angela is hoping to publish a cookbook and I hope that dream becomes a reality. Any publisher would be crazy to pass up the combo of food and photos that she has developed.

My blog may never be as well produced or as popular as Caitlin or Angela’s, but they continue to inspire me to write about my journey to live a healthy life. I hope that some of you will be inspired by them too! Do you have any healthy living blogs you love? It would be great to hear your suggestions!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Beginnings

The blog has been sorely neglected as I make the transition from unemployed job seeker to working woman again. It’s been a bigger transition then I expected, with lots of the expected challenges as I learn a new job and adjust to a new routine. But I think it’s gone better then I could have anticipated.

So far the new job is fantastic and it allows me to continue to work in a field that supports and helps children. And it’s a short walk from my apartment and to my gym. That means I’ve been able to get back to going to the gym three days a week. It does mean that I lose the 45 minute daily walk that I had when I was at Invest in Kids and in the music business, which has definitely affected my cardio. I’ve actually started using the treadmill at the gym – a piece of equipment that I had avoided previously because I walked so much.

I’m still struggling a bit to take off the weight that crept back on during my job search, but it seems manageable. I went from a 10 to a 4 between 2009 and 2010, so going up to a 5-6 has been a bit depressing. But now that I’m on a nine-to-five schedule I feel like I’m better able to manage my eating and I think that will really help me shed those pounds again.

It’s excited to be starting a new job and feeling like I’m going in refreshed and ready. It’s nice to be happy, healthy and gainfully employed again.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My 100

Thanks to Lorette C. Luzajic for suggesting this. A list of 100 books you’ve read that you would recommend to your friends. These are definitely in no particular order, as that would be waaaay too hard. There are all different types of books, from classics to rock bios to marketing books, but they are all ones that made an impact on me! Please consider creating your own list!

And apologies for those who saw this on my Facebook a few weeks back. I meant to cross-post at the time, but didn't have a chance. 

1.      Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
2.      The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
3.      Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
4.      The Awakening – Kate Chopin
5.      The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
6.      In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
7.      Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
8.      The Running Man – Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
9.      Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
10.  Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neal Hurston
11.  We So Seldom Look on Love – Barbara Gowdy
12.  Mr. Sandman – Barbara Gowdy
13.  Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliowski
14.  Emma – Jane Austin
15.  The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
16.  Dracula – Bram Stoker
17.  Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
18.  Fargo Rock City – Chuck Klosterman
19.  The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
20.  High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
21.  Through Black Spruce – Joseph Boyden
22.  Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden
23.  But Enough About Me – Jancee Dunn
24.  Breakfast With Tiffany – Edwin John Wintle
25.  IV – Chuck Klosterman
26.  The White Album – Joan Didion
27.  Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin
28.  The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
29.  A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
30.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Book Club
31.  The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
32.  The Woman at the Washington Zoo – Marjorie Williams
33.  Animal Farm – George Orwell
34.  The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
35.  The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood
36.  Our Lady of the Snows – Morley Callaghan
37.  The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule
38.  Spook – Mary Roach
39.  Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
40.  The Girls – Lori Lansens
41.  Complicity – Iain Banks
42.  Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café – Fannie Flagg
43.  It Sucked and then I Cried – Heather Armstrong
44.  The Last Lecture – Randy Paush
45.  The Innocent Man – John Grisham
46.  Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs – Jim DeRogatis
47.  Lick the Sugar Habit –Nancy Appleton
48.  Henry and June – Anais Nin
49.  The Rebel Angels – Robertson Davies
50.  The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
51.  On Writing Well – William Zinnser
52.  The New Rules of Marketing and PR – David Meerman Scott
53.  The Trouble with Tom – Paul Collins
54.  Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klosterman
55.  Homo Domesticus – David Valdes Greenwood
56.  A Girl Named Zippy – Haven Kimmel
57.  Beloved – Toni Morrison
58.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
59.  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
60.  President Nixon – Richard Reeves
61.  Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
62.  About a Boy – Nick Hornby
63.  The Dark Stuff – Nick Kent
64.  The Dirt – Motley Crue and Neil Strauss
65.  I’m with the Band – Pamela Des Barres
66.  Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo? Jancee Dunn
67.  Debt-Free Forever – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
68.  Someone Will Be With You Shortly – Lisa Kogan
69.  The Best American Crime Reporting Series – Various
70.  The Heroin Diaries – Nikki Sixx
71.  October: A Novel – Richard Wright
72.  On My Own Two Feet – Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar
73.  She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb
74.  Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud – Joan Considine
75.  The Parsboro Boxing Club – Bruce Graham
76.  The Explainer – Slate Magazine
77.  Cherry – Mary Karr
78.  Confessions of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
79.  Tributes – Dave Meltzer
80.  Have a Nice Day – Mick Foley
81.  The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing – Melissa Bank
82.  Good in Bed – Jennifer Weiner
83.  Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
84.  Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells
85.  Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
86.  Shopgirl – Steve Martin
87.  The Rum Diary – Hunter S. Thompson
88.  Please Kill Me – Leggs McNeil
89.  American Psycho – Brett Easton Ellis
90.  The Green Room – Moe Berg
91.  Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
92.  And I Don’t Want to Live this Life – Deborah Sturgen
93.  The Alienist – Caleb Carr
94.  Man Enough to Be a Woman – Jayne County
95.  Moon in Eclipse – Jane Dunn
96.  Volkswagon Blues – Jacques Poulin
97.  Fifth Business – Robertson Davies
98.  Wormwood – Poppy Z. Brite
99.  Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
100. Slow Death by Rubber Duck - Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brazilian Butt Kick

I was at the gym today doing a lower body workout when I realized that the Brazilian butt lifts I was doing were seriously kicking my butt. I am definitely suffering from a post-holiday exercise slump. I did work out between Christmas and New Years, but nowhere near as much as I normally would. And I had been a pretty big slacker in the weeks leading up to the big event. There were parties to attend, shopping trips to take and holiday treats to consume – my exercise plan suffered.

I’m also missing my walk to the office. For almost ten years I have walked to work almost every single day. When I switched from the music industry to the non-profit sector I ended up in an office that was very close to my old one. That meant I added only another five minutes to my 45 minute walk into work. It was great exercise and it also made me feel really positive and grounded at the beginning of the day. Whenever I could, I would also walk home.

Losing that daily exercise along with my job has been tough. I try to walk as much as possible, and it’s now more than 20 minutes to get to my current gym (Christine’s Fitness and Personal Training on Yonge Street), so I get an extra boost whenever I go. Still, I need to find more time to walk. I’m hoping to get back to work very soon and that when I do it will be somewhere within walking distance. It’s so great to start the day with a brisk walk and it’s really helped me trim down my thighs and build my calf muscles.

The gym today was a wake-up call that I need to get my butt back in gear. Brazilian butt lifts are always going to be a bit of a butt kick, but the more I hit the gym, the less I’ll feel like I’ve been hit by a truck when I finish them!