Summer 2017 Reads

Today I’m sharing some books that I recently enjoyed as well as some that I’m looking forward to reading over the summer.

Summer 2017 Reads


The Help // I think most people have seen the movie by now. I was first drawn to it because Viola Davis is one of my favorite actors. Once I saw the movie I knew that I wanted to read the book version of The Help (affiliate link). It was a great decision because the book was amazing. Even if you’ve watched the movie, I would highly recommend the book as well.

The Princes of Ireland // I’m a huge fan of historical fiction. Not only do I learn a little bit, but I also get a great story too. Edward Rutherfurd has written quite a few books about places such as New York, London, or Russia. For the most part they tend to follow a few families starting with the founding of the city and continue to the present time.

The Princes of Ireland (affiliate link) is the first in a trilogy about Ireland. I’ve read all three, but the first one is probably my favorite out of all of them. While I’ve always wanted to travel to Ireland, I want to even more after reading these books. Now that I know the history and how beautiful it is, it’s at the top of my list for international trips.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks // I’m currently reading this book and I’m really enjoying it. I saw part of the HBO movie, and within a few days I had ordered the book. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (affiliate link) alternates between Henrietta’s life in the 50’s and the late 90’s when the author is doing her research for the book and interviewing people. Going between the two timelines keeps the story interesting. In fact, last night I had a part time putting it down.

Sarah’s Key // I finished this book last night. It was definitely a page turner and one that I would definitely recommend. Like The Princes of Ireland, Sarah’s Key (affiliate link) is historical fiction. The events described (the Vel d’Hiv round up of Jews in Paris in 1942) are real, but the characters are fictional. Once again, the chapters alternate between Sarah, a 10 year old Jew who’s sent to Vel d’Hiv with her family, and a journalist in Paris in the early 2000’s researching about what happened at Vel d’Hiv.

I was actually recommending Sarah’s Key to a friend of mine when she told me that she remembered seeing a movie of it. While I haven’t seen the movie yet, the trailer looks pretty good.

Spark // I know that I’ve mentioned Spark (affiliate link) on the blog before, I wanted to share it again. It’s a super interesting book if you’re at all interested in how exercise affects the brain. I think we can all agree that exercise and physical activity if good for you physically. This book goes into detail about the beneficial effects it has on everything from symptoms of anxiety to hormonal changes during menopause to aging.

Big Little Liars // This is another book that has been turned into a mini series. While I haven’t seen it either, I’ve heard lots of good things about the book. If Big Little Lies (affiliate link) is as good as I’ve heard I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching the mini series.

If you’re looking for more book recommendations check out my summer reads post from last year here.

What’s the last really good book you read?

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Shake Your Money Maker and Blogger Summer Camp

Instead of sharing something fitness related today, I thought I’d focus on the bloggers who read GFF and share an amazing opportunity that I’m excited to share.

Blogger Summer Camp

If you’ve read GFF for awhile, you’ll know that I’m all about learning more about blogging. Whether it’s participating in Regina’s Facebook group or going to Wordcamp to learn about all things WordPress, I’m constantly learning more to be the best blogger that I can be.

I’ve been listening to Nicole Culver’s podcast for over a year now. She has guests on every week who share their experiences and what they’ve learned. Being able to learn from people in similar situations to mine has been really helpful. In addition, I’ve also participated in two of Nicole’s Planning Parties. Back in December and then again in April I spent a week figuring out content and planning where I wanted my blog to go in the next three months. Taking the time to plan out 3 months worth of content was definitely a lot of work, but it was so worth it. Knowing what I was going to write about made writing posts so much more easier, which meant that I was also more consistent in my posting. Between the emails, worksheets, and Facebook group I felt like I had a ton of resources and support to make my goals happen.

I also ended up signing up for Nicole’s Food Entrepreneur Summit. Although food isn’t the focus of my blog (though I do write about it), a lot of the topics that were being discussed were useful to me. Everything from photography advice to using social media was helpful to me. Although I still have a few more videos to go through (life gets busy, what can I say?), I feel like I’ve definitely gotten a lot of value out of it.

In addition to her courses, I’ve also found a lot of value in being a part of her Facebook group. It’s a great community full of people who are more than willing to help you out with a question you may have. There’s also some amazingly talented people in the group, so it’s a great place to find someone if you’re looking to hire someone.

Blogger Summer Camp

I’m excited to share that I’ve signed up for Nicole’s next program – Shake Your Money Maker (affiliate link). While it’s a free course, you’ll get the opportunity to purchase lifetime access to the course and get access to the Blogger Summer Camp. The lessons are available for only 24 hours with the free option, but you get so much more value if you decide to pay for it. I’m already signed up and looking forward to learning more, not just from Nicole, but also the community.

If you’re also a blogger and want to take the next step with your blog, sign up (affiliate link) and join me. I know we’re both going to learn a lot and make some great connections.

Have you ever participated in a blogging course? What’s your favorite blogging related topic to learn about?

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June 2017 Goals

I hope everyone had a great weekend – mine was pretty good. Friday was pretty laid back, I spent most of the night doing laundry and watching Dateline. I know, super exciting Friday night plans!

Saturday morning I hit up the Cochrane farmer’s market. I had never been before, so it was fun checking out some new to me vendors. Unfortunately there wasn’t as many food vendors as I was hoping for, so I just picked up a few veggies and some mini sour cherry pies (so delicious!). Afterwards I checked out Freshii for the first time. I got a strawberry banana smoothie. While it was tasty, it’s definitely more than I’d pay for a smoothie, so I think it’ll be a more of a once in awhile thing.

Saturday night I headed over to my boyfriend’s place. We ordered pizza and watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain Laos episode) and then watched the Nashville/Pittsburgh game. I was pretty excited that Nashville won by a landslide. I’m not much of a Crosby fan so I’m hoping that Nashville will win the Stanley Cup.

I started off Sunday by heading to the gym to get in a workout. Because I forgot my ipod I decided to split up my cardio because I was getting bored. So I did the following:

  • 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Row machine 8 reps x 3 sets x 40 lbs
  • Lat pulldown 8 reps x 3 sets x 27.5 lbs
  • cable machine bicep curls 8 reps x 3 sets x 20 lbs
  • cable tricep pulldowns 8 reps x 3 sets x 20 lbs
  • 20 minutes on the bike

I was a sweaty and tired mess by the time I left, but the workout felt great. Once I took a shower and wasn’t stinky anymore, I watched 2 episodes of The Keepers. I’d heard about it online and it sounded interesting. Even though I’ve only watched 2 of 7 episodes I’m already hooked. I have a feeling I’ll be finished watching all of them in a couple days. Has anyone else watched it? I spent the rest of Sunday working on some homework and doing some blog work.

Today I wanted to recap my May goals and share my June goals.

June 2017 Goals

May goals:

One group fitness class per week // Yeah, this goal didn’t happen at all. I was definitely more into solo workouts this month instead of sweating it out with a room of other people. I still spent time at the gym, just on my own instead of with others.

Go to bed earlier // This one was definitely a success. I made a conscientious effort to be in bed earlier than I usually do, and it paid off. It was easier to get up earlier but I still felt like I got enough sleep. I was reading a few good books over the course of May, so I was actually looking forward to getting into bed so that I could spent some time reading – that definitely helped.

June goals:

Finish school strong // To be completely honest, it’s been tough focusing on school the last few weeks. It’s my last semester (woohoo!) but I wish I was already done. That’s meant that I haven’t had my usual motivation to get school work done, and I’ve procrastinated more than usual. I have 3 more weeks of classes before I write my finals the last week of June. I know I can get it done, it’ll just take more motivation that I currently have. So my goal for June is to get the same good marks that I’ve gotten up until now.

Continue planning for my future // I’ve spent a lot of time already thinking about what I want to do after I’m done school. I want to teach group fitness, do personal training, as well as make my blog more of a focus and make it a bigger part of my income. I’m also trying to figure out if I want to do yoga teacher training. Are you a yoga teacher? I’d love to hear any advice you might have for me! So my goal for June is to take some concrete steps to getting things set up for after I graduate.

Have any goals for June? Share them below in the comments. 

Weekly Workouts May 28 to June 3 2017

I’m so glad that I track workouts with my Fitbit, cause if I had to rely on my memory for the workouts that I did in the first half of the week, I’m not sure if I could remember them. So thanks to my Fitibt I’m sharing all of my workouts over the last week.

Weekly Workouts

Sunday // I spent 45 minutes  on my favorite elliptical (tell me I’m not the only one who has favorite pieces of equipment at the gym) and then 20 minutes on the bike. I’m still working in my cardiovascular endurance, so there’s been a lot of time spent on cardio machines the last few weeks.

Elliptical workout

Monday // Rest day because I had to go into work early. It would be have been pretty tight getting myself to the gym and then back again in time for work and I didn’t want to risk it.

Tuesday // I did a Jessica Smith TV workout on Youtube, but I can’t seem to remember which one. It was about 40 minutes though, or so my Fitbit tells me.

Wednesday // I practiced some Zumba choreography for my workout first thing in the morning.

Thursday // I ended up going for a walk in Bowmont park. It’s absolutely gorgeous right now because there’s a few different kinds of wildflowers blooming. It’s such a pretty spot overlooking the Bow River.

Friday // I had planned to spend some time on the elliptical today, but then I remembered that with convocation, the second floor of the gym where I usually do my cardio would be off limits for the convocation ceremony (I workout at my university). So instead I decided to stay home and try out some new Zumba choreography. Zumba Instructor Network members get new choreography every other month, so the new volume was released on Thursday. I’m really digging the music this month!

Saturday // My alarm went off early so that I could head to the gym this morning, but I decided to turn it off, roll over, and go back to bed. To be honest I probably needed the sleep more than I needed the workout, since I slept a few more hours and got in 7.5 hours of sleep!

Share your favorite workout from the last week in the comments below. 

Friday Favorites June 2 2017

Happy Friday! How is it already June? It feels like it was Valentine’s day just last week. The weather this week has been beautiful, so I’m looking forward to some more sunshine in June. Today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite finds this week.


Spark by John Ratey

I finally finished reading Spark by John Ratey (affiliate link). If you’re at all interested in how physical activity can affect your brain (everything from anxiety to aging) then I highly suggest you check it out. It’s written by a doctor who makes the different parts of the brain, nuerotransmitters, and hormones easy to understand. There’s definitely a lot of science but I didn’t have any problems following what he was saying.

Vegetable Lasagna

My dad picked up this vegetable lasagna for me the last time that he was at the farmer’s market. The meat was replaced by eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and mushrooms. It was really good and I think I’m going to pick up another one the next time I’m there. It was my first time trying a vegetable lasagna, and it was better than I was expecting.

WordCamp YYC

Last weekend I was able to attend WordCamp Calgary. It’s an annual conference where we talk about all things WordPress (it’s what I use to create my blog). I’ve gone the last few years, and I have to admit that this year was probably my favorite so far. I ended up sitting with a great group of women, most of who all run their own business and use WordPress in some way. We’ve connected on Facebook and we’re looking at getting together for coffee or a beer later this summer.

Nivea Orange and Care Body Wash

I picked this Nivea Care and Orange body wash (affiliate link) this week, and I have to say that I’ve really been enjoying it. The scent is amazing and I swear my skin is feeling more moisturized. This is definitely something that I’ll be buying again.

 Sriracha Nut and Seed Mix

My brother actually picked out these sriracha nut and seed mix at another farmer’s market that we went to together. I’m usually not a big fan of spicy things, but these had just the right amount of heat. They were better than I was expecting.

Leave a comment below with a favorite of yours from the last week. 

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