Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In June 23, 2017

fitreaders-2017

I finished vacation with a walking bang and my L4L team placed 4th. Dipped my toes in one day at work, then work was cancelled for the hurricane that wasn’t on Wednesday. It made for an interesting week. Plus, this is literally the best sleep week I have had, ever. Or at least since I got the Fitbit, but I honestly can’t remember a better/more consistent one.

On the Vitamix front, I haven’t made another soup yet, but yesterday I did put celery in my smoothie…which is…interesting.

Stats: Week June 17-23, 2017

Week June 23 ActiveWeek June 23 DistanceWeek June 23 StepsWeek June 23 Sleep

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In June 16, 2017

Nothing exciting. Exercise wise, I am still taking a small vacation. Minimum goals, minimum effort, maximum vacation. In other news, much like every other incident in life, it can best be described as “probably benign”. I am just going to roll with it.

Stats: Week June 10-16, 2017

Week June 16 ActiveWeek June 16 StepsWeek June 16 DistanceWeek June 16 Sleep

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In June 9, 2017

fitreaders-2017

So the exciting news for this week is that I have my Vitamix, and I am having a ton of fun with it. Not having quite so much fun with the amount of whoo I am encountering when searching for recipes or tips & tricks, but you have to take the good with the bad. But if anyone has any favorite blender recipes, I am all ears.

I even made the USDA suggestions soup. The first day or so were a bit of a struggle, but I am becoming acclimatized. However, it was a bit bland, plus I actually will eat green beans on their own, one of the few vegetable I can manage, so it doesn’t make sense to me for me to blend them. I will be making some tweaks on the next batch, at the least adding more garlic and spices and finding something to swap for green beans.

But those fruit smoothies though, damn. I never honestly dreamed a smoothie could ever feel that delightful in my mouth. I’ll admit I thought people were insane for spending that much money for some blended fruit at professional places (almost as crazy as I assume people think I am for spending this much money on a blender). All I can say is that if I had ever tried a pro smoothie before, I might not have ever been able to afford my own fancy smoothie machine. I wussed out on putting any veggies in this week (fear is a terrible thing), so that is my goal for next week, to start slipping veggies into my fruit smoothies.

Exercise wise, I am taking a small vacation. I won my first Step Bet, which was often a struggle, and then I looked and saw how much my step requirement would go up and I figured it was pretty impossible to do another one right away. Instead I am backing down my steps to my “minimum” goal of 17,500 a day and I will go back to Step Bet when things are more possible.

Weight wise I am approximately 3 lbs from goal, though body composition is an issue. Which was of course to be expected considering I have lost about 50 lbs and eschewed weight lifting. I know better, but just couldn’t seem to make myself go. I planned to go while I am on vacation…that didn’t happen either. Ceste la vie. I am njot UNhappy with where I am at, and life is nothing but time.

Altogether, a nice, soothing week. Heck, even my sleep came into line a little bit. I have been playing with meal time and macros to see how it interacts with my sleep medications. Frankly, just because 8-10 PM is when my body prefers dinner, doesn’t mean that is a good plan in a pharmacological sense.

Stats: Week June 3-9, 2017

Week June 9 ActiveWeek June 9 DistanceWeek June 9 StepsWeek June 9 Sleep

 

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Challenge

#FitReaders- Weekly Check-In June 2, 2017

 

So the exciting news for this week is that I finally pulled the trigger on a Vitamix. This exchange with Vitamix would probably tell anyone everything there is to know about me, lol. It started in the middle of the night on an Ambien fugue at the end of March. I didn’t even remember I’d written it until several days later when they initially responded.

“So, kind of weird. But this is more of a request. I’d love to see a soup recipe that would take care of a week’s vegetable requirements based on USDA recommendations.

Dark green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, and other dark green leafy varieties: 3 cups per week or 6 half-cup servings
Orange vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash: 2 cups per week (4 servings)
Legumes, like pinto beans, lentils, and chickpeas: 3 cups per week (6 servings)
Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, corn, and green peas: 3 cups per week (6 servings)
Other vegetables, like tomatoes, green beans, and onions: 6.5 cups per week (13 servings.

Then I could just make one batch and portion it out for the week and be done with it.

I’ve been considering getting the new Ascent series A3500, (mostly for the soups) but would buy it immediately if there was a recipe I could make that I could just pour down my gullet every day and be done with this vegetable madness.”

Probably the funniest thing about the whole thing, is that I don’t even know exactly where I got those numbers from, since they don’t exactly match MyPlate USDA recommendations. But somehow I doubt that the USDA would overly quibble over the inclusion of more dark greens, and the “other” vegetables category is pretty nebulous.

And here’s their final response, with recipe. And yes, I ordered the blender, a deal is a deal, and that sort of customer service is awesome (and it turns out referring people could get me rewards, who knew?). This will of course be the first thing I make, and then I will play with it from there. But I am super excited. I am on vacation for the next two weeks and should get my blender before the end of this week which should give me plenty of time to experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to try to eat actual vegetables, but considering how many misses versus hits, this seems like a sensible addition. I will make sure that I am getting as much vegetables as I am supposed to…kind of like a real foods health supplement, and then any extra veggies I eat will just be gravy.

Recipe1Recipe2Recipe3Recipe4

Stats: Week May 27 – June 2, 2017

Week June 2 ActiveWeek June 2 CaloriesWeek June 2 DistanceWeek June 2 StepsWeek June 2 Sleep

 

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4 star review

Review – A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot

Merciful Death

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

Raised by a family of survivalists, FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick can take on any challenge—even the hostile reception to her homecoming. But she’s not the only one causing chaos in the rural community of Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. At first believed to be teenage pranks, a series of fires takes a deadly turn with the murder of two sheriff’s deputies. Now, along with Police Chief Truman Daly, Mercy is on the hunt for an arsonist turned killer.

Still shunned by her family and members of the community, Mercy must keep her ear close to the ground to pick up any leads. And it’s not long before she hears rumors of the area’s growing antigovernment militia movement. If the arsonist is among their ranks, Mercy is determined to smoke the culprit out. But when her investigation uncovers a shocking secret, will this hunt for a madman turn into her own trial by fire?

I didn’t think it was possible, but I find that I may just enjoy this series even more than the Callahan & McLane series, and that is saying something. There is something just so fantastically comforting and soothing about stepping into a world where adults are ADULTING. I know, it is weird right, but nowadays I tend to find myself doing some mental gymnastics trying to keep my head into a story about the young ones when I just want to scream at the book: “Love him?! You don’t even know him, you’re still just a child!” There is none of that here, just delightful characters who actually make sense to my brain.

This book is a continuation of the series, and while it may be possible to read it as a stand alone, I highly suggest reading at least the previous book if not even the other series too.  That is because there were inexpertly mended relationships that we get to see continue to grow and change, and that makes is really fascinating and lovely to watch. Additionally, I think the relationship between Mercy and Sheriff Truman Daly is a lovely and warm slow burning fire that deserves all the page time. Did I have my qualms in the last book? Absolutely. Did Elliot justify my faith in her capability to make me buy in? Again, absolutely.

Beyond the primary relationship though, there are a variety of other relationships to flesh out the human dynamic. Mercy’s brother, sister, and niece all got a significant amount of page time, but it was done in a way that further the overall plot well. And the plot served well to further the changing relationship dynamics. Ilona Andrews recently posted on the topic of episodic vs progressive series, that really re-framed how I am looking at series right now. And this is definitely progressive. The stakes are real and so is the character growth. None of these people are the same as when they started the first book.

Speaking of the plot, the suspense was well done, there were a couple of nice red herrings, and one major “you did NOT see that one coming” twist that made the mystery stand on its own rather than just being the vehicle to carry the romance. And as I said before, real stakes with real life type consequences.

I think there are a couple of things that have me edging this series ahead in my favoritism. One is that Mercy just barely edges out Ava in my affections. But two, the Callahan & McLane series focuses on the monsters. This one focuses more on relationships and the seething secrets in small town rural life. While I may not have any experience with monsters (which that fact does make that topic fascinating in its own way), I do have experience with the seething secrets in small, town rural life. So the Mercy series is a bit more like slipping into home.

Either way though, if you enjoy romantic suspense with slow burn romance and real life relationships with adultier adults, I cannot recommend Kendra Elliot enough.

A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick #2)

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5 star review

Review – White Hot by Ilona Andrews Blog Tour + Giveaway

TastyToursReview

Review - White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Yes that original cover is as bad as you think it is, no it isn’t indicative of the quality of the story.

Ilona Andrews White Hot

Second one…not much (any) better.

This blog post has been sitting in my drafts since December 2015, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to get an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Edelweiss, through Tasty Book Tours (this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review and the usual disclaimer when it comes to Andrews applies…I bought it anyway).

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice . . .

Oh Nevada and Mad Rogan, how do I adore thee? I’ll admit Burn for Me was a little rough at first when it came to my preferences. It isn’t so much paranormal romance (abysmal covers notwithstanding) as it is urban fantasy that you can tell will eventually have a stronger romantic component. And the hero was fairly anti at the time. But sometimes an epilogue just smacks you upside the head and shakes up all your preconceived notions about a character. So I knew I’d have to read the next one. Of course with the long wait time, I found myself going back to the first book. And much like the first Kate Daniels book, this is one that seriously improves with re-reading. It went from a 3.5 basically saved by the epilogue that bumped it to 4.5, to one of my all time favorite books.

I never dreamed it would be so long until the next one came out though (heck the links and everything were still attached to my old Blogspot). But it’s probably for the best as I said, plenty of time for me to grow my love of these characters. Plus, new covers AND books 2&3 coming out so close together? It’s like a beautiful dream, except for that wait…and except for the covers not really changing. But hell, as I have said before, the cover curse is probably part of the fun now, and I guess it is nice that some things never change 🙂

We got a glimpses of the secrets hidden in Nevada Baylor in the first book, but this one blows those secrets wide open, and I LOVED it. It wasn’t like she was hiding it from herself, so much as that in the struggle for the day-to-day you don’t always have the chance to utilize your best self, if you see what I mean. But then BAM! you get that incident where you have to reach down and pull your best self out, that is where the magic happens and it was GLORIOUS! Nevada as a heroine rocks.

But as much as I adored Nevada, honestly (excepting her taste in men…initially) I adored her in the first book too. This second book really shone the light on Rogan, and it took facts we already knew about him, and then reframed them in a light that let us know, or maybe understand, Rogan better. Absolutely heartbreaking and heart wrenching, things that were pointed out gave me a filter to kind of take objectionable characteristics he exhibited, and overlay them with the understanding I have developed for the people I have in my life who have gone through similar situations.  PTSD is a hell of a thing. That is Ilona Andrews gift, giving us the humanity in these powerful…sometimes kind of insane alpha-hole characters.

And the relationship that built between these two strong people was fantastic, and funny, and a little sad all at the same time. Instead of a one note, one hit kind of resolution, it was messy just like life. And thankfully, we had enough will they/won’t they in the last book, so all that simmering heat just burst right onto the pages in this book. Very hot. And putting it all together created a very credible relationship that left me feeling warm…like super warm. But I definitely enjoyed the ride.

The story itself was action packed, and aggressive, and twisty-turny enough to keep me engaged through out. Wheels within wheels conspiracies are slowly being brought to the forefront and I have a bamboozled on that one. Plus there was a ton of zany, crazy sauce Baylor family drama, which was a definite plus to me because the family dynamics were and continue to be a major selling point for this series. And man do family dynamics (not just Nevada’s) play an important role in this series-the good and the bad. Few things irk me so much as a romantic couple that seems to live in a vacuum, bereft of other family, friends, and human contact. But this book is cause for rejoicing on that front. The secondary characters in this story are fleshed out and appealing and there are a host of them I’d be thrilled to see get their own stories. Do I want Bug, Cornelius, Leon, and Bernard to get their own features? Yes, yes I most certainly do!

The story arc for this book had a highly satisfying resolution (for a blood thirsty and vengeful girl like me you really can’t get much better than the ending this book’s big bad got at the hands of the person most wronged), and the overall series arc progressed enough that I am champing at the bit for the next book…but not so much that I feel I have any true inkling of how the final show down will go. And the teaser for the next one gave me all the angsty, excited shivers.

So I am giving this book all my squee points, and thus far it has been my reading highlight for the year. Now I am off to reread these compulsively until I get my sweaty hands on the next one.

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

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