Official Movie Trailer for Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of my new favorite dystopian novels. It’s not over the top fantasy and is one of those futuristic world books that make you think, “Oh yea, this could eventually happen.” (Unlike Hunger Games where kids are killing each other to survive, hoping that doesn’t happen…ever.) Insurgent (the second in the series) is pretty close to the top of my to-read list; I want to read it before Allegiant is released in October. When I find a trilogy I love, I don’t want to rush it, because once you’re done, you will never get that same “first read” feeling ever again.

Not sure how I feel about Shailene Woodley (from The Secret Life of an American Teenager on ABC Family) playing Tris. This could be her breakout role….maybe.

The trailer is awesome and shows a lot of key plot points from the book. Look out Hunger Games, Divergent is going to give you a run for your money. Can’t wait until the movie comes out in March. I will be going opening weekend, for sure.

My Second Week of Focus T25, Alpha Phase

Today was day 1, week 2, of my Focus T25 journey! I realized that at 9 AM that I only had one hour to workout and shower before the VMA’s came on. (Yes, this is the first time in about 10 years that I have tuned it, but really, just like every other girl between the ages of 21-29ish, I just want to swoon over NSYNC.) Also, because of the time difference, my morning is America’s night. So I shut down Facebook, and got to working out. Today was Cardio again, just like last Monday. I noticed a big difference when I did this workout for the second time. I didn’t have to modify as much (although I did have to for a few things when I was tired) and I didn’t have to take as many water breaks.

Yesterday, I stretched, but didn’t follow the stretch video. I just kind of did my own thing so that I would be ready for another week of T25. I can report with great relief that I didn’t have any days this week where I could barely move. I had some tight muscles and some soreness, but nothing that made me walk in a ridiculous way.

Now, since I’m done my workout, I can “enjoy” the MTV VMA’s. And when I say enjoy, I actually mean watch in horror as Miley Cyrus twerks her heart out on stage (what goes on in her mind that makes her think this is okay?!) She does have nice abs though, even though I don’t think being half-naked on stage on national TV, with a foam finger, is appropriate, nice abs or not. But, at least cute little Taylor Swift can warm my heart back up. Love her(and her dress!) I also just fell in love with Justin Timberlake (and NSYNC!) all over again, he could have taken some of his clothes off, and I wouldn’t have complained, just sayin’.

Weight update: I weighed in this morning at 128.2. Only .8 down rom last week, but I can see AND feel a difference, and that’s all that matters. I can see my muscles coming back and I can feel my body getting stronger again. I also ate three hot dogs this weekend and went to Chili’s so I’m sure that didn’t HELP in my weight loss! Tomorrow is Total Body Circuit (dreading it!)

Book Review: Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love by Jessie Knadler

screwed

Jessie Knadler is a former New Yorker, living the country life in Virginia. This is a true story of how she fell in love with a cowboy/ U.S. Army Soldier and how he turned her life upsidedown. I first heard of Jessie Knadler through her blog, which is one of my favorite blogs to read because her stories are always funny, cute, and insightful, but her book isn’t any of those things (you can find the link under the blogs I love tab.) I thought the book would be more about her struggles/triumphs with being an Army girlfriend then eventually Army wife, but it wasn’t. It was more focused on her hatred towards country life and her distaste for religion.

Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love by Jessie Knadler is written more like a fictional story as opposed to a memoir. It begins when Jessie is writing for a magazine in New York. At the time, she was dating a guy who liked looking at “inappropriate” porn. I can’t even write what kind of porn he was looking at because that’s how wrong it is, yet she continued to date him because she didn’t feel like breaking up with him. I really didn’t understand the logic in this, and if this is a fact, I hope he is in jail. The story progresses into how she met her husband at a rodeo, her struggles with his first deployment with the U.S. Army Reserves, their short engagement, their marriage, and finally the birth of their first daughter. I loved reading Jake’s loving words while he was deployed. He truely loves Jessie and he has such an optimistic view on life, I wish I could always be as positive as him.

I did like reading about country life, even though Jessie hated it, and even though I didn’t like the book all that much, I don’t BLAME her for hating it. I know about my fair share of “country” living over here in Korea, and I’m not digging it, but at least she has a Wal-Mart. Although, I hate Wal-Mart and probably wouldn’t even go. I understand how hard it is to give up everything/everyone you love, everything you know, to move somewhere with the man you love. But that’s what you sign up for when you marry a Soldier, and that’s what you get when you marry a cowboy. Did she really think her husband would want to be a cowboy in New York City? I’m pretty sure that isn’t even possible. I just feel like she could have painted her memoir a little nicer. I understand that you can’t lie about your life, but there is a little bit of creative license when it comes to writing and I think she could have used it a little more wisely and left out all of the pot references.

I understand what it’s like to not be able to get a job, not be able to even leave the house on most days, but once again it’s what we signed up for. I can also relate with being tired of sewing, cooking, and cleaning. I do give her props for raising chickens and growing her own food, I do not have a green thumb nor any sort of tolerance for chickens!

With all that being said, I still really enjoy Jessie Knadler’s blog. I also think the book was just starting to get really good when it ended. I think writing a book about her struggles of being a new mom, in the country, while her husband was deployed, would make a great second novel. I had higher expectations for this book because, like I said, I thought it would be more about being a military wife, and less about putting up fences and making moonshine. If I wasn’t looking for it to be something it wasn’t, I may have enjoyed it more. The book was written well, which is always a plus.

T25 – Day 5 (week 1) – Lower Focus: Want Killer Calves and Thighs?

 

killer legs

TGIF! I am so thankful it is Friday. This has been a extra tiring week, especially since I started T25. Today was day 5 of week 1 on my Focus T25 journey. Today’s workout was Lower Focus. On Fridays, the Alpha workout schedule suggests doing TWO 25 minute workouts, but let’s just say I was only up for one today, maybe next Friday I’ll do two, but honestly, I’ll probably just stick to one, even on Fridays. I may feel different when another workout is first on Friday, but since today was Lower Focus, I wanted to fall over and focus on a nap afterwards; my legs are POOPED. There was no way I was doing 25 more minutes of cardio after that crazy leg workout, sorry Shaun T.

Today’s workout started off just like the Cardio workout, which I did on Monday: high knees into a slow stabilizer jog. After doing some jogging, you move into a jumping jack progression. After some fast jacks, you go into squats (UGHHHH!), but the squats weren’t as bad as the Total Body Circuit squats. After some squats, you move into calf lifts and then lunges. I wanted to DIE after the lunges; I had to stand up and take a break from those every once in a while. After the lunges, you move into your first of TWO burn-out sessions, doing some of the moves you just did. After the burn-out, if you’re still alive, you go into MORE lunges and some adductor exercises; I really liked the adductor part. You then move into some cardio leg moves, a deadlift sequence, and then the second burn-out session.  After some hop and squats, you’re done. BAM 25 minutes complete. I watched Tania (the modifier) on and off during this workout; I would say a little less than half the time.

Like I said before, I was not up for another workout after this one, but you could have done the Cardio workout after this one, as per the suggestion of the Alpha schedule. My legs were super tired after Lower Focus, and the 3 minute stretch was not enough  for me. Since I didn’t want to waddle tomorrow, I decided to do a little extra stretching. Tomorrow is my day off, WOOHOO! Then on Sunday there is a stretch video that is basically another day off, but with some stretching. I’ll let you know how that goes. 

I’m ready for a protein shake and some hardcore Friday cleaning. Can’t wait for this weekend to begin.

In case you are wondering, these are all of my own opinions. No one asked me to review T25. I am doing this to challenge myself and give myself accountability to complete this workout series.

Review: T25 – Day 4 (week 1) – Ab Intervals: An Ab workout without actual crunches

odd man

Phew! Day 4 of week one of T25 is done. I am almost done this first week of Focus T25, and I feel GREAT; tired and sore, but great. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I had a pair of shorts that I wore last Friday and were too tight, when I put them on yesterday, they fit better than before. T25 is already working; I can see and feel the results.

Today was Ab Intervals. (You need a mat for this workout!) You can obviously assume that the workout is all about the abs. But the great part about this ab workout is that you never do one regular crunch. Granted, when I couldn’t keep up, I just went into a crunch to keep moving, but Shaun T doesn’t even suggest that, I just thought to do it on my own. I tried to do as much of the workout as I could without watching Tania, but I was tired after a while, and so were my abs. When this happened, I looked to my right, on the screen where Tania stands, and followed her.

The workout starts off with a little bit of yoga: downward dog and child’s pose. You work the yoga moves into some plank holds and continue to do some plank exercises for about 5 minutes (there are some “V” sits in there as well). After that you do some cardio recovery, more ab exercises, cardio recovery again, then some more ab exercises. This goes on for about 15 minutes and then you move into a few more plank exercises, ab pyramids, and table holds. I really couldn’t do the ab pyramids, so I just did burpees instead. Tania was doing a modified pyramid, but I thought burpees would be more beneficial than her move, but not as hard as the full exercise Shaun T and the rest of the gang were doing. The stretch at the end was a little longer this time, and wasn’t an active stretch, just a full-out body stretch that was much-needed.

I didn’t love this workout, but I didn’t hate it either. It was exhausting, but I didn’t feel the same kind of exhaust that I felt after the Total Body Circuit, that one is still the hardest in my mind. I know that by doing this workout I will see results. Having abs has been one of my New Year’s resolutions for about 8 years, not even joking. Maybe this will be the year with Focus T25.

In case you are wondering, these are all of my own opinions. No one asked me to review T25. I am doing this to challenge myself and give myself accountability to complete this workout series.

Review: T25 – Day 3 (week 1) – Speed 1.0: Should be called “Spaz and Stretch 1.0”

Today was day 3 doing Focus T25. As I mentioned yesterday, I kind of messed up the schedule. Today was supposed to be Total Body Circuit, but I did that yesterday by mistake. Today, I did Speed 1.0. A tip I forgot to mention yesterday is how it’s good to have a yoga mat handy for some of these workouts. Yesterday, I probably could have done more of Tania’s modified exercises if I had my yoga mat out; I was SO sweaty and my knees kept slipping on my hardwood floor, they also hurt because there wasn’t a cushion.

Another tip for you glasses/contacts users, I would stick your contacts in for these workouts. Sweat was literally dripping on my glasses yesterday and I had to just take them off and do the rest of the workout half blind; I have never sweat this much working out. I usually sweat more walking to the gym from the car, than I do in the actual gym. This proves that T25 gives you a great workout, every day, in only 25 minutes.

I hate when people take “selfies” of themselves to show how sweaty they are after a workout, because they’re just like, “OMG, I’m the only person the world who works out…” But seriously, I’m sweaty. I’m going to start wearing “dew rags,” aka bandanas, to keep salt from dripping into my eyes…

ew

So far, Speed 1.0 has been my favorite workout. Mainly because not only do you do a lot of cardio, (and LESS squats) but you also get to stretch throughout the ENTIRE workout. Who doesn’t like stretching after doing a really hard cardio move? This workout starts out fast, hence the speed part of the title. In the past two workouts, Cardio and Total Body Circuit, you start off moving your legs slowly, then move into a hop, and then into a jog. In Speed 1.0, you just get going and start jogging. After the jog, there are a few different cardio moves for the next few minutes of the workout and at times, I felt like M.C.  Hammer. It was definitely a quick start to a fast workout.

After doing some “hammer time,” you move into the segment that I like to call, “Spaz and Stretch.” For the next 10 or so minutes you do a cardio move, then a stretch, a cardio move, and then a stretch. This is great because you can work yourself really hard and then recover during the stability stretching; I was able to do most of this workout without moderation. (I even did the burpee combination without doing the burpee modifier. Did you know there was a modifier for burpees? I hate burpees, but not as much as squats!)

When you get under the 10 minute mark, it’s time for the “burn-out” part of the workout. This is where I slowed down a bit. For the next 9 minutes, you do the moves you already did without stretching in between. A few times I had to slow down and follow Tania (my modifier BFF) but then I pushed myself to get back to the full move and finished out the set full-speed ahead. The last-minute of this workout is a little bit of yoga/stability stretching, I love some downward dog to finish out a great work out.

I loved Speed 1.0 with Shaun T.! I wish I could do this one everyday. After the 25 minutes of stretching and spazing, there was a 2 and 1/2 minute cool down with some active stretching. Toby is even exausted from this workout. He loves to try to stand behind me when I do burpees or in front of me when I do kicks. This results in me kicking him in the face and then apologizing profusely.

tobyyy

Tomorrow’s workout is Ab Intervals. I’m a little scared because I hate working out my abs. Are you getting the sense now about how I HATE working out? But, I am pushing through and keeping up with the big guys. Here’s to another completed day of T25!

In case you are wondering, these are all of my own opinions. No one asked me to review T25. I am doing this to challenge myself and give myself accountability to complete this workout series.

Review: T25- Day 2 (week 1) -Total Body Circuit: Get ready to squat your heart out

hate

Wow! I hate squats….a lot. But that doesn’t matter on your total body circuit workout day, you will literally squat till you drop, and that’s exactly what I did. (By the way, today was supposed to be Speed 1.0 and I looked at the schedule wrong. Oh well, at least I worked out! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s review of Speed 1.0)

Today is day 2 of my T25 workout. This is also the second entry to my workout diary. As I explained on day 1 of my new fitness blog series, I HATE working out. Even though I am a  stay at home Army wife (no kids yet!) I feel like I never have time to workout, okay that’s a lie, I have the time, I just don’t want to do it! With Shaun T’s new 25 minute workout, I have NO excuses.

Day 1 wasn’t so bad yesterday, and I thought, “Hey, this is easier than I thought!” WRONG. Day 2 was HARD! I followed Tania for the majority of the time (she was my BFF for this workout and the modifier workout buddy throughout the entire T25 Alpha and Beta phases). Sometimes, when it came to the MANY plank exercises, I couldn’t even keep up with Tania! In those instances, I either went into a plank hold, did MORE squats, or did a standing sprint. My theory is, as long as you’re moving, you’re losing! (And when I say losing, I actually mean winning when it comes to weight lose!)

Even though the workout was harder today, it still went by really fast. The first 5 minutes are a warmup, the next 15 minutes are non-stop squats, planks, and punches, then the last 5 minutes are repeats of the first 20 minutes, only faster. Phew, I’m tired all over again just talking about it. But the good news is, I’m done working out for the day and it only took me 25 minutes, plus the 3 minutes for a cool down. Thanks Shaun T, for another great day! Day 3, week one, is tomorrow and my workout will be Speed 1.0, as I mentioned before I kind of messed up the order for week 1, but the results will still be the same!

Speaking of results, I started the T25 program weighing in at 129 pounds! I’ll give a weekly update about how much weight I have lost. I only want to lose about 4 pounds and I also hope to gain my muscle back!

In case you are wondering, these are all of my own opinions. No one asked me to review T25. I am doing this to challenge myself and give myself accountability to complete this workout series.

Review: T25 – Day 1 (week 1) – Cardio: “I hate saying, ‘I like exercising’ — I want to punch people who say that.” – Jennifer Lawrence

Today I started T25 with Shaun T, the creator of Insanity, I wanted to start blogging about my T25 journey to make myself accountable for working out. I HATE working out, just like my Birthday twin, Jennifer Lawrence.

Over the winter, I lost about 9 pounds with Jillian Michaels. I did her 30 Day Shred video and her Ripped in 30 video. This took about three months. Along with the videos, I also went to the gym. I was in the best shape I had ever been in and I felt great. \

I managed to go back to the states from Korea in April, eat a TON of American food, and come back to Korea weighing LESS than I did when I left. Back in NJ: I went to the gym, ran outside, and ate bigger lunches with smaller dinners. When I came back to Korea, it was hot and I was tired of trying so hard to stay skinny. I gained a few pounds back and lost most of my muscles that I worked so hard to get. I didn’t regress all the way back to what I weighted after this past Christmas, but I didn’t like how I looked again or the fact that I could feel my clothes getting a little tighter.I was proud of the way I looked in April, and I wanted to get back to it. Also I really like pizza like J.Law.

pizza

Last week I tried to get back to my Jillian Michaels DVDs, but I wasn’t feeling the excitement from her this time. I had been hearing so much about T25 with Shaun T, that I decided it was worth a shot. So here I am, day 1 of a 10 week program. There are 5 workouts a week for five weeks for the Alpha Phase and then 5 workouts a week for five weeks in the Beta phase.

Today’s workout for day 1, week one was Cardio. There is a big clock in the lower left hand corner of the screen that counts down your workout. There is a quick warm up and then you are off to cardio land for the duration of your workout. (There is a separate cool down that lasts a few minutes after the actual cardio workout ends.) This is non-stop, sweat your butt off, kind of workout.

I was definitely pushed to my limits on day 1. There are several workout buddies on the screen, as well as Shaun T to motivate you throughout the entire workout. Tania, who is the modifier throughout the entire T25 program, is there to help those, like me, who don’t have the endurance to do the entire workout to full-scale. I switched back and forth bet ween the modifier and then regular workout buddies. I was able to do jumping jacks, high knees, and kicks to full-scale, but when it came to some of the lunge workouts, I stuck with Tania. Eventually, I plan to be able to do the full workout without having to modify anything, but until then, I am more than happy to have a modifier.

There are no breaks in T25; you are moving from start to finish. I stopped a few times to get a drink a water, but other than that, I sucked it up and pushed through. My legs are tired, my arms are tired, but I can honestly say the workout went fast! There wasn’t enough time to think about how tired I was because by the time I got sore from one move, we were onto the next, The thing I like most about this program was the fact that the time clock didn’t only tell me how much time I had left for the whole program, it also told me how  much time I had left for each exercise with a little yellow moving line, as well as which exercise was next; this motivated me to work a little harder because I knew when it would soon be over.

Tomorrow I will move on to day 2, which is Total Body Circuit. I also have my first ever massage tomorrow, which will be much-needed!

In case you are wondering, these are all of my own opinions. No one asked me to review T25. I am doing this to challenge myself and give myself accountability to complete this workout series.

Tastykakes in South Korea…WHAT?!

Yesterday, we headed over to Osan AFB to do our food shopping. We get most of our shopping done over there because they have a bigger commissary, and a lot more food options. I was cranky throughout most of the trip because I was hot (our A.C. is broken in our car) and I was hungry. My mood went from one end to the spectrum to the other when I walked down the bread aisle and stumbled upon this:tasty

I lost my train of thought in mid sentence and screamed, ” OH MY GOD….” a little too loud. I was so overwhelmed with joy that I almost opened a box of Butterscotch Krimpets right in the middle of the aisle and started eating one. After recovering from my outburst, and looking around to see who was looking at me, I frantically threw a box into our cart, thinking that if I blinked they would disappear.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would EVER see Tastykakes in KOREA, of all places! Our parents have sent us some, but to see them right in front of me was a dream come true. I didn’t wait too long to dig into my treats; I had a pack in the car (I made “mmmm” noises the whole time because they are just THAT good) and then froze the rest when I got home.

For those of you who have NO idea what I’m talking about, Tastykake is a baked goods company that was created in 1914, in Philadelphia, PA, the company is more formally known as, The Tasty Baking Company. For the majority of my life, the only people who even KNEW what Tastykakes were lived/grew up in the PA/NJ area. In 2011, the company merged with Flowers Foods Inc. This merger gave The Tasty Baking Company the opportunity to sell their products up and down the East Coast, as well as in many areas of the Southeast. We saw them in a Publix in Pensacola, FL in October 2011, (yes I freaked out over there too!)

Tastykake makes donuts, cookies, cakes, and pies. My all-time favorite is the pumpkin pie, which comes out each and every fall. Crossing my fingers that we get some pumpkin pie over here; two days ago I wouldn’t even have thought such a thing was possible!

Check out the Tastykake website to learn about these amazing baked goods. If you’re in Korea, check your local commissary for these treats. If they don’t have them, either head over to Osan AFB OR ask if your commissary can order them. Since the item is now in the system, any commissary in Korea should be able to order them! I recommend buying the butterscotch krimpets (have you ever read Maniac Magee????) and the Peanut Butter Kandykakes. I also really love the chocolate chip cookie bars, but they didn’t have them at Osan. And if you’re reading this Tastykake, we’d LOVE some S’mores bars over here in Korea, they look AMAZING!

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

water

Jacob, who is 23, is just about to finish his veterinarian studies at Cornell University. Unexpectedly, he is thrown into a horrible predicament. After a sudden tragedy, he is left with no family, no home, and no money. Not only does he not have any money, but he has no way to make money. In a time of desperation, Jacob hops on a moving train, having no idea where it is going and no idea what he is going to do once he gets on. Much to his surprise, the train is a traveling circus, one of the most famous circus’ in the country. With nowhere to go, no money to his name, and no clue what to do next, he hopes for the best and tries to become a circus man.

Jacob, the protagonist of the novel, tells the story from his point of view. The novel switches back and forth between present day Jacob, who resides in a nursing home, and Jacob from the past, a lost boy trying to find his way again. Marlena, the show’s main female performer, catches Jacob’s eye right away, too bad for him she’s married to August, one of the meanest men I have ever encountered in literature; I loathed him throughout the entire novel. There are a few other quirky characters in this novel:  Camel, Walter, Uncle Al, and Barbara, all of whom made me laugh from time to time.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a fascinating novel. I have never read anything like it. I know I am one of the last people to jump on the Water for Elephants bandwagon, pun intended, but to be honest, I have been afraid to read it. I hated the idea of a “circus book.” I hate the circus, and more specifically I hate clowns. Much to my surprise, I was intrigued by the circus life; it’s so mysterious and magical. Circus people belong in their own category of life. Most of them don’t have a place to call “home.” They live in trains, RVs, or hotels, and wander around the world aimlessly, setting up one day, and leaving the next. Okay, so maybe being in the circus is kind of like being in the military, “Not all those who wander are lost…”

Usually I read books about subjects I know about: love, high school, friendship, family, military life, etc. Water for Elephants was a completely new world for me to disappear into. I was able to visualize the performers and workers living on a train, eating in a tent, and becoming a family of their own. To these people, the circus is their family. They love each other, fight with each other, depend on each other, and form strong bonds that last a lifetime.

I loved all of the circus animals the most. Rosie, the elephant, is my favorite, for the obvious reasons. I also loved Bobo, the orangutan. I never realized how hard it would be to take care of all of the animals in a circus; it seems to me that they require more work than the humans. I was sad and disgusted at many parts because of the way the animals are treated if they misbehave; I hate reading about animal cruelty. I was almost brought to tears on several occasions.

Uncle Al is a pretty awful circus manager. He is money hungry and doesn’t take care of anyone on the team, except for himself. He calls the circus his family, but all he wants is to be better than the Ringling Brothers. He often puts the entire circus in danger because of his crazy ideas and doesn’t let anyone talk him down from his schemes. I wish he was the one who got sick from the alcohol. The majority of the story is based during prohibition, when alcohol was highly illegal. The circus managed to get alcohol here and there, which only caused more trouble for them all.

I would recommend this book to men and women ages 14-adult. It’s an easy book to read cover to cover, and that’s basically what I did. After finishing the book, I watched the movie and I must admit, it was a pretty good adaption. Of course, many scenes felt rushed, and a lot of facts were left out, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. Robert Pattinson even impressed me, although sometimes I just thought he was Edward from Twilight,