Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Reading. Oh, My!

One thing I love about the summer is reading. Pleasure reading--getting to the books that I've been dying to read. During the school year, I start off with good reading intentions. My reading time wanes from reading a little every night to not reading at all for weeks. In the summer, I can read to my heart's desire. It is so exciting for me to be able to just pick up a book whenever I feel like it and dive in. 

This year I gave myself a reading goal on Good Reads. My goal is 40 books read in 2015. I think this is a doable goal. I am a few books behind, according to Good Reads, but I always read a lot more in one month during the summer than I do during the school year. 

I also joined my friend Stephanie @owl_on_the_shelf for a reading challenge she started. It's the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge based on the 339 books Rory was seen reading during the Glimore Girls run. I have read more books on the list than I thought, but there are still so many to read! Many of them are classics that I just haven't gotten around to reading, so I'm excited to add some of these to my list. I plan of reading these two first:


If you want to check out the books in the Rory Gilmore challenge, click here. There's a list where you can check off books you have read from the challenge.

Here are some highlights from my reading during 2015:

Currently Reading

Books I've Finished this Summer

Books I've Read So Far for My Reading Challenge (before summer):

6. My Name is Not Angelica by Scott O'Dell

7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by: Marie Condo

8. Smile by Raina Telemeier

9. The Color of My Words by: Lynn Joseph

10. Dead to The World (iZombie #1) by Chris Roberston

11. I Was Here by Gale Forman

12. Brown Girl Dreaming by: Jacqueline Woodson

13. Legend by: Marie Lu

14. Still Alice by: Lisa Genova

15. Mockingbird by: Katherine Erskine

16. Pictures of Hollis Woods by: Patricia Reilly Giff

I think I'm doing pretty well so far! 

What are you currently reading? Any books you've loved reading recently?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Friday, June 26, 2015

Operation Be Healthier and Happier #1

I sweat a lot this week, and I am so proud of myself! I've been staying active and feeling more motivated to get things done in all aspects of my life: professional, personal, and emotional. I've been getting more things done around the house, taking care of projects that I've wanted to do, but never had the energy for. I was a BEAST at cleaning out my classroom to move to a new job. I really didn't want to have to go through everything I own as a teacher, but I feel like I knocked it out in a good amount of time. Only one more trip to go! And I have been working out a lot the past week, and I'm planning my workouts for next week to keep my motivation going :)

Here's what I've done so far this week:

Saturday (6.20)--21 Day Fix legs workout

Sunday (6.21)--21 Day Fix arms workout

Monday (6.22): Zumba

Tuesday (6.23): Zumba and I spent 3 hours in a humid classroom packing up my whole teacher life to start a teaching job in a different district in the fall.

Wednesday (6.24): Walked Remy with Bjorn. Showed Bjorn our park loop :)

Thursday (6.25): Packed and moved and cleaned my house. I felt really active even though I didn't do a "real" workout today--migraine city :(

Friday (6.26): Relaxed and went to a movie with Bjorn.

Saturday (6.27): I plan to go to Zumba from 10:00-11:30.

Sunday (6.28): I plan to go to free yoga and Zumba in the park with my friend Amanda from My Shoe String Life. :)

I have been drinking A LOT of water to make me feel better plus to curb my migraines. The past two weeks, I have been drinking between 96 and 128 ounces of water each day from the time I wake up. I fill up my Tervis Tumbler 3-4 times throughout the day. 

Since I get migraines almost every time I work out, I tried something new this week. The last two days I went to Zumba, I "pretreated" my migraine with an anti-inflammatory pill that I take and a  half of a migraine pill. I can't do this every time I exercise, or I'll run out of migraine pills for the month. But, no  migraines with the pre-treatment! When I go get my Botox at the beginning of July, I am going to ask my neurologist about these types of migraines that are triggered by exercise.

I have also been making sure that I eat more fiber and protein for breakfast instead of grabbing a quick protein bar. I have been making myself eggs and whole grain toast or whole grain waffles with fruit. I feel full a lot longer and have more energy.

Here's to a great past week of taking care of myself and to a great next week!

What have you done to take care of yourself this past week?

Love and happiness <3

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Something I Don't Like to Talk About...

This is really hard for me to talk about. I don't know why, but it feels harder than talking about my OCD and anxiety. Maybe because I am embarrassed that I haven't been taking care of myself the way I used to; I am embarrassed that I let myself down.

Over the past two years, I have gained a lot of weight. Taking new migraine medications, taking the wrong migraine medications, being stressed, and going through a bout of depression have really taken their toll on me. 

Me at a feel-good weight for my body.

I don't feel like myself and haven't for at least the last year, almost year and a half. I am uncomfortable in my skin. My clothes slowly started to feel tighter and tighter. I currently have one pair of jeans that I can wear comfortably. My boobs got really big (compared to the A cups they used to be). I feel like I'm living in a different person's body.

I haven't worked out hardly at all or danced in the last year. I just couldn't get myself motivated. I couldn't physically get up out of my house to do anything. I became a sedentary person (which is totally not me!). 

I gained 40 pounds over the last year and a half. Seriously, when I see it in writing, I can't believe it. What bugs me the most is I don't feel good in this body. I want to feel better again. I'm not even obsessed or worried about the number on the scale. I just want to feel good again in my own skin.

Me now.

Today, I feel like my mind is in a better place. I am able to motivate myself again, which I never had trouble doing before. It's like OCD exposures--my "just do it" mentality that I learned over the years. It's been a hard journey, and the hardest part, is realizing that this will take time. 

I feel motivated to work out now: it helps my anxiety, it is good for my body, and it is good for my spirit. At the start of summer (and even in May), I started walking my dog, Remy, every day. He needed to loose a little weight too. I started doing 30 minute workouts with the 21 day fix. I don't follow the whole program, just use the workouts when I can't get to Zumba. I started going back to Zumba. I feel better and have more energy, but I still feel down about the whole thing. The hardest part is switching my mindset. I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet.

I'd love to share my successes and fumbles on my blog, getting back to a healthier me. I think it will motivate me and hold me accountable to keeping active. I always was a dancer, and I plan on staying that way!

Here's to getting back to feeling good again! 

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Monday, June 22, 2015

Starting to Meditate

One of my goal's has been able to meditate on a daily basis for a few minutes, in order to have a clearer mind, less stress in my life, and less anxiety. I've tried a few different times to sit quietly, clear my head, and just "be." It is definitely not as easy as I thought it would be, especially with an anxious mind that is always running. I can not usually turn my head off in the summer; I'm always thinking what I "need" to do next or what I "could" be doing next.

And, thus, the reason that I want to start meditating. 

This past year has been challenging in itself with stress: I started a new migraine treatment, I had a crazy year at work with the most new students I've ever gotten before Christmas break, and I went through a debilitating bought with depression. To say the least, last year wasn't my favorite year, but I want to come back to feeling a sense of peace with myself and my life. A calmness, an okay-ness with just living life every day and just being me.

So here are my goals for meditation this summer:

I thought I could use some help getting started, so I found this great book in my friend's Instagram bookshop @littleseasideshop:

I am super excited to dive into this one. The book offers a modern approach to meditation and touts a more simple look at beginning meditation. I'm hoping it can help me start meditating quickly and help me maintain daily meditation. I'm starting this book next, so I can't wait to see where it takes me.

One other thing I am doing is being more mindful of what I am doing in my down time. It's so easy to turn on the television or radio as background noise while I'm blogging, writing, or reading. The last few weeks, I've been purposefully turning off the "noise" and just being--sitting in the quietness. It is quite relaxing and peaceful. I am going to continue to do this every day: allow for quietness and stillness in my life.

I also created a Pinterest Board with some interesting pins about meditation, yoga, and relaxation. I am going to continue to find helpful pins to add to this board throughout the summer. If you'd like to follow my meditation board on Pinterest, you can click here

I'll post an update once I get into meditating and share my successes and pitfalls. Wish me luck, relaxation, and a peaceful mind! ;)

Have you ever tried to meditate? What problems have you had? What have you found to work for you?

Love and happiness <3 Holly