Thursday, January 12, 2012


For a while now I’ve been wanting to write up a post about my exercise routine. For various reasons (I’m a bit of a procrastinator) I hadn’t gotten around to it. Until now, that is. I finally had some free time to sit down and write this. So, without further ado, here we go:


I’ve loved to roller-blade ever since I was little, and about 2 years ago, my boyfriend and I started going to a local rink every week. On Sunday nights we head out with a few friends we’ve recruited and skate to really bad 70’s and 80’s pop music. It’s a ton of fun though, and it’s really great exercise.

Even so, it’s not enough exercise. One of my New Year’s Resolutions from last year was to develop some kind of regular exercise routine besides roller-blading every week.

In June I decided that it was high time that I took care of that, and I decided to make some use of the treadmill that was collecting dust in our den. I started walking on the treadmill every day, for about 30 minutes. It wasn’t much, but it was a good start.

Shortly after I started exercising (or maybe before, I really can’t remember now) I discovered LilyPie Pregnancy, baby and parenting tickers. Now, I’m not pregnant, and I don’t plan on being so anytime soon. But Amanda Crichton, who runs the site, also runs DaisyPath which features Anniversary and Birthday tickers, PitaPet featuring count-down tickers for your pets, and LilySlim. LilySlim has count-down and count-to tickers to help you keep track of your weight loss, diet days and even exercise!

So I started using my custom LilySlim tracker (you can see it in the right-hand column on my blog) to keep track of how many days in a row I had exercised. I knew myself well enough to know that if I didn’t exercise every single day, that I just wouldn’t keep up with my routine. I’m not the kind of person who can work out a few times a week and keep that up. With this at least, it’s all or nothing. The best part was that I could see my days of exercising adding up. “I have been exercising for 2 weeks and 4 days!” the tracker would proclaim proudly. And I loved seeing that number get higher and higher.

The only problem was that if I ever missed a day, I’d have to reset the tracker. And I did, a few times. It wasn’t pleasant to see my total go from a few weeks to only a few days, and I never liked seeing that big fat zero on the day that I would start over. After a while I realized that the only way to avoid having to constantly reset the tracker (and lose all of my wonderful progress) would be to simply not miss any days.

And I haven’t! As you can see by looking at the tracker I’ve been exercising daily for 6 months, 1 week, and 1 day! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s something to be proud of.

My LilySlim tracker has been a huge help in accomplishing my goal of daily exercise. Most days I get on the treadmill and walk for 40 minutes or so, and on Sundays, I still go roller-blading with my boyfriend. But some days I just feel like getting outside for a bit. That’s when my other little piece of technology helps me out.

I downloaded the free MyTracks app for my smartphone, and I love it! Let’s say I want to go for a 2 mile walk around the neighborhood, and I want to maintain a certain speed, I can totally do that! The app uses GPS to track where I am, and how fast I got there. I turn it on at the beginning of my walk, and turn it off when I’m done. In the meantime, it’s been gathering data about the distance I’ve walked, the speed I walked at, and even the elevation. The app provides maps with trails marked on them to represent where you’ve been walking (or biking). You can even set it up so that distances you walked at a faster or slower pace are marked in different colors. For example, if I see a lot of green on my map, I know I better speed up a bit!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I freakin’ love this app! What it really does for me, is allow me to get out of the house. I can go for a hike through the woods and know that I’m getting just as much, if not more exercise than if I were to stay at home and walk on the treadmill. A big part of exercising daily, at least for me, is knowing that I’m getting the same amount of exercise in every single day, even if the work-out itself varies. I don’t want to get stuck in a rut, and the tools I’ve discovered are helping to prevent that.

Okay, I think that’s about it for now kiddies. I hope you enjoyed this brief glance into my daily routine. Stay tuned for my next post, which will hopefully be a continuation of my movie reviews from last April.

P.S. I have to admit that while I really try to improve my mind by reading while I’m on the treadmill (and my kindle is great for that), more often than not I bring along my laptop and watch Hoarders.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Things I've Read

Since today is the birthday of that most amazing of consulting detectives, Sherlock Holmes, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk about some of the books I've read and loved in 2011.

For the last year of so, I've been making good use of my profile over at Shelfari to keep track of all of the books I'm reading. You get to keep a virtual book shelf and everything, but since I wrote a quick post about it a while ago, I'm not going to get into the details of the site right now.

Anyway, I brought up Shelfari because I joined a group over there called 50 Book Challenge, where members challenged themselves to read 50 books over the course of a year. 50 books certainly sounded like a lot, but I thought it would be worth trying. So I joined the group, and started logging a list of books that I'd read during 2011. I've always been really into lists and logs (and challenges) so it was a lot of fun, and a great way to get myself to read more. I didn't quite make it to 50 books, but that's how life works. I read 41 books cover-to-cover from January to December, and I'm really proud of that.

So right now, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about some of the wonderful and not so wonderful books I read last year. Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about all 41 books, we’d be here for a while with that one. I’m just going to talk about a few of the books now, but I might blog about some more at a later time.

In February, I read Albert Camus’ The Plague. Back in high school I was forced to read The Stranger, and I hated it. My friends and I called it the most boring book ever written, and I swore up and down that I’d never read anything else by Camus, ever. But then a year or so ago, I re-read The Stranger, and I didn’t hate it. I’m still not its biggest fan, but it wasn’t that bad. So I decided to give The Plague a try. I have to say, I am so glad that I did. I’ve read this book twice already, and I loved it both times. The story centers on the inhabitants of a coastal town that has been quarantined because of an outbreak of the bubonic plague. The book is set in ‘modern-ish’ times. I don’t know the exact time period, but there are cars, and the town has a movie theater. The stories of the different characters weave together brilliantly to give a stunning portrait of the town, as they are all faced with illness, death and an uncertain future. Honestly, I picked this book up because I have an interest in epidemiology, but I ended up loved the story for its plot, not its plague.

In April, I read Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner. Nekropolis is a novel about a zombie detective living in a city of the dead (hence the title). Nekropolis is a city that has been specially created by the ultimate dark power, a being known only as Father Dis, to house all of the dark beings in the world. From ghouls and ghosts to vampires, werewolves and creatures that really can’t be named. The five dark lords who are in charge of the city never exactly get along, and are constantly fighting one another. Matt Richter is just a simple zombie detective trying to survive in the big scary city, helping people and getting himself into trouble along the way. This book is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. But the characters are very alive (so to speak) and the settings are wonderful. It’s such a fun story that I’ve already read through it several times, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor.

In July, I read Chaz Bono’s newest auto-biographical work, Transition. I’d seen his movie on OWN and was intrigued by his story. The idea of changing one’s gender has always fascinated me, and when I was still toying with the idea of becoming a nurse I wanted to work for a surgeon who performed SRS. For those of you not familiar with Chaz Bono, he started life off as the only daughter of Sonny and Cher, Chastity Bono. Over the last several years he has undergone the process of changing his gender from female to male. He has put out two documentary films about the process, as well as the book. He has also recently appeared on the show Dancing With the Stars. I didn’t really know anything about Chaz before reading the book. I’m a little too young to have grown up watching The Sonny and Cher Show, though I certainly knew who they were. It was very interesting to read the biography of a celebrity in his own words, and to be able to follow his journey both from female to male, and from child of a celebrity to an individual in his own right. It was a fascinating book, and a quick read since I couldn’t put it down.

In August I took on another autobiographical work, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman. If you don’t know who Feynman is, you’re missing out. He was a Nobel Prize winning physicist, who worked on the Manhattan Project, among other things. But he was so much more than just another physicists. He was an artist, and a drummer, and a lock-picker, and a jokester. He was probably one of the funniest physicists of all time. He had a fantastic sense of humor that really shows in his writings about his life. I’m not really all that into physics, though my boyfriend is, and Feynman is certainly one of his heroes. He loaned me a copy of the book, sat me down and told me to read it. I’m so glad he did, I loved this book. There were tons of passages that literally made me laugh out loud. I never thought physics could be so funny. I recommend this one to physics nerds, and people who love to laugh.

Okay, confession time. Though I am a huge Miyazaki fan, I’d never seen Howl’s Moving Castle until a few years ago. And I’d never read the book until December. I really don’t know why I waited so long! It’s a wonderful movie, and the book didn’t disappoint either. It’s by Diana Wynne Jones, and differs in significant ways from the movie. The book is the story of a girl named Sophie, who ends up venturing out to seek her fortune, though she is the eldest of three. She encounters the great Wizard Howl and his young apprentice Michael, as well as their fire-demon Calcifer. It’s a fantastic story filled with wizards and evil witches and family drama and love. I really enjoyed the book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the movie. Like I said, it’s different than Miyazaki’s version, but it’s every bit as amazing.

Alright, I think that’s enough out of me for now. Again, happy birthday Sherlock Holmes, and a lovely weekend to the rest of you. I’ll be back before you know it with more long and rambling posts, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

Before I jump into this year's resolutions, I'd like to take a few moments to recap last year's resolutions.

You can check out the full list here if you'd like, as I'm only going to talk about a few right now.

On of my goals last year was to develop a regular exercise routine. It took me until June to get my act together on that one, but ultimately I was able to cross it off my list. I have exercised every single day since July 3rd, 2011. Having exercise as part of my routine has helped me get in shape, but it has also done a lot to improve my mood. I've been living with depression for a significant chunk of my life (off meds for the last few years thought), but over these last months I've noticed a significant improvement in my mood! What can I say? I always feel better after a good work out. I'm glad I made it one of my resolutions last year, and I'm even more glad that I actually stuck to it!

Another resolution I made last year was to write more often, and while I didn't cross this one off my list, I do feel that I've made progress on it. I won Script Frenzy, CampNaNoWriMo and NaNo in November. I worked on a few short pieces and did more editing work than I expected to. But I didn't quite write as much as I would have liked to. It's alright though, I'm not going to be discouraged. I'm going to keep my head high, and my pen to the page.

The very last resolution on my list last year was a deceptively simple one: Be Happy. Though this last year was challenging in a lot of ways, I still managed to find a way to be happy. I spent time with my family and friends, I didn't let school get me down in the dumps, and most importantly, I made time for myself. Overall, I was HAPPY in 2011, and that feels like quite the accomplishment. :o)

Having said all that, it's time to write up my list of resolutions for 2012. I really do think that resolutions are a great way to make positive change in your life, even if you don't always stick to them 100% of the time. When it comes to resolutions, I believe that it really is the thought that counts, and it counts for a lot.

So, without further ado, my New Year's Resolutions for 2012:

1. Continue to exercise throughout the year

2. Have strong abs by 12-31-12

3. Read 50 books this year


5. Bake more

6. Write more

7. Win Script Frenzy & NaNoWriMo

8. Spend more time with my family & friends

9. Develop more healthy eating habits

10. Believe in myself!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Oh my god! I cannot believe that it's actually 2012! It doesn't quite feel real yet, but that's okay, I'm enjoying it anyway.

2011 was such an amazing year for me. I got to go to lots of fantastic parties (including my best friend's wedding) and meet so many amazing people.

Back in April I participated in Script Frenzy for the very first time, and won with my 102 page script about the Slender Man.

I officially switched my program at school from Biology to English, and started taking English and literature classes full time, which has been a fantastic change for me. I love what I'm studying and I don't even mind writing a ton of paper. Plus, no more chemistry!)

Over the summer I got to be the maid of honor at my best friend's wedding. It was an amazing time, and I couldn't be happier for her! I also got to go to several other amazing parties and celebrations over the summer.

In July I participated in the first ever Camp NaNoWriMo and won that with my (still unfinished) novel about a gay vampire who travels across the country to meet with a quack bio-chemist who may or may not be able to cure him.

November was a busy month for me. Unfortunately, my dog Peppy passed away on the 9th. He was 14 and a half years old and had been suffering from diabetes and a number of other health problems for a few years. He was a wonderful dog, and he will be missed. But a happier note, I got to spend Thanksgiving with family in Baltimore, which was a real treat, as I don't see them nearly as often as I'd like to. And then last but not least, I won my second NaNoWriMo in a row with a collection of short stories based on Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven

But enough about 2011, let's talk about 2012! Yay!

2012 is going to be a big year for me, I just know it. In April, I'll be graduating college and (finally) getting my degree! I'm so excited about this, I don't think I can even express myself properly. Let's just say that I've been in school for too long already, and I am literally counting down the days until graduation.

I plan on participating in lots of writing events this year (surprised?) like Script Frenzy, which is in a few short months, and NaNoWriMo. I plan on finishing up my movies reviews from last April, as I plan on doing it all again this April! I'm hopefully going to be working full time starting in May or so, and I hope that I'll still have time to post in this blog just as often as I've been posting.... (hahaha)

But uh, yeah, I think that's about it for right now. I'll be around some. I hope to get back to the original structure of this blog in 2012. That is, posting about movies that I've enjoyed and books that I've read and loved to share them with you all. I hope to blog more often about "Things I'm Doing", my baking and craft projects and such.

Well, that's all for now folks. Tune in later for a post about my resolutions for 2012 and a recap of my resolutions from last year.

Have a healthy and happy new year, and may 2012 be even more amazing than last year!