Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My February Adventures

Happy Leap Day!

There's just something really special and fun about February 29, don't you think? For most of us it's like a freebie day, but for some... it's the birthday that only comes around once every four years! Can you imagine? I remember a few leap years ago, an elderly woman with whom I was acquainted was so excited to be throwing a Sweet 16 party for one of her girlfriends [64th] birthday? How cute is that? Sixty four years old and your true birthday only came around 16 times! That's special all right! :)
German Chocolate Ganache Cake 
Speaking of birthdays ... my husband celebrated another one earlier this month and for the third year in a row, I made him his favorite cake ever... the amazing German Chocolate Ganache Cake pictured above. Fortunately for me, his birthday was on the first day after I was liberated from the cleanse diet I was following. Very serendipitous, don't you think?

Health & fitness adventures :
I finished the Whole Living Action Plan detox cleanse diet thing earlier this month. Yay!!! I learned so much doing that cleanse and felt so good in the last week or two, but it was hard work. A couple of weeks later, I have to confess that I haven't been as good at sticking to the healthy eating since then as I had hoped. I did develop some new habits that I've been very good at keeping up, such as no caffeine [can you believe it?], hot water with lemon first thing every morning, drinking more water, eating more vegetables and nuts, but I also resorted to some of the old not so good habits. In the form of cookies. :-/ It's not that I'm eating whole sleeves of girl scout cookies or anything. Honest! They haven't come in yet. But a cookie here and a cookie there every day.. it adds up. :/

This week my 16 year old and I started a "healthy eating diet" to help us get on track with healthy eating. We're going [mostly*] vegan and gluten free for two weeks, eating lots of fruit, vegetables, beans, soy, nuts and seeds, with moderate servings of oats and rice. We're starting every morning with a mug of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon to stimulate our liver followed by a fruit and soy smoothie for breakfast. I haven't made us a green smoothie yet.. wonder how that will go over. No processed foods and no refined sugars. My daughter's looking to simply eat healthier, more vegetables and fewer chips and snacks, and also hoping eating better will boost her moods. Yes, please. Minefields. Seriously. I'm looking to improve how I feel digestively again--I really did feel SO much better when I wasn't eating as many gluten foods on the cleanse. I wouldn't be disappointed I got back on track losing some extra pounds, too!

[*My daughter is being strict about the vegan part, but I'm allowing some Greek yogurt, fish and lean chicken or beef because I feel I need it to fuel or refuel my workouts.]

I'm finally working out every day-ish again after a bad head cold took me out of the gym and landed me on the sofa for a almost a week! Needless to say, my fitness hours reflect some of that downtime, but at least I still got my body moving when I could! Here's a look at what I did in February:

Bike . . . . . . . . . 2.5 hours [34.3 miles]
Run . . . . . . . . .  2.5 hours [14.34 miles]
TRX. . . . . . . . . 4.0 hours
Kickbox . . . .  . 3.75 hours
Spin . . . . . . . . .  2.5 hours
Powercuts . . . . . 2.0 hours

Total fitness challenge 'miles' . . . 72.34 miles

[My monthly goal is 100 miles where 1 fitness challenge mile = 15 min of cardio or strength training = 1 mile run.]

That's 17.25 hours biking running kicking spinning lifting TRX-ing.

All of a sudden it doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot of activity...

What did you do in February to keep moving?

Adventures in reading :
After a very slow start in January, February proved to be quite productive with 14 books read! Possibly a new record for me, but in truth, some books were pretty short--three graphic novels and two novellas, so it's not that crazy. I did read a long one, though--Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman, which is one of the books I chose for The Big Book Challenge [500+ pages]. I loved it and am going to start the sequel Eona tonight! Here's a list of the books I read in February:

1. Born in Death by J.D. Robb C+
2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, graphic novel B
3. Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb A
4. Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt B+
5. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison [re-read] A
6. The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted Thanks, Brie! :) B
7. King Lear by Gareth Hinds, Shakespeare graphic novel, original text B+
8. Eon Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman A
9. Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke A
10. "Thicker Than Blood" by Meljean Brook, novella A
11. Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh B+
12. Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh A
13. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogsol, graphic novel B
14. Forever Mine by Delilah Marvelle, novella C-

Unfortunately, I was horrible at writing reviews or even mini reviews on goodreads for most of these books. I really need to get into the habit of writing at least a few lines, but once I move on to the next book, I lose reviewing momentum rather rapidly.

Are there any books listed above that you'd like to hear about?
Maybe I'll try to write up a few.

What great books did you read in February?

Other projects and adventures :
Guess what? I've been keeping up with the Project 366 [leap year ;)] photogrpahy project to take a photo every day of the year. I think I'm finally going to pull this project off after three prior failed attempts! Wahoo!! *knock on wood!*

I'm still thinking of a way to make a monthly collage to post here, but in the meantime, to see my photos click on My Project 366. All photos are taken with my iPhone 4S. Lots of pictures of cats and food.

Traveling adventures :
I met up with blogging friends Hilcia, Mariana and Natalie on Saturday afternoon. We met at a cool fondue restaurant in Hoboken called The Melting Pot where we ate fondue of course! Cheese fondue [with bread, apples and vegetables], Seasoned broth fondue [with meat, fish and vegetables] and of course.... chocolate fondue! We had a milk chocolate and white chocolate yin yang fondue with fresh strawberries, marshmallows, red velvet cake, brownies, cheesecake and rice krispie treats. Wow. Pictures of fondue on my Project 366 link above! And while the food was delicious and fun. .. the best part was hanging out with these lovely ladies chatting about books, jobs, family and life. Hilcia came with a generous bag of books to share with us [Thank you, Hils! xo] and we had the loveliest of afternoons. I can't wait to do it again soon.

Do you ever meet blogging friends you've met online in person?

That's about it for my February adventures. Thanks for reading all about it and I wish you a marvelous March! xo


  1. The thought of a Sweet Sixteen birthday at the age of 64 sounds very cute. *g* (May I say your cake looks scrumptious!)
    Don't forget you were sick when looking at all your exercising. Your body needs to rest to heal when sick and you did great with lots of different types of exercises to keep your routine from being stale.
    I started a new to me class this month, kettlebells. But, it was only a month long class and tonight was the last night. I'm really going to miss it. Which is why I splurged and bought my own kettlebell today.
    Aww, your meeting up with your blog buddies sounds like fun! I've never met any of my online friends. Heck, I'd probably bore them to tears, anyway! *g*
    Onward to March! I wish you a lovely rest of the week!

    1. @Brandy I'm actually okay with not meeting my 100 fitness miles--I know it wasn't a matter of lack of motivation.

      That's too bad the kettlebells class was only for one month, but YAY! You bought your own kettleball! Maybe they'll add the class permanently if enough people ask for it? I didn't buy another block of classes for the TRX training yet, either. I LOVED the class.. I'm just being stingy about paying an extra $64 per session for it! I'm still waffling ..

      You would NOT bore your online friends to tears! Silly you. xo

      Hope you're having a good week, too!

  2. I do like the look of that cake. I need to make one for work next month, it a good beginner's cake or should I go simpler?

    And I hope you're feeling better after the bad head cold! Sounds like a good fitness month - here's to another good one in March :)

    1. @orannia I think you could definitely make the cake even if you're a beginner. Just set aside a good chunk of time to do it (on a day off or on the weekend) because it is a lot of steps, so it takes a while and dirties a lot of dishes, pots, utensils, etc. It's really decadent and can serve a lot of people because you can only handle a sliver at a time. Maybe it could serve 20?

      Maria's favorite cake--that she's already requested for her April birthday--is this Old Fashioned Caramel Cake that is also really delicious and impressive too. A little easier to make.

      I'm feeling MUCH better, thank you!

    2. So glad you're feeling better. Oh I like the look of the Caramel Cake. Might have to try it next weekend :) Thank you!

  3. Wow - you had a very busy month considering you were sick for part of it! I'm in awe of those fitness minutes/hours! I managed to run 16 days out of the 29 - a record for me!

    It's fun to meet up with blogging buddies - I've met quite a few bloggers from the area and have formed some lasting friendships. Since I'm relatively new to the area and work from home, this has been fabulous (from experience, I know it takes a while to meet people if you don't work outside of the home). Glad you all had a good time - and I need to petition for a Melting Pot restaurant to open up here (Nova Scotia, Canada) - this is the second time I've heard about it and my mouth is salivating at the menu items :)

    1. @Janet Ha! My month sounds much busier than it was! I rested a lot for that week+ that I wasn't feeling well. WOW! You ran A LOT last month! That's more often than every other day.. wasn't your goal every two days? Good for you! :D

      I love meeting blogging buddies, too and have formed some wonderful friendships as well. I think it's wonderful that you were able to establish a friend base in your area based on the friends you met online.

      As for the fondue, you should buy a fondue pot and host a fondue dinner for your friends! I bet you can find lots of wonderful fondue recipes online. :)

  4. WOW! That cake looks awesome!! I want to visit!
    Good luck with the diet working on the moods -- mom, she's a teen. We've been going to a homeopathic lady that does testing to ck your vitamin levels. Between the extra vitamin & all of the water she recommends everyone's moods have improved.
    You've read quite a lot! Congrats. My favorite book this month was The Day We Met by Dusti Bowling. It's a .99 Kindle book & is absolutely enthralling. Not my usual genre but wow!

    1. @Gina The cake is really awesome. Omg so good! We ate it all within a week or so. Omg so bad!!!

      I love hearing that the homeopath was able to help your family with nutrient assessment and you're all feeling better these days. That's exactly what we're trying to achieve ... or at least help it a little ... with the healthier eating. More vitamins through more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

      I'm going to look into The Day We Met! Thanks for the rec. :)

  5. I was hard for me to tear myself away from that picture of the cake but man! it was GOOD LOOKING!


    Anyway, you always make me feel like a sloth because you get so much stuff done!!!
    :D I still need to read Dragon Bound! You just reminded me!! Thanks for that! :D

    1. @Alex LOL! Good thing you couldn't smell the cake. You'd REALLY be wanting some.

      Oh please. Do not be fooled by all the exercise I list... I also know how to sit on my bottom with a book or laptop in front of me for hours.

      You need to read Dragon Bound! Such a great story!!! I haven't read further in the series, though I know a lot of people like the other books, too.

  6. Okay, yummy!! The cake looks awesome. I really need to convince my sister to make it LOL. By the way, she did try the crab cakes... but she didn't use fresh breadcrumbs of fresh crab meat, so I think it was a bit too dense ^_^;

    Wow on eating better! Well it's going to be easier if you're two :)

    Are you kidding me, that's load of exercises! Just doesn't seem as much for you! However, you were on detox... Probably not as much energy?

    You did great reading-wise! Awesome! 3 novellas and a book 500+ pages, it balances everything out :) and not only you read a good number, there were good books too! I think I'm going to try Eon again... So glad you enjoyed Conor's Way and Thicker than Blood. I really liked that novella by MB.

    Yay on you posting the pictures for your 366 Days Project :) They're lovely! Love the cats, so cute! LOL.

    Oh and I wish I've been there for the get-together! The food looks to die for! LOL.

    1. @nath Your sister should definitely make this cake for you! If she doesn't, I promise to make it for you the next time you visit. And I'll send you home with whatever we don't eat, too! How's that for encouraging another visit? ; )

      Sorry the crab cakes didn't turn out better. I guess the fresh breadcrumbs and fresh crab make a difference.

      The detox ended on Feb. 5, so I can't really blame that for the lower exercise this month... I really blame my cold. I missed five days of cardio, but even that would have only contributed to another five hours. Oh well. Like you said, I still did a lot! :)

      I say try Eon again and see what happens. Borrow it from the library? I'm not sure if it will work for you because I'm not sure what you consider cliche about a girl masquerading as a boy in a story like this. You can email me specific questions if you want to know and I'll tell you. Maybe it's just not for you.

      Aw, glad you like my pictures. The cats are very cute. I photograph them a lot for this project. lol

      We wish you were with us when we got together, too! You were there in spirit, because we talked about you too! ^_^ The next time you visit, we can go there.

  7. Christine, that cake is to die for! You're killing me! LOL!

    You read some great books in February, another excellent reading month for you! Yay! I'm definitely giving Eon a shot, and of course Conor's Way. Plus I'm seriously thinking of reading The Bro Magnet to see what all the hoopla is about.

    Our meeting was fun! The Melting Pot was definitely a hit. :)

  8. I love hearing about your different eating plans! They are so inspiring! We've seriously considered going vegetarian...the only one that would struggle with it is my oldest. But I need to find more recipes that the entire family enjoys before we try. Sounds like you had a great month of reading as well..congrats!


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