My Year in Books

2016 was a year of many ups and downs but one of the things I most enjoyed was getting back to reading. They say that if you want to travel in time to read a book and truly, there are few things I enjoy more than doing just that. I smile thinking back to when my mom, a voracious reader herself, would make me sit with her and read my American Girl books. I hated it! I was just learning to read and my mom wanted to make sure that I developed a love for it like she did. Silly, but it really was a gift in a way.

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As the years went on and I was required to read more and more for school, my reading for pleasure kind of took a back seat. I did enjoy some of the reading of course— Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I highly recommend taking a Women in Pop Fiction class)—but as my required reading list grew longer, it seemed more daunting than relaxing.

So, in the past year while I was decidedly straying from screen time (more on that in another post) I found reading again. I cranked out around 30 in total, give or take. Admittedly some of the books I read this year are embarrassing—I love a good self help section at Barnes and Noble—but here are some that aren’t too bad :o)

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    ⁃    The Happiness Project
    ⁃    The Defining Decade
    ⁃    What French Women Know
    ⁃    The Inferno
    ⁃    The Opposite of Loneliness
    ⁃    Crazy Rich Asians
    ⁃    Fifty Shades Darker
    ⁃    Lucky
    ⁃    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    ⁃    Brain on Fire
    ⁃    America’s Queen
    ⁃    The Circle
    ⁃    Hollow City: Sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    ⁃    The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
    ⁃    Girl On The Train
    ⁃    The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    ⁃    Wild 10/4/16
    ⁃    Satan’s Advice to Young Lawyers 10/10/16
    ⁃    Water For Elephants – 10/18/16
    ⁃    The Help 10/25/16
    ⁃    At Home with Madame Chic – 11/8/16
    ⁃    Fifty Shades Freed – 11/16/16
    ⁃    My Year with Eleanor – 12/1/16
    ⁃    The Beautiful and Damned 12/20/16
    ⁃    Harry Potter and The Cursed Child 1/1/17

Around October I thought it would be fun to start including the dates that I finished each book so that’s why you see those there. I also did not include any books that I did not finish, or any books that I’m currently still working on.

Of all of them, my favorite book was probably The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest. I love that entire series and am so upset that it was meant to be one of 10 books instead of three. RIP Stieg Larsson. I also enjoyed America’s Queen (Biography of my idol, Jackie Kennedy Onassis,)The Miss Peregrines Books, Crazy Rich Asians, Inferno (anything by Dan Brown, really) and The Defining Decade.

Some books I didn’t quite enjoy but felt the need to finish because I had already started them, like The Happiness Project, The 50 Shades series, and The Opposite of Loneliness. There are probably around 10 books I started this year that I just could not push myself to read through, no matter how loudly my OCD protested. I summoned my inner Marie Kondo and dropped them off at the Goodwill to bring joy to someone else.

I didn’t begin the year with any particular book list and looking back I am actually surprised by how female-centric all of them are (not a bad thing, of course.) However, I do have a book list started for 2017. Side goal: stop buying more books when I already have so many to finish.

Here’s my 2017 book list, as it currently stands, and including a few that I just started, listed at the top:

– Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
– The China Study

– Dante’s Divine Comedy
– Library of Souls – Miss Peregrine series
– Holy Blood, Holy Grail
– The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
– China Rich Girlfriend – Crazy Rich Asians series
– Rich People Problems – Crazy Rich Asians series
– The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
– Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
– The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
– Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food
– Steve Jobs – Biography

If I can keep up my streak, I’ll be able to get through all of these by June so I’m always looking for book suggestions! Do you guys have any book lists or reading goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

chelsea

Running Running Running

I’m just about reaching the half way point in my training and I’m beginning to remember the feeling of not wanting to make time for my runs. That being said, I do feel stronger, healthier and more confident than ever before.

Last week I was out with a cold – one I’m still trying to shake – so I only logged about 10 miles and a very light strength training session.

Although each work out did help me feel a little better, in the end I needed more rest than exertion.

With all my free time I was able to finish 2 books, catch up on Once Upon a Time, and finally get some much needed, uninterrupted sleep.

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If you’re a Brave New World / distopian future fan, this is a good book to check out.

Yesterday was my first day feeling like myself again so I took it as an opportunity to get 2 workouts in. My first work out was a more vigorous conditioning because I’ve been falling back a bit with cross training and keeping my legs strong is vital. Here’s what I did:

10 minutes in the sauna – (I heard that using a sauna can help with heat endurance and I have definitely felt an improvement in my own ability to endure higher temperatures. Not to mention it works wonders for my skin and detoxifying)

30 walking lunges
30 crunches
25 donkey kicks
25 scissors

30 sumo squats
30 crunches
25 donkey kicks
25 scissors

30 step ups
30 crunches
25 bicep shoulders – (I’m not sure the real name of these but 1 rep is essentially a bicep curl on each arm followed directly by a shoulder press. I used 7.5lb dumbells.)
25 clam shells (each side)

15 miles stationary bike

Afterwards I was ravenous and whipped together the strangest sandwich I’ve had in a while, along with some fresh seasonal produce I got from the grocery store. There are few things more grounding than eating a delicious, perfectly ripe and juicy peach.

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I rested a bit afterwards and started a new book – Hollow City, the 2nd installment of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Chris and I decided to try out a new pizza place called Stone Hearth Pizza which was really good and sourced local, organic and hormone/antibiotic free ingredients. It was delicious and inexpensive and I felt good supporting a business that supports local farms. They also have gluten free dough and pasta! I got the Farmfresh pizza, which was chock full of veggies.

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I headed out on my run around 8:30pm. I prefer running around dusk but it’s been hot lately and I learned my lesson after attempting a long run at noon in 87 degree weather. (I think it actually qualified as a long walk with intermittent periods of jogging.)

After about a mile I realized my body was still tired from my earlier workout and the last legs of my cold and I ended up cutting my run a mile short. I’m always trying to find where the line is with pushing my body and giving it adequate rest. You win some, you lose some I guess.

For my post run snack I had peanut butter, fresh fig, and chia seeds on a slice of whole wheat toast. I paired it with a big mug of ginger detox tea and fell asleep before I even got the chance to open my book.

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Today I’m slated for a long run but I’m a bit worried after last night’s performance. I guess we’ll see.

chelsea

Back to Basics

Okay, maybe I’m crazy here, and Chris does tell me I’m an old person on the inside, but I am so relieved to have graduation weekend over. As much as I loved seeing my family and going to dinners and celebrating, at the end of the day, it was totally exhausting/overwhelming. I kept finding myself just wanting to go to the gym and get some grocery shopping done. … See? I’m an elderly woman.

Had dinner in the North End yesterday and stopped by Modern Pastry to pick up some sweets. Chris and I have been craving Key Lime pie since we visited Key West in March
Had dinner in the North End yesterday and stopped by Modern Pastry to pick up some sweets. Chris and I have been craving Key Lime pie since we visited Key West in March

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I finally got a chance to head over to this little local produce place near me and pick up some fruits and veggies. It’s a tiny, cash only store but they source local farms and the owner is this darling old man who always picks up a conversation with his customers. On top of that, it’s super cheap. I walked away from there with three big grocery bags for less than 20 bucks.

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I was happy to have the ingredients and time to get back in the kitchen and whip something up. I roasted some carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and made corn on the cob. It tasted incredible after all the junk I’ve been eating. My energy levels have been really out of whack and I think my lack of nutrition was a huge factor.

IMG_3068Now, I’m headed to see a movie with a friend downtown. Thank god it’s summer.