Bad Weather Workouts #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts

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Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

The snow system that’s hitting the East Coast today came through here as a rainy day with a drop in temperatures. I took the opportunity to do one of the eight strength-training sessions I promised myself this month. Once Upon a Time, the TV show, provided my entertainment. I warmed up with a mock sword fight, mimicking the characters’ moves. Squats, lunges, and crunches don’t take any special equipment. I have 5-pound dumbbells to work the upper body.

Do you have to do one or more of your workouts at home this week due to the weather? What sort of things do you do when you can’t get out to the gym or outside to walk or run?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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Live Healthier Resolution #NewYearBooks #SundaySalon

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeGood morning, one and all — and especially the Sunday Salon and New Year’s Resolution Challenge participants.

We’re into the last week of January — how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? This is our second-to-last link-up for the New Year’s Resolution Challenge. There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

I completed the book I wanted to read for my Live Healthier resolution. I’ll link to the review of A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus below. From the perspective of my resolution, the book assured me that when I’m at the top of my game I’m doing pretty well — which is motivating. I’ve been motivated with New Year energy this month, so I’ve been at the top of my game. Now, I just need to keep it up!

Thinfluence by Walter WillettFor me, I know from experience that motivation isn’t enough. I need structure. That’s why I set up the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge of 2015, so that I’ll keep reading books like this for the whole year. My next pick will directly help me build structure to sustain my healthy life choices — Thinfluence by Walter Willett, Malissa Wood, and Dan Childs. On the cover, thinfluence is defined as “the powerful and surprising effect friends, family, work, and environment have on weight.” Walter Willett is one of my heroes in the weight loss world for consistently looking at the scientific research and pulling out what has been proven to work and what hasn’t. He’s a voice for reason in the face of whatever the latest diet trend is.

So, I have two books left to meet my New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier proved to be a workbook, which is a bit more effort than just reading. I’m getting some good results, so I’ll keep plugging along with it.

My last book is our Read Along book for the New Year, The War of Art. It’s a short book — you could still catch up if you want to join us for the last discussion. Let me know if you want to participate. I’ll send out discussion questions on Wednesday in advance of our final discussion post on Saturday.

A Twitter Chat. Next Sunday, we’ll chat about The War of Art, creativity, and our New Year goals in a Twitter Chat. Join us on February 1 at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian. It will be a great way to start the second month of 2015 energized to continue making it a great year.

In order to spread the word more widely about the Read Along, the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge, and the Twitter chat, I’m linking this post to two Sunday link-ups. Check out Small Victories Sunday at Mom’s Small Victories for posts about living well. The Spread the Love Linky Party collects bookish posts.



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A Short Guide to a Long Life #BookReview #NewYearBooks

Book: A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus, MD
Genre: Health
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 2014
Pages: 190

Source: Library

A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus

Quickly read advice for health and longevity

Summary: This small book is designed to be quick and easy to read. The pieces are only a few pages long to provide an overview of each topic and the basics of what to do about it. Although Dr. Agus admits to being opinionated, the advice is backed up by research studies and reflects the guidelines most generally recommended by the medical community.

The material is presented in three Parts. The longest is Part 1, What to Do. This includes advice like “Grow a Garden,” “Be Positive,” and “S-T-R-E-T-C-H.” Part 2, What to Avoid, suggests staying away from dangerous sports, stilettos, and supplements. The third part is very short and compiles the information from earlier in the book to age-appropriate lists — what to do in your 20s is slightly different from what you want to think about in terms of health in your 50s.

Thoughts: I got a kick out of the historical note at the beginning that demonstrated how the advice given by Greek physician, Hippocrates, remains some of the best advice today, including these gems:

  • Walking is man’s best medicine.
  • If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
  • To do nothing is also a good remedy.

I’m following much of the advice in A Short Guide to a Long Life, but it was motivating to keep doing what I am doing and up my game in a few arenas — particularly keeping track of data. Everything from how many steps I’m taking today to “when was the last time I had a tetanus shot?”

The Weekend Cooking crowd will like his emphasis on eating real food, seasonal and local when possible. Dr. Agus reminded me that frozen produce can be as healthful as fresh, especially in the winter:

Unless you can buy truly fresh produce that’s in season and has been delivered recently from a nearby farm, head on over to your grocer’s freezer section and opt for frozen fruits and vegetables, often labeled as “fresh flash-frozen.” Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be plucked or picked at their peak ripeness, a time when–as a general rule–they are packed with the most nutrients. p. 28

This could be a time-saver for me, too. Does anyone have advice about how to work with frozen vegetables — especially for stir-frying and roasting?

Appeal: A Short Guide to a Long Life is a great quick overview — a chance to check if you’re doing all that you want to be doing for your health right now. The tone is light, with an invitation to take what you want and leave the rest.

new Weekend Cooking logoChallenges: This book fits in with a number of my challenges:

I’ll also link this review with today’s Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads.

Reviews: Diane of Bibliophile by the Sea listened to the audio version of A Short Guide to a Long Life and liked it, for the most part. Part 3 would be annoying in audio — I just skipped to the 50s section in the print book rather than read all of the repetitive lists for each decade.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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First Ever 3-Day #Reviewathon

Review-a-ThonI’m joining in today with the first 3-day Review-a-Thon, hosted  by Brianna at The Book Vixen. I’ve got plans for Saturday and other things I like to do to get my week started well on Sunday, so expanding the Review-a-Thon to include Friday works well for me!

Here’s my list of reviews I want to write:

  • A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus [DONE — scheduled for Weekend Cooking tomorrow]
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier (but I’d have to finish reading it first)
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (also, not quite done reading it)
  • A collection or two of mini-reviews to cover all the just-for-fun books I’ve read in the last month, to balance the more serious books for The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.

Are you writing reviews this weekend?

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First Look at London #BriFri #Photos

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!


After listening to the bells at St. Martin in the Bull Ring on Sunday morning, we took the train from Birmingham to the last stop on our England journey — London! From London Euston train station, we took one of those great London taxis to our hotel that was between Trafalgar Square and the Thames. We settled into the hotel and then crossed the Thames on the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridges.

Golden Jubilee Bridges

Rick (on the left) walking across the Thames

The two pedestrian bridges span the river on either side of a railroad bridge. By going out one side and back on the other, we got views in both directions along the Thames — seeing some of the iconic structures of London in one short walk.

The London Eye

The London Eye dominates the landscape here.

Westminster

Westminster and the clock tower that holds Big Ben

St. Paul's Cathedral

Going back on the other part of the Golden Jubilee Bridges, we got a view of St. Paul’s Cathedral and downtown London

I was very happy with my first glimpses of London! Have you been there? What did you do in your first hours?



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The War of Art, another #Giveaway

Review of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Edited to add: Tina of Novel Meals won this set of books. Congratulations!

Congratulations Janel Gradowski for winning the previous drawing for this selection of books. For those of you who didn’t win, here’s a second chance!

In conjunction with this month’s Read Along of The War of Art, I also have books to give away — four books that Steven Pressfield wrote about creativity or the writing process:

  • The War of Art
  • Do the Work
  • Turning Pro
  • The Authentic Swing

Enter below for your chance to win one set of these four books. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you like chatting about creativity, join us for a Twitter chat on February 1 at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian. Put it on your calendar! It will be a great way to start the second month of 2015 energized to continue making it a great year.

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The War of Art discussion, Part 2 #NewYearBooks

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldWelcome to the Read Along of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield! Last week, we discussed the introductory material and Book One. Don’t miss Belle’s thoughts on the role of trouble and rationalization in Resistance at Ms. Bookish.

Today we’re moving on to Book Two.  If you’re joining in the discussion on your blog, don’t forget to leave a link in the link-up at the bottom of the post so we can all see your thoughts.

I sent the five questions below to every one who I knew wanted to participate. Here are my answers:

1. The title of Book Two in The War of Art is Combating Resistance: Turning Pro. What does Turning Pro mean to you and how does it help you combat resistance?

My notion of professional comes from my dad, who went off to work every day to do something mysterious, but it was always very important that he did it. The family’s daily structure was built around Dad’s job. We lived in plant housing, so Dad walked to work most days. Our days were governed by the steam whistle going off at 8:30, Noon, and 4:30.

Resistance is conquered by putting one front of the other when the whistle blows.

2. Naturally in a book called The War of Art, a title that plays on The Art of War, warriors of a variety of types (Marines, ancient Spartans, gunslingers in the old West) are provided as examples for the artist. How do these metaphors work for you? How about the related examples of professional athletes, especially golfers?

These examples, as well as the model of my dad are all distressingly masculine. They make me fret about whether I can be a professional while also responsible for providing healthy meals, keeping on top of paperwork, and otherwise insuring that the household functions reasonably smoothly. I feel like I would relate to this all better if I had a wife. I can say that I put my writing first, but, in fact, if the lettuce isn’t washed at lunch time, then it’s the lettuce.

All this is making me wonder, too, if this sort of model doesn’t do a disservice to modern males. Most of them have household responsibilities. Not to mention other daily tasks, like exercise and relationships, that also need to take priority at some moments most days.

Many warriors have an entire army’s apparatus to get them fed and exercised, all as part of the job.

Can one be professional and also functional in life without a great deal of support? Or, is that too much to ask?

3. The longest piece in Book Two is “We’re All Pros Already” (pages 69-72). What can you apply from other experiences of being a pro to your creative goals?

A start time and stop time. But, that doesn’t work so well for me in practice. What has been working, recently, is a plan to put in a certain number of hours each day and week — I seem to need flexibility about exactly when, but having a goal helps me do the work.

4. Starting on page 75, Pressfield describes several aspects of the Professional. Which one of these is most helpful to you right now?

Patience is a big one for me. One of the reasons my writing floundered last year was because it seemed like it was going to take forever to complete my project. But, if I’d kept going at the pace I set in February, I’d be done by now. Patience, persistence, and consistency are my watchwords for 2015.

5. What’s another aspect of the Professional that you anticipate being useful in the near future?

A Professional Is Prepared. He’s talking, here, about doing the inside work that deals with Resistance and wards off self-sabotage.

His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily and steadily as he can. p. 82

Are you encountering Resistance to any of the projects or goals you had slated for 2015? Would taking a professional stance help?

A Twitter Chat. We’ll chat about this book, creativity, and our New Year goals on February 1 at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian. Put it on your calendar! It will be a great way to start the second month of 2015 energized to continue making it a great year.

Giveaway. Check back tomorrow for another giveaway of The War of Art and other writing / creative books by Steven Pressfield.



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Lots of Walks #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts

banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

We’ve had a stretch of glorious days for January. So, I walked. I’m actually a little ahead of my minutes goal for January. I’m a little behind on my goal for eight strength-training sessions this month, but it’s going to get cold soon enough. I’ll get the rest of those sessions done when I’m willing to spend some of my exercise time indoors.

I know not every one is having great weather because the evening news reports that half the country is having icy automobile accidents. Are you managing to get in your workouts, no matter what the weather?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



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One Book Done, Three to Go #NewYearBooks #SundaySalon

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeFor many of us participating Sunday Salon and the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge, it’s our first long weekend of 2015! This is a great time to re-group and re-energize our New Year’s Resolutions. I know I’ll spend part of my weekend working through the book Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier in the hope that it will help with my resolution, Write the Darn Book!

Would a book help you with your New Year’s Resolutions? Join the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge! There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

I finished A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes and it really did help with my resolution to Improve my Mood. I’ll link the review below.

I’m still working on A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, as well as Do More Great Work.

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldA group of us are doing a The War of Art Read Along to get the New Year started right by combating the Resistance that keeps us from our goals. It’s a short book, so there’s still plenty of time to join in. I’ll email the second set of questions later today in advance of our discussion post on Wednesday. Let me know if you want a preview of the questions.

Join us on February 1 to discuss creativity, resistance, and New Year goals during a Twitter chat. We’ll gather at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian.

Have you read any books that help with your New Year goals, resolutions, and projects?



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Mini-Bloggiesta To Do List #Bloggiesta

Mini BloggiestaI’ve only got a few hours to devote to this, so I’ll only have time for the basics. But, I’m behind on the basics, so it will be good to get caught up!

Here’s what I hope to do this weekend on my blog, in roughly the order I expect to do them in:

Are you participating in the mini-Bloggiesta this weekend?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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