Friday, April 24, 2015

Book review: I Was Here

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


First things first: this book deals with suicide. So, if that's something you shouldn't be reading, don't read this book. And maybe also check this out, if you need to.

And also maybe be careful who you recommend this too. (lookin at you Kate) (not because you wouldn't be careful, just a heads up)

Moving on: I Was Here is the story of Cody, who was left behind and shocked when her best friend committed suicide. She didn't see it coming, even a little bit, and begins to question everything about her friendship with Meg, her life, herself.

Parts of this book are really intense. Cody is so shocked that she takes a lot of steps to understand Meg's mindframe -- to try to find the why of Meg's suicide, and it takes her to really dark places. I related to Cody's questioning of how she could not have known this about her friend, questioning how well she actually knew her friend.

Some parts of the book, though, I felt were too light. The relationships that form in the wake of Meg's suicide felt shallow to me -- I wanted more from their development, wanted to see more how that was happening. I think death can bring people together in weird ways, but I Was Here seemed to make people close really quickly in the way that can happen after a death without acknowledging that it's kind of weird and quick and different from normal. So while a lot of the emotions were really intense for me, I didn't always buy the relationships.

I'm trying not to say too much so I don't give anything away. I liked the book, but I think it could have been better.

Have any of you read I Was Here? What did you think?




Monday, April 20, 2015

It's not me, it's you: Retail sizes and shopping


I've already posted about my wedding dress shopping experience, but there's another bit I wanted to mention.

In the runner-up dress -- the dress I aaaaaaaaallllmost bought, the second favorite dress, I was measured at THREE DIFFERENT SIZES.

If I remember correctly, my natural waist was a size 8, my boobs were a size 10 and my hips were a size 14? That might not be right. I don't remember anymore. But the point is that at three different spots on my body, I was measured at three different sizes that actually spanned four sizes because I skipped right over one size -- my hips got big game.

If I had gone with that dress, I would have had to buy it at the largest size and had everything else altered down. (this led to the panic spiral about buying a dress in a different state that needed serious alterations that ended up sending me to David's Bridal, where I bought my dress)

I definitely laughed it off -- the dress sizes were crazy all together. One dress style, a 6 would fit and another dress I was squeezing into a 10 so it was hard to take it seriously.

But it was a GREAT reminder that all clothes -- the super formal and the everyday wear -- are made with arbitrary "average" measurements.

When you can't find clothes in the store, the problem isn't your body -- the problem is the clothes. You are not wrong. Your body is not wrong. Those clothes are just wrong for you.

I started thinking this way after reading this post from thewannabeathlete.

It's not me, jeans that fit my waist but no where else -- it's you. It's not me, wedding dress that has three different sizes appropriate for my one body. It's you.

For sure it's you.

But maybe there is a body out there for you somewhere.

For another look at this, check out these buzzfeed stories! (I absolutely adore Kristin and her facial expressions.)

BTW, the picture has nothing to do with anything. It's just peaceful and pretty.

Hope you're all having a happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

App review: Nike Training Club

Hi friends!

A million years ago, Julie from PBFingers posted about the Nike Training Club app, and I immediately downloaded it. Ok, so a million years is an exaggeration, but it is not an exaggeration to say that it took me at least six months before I ever actually did a workout from the app.

Now, though, I've been using it for over a month. Not super consistently -- I've done about 7 workouts on the app -- but enough to know that I should have started using it forever ago. So I wanted to share it with you all in case you're looking for something to up your workout game.

Before I started using the app, I had been out of shape for all of those six months, but I was starting to get base level fitness back on the elliptical and bicycles in my apartment complex's little gym.

(RIP gym. Just found out they're closing it for the next month. So sad.)

I wasn't challenging myself in any way -- I was just putting the time in, but no effort -- and realized pretty quickly it wasn't doing much for me.

So, I tried the Nike Training Club app.

Nike Training Club has several workout categories. When you choose a category, it then asks you to indicate your fitness level. I chose beginner.

After that, you can scroll through workouts. The titles don't really tell you a whole lot, but they do show how long the workout is.
  

Once you choose a workout, it takes you to this screen that shows the time and any equipment you need. You can also click that center icon and see a list of all the exercises. I've found that the equipment list isn't always totally accurate. One of the workouts I've been doing requires a step for tricep dips, and I don't have a step.

When you're looking at the list of exercises, you can edit some of them, not all. So in the picture below, I can choose between burpees and froggers (both are awful) but there's not an alternate for the alternating side lunges.

Each individual exercise has both photos with instructions and a video you can watch to make sure you're doing the exercise right. You can look at all of them ahead of time (I recommend it!) but if you're in the middle of the workout and you forget what the move is, you can watch the video again.

Each individual exercise has a timeframe. There is audio to prompt you from one move to the next. The audio also gives you reminders and hints on how to complete the exercise -- like to keep your weight in your heels on lunges.

It sprinkles in 30-second recovery periods and sometimes gives you 10 seconds in between to get to the next position -- so to go from squats, where you're standing, to pushups, where you need to be on the ground.


OVERALL THOUGHTS
I really enjoy using this app (using the word "enjoy" loosely). Yes, I could do all of these exercises without the app, but the app challenges me to do ones I wouldn't choose myself, it times me, and it makes me do more than I would naturally do in 30 minutes without direction. And it definitely got me to stop just putting in the time and start challenging myself again.

The one complaint I have is the lack of modifications. When I've taken fitness classes, often they'll says something like "If your legs are feeling really tight, bend at the knee a bit more" or "if your lower back is lifting off the ground, stabilize your back with your hands" or anything like that. And, as I said, there are a few where I (surprise!) didn't have the equipment. For most, I can modify on my own -- I've been working out long enough to know a few modifications, and I will sub in weights for a medicine ball, do the exercise without equipment, or sub in a different activity that works the same muscle group. So my experience with this type of workout does help.

There are a couple yoga workouts on here, but you have to have a pretty good grasp of yoga positions to do them, because if you need to watch the video while you're doing the workout, it pauses the workout -- so you can't follow along like you would with a DVD. There's also a 15-minute stretching routine I have yet to try, but might need eventually.

Finally, the biggest endoresement I can give is that these workouts make me sore every day. I think as I'm getting better, I'm able to push myself harder, so that means even though I've been using it a while, it'll keep challenging me -- do more push ups this time. Move from modified push ups to real push ups, etc.



Have any of you used this app or others to expand your workouts? I'd love more recommendations!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy birthday Dad!



To my dad

who calls me every morning to help me get out of bed and work out(even though I am a grown ass woman who ought to be able to get out of bed myself)

who is working full time at his job and then going home and working on 100% full fledged art for my future father in law's new home

who texts me countdowns to the next time I get to see Pat

who sends me selfies and pictures of our pets when I'm missing home

who still calls me by my childhood nickname

who uses emojis better than any other dad

who calls me on Sundays, just to catch up

I hope you have the happiest of birthdays!


So sad I'm always far away on your birthday, Wolf. Hope it's a good one.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What they don't tell you about being long distance

Pat just visited for a week++ and it was awesome. In the five birthdays I've had since we've been dating, this was the first one we were in the same state! I decided all I wanted was to eat all the things, so that's what we did.

Anyway, his visit made me think about this whole long distance thing (again). We are in the final countdown of being long distance -- May 1 I fly to Lawrence for my friend Jac's wedding and when I come back, Pat will be with me, moving to Colorado. No mo long distance.

So. Here are some things I didn't expect going into this whole shenanigan. (Is there such a thing as a singular shenanigan? I always hear it pluralized.)



ONE. Skyping can be so much better
The single best thing Pat and I have done to survive being long distance is playing online games while we Skype. About once a week, we Skype and play Dominion with our friend Sam. If Sam can't play, we'll still play Dominion or Cribbage online. We are not very chatty people. If we were straight up skyping or talking on the phone, we would run out of things to say. Sharing an activity while we talk feels so much more normal. 10/10, highly recommend.

TWO. Every visit will seem like a vacation
Meaning you will want to shirk all responsibilities and routine. Meaning you may not work out for a whole week if he visits you over his spring break. Meaning you may gain weight every time you're together because you feel like you're on vacation and can eat all the things and drink a whole bottle of wine. Doesn't work out if you're doing this once a month or more. Not good.

THREE. You may gain weight anyway
Because long distance life is hard, you'll give yourself permission to eat your feelings. Or do whatever unhealthy habit YOU have that you use to cope. Oops.

This is actually a scientific-y thing related to self-regulation. If you're regulating your emotions a lot -- say, missing your partner, working in a job where you can't be yourself, doing a lot of something you don't like -- you use up all your willpower doing that thing you don't like doing. Leaving you no willpower to not eat Nutella straight from the jar. Self-regulation is limited in quantity. Positive psychology, yo.

FOUR. You'll never do the things you plan
Every time we visit each other, I plan a billion things I want to do. And even if it's not a billion, I plan a lot of things I want to do, and my plans usually seem reasonable for the amount of time that we have. Nope. You won't do all the things. Because all you'll want to do is be together in a way that feels normal. Because while you might miss having a partner for adventures (I do), what you'll probably miss even more is having a partner for the every day stuff -- like cooking dinner, watching that movie you've been waiting to watch together, and playing Yahtzee. Pat was just here for a week, and we did not manage to go hiking or to the Celestial Seasonings tour I want to go on. But we did cook together almost every night, watch at least seven movies, and play a million games of Yahtzee. We can adventure later.

FIVE. You will get used to sleeping alone
If you and your partner are the type that share a bed, you will eventually get used to sleeping alone. Which is, you know, good, because you can't spend all your nights alone struggling to fall asleep. However, when they visit -- sleep becomes a struggle bus again until you remember how sharing a bed with a full sized human works.

EDITED BECAUSE I FORGOT ONE -- SIX. You'll probably get each other sick.
One of us aaaalways gets the other sick when we visit. Every. Freaking. Time. It's stupid and awful. We end up being sick the whole time we're together and when the visitor leaves, all you're left with is snot and tissues and cough drops. My mom says we're just not used to each others germs anymore. Stuuupid.


Anyone out there who has been long distance -- anything that surprised you?


LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...