Leg Workout in Under 20!

If you don’t have a favorite leg workout this is one to try! I’ve done this Miley Cyrus inspired workout off and on for about a year or so and it never gets old. This is a 17 minute video that targets your quads, hamstrings, and butt. Spring is closing in quickly and we need to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way! This workout can be done alone or paired with cardio, abs, or an HIIT routine for a true burn out.

XHIT Daily is one of favorite pages! If you’re looking for long lean muscles they have the workouts for you. They’re all pretty quick so you can do several in a row – and the cool thing is…they actually work! Regardless of whether or not you love Miley, Victoria’s Secret models, or whichever other famous chick they throw on the video these are definitely worth your time.

I’ve done this video twice this week and I’m really feeling the burn. I always feel way more confident in my yoga pants after doing a workout like this! If you have a busy schedule, aren’t really into doing legs, or need an add on workout this is one for you! I hope that once you try it you’ll love it as much as I do!

 

The Strength of Friendship

I’ve had an idea for a post on my mind all day long. I couldn’t quite figure out where to start to write it. I came across the Daily Prompts page and decided today’s word would actually work out in what I’m trying to get across. Last night I was invited to tag along with a group of friends for dinner. We had a great time; talking and laughing and sharing stories. When I got home later in the evening, I had a moment of reflection. I thought to myself how lucky I am to have these friends; how much fun they bring to my life. Do you ever just sit down and think about everyone you interact with each day and how much they actually mean to you? Who your real friends are and really, what is the definition of a real friend?

Each of of us have different definitions. For me, I would define a real friend to be someone who likes you the way you are. I don’t mean looks wise, I mean personality wise. Someone who always has your back in any situation. If your name were to come up in a negative light while you were not around, your friend would be the first one to call someone out. Someone who keeps your secrets and honestly, knows that sometimes it’s necessary to break those secrets. Someone who laughs with you, cries with you and will be blatantly honest with you when they think you’re being an idiot and then laugh about that too later. This is where you realize that at the center of everything there is always that one person or couple of people that just fit your always evolving definition of a real, true friend.

Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people are really, really good at making friends. I envy those people. For the rest of us, we make friends, hope we’ll become close to them, and then hold on to them as long as possible because the process of finding a new friend is hard. Most of us meet our closest friends in the workplace. These are people we see five out of seven days a week or more. I’ve been told not to make friends at work before but how can you not? My co-author and I met through work and throughout transfers, workplace drama and almost anything else you can think of, our friendship has survived. I think the root of a lasting friendship is to want to have a lasting friendship. Sounds super simple but as adults, we have to work a little bit harder to keep something we want to survive.

Eleventh Grave

If you are what you read…then what exactly am I? A romantic walk on the beach at sunset? A shattered glass of wine and a screaming wife? A paralyzed author entrigued by the owner of a publishing house? …the grim reaper? (The last one may be my personal fav.)

One of my latest reads has of course (like most of them) come from my bestie and partner in crime. You’ll all get to know her well if you choose to follow us in any capacity, and I encourage you to, because she’s great…and super helpful!

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by the talented Darynda Jones has definitely made my last week great! This is a book series of 11 books so far (soon to be 12) and is nothing short of romantic, thrilling, and mysterious. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve had major anxiety at times during this ride with Charley and Reyes. The two main characters come from two different worlds (literally) and have converged on earth to do some really wild and crazy stuff.

If you’re someone who likes authors who actually responds to their fans you’re in luck! The book I’m holding in my hands is an actual signed first edition copy. You can chat with Darynda, have webinars with her, and ask her any of the super important questions you have about her work! (She’ll even Tweet you back!)

If you’re looking for a fun, easy, romantic read this is a great series for you! You’ll get sucked in and really bond with the characters through all of their ups and downs! On behalf of both of us at RT, we highly recommend it!

Happy reading! 🙂

Newbie Success!

For anyone who has visited this blog in the past few weeks, I AM SO SORRY! I’ve changed the theme around a million times and every time I thought I settled on one, something tiny would stand out at me and I wouldn’t like the whole theme anymore. Then when I finally found a theme I liked, I couldn’t figure out how to manipulate it to my specifications. I finally confessed to myself that I was more of a beginner than I wanted to admit.

In lieu of this, I proceeded to search for the simplest themes possible. I found quite a few but still had trouble executing them. For whatever reason I just did not know how to make a drop down menu, or add widgets the right way or text alignment, shortcodes, none of it! You think it’s easy, it’s not! Then I started to download random widgets hoping a combination of all of them would give me what I wanted.

Finally, (thank you YouTube gods!), I stumbled upon a video that gave the most perfect step by step instructions on how to create a WordPress blog from scratch. So I went back into my dashboard and deleted all themes, except the one featured in the video, and deactivated almost all of the plugins so that I could start from the beginning. The video was two and a half, gloriously long, hours and now because I followed that video step by step, I have created something that I’m proud of AND got a HUGE lesson in WordPress. I’m sure there is more in the WordPress great beyond but I am very proud of what took me half the day to accomplish and I promise I am done changing anything for a very long time!

If you are swimming in my canoe, or have in the past, I HIGHLY recommend you visit WPSculptor or follow Josh Jackson on his YouTube channel. He explains everything in the easiest way possible and his video guides are truly a godsend.

Appreciate The Practice

Do you yogi?

As I sit on my mat in my living room I wonder just how many people regularly practice yoga. At first I thought it was silly and didn’t help athletes past a flexibility standpoint. The older I get the more I appreciate the practice and the parts I struggle with. I’ve been sick for the past week or so and I haven’t felt much like running or lifting. So, I’ve really focused on my practice.

What’s your excuse? No money? No time? No energy? No gym membership? Embarrassed? …do it at home. That’s what I do! I’ve done yoga in studios, I’ve taken barre classes, I’ve gone to spinning, kick boxing, rowing, and cross fit. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have time to drive to a gym before or after work. Instead, I go in my basement, on my back patio, or in my living room and get to work.

I find that yoga helps to center me. I believe in natural healing and treating and I think this practice plays a large part in that. It helps to clear my mind, lengthen and strengthen my muscles, maintain my balance and the integrity of my core. This is part of my “me time”. It makes me feel better about myself physically, mentally, and helps to kickstart my day and productivity.

There are plenty of amazing instructors right on YouTube who can help you begin or enhance your practice (and your mood)! A few of my favorites areYoga With Adriene Boho Beautiful, and XHIT Daily. There are a wide array of styles and practices to choose from that concentrate on your needs. Why not select one that looks fun to you and try it out today?!

If none of those workouts appeal to you please check out our Pinterest page where you can find lots of other cool workouts, decorating ideas, and more!

100

I recently started watching the television show on Netflix called “The 100”. The premise of the show is there is a space colony of about 2000 or so people who have made the ship their home because for whatever reason, Earth is no longer habitable. Aboard the ship there’s a Chancellor and a round-table of councilmen and women who decide the rules and regulations of the ship. They have a system set up where if you are a couple looking to have children, you can only have one child. If you have two, and the system finds out, they will “float” either you or your child. Same applies to people who commit crimes. Floating is basically a form of death where the individuals are sent to the air docks and released into outer space to die. There is also a procedure where every once in a while, after analyzing oxygen levels of the colony, if it is determined that the levels are too low to sustain the number of people, the Chancellor can decide to essentially neutralize a subsection of the colony by cutting off the oxygen flow to that area. Once they do that everyone in that area will fall asleep and die and then they float those couple hundred people.

The 100 are individuals that were handpicked from the criminal sector, mostly teenagers, to be sent down to Earth to see if its live-able again. They are not equipped with body suits or anything to be able to check the air quality before walking off the ship so it’s a suicide mission; kind of like, if you make it Earth awesome but we don’t expect you to. Since it is television, the 100 make it to Earth and find out that it’s live-able but they have to figure how to survive on the land. Turns out there is already a species of human living on Earth, called grounders, who are not exactly thrilled about these “space dwellers” and naturally start killing them off. Then  you have the group of 100 who would prefer to start fresh and not have the rest of the colony come down because they would go back to being prosecuted for their crimes. I forgot to mention that they have these wrist bands that monitor their life from space so they know if the individuals are dead or alive. So this group breaks off the wristbands to make the colony believe it is mass death and that Earth is not live-able or safe. Even though there is clean oxygen, every once in a while a sort of sulfur storm floods through the area and if you aren’t underground or sealed up somewhere and this sulfurous air touches your skin, you burn.

seven-earth-size-exoplanets-discovered-6423181526040576-2-hp2x

Since this is a CW show, it’s kind of cheesy but the reason I wanted to share the premise of this show is because yesterday it was announced that scientists have found seven new “Earth-like” planets orbiting a single star and that three of the planets could potentially be habitable. This is considered a big deal because the natural resources on Earth are being used up at a rapid rate and there’s concern that we will run out which is bad with the billions of people on Earth. I don’t want to go too much into it because it could turn political real quick and nobody wants that but I always wonder if television shows somehow predict the future when you can draw similar parallels between fantasy and reality. Would it be cool if these planets were habitable? Sure, but fantasy and even history has taught us what happens when you invade your neighbor’s territory. We shall see what happens.

A Leader Should…

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis 

As a young person in a leadership role I often times find it hard to create balance between being “fun” and being the “boss”. This is one particular role that helped my co-author and I become as close as we are. She is openly more down to business than I am and that allowed us to run a tight ship. Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself and my associates.

I have put together a short list of things that I find helpful on a weekly basis. Sometimes we have associates, friends, or children who are stuck in a rut and need a little TLC. I hope you find these reminders helpful as you maneuver whatever role you’ve taken on:

  • Honesty/Expectations: Good leaders always lay out the expectations of projects, cleaning, behavior or what have you. …and they do this honestly. It’s unfair for someone to come into a role or position believing it is (or you are) something that isn’t. I find that most people who fail to do what is asked of them do so because they are not properly educated about what is expected. You, as a leader, need to be held accountable for the outcome. However, you cannot hold someone accountable for something that they were not shown or told. Create a detailed map of your expectations and you are more likely to get the results you want.
  • “Get on the bus”: This is a phrase I like to use when I’m hiring new associates, training new associates, or even checking in with more seasoned associates. The bus leaves the station without a lot of children, players, and employees. The morale of the group is often times low when people get left behind. This is as much of a “push” for them to do the right thing as it is a way for you, as the leader, to pick them up and dust them off. The road to winning is a two way street and everyone is expected to do their part. If you set the proper expectations for your team, you can ensure that everyone will be “on the bus” going in the right direction. When someone gets a little distracted from the goal that is when you have a “get on the bus” discussion. This allows you to figure out why this person is about to miss an opportunity to be a team player and hopefully correct the problem.
  • Check Ins: Most people are uncomfortable bringing problems to their leader/boss/manager/coach. It is much easier to squabble among all the other team members to get their opinions than it is to face the issues head on. I use check ins fairly regularly as a way to get a feel for how each associate is doing in my building. If they are struggling with procedures, policies, or have any other questions, the “check in” is a great time to level the playing field and allow both parties to speak freely. Not only does this demonstrate your willingness and ability to put each associate first – it shows them that you are approachable and happy to help. This is also a good time to do any “call outs”, good or bad, in attempts to right the ship and get people on track without the rest of the team knowing.
  • Fairness: Lastly, I have found that above all else that fairness matters. Whether it is between pets, children, managers, bus boys, or who does the nightly cleaning – fairness matters most. If the leader is not willing to clean the toilets how can they expect anyone else to? Lead by example not by pointing and instructing. Dig in the trenches with your people and show them that they matter and that their happiness matters. People will work harder for someone who sweats with them.

These are just a few of the things that I find myself wishing I would have known before stepping into the role that I now have. Most of them seem pretty simple, and they are, it’s just important to keep working on them. Nobody is perfect and it’s important to let the team know that you’re all striving for the same goal of betterment.

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Found this through a Discover search on books!

What do you like about buying new books?

The real question is what not to like? New books, whether they be hardcover or paperback just give you that new book feeling. It’s like getting a new car. You stare at it for a while, look inside it, smell it, debate how long it will take you to finish it, those kinds of things. The other nice feeling I get is great joy because I am supporting an author that I love by buying their whole series. I’m very active on Twitter so I send pictures of new books or series to my authors, with giant “MAAAIL” captions and getting that response back that I’ve made them happy with my purchase is one of the best feelings in the world!

How often do you buy new books?

Honestly, I didn’t buy new books very often because I couldn’t afford it before but now I buy them whenever the need arises or a coupon appears because I am a member of at least two local bookstores and there’s no way I’m ignoring those 20% off coupons! Also, I used to have a Sony e-reader and a Nook Color so I would purchase eBooks through their respective online stores.

Bookstore or online book shopping – Which do you prefer?

Most definitely both. As I said before, I am a member of two local bookstores. When I go to them in person and they don’t have the books I check their online marketplace. I like a lot of indie authors though and its very rare to find their books in a bookstore unless you’re super lucky so for them it is always online — Amazon or eBay or Half Price Books marketplace. Another, general, place I frequent is libraries. I bought my first historical romance at my college library which was having a book sale fundraiser. It was A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught. I bought it for 50 cents! To this day it is one of my favorite books and besides leading me to read every book she’s ever written, it lead me down a path of discovery to other authors! Now I frequent library sales as often as I possibly can thanks to a handy website that lets me know when, where and times. You can find some real gems in a library; even gently used gems!

I have to say, the best online bookshop occurs in my mailbox everyday courtesy of Bookbub. If you like ebooks, Bookbub is the best tool in your arsenal to obtain discounted ebooks as well as great recommendations.

Do you have a favorite bookshop?

The bookshops I most frequent are Half Price Books and Books-a-Million. On occasion I’ll hit up Barnes & Noble if I’m in the area. Local bookstores are awesome as well such as Loganberry Books and The Bookshop on main. I don’t really have a favorite. If I’m craving books and I have a full, empty day, I’ll plan a route and shop all of them. My best friend and I have an excel sheet that we keep on hand so when I go out and shop for books, not only am I looking for books for me, I’m looking for books for her as well.

I solemnly swear I don’t have a problem….

Do you pre-order books?

Again, I didn’t use to because of funds or I would bribe someone else to do it for me. When I was younger, I would beg my mom to pre-order the Harry Potter books because I had to have them the day of release. She always did even if the books arrived on a day I wasn’t home and would text me and let me know my book was there. I would get SO excited! Now I pre-order books if I know the author is going to sign them or I absolutely cannot wait to read the book because I’ve already waited a year plus to continue from that GIANT cliffhanger in the previous installment.

Do you have a monthly book buying limit?

I didn’t even know that was a thing. My husband doesn’t care how many books I buy. He often jokes and says we can’t possibly fit anymore books but I always find a way which most of the time just means buying another bookshelf. That would be like me telling him he can only buy one video game a month. It’s just not going to happen!

Book buying bans – Are they something for you?

I really don’t even know what that means. I guess if I don’t have a monthly book buying limit, I don’t have a book buying ban. My Goodreads list is constantly growing. I always scour my TBR list for a new read and then end up picking something not even on the list. You can’t imagine how hard is NOT to click the recommended books! The covers are so pretty and when you hover over it and see that snippet and star rating how can you not click it?! And then the next one from there and the next one….

How big is your wishlist?

As I said earlier, my friend and I keep and excel sheet of books we wish to have that the other can see when we each go book shopping in our respective states. Currently I have 36 books on my list and she has quite a few more. Its constantly being updated with additions and subtractions.

Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own?

Image result for city in embers

 

City in Embers by Stacey Marie Brown is the first book in the Collectors series. I wish to own all four books in this series. I used a Google Play credit to buy the first book and it was a nonstop read from beginning to end.

End Game by Lindsay Buroker is a space opera, sci-fi type of series. It is the final book in the Fallen Empire series. I have the previous 7 installments on trade paperback and I’m just waiting for this last one to be printed. I read the whole series in ebook format first then decided I needed it in print form as well. If you’re interested in this series the first book is called Star Nomad.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is a series full of just magic! Initially I had no interest in reading anything by this author because her Throne of Glass series just did not do it for me. A friend promised me that this series was different and assured me that I would love it. She turned out to be right and this series, so far, is fantastic. A Court of Wings and Ruin comes out May 2nd!

Since the blog is fairly new, I don’t have anyone to tag but feel free to like or comment with your bookaholics tag for all to see! 🙂

Jump to Soar

Majority of us have a Facebook account and we all get our individual “news” feed. Whether it be actual news from pages we follow or friends posting about their lives, we all feel some kind of way about the news we receive. A few weeks ago I decided I was going to try a career change. I came to this decision because I felt my life was just getting monumentally stressful for silly reasons. After many talks with myself, my husband and my friends, especially Mac, I decided it would be for the best. The thing is, I didn’t realize how hard it is to convince myself that this was the right thing to do. You see, after I graduated college the only work I could see myself doing was animal welfare in any capacity. All my experience was with animals and I had become very passionate about the field over the years. Don’t get me wrong, customer service is the main part of any job and those skills are easy to gain. That part was easy to say to myself, “yeah I can take these with me”. The main question was would I be able to learn something new; something complete and utterly different?

So I was going through my Facebook feed and I came across a YouTube video of Steve Harvey. In this short video he essentially gave out a piece of advice for people looking for a change. The words that stuck out to me the most were:

….you can soar but you’ve got to jump. Now here’s the problem, my friends. When you jump…… I can assure you one thing. Your parachute will not open right away. No, that’s the fear part. …… You’re going to hit those sides and those rocks. You’re going to tear you back out on that cliff. You’re going to get cuts and wounded…. but eventually your parachute will open and you’ll be soaring. ……… If you do not jump —– your parachute will never open. So you’re safe, but you will never soar. You’ve got to jump.

After watching that, I felt like my confidence got one giant push. Besides telling myself that I can succeed in a different career, I also told myself to just jump. This was 3 weeks ago and so far, I can say without a doubt, I am much happier for it. I miss aspects of my old job of course but my new life is just so much more.

Ironically enough, in the past week, two of my close friends have talked to me about their lives. Both are looking for a change in scenery. One is looking to get out of the retail working world because she feels like her life revolves around work. The other is looking to get out of the animal rescue business because dealing with puppy mill dogs is really taking a toll on her emotional health. Both want to change careers but, just like me, they’re either afraid of change or do not believe they are capable of doing and succeeding at something different. Can you guess what I told them? Besides going over what I went through in the past 3 weeks and how it affected me personally, I told them to soar. I told them you will never know how great you really are if you don’t try. I told them I have faith that they will succeed in any change that they make. Now, it’s in their thoughts. I’ve planted a seed and I can only hope they will do what they feel is best for them because at the end of the day I will be their parachutes and if they need me to help them soar then that is what I am going to do.

I leave you with another quote, from Denzel Washington’s image award speech, that appeared to me earlier this week and is also great advice to live by:

….never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It’s not easy…….. Keep working, keep striving, never give up. Fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. …..Keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.

Dying With Dignity

…if there was ever such a thing.

This topic has been at the forefront of my mind over the past few weeks. My boyfriend and I have each learned of the declining health in our respective grandparents. Long gone are the nights with bed time stories, midnight snacks, and movie marathons. Dark are the days that lie ahead with devastating phone calls, worrying parents, and sleepless nights. I know that we are just a few of the millions who are experiencing a situation each and every day.

Growing up sickness and death was something that I was able to cope with because it wasn’t happening in my immediate family. My mom worked for many assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Up until a few weeks ago I was still visiting clients and attempting to bring some light and hope into their lives. Now that it’s happening to me I feel a little hopeless, sick, hurt, and confused myself.

Like many grandmas, mine is lovely, caring, forgiving, and selfless. While I don’t want her to hurt or be in pain any longer I want her in my life. Over the past few days I’ve gotten calls and texts from my mom telling me that she has fallen, has somehow forgotten how to walk, or that she can barely hold a conversation. Thankfully, my grandma has lived with my mom for years and they are two peas in a pod. (We’re three peas, really.) The severity of her declining health didn’t hit me until today.

…it got real today. Hospice became a part of our lives. The more I read about hospice care the more worried I become. I was told it’s because she needs “more help” and someone who can always be there when my parents and brothers are away. Every day on the phone my grandma sounds like an independent woman. Every night my mom tells me otherwise.

Am I supposed to be thankful that these people are caring and educated individuals? Should my mind be put at ease knowing that they are helping her deal with her pain and “manage” it better? Am I being selfish for wanting her to fight harder? Does she even have the will to continue on this path? I am blessed to have each day with her and I am grateful to the medical professionals who have helped her along the way…but dang. This sucks.

Hospice claims that they are “end of life care” professionals that help the patient and their family during the dying process. Having them as an aid during this time allows the patient to receive care in their homes, if they so choose. While many times, hospice is only called in once a patient is given a 6 month window of life, sometimes they do exceed this window and far surpass it. If this is the window I am given, I am committed to giving my gran the best “end of life care” that I possibly can in any way that I can. That also provides her the dignity to die in her own home surrounded by her loved ones.

From diapers to doll babies to dance recitals and driving she’s been there through it all for me. I intend to do the same for her.