The Introduction of Our Book Club

In order to keep sanity during the COVID restrictions and lock downs, I thought it would be a fun idea to start a book club between my very close group of friends.

The idea was to read one book a month, then have a virtual discussion. Thankfully, everyone (four of us) was on board.

In order to make things fair, it was decided that each person would have a turn in picking the book to be read.  We decided that the books would be chosen by order of birth month, alphabetically.

As mentioned, at first we thought one book a month would be doable, but after thinking about it, I suggested we change it to two months. This would allow us time to fit in other activities that we were involved in, i.e. working out, cross-stitching, and crocheting. Everyone agreed.

Our first book was chosen, and I finished it in record time.  I continued with my trend of reading during the lunch hour.

We are scheduled to discuss the book in November, but three of us are done and only one more needs to finish. If she finishes before the deadline, we’ll bump up the discussion date.

After we have our group discussion, I will formally post my review on my blog.

Since then, I’ve finished another book and have started another.  I’m hoping to finish this one, too, before our official book club book is chosen.

Derma-E-Clear Skin Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub

I received a small sample of the Derma-E Microdermabrasion Scrub from Healthy Planet during one of their customer-appreciation events.

Derma-E
Microdermabrasion Scrub

This product claims to:

…buffs away dullness and smooths the look of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and acne scars…

This was VERY reminiscent of the Andalou’s Clear Skin Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub in terms of scent.  It smelled exactly the same.  Like lemon dish detergent.

In Derma-E’s case, however, I found the dead sea salt to be more effective than the sugar scrub, because it DIDN’T melt.  The salt stayed intact allowing me to really get into the area around the side of my nostrils.

I do think I may have used it too frequently.  I started getting random teeny little white pimples. Since then, I’ve dialed it back a bit and the pimples have disappeared.

In summary:

Pros:  Salt does not melt away. Exfoliation process felt more satisfying.  My skin felt clean afterwards with no residue or layer of film to complain about.  This product is Cruelty Free (most important to me), Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Vegan.

Cons:  This product is expensive. I didn’t realize how much until I went in to buy my full-sized jar.  I left empty handed, but kept checking for sales.  I purchased mine with a 20% off sale.

I will be keeping this product in rotation. While more expensive than Andalou, it’s still cheaper than Eminence.

Disclaimer:  All reviews are my own. I purchased the product myself, and have not received compensation for my review.

G.O.Y.A. Training Club (Volume 5)

On Friday, October 9, 2020, it was announced that our region was going into a 28-day, “modified Stage 2” shutdown. This shutdown included gyms.

In a scramble, I was able to sign up for Volume 5 of the GOYA workouts.  Matthew opened up registration (already one week in) to accommodate for the new shut down.  At this point, I had only missed five workouts.

My plan is to catch up on the first week of workouts on the weekends and during the “rest” week in between volume challenges.

Rumour has it that the 28 days are going to be extended.  I really hope that’s not the case.

Has anyone else’s gym plans been sidetracked by this latest shutdown?

Gym Training (12-Week Fitness Program)

I’ve been keeping up really well with my workouts.  I’ve been consistently training five days/week.  As long as the gyms remain open, I’ll keep going.  A second wave of COVID shutdowns could come at any time.  If that happens, I’ll switch back to online workouts.

I’m currently following Ashley Horner’s Becoming Extraordinary program.  I needed something that didn’t include too much circuit work.  Our gym time is restricted, so I have to get as much in as I can within my booking.  Also, I don’t want to be hogging equipment from other gym goers.

I just finished Phase I, which was two weeks of full-circuit, high-reps, low-weights.  I’m currently on week one of Phase II.  This phase is five weeks in length and focuses on strength building. There is a cardio component, but I do my weighted work first, and if there’s time left over, I head to the treadmill.

Book Review-The Lost Girls (Book 2)

I’ve been continuing with my new habit of reading during my lunch hour.  Luckily, the weather has been nice enough for me to be able to slip away every day. Once the weather gets colder, I’ll be stuck inside, at work.  There’s nothing wrong with reading at work, but my coworkers take it as an invitation to constantly interrupt me.

I received this e-book as a free download here: (it’s not longer free).

The Lost Girls by Alexa Steele

As with the first book, this was a quick read. This is a follow-up novel for Alexa Steele.  I’m happy to report that the writing has improved.

The second novel in The Suburban Murder series was better than the first. I found that Bella was a little less hardened and more likeable (although she was miserable at the start of the story). The story line was interesting.

Similar to my last review, I found one of the characters not wrapped up satisfactorily. A little more background as to why this person turned out to be the way they did would have been nice. I felt the simple “crazy” explanation, without providing context, was too simplistic.

As with book 1, I felt the ending was rushed. Overall, a better read, but still contained distracting spelling errors. I received books 1 and 2 as a free download.

I give this book:

 

I’m planning on buying and reading book 3.

Book Review-The Forgotten Girls (Book 1)

I know I keep saying this, but I’m really trying to implement a little bit more reading. Between the gym and cross-stitching, there’s just not enough hours in the day…until I decided to forgo my lunchtime Netflix watch and switch to book reading.

I found a cute, quiet parking spot nestled in a townhouse community not far from work. I make my way over, park in the visitor’s parking spot (in the shade), eat my lunch, and read.

I received this e-book as a free download here:

The Forgotten Girls by Alexa Steele

This book was a quick read. That said, it was a tiny bit amateurish for me.  This is a debut novel for Alexa Steele, and you can tell it’s a bit novice.

I felt that there was one character introduced that really didn’t mesh well.  I suppose this character was added to the story to provide another possible culprit, but the character was haphazardly thrown in and not wrapped up properly, making it almost pointless.

The same character wrap-up was also missing for one of the other possible culprits, albeit, this character played a more significant role than the one mentioned above.

I also didn’t like the end of the book.  I don’t understand why the lead detective (main character) was so bothered and unnerved at the very end. This case hit her hard. Why? There was no explanation. Just that she wasn’t taking it well. Did it remind her of a previous case? Is she just that hard on herself all the time? Did she feel like she failed, because of the outcome?

There were a few grammatical/spelling errors in the book.

I give this book:

 

I’m currently reading her second book in the series.  I received this one as a free e-book as well.

A Typical Start to My Day

I’m not a coffee drinker.  I love the smell of freshly-brewed coffee, but the taste?  Not so much.  A typical start to my day looks like this:

    • 1 scoop of Genuine Health’s Greens+  (I like to rotate between Detox and Energy.)
    • 1 tbsp Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)
    • 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
    • 2 tbsp collagen
    • 1 tsp MCT oil

This gives me the energy I need to start the day, and it’s surprisingly refreshing.

 

 

Old Navy-Powersoft Leggings

I thought it would be interesting to add some fashion to my blog.  I mean, why not?  Beauty, health, fashion.  It all kind of meshes together.

For my first fashion/clothing post, I’ll start with my latest purchase.  Workout tights.  A girl can never have enough.  Am I right?  My husband seems to think I do, but honestly, a lot of my tights are old.  They’re good quality, which of course, contributes to the longevity.  I just feel like I need something new every now and then to keep things interesting.

The other day, I was browsing the Old Navy website when I came across these tights:

Old Navy
High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft 7/8-Length Side-Pocket Leggings For Women

These tights retail for $44.99. Features include high waist (love high waist because it holds my belly pooch in nicely) and side pockets (handy for cell phone carry).

They’re pretty flashy, but something about them drew me in.  I decided to pop into a store and see what they looked like in person.  I liked them, so I bought them in a size M.  I normally wait for a sale, but I ended up buying it full price.

They felt pretty comfortable throughout my workout.  They’re pretty soft to the touch.  I had no issues.  I’m happy with my purchase.

Edited to add:  These tights are NOT squat proof.

P.S.  My daughter hates them.  Ha ha!

Caudalie-Beauty Elixir

I’ve been keeping a secret. I’m ready to reveal it.

I’ve been hoarding Caudalie products.  My obsession started with some samples.  That grew into a couple of products, and that grew into multiple products.

I’ll start my series of reviews with the Best Seller. The Beauty Elixir.

Caudalie
Beauty Elixir

This product claims to:

reveal complexion radiance, visibly smooth the features and tighten the appearance of pores.

I use this product SPARINGLY.  I’d love to use it way more often than I do, but it’s a bit expensive, so I tend to hang on to it and use it on special occasions, or when my makeup happens to look super fresh on a particular day.

The travel size is 30 ml and retails for $22 CDN.  The regular size is 100 ml and retails for $59 CDN.

I can’t say for certain that it has made a difference on my skin simply because I don’t use it often enough.  But I do feel like it’s a nice pick-me-up. The scent is not overpowering and fake-like (overly processed).  The scent is rather “natural”.  Almost wood-sy.  Very reminiscent of essential oils used in diffusers.

In summary:

Pros:  Spritzing it on is refreshing, and, oddly satisfying.  Ingredients are:

    • 100%…of natural origin
    • contains essential oils
    • contains no parabens, phenoxyethanol (what’s this), phthalates (and this), mineral oils, or animal-derived ingredients

Cons:  Price point.  I wish the price was lower, so I could buy it more often.

I will definitely continue to use this.  I’m always on the lookout for sales or special offers via emails.

Disclaimer:  All reviews are my own. I purchased the product myself, and have not received compensation for my review.

G.O.Y.A. Training Club (Volume 3)

Well, Volume 2 came and went, and we were still under lock down, so I signed up for Volume 3.

I was able to complete week one before our gyms got the go-ahead to open, with restrictions, of course.

And that’s where I left my GOYA training. I’ve been training at the gym as much as I’m able.  I do have to book my training sessions through an app.  This app caps the maximum number of people allowed in the gym at any one time.

For the most part, I haven’t felt any anxiety going back. There’s barely anyone there.  There’s hand sanitizer as soon as you walk in. There are also individual spray bottles and towels to use for wipe down of equipment.

As expected, I have lost some strength, but I feel pretty good, because I’ve been slowly making my way back up in weights.  I try to increase my weights by one increment every week.